Why school?

“Why is it that when kids turn five in our society they are typically expected to spend hours a day 5 days a week in a government institution? Why do they not get a choice in how they spend such a significant portion of their childhood? Why is there so little involvement from the very people affected the most by these choices? Why is it not questioned or challenged?

Separating subjects and making education feel like something that must be done to people in a way that is separate to life creates a self-satisfying system. A system that creates people dependent on a system to give knowledge and provide answers and a system that depends on people accepting that.

It only took one generation for it to become an expectation and for normalcy to fall to this model.”


Read the rest here at Racheous.

Is that what we want? Kids who get straight As but hate learning?

“From her first day of school, we pointed her toward that altar and trained her to measure her progress by means of points, scores, and awards. We taught Marianna that her potential is tied to her intellect, and that her intellect is more important than her character… Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning.”

Read the rest of Jessica Lahey’s “When Success Leads to Failure” here.

Upcoming Open House

Hello everyone! A quick email to tell you about our next Free Learners Open House, which will be on Saturday, August 29 at 2pm.

For those that want to be a part of the creation of our exciting freedom-based and democratic learning centre, you don’t want to miss this meeting! We are going to talk about what free learning is, why our community needs this learning alternative, what our next steps are, and what you can do to be a part of it. If you’re not sure if you want to participate, but are just curious about what we’re up to, you can come, too!

Space in this facility is even more limited than at our previous meeting, so I do need you to RSVP with confidence if you would like to attend. I want to be sure that those who want to attend, can!

For more info, or to RSVP, please email nanaimofreelearners@outlook.com. See you there!

The Seven Sins of Our System of Forced Education

“Now here’s another term that I think deserves to be said out loud: Forced education. Like the term prison, this term sounds harsh. But, again, if we have compulsory education, then we have forced education. The term compulsory, if it has any meaning at all, means that the person has no choice about it.

The question worth debating is this: Is forced education–and the consequential imprisonment of children–a good thing or a bad thing? Most people seem to believe that it is, all in all, a good thing; but I think that it is, all in all, a bad thing. I outline here some of the reasons why I think this, in a list of what I refer to as “seven sins” of our system of forced education.”

Learn all of Peter Gray’s seven sins at Psychology Today.

General Info Session 

Hello everyone! I am writing to you today to let you know that our first info session is scheduled for Friday, August 14 at 7:30pm in the Oliver Woods Community Centre (Salal Room 3).

This meeting will be an opportunity to meet and to hear a little bit about the vision for the Nanaimo Free Learners. I’ll talk about what a free education is (and what it isn’t), how it benefits our kids, and where we need to go from here to make the dream of bringing ethical education to Nanaimo into a reality. There will be plenty of time for discussion and Q&A, so bring your questions and ideas. This is the chance to put your name out there if you want to be a pioneer in non-coercive education in our community, so if you can make it, please do! We will schedule another meeting a few weeks after this one for those that can’t make it.


If you are planning to attend, please RSVP by email to nanaimofreelearners@outlook.com so we have an idea of numbers. Please note that this should be an adults-only meeting (though babies in arms are of course welcome).