Hacking Your Education by Dale J. Stephens

Six Pieces of Advice for UnSchoolers

  • 1) Get up early. Studies show that people who get up early are healthier, happier, and live longer. If you live in a college dorm where everyone stays up late, this might be difficult. Once you get up, get something to drink and get to work. This is a key to being productive.
  • 2) It’s important that you not care about what other people think of you if you want to be self-assured and confident. Dale sees this as the biggest roadblock to success. Be yourself, love yourself, and discover who you really are. Dale even suggests you do things to experience rejections, such as asking strangers for $100.
  • 3) It’s vital that you care about learning and not about grades. As an unschooler, you will have more time to accomplish things in the real world so judge your self by what you do. You will also need to develop your ability to delay gratification as you never know exactly when some learning will be useful. Take on projects that you don’t know how to do, and you may find you are working harder than you ever worked in school.
  • 4) Make a To Learn List. The beauty of this is it’s never completed. A downside of school is that students are usually not asked what they would like to learn. This saps motivation. Research shows that people perform better when they are interested in what they are doing. No shock there.
  • 5) Since you will need to be accountable for your own learning, you need to put your goals out for the world to see. Also share these goals with a few close friends on a regular basis and ask them to check on you from time to time. Dale also uses a to-do list. You need a website that can act as a place to publish your goals and accomplishments. Dale gives some specific advice on this.
  • 6) The biggest value of going to college is to find smart, interesting people to be with. Unschoolers can mimic this by setting up collaborative learning groups. Such groups should have a stated purpose and time at the end for unstructured conversation.
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