Skill - Kerry McDonald - Author of "Unschooled"

Kerry McDonald is the Author of "Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom". She is also a frequent Forbes contributor on education topics, a Senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education, and an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute.

We talk a lot about the fact that "lifelong learning" is a required trait in an age where workers need to constantly learn new skills in the face of rapid technological change. However, how does our education prior to college and the world of work affect this ability?

On Episode 22 of Skill, Micah shares a conversation with Kerry McDonald, Author of "Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom". Kerry argues that giving children the freedom to guide their own education process yields the skill of "lifelong learning" we need in the 21st Century.

Kerry's research interests include homeschooling and alternatives to school, self-directed learning, education entrepreneurship, parent empowerment, school choice, and family and child policy. Her articles have appeared at The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NPR, Education Next, Reason Magazine, City Journal, and Entrepreneur, among others.

Throughout this conversation, Kerry and Micah cover the following topics:

  • Kerry and Micah discuss one of the greatest children's books of all time
  • Kerry explains the key concepts of Self Directed Education (SDE) and the difference between "school" and "education"
  • The link between "lifelong learning" and SDE
  • The impact of technology on education and the world of work
  • Kerry's optimism about alternatives to traditional schools
  • Kerry's own experience with SDE with her 3 children
  • Why people feel uncomfortable giving the freedom to learn to children
  • How Kerry resolves the tension between instilling "grit" in children, and Self Directed Education, where children have the freedom to "quit" at any time
  • SDE and raising children that are a "success" in eyes of modern society
  • The anecdote to rapid technological change
  • Will change in K12 come from without, or without
  • The most promising experiments in alternative education models, outside of traditional "school"


You can connect with Kerry on Twitter @kerry_edu

You can connect with Micah at micah "at" OR on Twitter @MicahMerrick

Thanks for listening!