Hackschooling Makes Me Happy
Do you remember the first time someone asked you what you want to be when you grow up? Do you remember what you said? If you do, does it still hold true today?
Logan LaPlante says most thirteen year olds, like himself, have no idea what they want to be. He recommends you ask a kindergartener. Because they might just give you the real answer: I want to be happy.
Logan was nine when his parents pulled him out of the traditional school system. He remembers the doomsday warnings well-meaning friends and neighbors dumped on his parents. You see, traditional schooling just hadn’t been working for Logan. Four years later, as he shares his story on the grand TED-talk stage, it’s pretty obvious his family made the right call.
He specifically recalls a conversation he had with Dr. Roger Walsh, a scientist who researches how to be happy and healthy. Walsh told him: “Much of education is oriented-- for better or worse-- toward making a living rather than making a life.”
Enter what Logan calls Hackschooling. He calls it: “a mindset, not a system.” Now, “hack” is a word that’s been floating around the internet a lot lately. Logan’s definition goes like this:
“Hackers are innovators. Hackers are people who challenge and change the systems to make them work differently; to make them work better. It’s just how they think-- it’s a mindset. I’m growing up in a world that needs more people with a hacker mindset. Not just for technology-- everything is up for being hacked… even education.”
Logan’s Hackschooling revolves around three core values: Happy, Healthy, Creativity. By taking a non-traditional education route, he’s been able to adapt and personalize his learning to meet all three of his core values. For Logan, this isn’t just about what you learn online. It’s about socialization, getting into nature, and applying he’s learning through something he cares about, like skiing. Logan uses community organizations to bring what he learns to life. At the time of this taping, he held an internship at a textile factory marketing skiwear. Through this, not only did he learn the trade of marketing, but also how important math was when designing gear and equipment. Part of hacking his education includes connecting what he learns with what interests him. By taking advantage of courses, camps, or classes in the community, not only can he get a hands-on approach to learning, but it also allows him to get the real, authentic socialization you can’t get by sitting behind someone in class.
Logan says, “I hack my education. I take advantage of opportunities in my community and through a network of my friends and family. I take advantage of opportunities to experience what I’m learning.”
Logan finishes his talk with a secret grin. “So, I’m starting to think that I might know what I want to DO when I grow up. But if you ask me what do I want to BE when I grow up? I’ll always know that I want to be happy.”