“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” -Robert A. Heinlein
I’ve had this goal for a few years, to get barreled surfing. Some folks call it a tube ride. Getting tubed.
Anyway, I’m here in Bali coming up the steep learning curve and having a fun time at it.
I’ll keep posting pix of my progress…
Gurdjieff - In Search of the Miraculous
The following was written by my long-time mentor and pastor David Wilkinson. I found it to be a powerful pointer to what it takes to create lasting change. Link to the original here.
Community organizers empower people
I’m not a parent but I think a lot about how to create a great education. I was inspired by this little reply by Don Q to post on Tim Ferriss’ blog.
“You ask about effective education.
I am a 37 year old father of two who grew up attending about a dozen educational institutions in 9 countries: public schools with the middle class; boarding schools with wealthy expatriates; 1 on 1 tutoring with a blind man; classes of 3 students in the rainforest and sessions of 40 students in suburbia; and later a state school and Harvard.
Based on my experiences, what did I decide to do for my own children?
I decided to combine the hard knocks of public schools with the rigors of boarding school. Combine the attention of 1 on 1 tutoring with the social enrichment of large groups. And combine the breadth of state school course offerings with the depth of an Ivy League education.
I decided to homeschool.
There are so many reasons not to send your child through conventional schooling that I will not even attempt to list them here (read “The Well-Trained Mind” for the most authoritative book I’ve found on the subject; and the works of John Taylor Gatto). But I will mention two:
1) Learning is only possible when the motivation comes from the student, not from the teacher; and
2) Homeschooled children repeatedly outperform their conventionally-trained peers in conventional, standardized tests. Consider Switzerland, a country with the world’s highest per capita income and yet only 23% of the student population attends high school.
“But what about socialization?” detractors protest.
One does not merely sit at home. Like the “Four Hour Workweek,” the objective is not simply to work four hours, but rather to free time to variegate one’s range of experience into other areas.
So my recommendation for the perfect education is the following 4 step program:
1) KILL YOUR TV: Yes, remove it from the house. Shakespeare will never compete with Bart.
2) BUY LOTS OF BOOKS: They’ll take care of the rest. We formally “teach” our kids no more than a couple of hours a day and now they’re already a few years ahead of their peers. The wealthy class of centuries past simply bought books and hired home tutors. Does it take a lot of brains to parrot a teacher’s workbook? Nope.
3) TRAVEL: Not unfamiliar to the great thinkers of ages past, the refinement that comes with international travel is simply not possible sitting in your hometown. There is something magical about experiencing new cultures, exotic languages, breathtaking sights, and intoxicating smells that is simply not possible sitting in your home country. And by travel I don’t mean getting a 3 week Eurail pass. I mean relocating to a new, preferably poor, country. Why poor? Because the poor usually have more to teach.
4) VENTURE CAPITAL: Starting from an age when your kids can act responsibly with money, usually 5 or 6, give them a hundred bucks and ask them to double it. Then ask them to give it away (intelligently). Sit back and watch them learn more in a couple of weeks than their peers would have learned in a semester.
These 4 steps don’t require a lot of money and certainly the 4HWW makes it completely possible. Besides, all the money that you previously wasted on school is now spent traveling with the kids.
Is it replicable? Easily. Is it cost effective? How many billions of dollars are we going to save by converting decrepit school buildings run by the government into community centers run by families?
By the way, on a completely different note: is it coincidence that your first name stands for “Time, Income, Mobility” and that your family name resembles one “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” who used brains, wit, and technology, to defy convention and authority?”
Don Q September 14th, 2007 9:44 pm
Mid July I gave a talk at Stanford’s EDAY. It was a fantastic event and a nice honor to be asked to present. While I was there, the alumni association interviewed me about Xtracycle. Here is a link to a pretty good review of the past and preview of the future of Xtracycle.
As part of my talk, I brought a bike blender and we made mad smooties. The kids rocked it. Here’s a little video clip:
Michael Jordan was quoted saying the above. I can believe it. And it seems best to start young. Here’s a clip from a rising star:
In this little video clip, young stunt master and dare devil rider Julian Ramey shows us what it takes to go big.
I’m sitting here tonight eating fresh organic cherries after a nice ride back from mother truckers (north san juan’s place to get your grocieries) and I just finished reading and watching Mark Benjamin’s review of his week of Xtracycle use on Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/mwt/good_life/2008/07/24/sports_utility_bicycle/
He gets it. He did three of the top 5 every day bicycle adventures. He went grocery shopping, took his kids to school and partied with his friends. (I wish he had shown the part where three couples rode 3 Xtracycles together to dinner after bike blending margaritas).
I have often tried to figure out how to describe the experience of being someone ‘on the inside’ who wishes they could share with others the ecstatic experience they are having. I’ve described it with Xtracycle Bicycle Lifestyle as a person out for a walk in a big park that sees some alluring frolic going on off in the distance. Their mind is dubious, their soul is curious: will they go over and check it out? Will it be as fun as it looks? Will they be welcome?
I am so grateful for more and more brave souls who are risking, reaching out and trying on the Xtracycle Bicycle Lifestyle. Mark Benjamin from Salon.com is one. And there are so many more. Thank you.