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Feb 3, 2021

  • Kelly describes her educational upbringing as traditional and not too exciting. She was focused on sports and socializing. She remembers playing “school” as a kid and growing up around educators. She remembers the adults in her life being respectful and talking to her “like a person.”
  • Kelly was undecided about a major as she approached college, but eventually studied communications. She had an opportunity to teach in Fiji with a group of teachers and tagged along on that trip. It ultimately lead her to take on more teaching opportunities in Asia, one in Vietnam and another in South Korea.
  • Her experience teaching in South Korea made her realize that she wanted to work in an environment which provided learning opportunities for teachers and a personalized teacher/student relationship, much like she had when she was tutoring. She also liked that mentoring students gave both student and teacher the ability to share skills with one another.
  • She left South Korea for Taiwan in search of hot weather and started a language center. She worked in an international school and became a certified teacher while there. Her teaching experience gave her a clear vision of what she didn’t want for her future in teaching. She began exploring online education and came upon self-directed learning.
  • She met her co-founder Vlad Stan, and together they interviewed over 100 experts and homeschooling parents. After the summit, they learned that many homeschooling families were looking for connections and community, so they initiated an online book club. Her inspiration comes from a question she frequently asks herself, “What did I need when I was 12 years old?” 
  • Kelly describes learning as something that never ends, and all knowledge is created equal. The goal is to instill lifelong learning, by allowing students to follow their interests. Self directed learning is a partnership. Age mixing is encouraged. 
  • Kelly mentions how Galileo, the online school she co-founded, offers clubs where students are invited to participate in. The clubs are based on student interest, not age. 
  • Galileo began as a book club based on a need from students and parents in the homeschooling community, and eventually grew to included daily check-in’s and more clubs. At the moment, Galileo offers clubs, nanodegrees, retreats, daily check-in’s with other students and a facilitator, monthly presentations, “meet your mentors”, and bootcamps. Self-directed learning was a natural fit to the school’s mission, “Nothing is mandatory, everything is inspirational.”
  • Kelly advises parents to assist their children for the first few months during the transition from traditional schooling to self-directed learning. There are interviews from Galileo parents for anyone wondering how self-directed learning could work for their family. Deschooling is an important process, where students are given space and time to get bored. Parents partnering with their children for those first few months is very important. Deschooling generally takes as many months as the student was in school, so for example 7 years of school would mean the student needs 7 months of deschooling. You’ll know when your child is ready for structure once they are creating and playing.