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Mar 3, 2021

  • Kristen grew up in Tampa, Fl and attended public schools her whole education. For elementary school she attended an IB school. As a gifted student, she was given many fun opportunities such as: Battle of the Books and Mathletes
  • In Middle, she felt a huge shift in pressure. She had 4 hours of homework, so she switched to a local public school. It was not very challenging though, and felt really uninspired to attend. 
  • In high school, she moved to Texas. She attended the 5th largest high school in the nation. It wasn’t a positive experience. She noticed a huge cheating culture, especially in the AP classes. Her opinion of education changed and led her to an interest in self-directed learning.
  • In her experience, elementary school was more project-based, which left a lot of autonomy for the students. Middle School focuses more on punishment and the relationships with your teachers are shallow due to the constraints of scheduling and organizational needs with so many students. 
  • She wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to major in at the college level. She came upon self-directed learning on her own online and became really interested in it. She found a democratic school near her and asked to observe. Shortly after, she began interning at the school while attending college. She earned her degree in Child Learning and Development. 
  • Alternative education was not even mentioned in her program, except Waldorf and Montessori. As part of a presentation in school, Kristen showed the TED ED talk by Logan LePlante and it sparked a lot of discussions. 
  • In democratic schools, students meet regularly to vote on rules, how to allocate funds, etc. Mentors at the school support the students by reminding them of the time, to eat, help organize events and field trips, and be available to support them however they need. Some of these schools offer classes or clubs which students can opt into. 
  • At the democratic school where Kristen interned, she offered a maker’s space and some classes in psychology and tech. 
  • The school eventually developed into an Agile Learning Center and moved to a new location, so Kristen collaborated with others to develop a Liberated Learner’s Center for ages 4-18. At the center, there were classes, games, and workshops offered to students - all opt in. 
  • During Covid, Kristen transitioned to Galileo
  • Democratic schools are schools where students vote on how to run the school. They vary in style - Sudbury and Summerhill are two examples of this model. 
  • Agile Learning Centers are schools where the goal is more about intention. It’s run sociocratically. Students use tools to visually keep track of their goals. Students are offered pop-up classes and workshops based on their interests.
  • Liberated Learning Centers are based on the North Star approach where each student is offered a mentor and classes are offered to students based on their interests. They are given a lot of guidance and support during the student/career/continuing education  transition. 
  • According to Kristen, mentoring (as opposed to teaching) is great for three reasons; the learners want to be there and are excited to attend your class and you have the opportunity to build a deeper relationship since you share a passion with the learner, and lastly you get to teach something you love. You aren’t seen as an authority figure, so communication is open and trusting. The learners get to decide what they learn related to the topic. 
  • Galileo is a global online school for self directed learners. They offer clubs where students get to decide when and if they participate. Students have the freedom to try the clubs, but aren't obligated to attend. The clubs provide challenges and skill-building based on what the students want to know. The clubs meet weekly. If they need help between club sessions, students can contact the facilitators per message. 
  • In self-directed learning, learners get to choose who they learn from and when it’s the right time to learn that specific topic. In self-directed learning, there’s complete flexibility in how you learn and what you learn, which gives students the option to go as far as they want in any given topic. 
  • Kristen has fun plans for her clubs at Galileo this year. She will be offering game development boot camps and Game Jams, where students work in teams to complete a game around a theme. Through these clubs, learners are exposed to software and experiences that adults and professionals use as well. 

Helpful Resources Mentioned in Today's Show


IB school

Battle of the Books 


Logan LePlante

Ducky 3D YouTube Channel

Polygon Runway YouTube Channel

Brackeys YouTube Channel



Galileo Use code “Rogue Learner” and save $100 off your child’s tuition.

Switched on Pop Podcast


Up and Vanished

LeVar Burton Reads

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Why are You Still Sending Your Kids to School by Blake Boles


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