Living a life without school can sometimes seem so random. When you use a person-inspired model of learning (compared to a curriculum-based or school-based approach), the path you’re on can change at any moment. And often times, you have no real idea where you’re going to end up. The course is not pre-set, there is no precedent. For a lot of it, you gotta fly without a map and let the wind push your wings one way or the other.
This freedom can sometimes seem scary and chaotic. You can certainly live your life without any idea whatsoever of why you’re here, what you want out of life and just close your eye and run. That is one way to do it. Or, you can have very specific wide-range goals that still allow for a tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility. This, is what living a life without school is all about. Freedom and flexibility within a specific construct of goals and intentions.
Instead of having goals such as, “Finish grade 3 workbook by the end of the year,” which has no real value other than to move forward, you can make goals that have a much larger effect in the long term. Before you can set the larger goals, however, you need to know what, for you, is the meaning of “success”.
Is success finishing a workbook? Is it knowing the times tables? Is it mastering calculus? Or is success the feeling of satisfaction that we are leading lives filled with integrity, passion and improvement? Basically, is success internally-based, or externally-based? In school, success is defined by an external assessment. By contrast, learning without the basic elements of school (such as grades, assignments and learning schedules), success has to be internally driven.
With goals based on the internally-driven definition of success, those meanderings on the unknown paths of learning, those endless twists and turns of a trail that goes far beyond the horizon to who-knows-where, they aren’t aimless. Because no matter where we are on that path, we have already found success. We’ve already met our goals. We are *living* our goals. We aren’t even trying to find an end to the path. There is no final point where we say, “Ok, I’m done.”
Knowing that each step we take is a step within the parameters of how we define success for ourselves makes the scariness of having an undefined future in front of us melt away. In fact, that undefined future is empowering because we know that no matter what that future is, we are making it for ourselves. We own our destiny. We are going in the right direction because it’s the direction that we have chosen for ourselves.
Not having a plan is how the vast majority of us live our lives once we aren’t in school anymore. We might think we have a plan, but in reality, we can’t. Things happen. Things change. And when you have a rigid plan, when things change – it’s catastrophic. When you have goals based on an internally defined success, change is par for the course, and it’s easier to adapt.
Here are some goals that are specific on the large-scale, but allow for everyone to have an individual path on how to meet them:
1) For everyone to be honestly successful in their day to day lives, and to have confidence that they will continue to have success no matter what paths they choose.
2) For everyone to have the knowledge of how to obtain information, who to ask for help and to be confident enough to pursue knowledge in their own way.
3) For everyone to love learning, whatever that may be.
4) For everyone to be the person that they are, and receive unconditional love no matter where their interests and personalities take them.
5) To make sure that everyone has a sense of pride in who they are, what they’ve done and are able to live a life of integrity.
6) For everyone to genuinely love to be alive.
What are the goals in your family? Is everyone in your family successful? Who gets to define what success is? Where does your path go?