Uyboco: The Freedom Academy (Part 4)

Freethinking Me

IN PARTS 1 and 2 of this series, I gave a general overview of the Freedom Academy, what it is, what it’s not, and what it aims to do. In part 3, I shared the historical basis, as well as some working models of the philosophy. For the next parts of this series, I would like to address some common questions and objections starting with:

What about college or university?

Around 95 percent of parents ask this question because we have been conditioned to think that a college degree is a prerequisite for a successful life or career. We have been conditioned to think that college is a necessary phase of life, but it’s not.

There are many successful people, at the top of their careers and fields, who dropped out of college, or didn’t even step into one. And it is important to note that many of these people did so before the internet was a reality. Today, knowledge is so accessible that one can be reading college-level texts or even listening to world-class lecturers, for free, while riding the bus.

But let’s say your child really wants to go to college. What are their chances of doing so at the Freedom Academy? I would say the chances are very good, because of three factors:

First, when self-directed children or teens express a desire to go to college, they do so because it is something they want. They know exactly why they are going to college and would usually have done their own research on what school best suits their needs. They are not going to college simply because they have graduated from high school and that is the expected next step for them.

Contrast this to the thousands of high school graduates who go into college simply because everyone else is doing so, or it is what their parents expect of them, and they don’t even know what to major in, or they simply follow their parents desire for them to take up nursing, accounting, engineering or whatever.

Second, a self-directed learner who wants to go to college will be highly motivated to fulfill the requirements for it, whether to prepare academically for entrance tests, to create a personal portfolio of achievements, and so on. The facilitators of the Freedom Academy will also throw in their full support in helping the child complete these requirements.

Third, since self-directed education is not a new thing (it’s relatively new in the Philippines, but not in other parts of the world) we have a rich history of data to draw from. Sudbury Valley School, which has existed for more than 50 years, have seen hundreds of their graduates go on to whatever college they desire, even top schools like Harvard or MIT. Their statistics show that 80% of their graduates go on to college.

The North Star Self-Directed Learning Center, which has existed for 20 years, also has many alumni who went to top colleges of their choosing. Research by Ken Robinson, author of Creative Schools (2015), shows that college admission directors see attendance at North Star as an asset because the kids “have a history of being self-directed and intellectually curious.”

Even here in the Philippines, homeschooling, unschooling and other alternative means of education have grown and flourished for more than 10 years, and many of these kids have gone on to college at our top universities like Ateneo, La Salle, UST, and UP.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.


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