Hackschooling: Lettuce-less burgers?

When I first hit ‘Play’ to begin watching “Hackschooling Makes me Happy”, the first thought that went through my mind was, “Wow, this guy is little. There is no way I could give a TedTalk now, let alone seven years ago.” As he went on explaining his research and why he is so passionate about a more creative approach to education, something happened I am ashamed to admit. Suddenly, in the middle of this thirteen year old’s speech on becoming more open-minded, his flowchart – which should’ve prompted me to appreciate his ideas even more – made me physically flinch. “What happened to the basics? How are you suppose to learn any solid curriculum if there isn’t one?” I could not believe how he went on and on about “hacking” his education; how Logan himself seemed to have complete control over his education; how any traditional ideas had been tossed aside like that limp lettuce leaf restaurants give you with a cheeseburger and fries. I knew my trains of thought were headed for stations founded on the ideas of a conservative education. That is when I realized exactly what made me so uncomfortable with his whole approach: it is different.

I have never really liked change. I mean if something works, why change it, right? No, I never put that strangely bright green piece of lettuce on my burger (there are very few who order a burger and a basket of fries and want lettuce), but I will defiantly feel slight discomfort without it. Even though it terrifies me, Logan is right. The standard education system in America is the lettuce and our futures are the burger. There are not many who need it this way so lets change it. In fact, let’s make education a build-your-own-burger. Did pathetically faking it through physics my senior year help me in my journey to become an English teacher? Not a whole lot. Will Logan’s internship help him kick butt in ‘the real world’ when he is our age? You bet it will. By taking the initiative to hack his education, Logan has found the shortcuts to help him get where he wants to be in life, but without missing out on any essential life lessons.

Does the thought of non-traditional education still make me queasy? Yeah, it does. But now I understand why and that is the first step to changing my ways. Who knows, maybe if I had hacked my education I wouldn’t be terrified at the thought of giving a hypothetical TedTalk. Anyway, see you all at the burger buffet. πŸ™‚

P.S. I don’t know how this whole post became a burger Β metaphor, but I would be lying if I said I was disappointed about it.



14 thoughts on “Hackschooling: Lettuce-less burgers?

  1. Regan Garey says:

    I’ve gotta say that I’m a huge fan of the burger metaphor, MaryAnne! It made me laugh. πŸ™‚
    “The standard education system in America is the lettuce and our futures are the burger.”-> Absolutely! I love this thought. It’s interesting to think about how different his education is from what ours was. I sat through Advanced Biology for a year and quite frankly remember nothing. I love the sentiment that sometimes the uncomfortable isn’t bad. It’s just different. πŸ™‚ Great post, MaryAnne!


  2. Elisabeth Ellington says:

    Really interesting post! I love how you become aware of your resistance and think your way through it. When we start to resist an idea or opinion, that’s a great time to pause and figure out why. That little zone of discomfort is where learning happens! I think one thing that’s super challenging for teachers to understand is that our current system of education doesn’t work for most students. It worked for us–after all, we like school and believe in school so much that we want to spend our lives “doing school”! But when you spend a day shadowing students in a typical middle or high school, you see so many disengaged, bored, anxious, disconnected, and scared kids who may be compliant but aren’t often enthusiastic.


    • maryannejblog says:

      Yes!! My goal as an English is to help students become as literate as possible because once you can read, you can learn anything you want and I want as many students to fall in love with learning as possible!


  3. aftonburns says:

    I love the metaphor! πŸ™‚ It was crazy to me to think that this 13 year old boy had more control over his education and a greater understanding of what he wanted out of life than I did at the beginning of my senior year in high school. We need to hack schooling and allow students to “build their own burger”! Thanks for all of your thoughts πŸ™‚


  4. Stephanie Gardener says:

    Loving the burger metaphor! It’s funny, but I actually looked at this Ted Talk from the complete opposite perspective. It is very hard for me to go into the box. Since I was homeschooled, I was never in a box, which I’ve found changes a person’s perspective quite a bit. I’m like, woohoo-there’s-a-box-but-I’m-not-in-it, that’s how far out of the box I am. I actually considered being a high school English teacher but I was afraid that the stringent guidelines for teaching would get in the way of how I would want to teach a class. It’s interesting how much power our educations have to shape how we think about things!!


  5. melissaa3 says:

    Your post made me happy! I agree with you at the age I would have not been able to do a TEDTalk. I sometimes do not like change either and when I do need to change something it is so hard for me. I worked as a sped-para and things change on a daily in the classroom and this really opened my eyes on why it is so important to accept and embrace change.


  6. Tate Aaron Jensen says:

    Oh I love this! And it made me hungry!!!! πŸ™‚ I agree. We do fear things that are different. I actually had a Facebook status that said “We fear what we do not understand.” And it is so true. The thought of hacking my own education gives me anxiety. I agree that it can help for some people but I want my conservative education! πŸ™‚


  7. courtneymunger says:

    Love, love, love this post and metaphor! Your title had me instantly hooked on your post. I wanted to read it just to figure out what you were talking about! You may not know where the metaphor came from, but it was so accurate! Like you, I struggle with change. It is something that has never made me comfortable. I also realize that sometimes change is necessary, and like you said, this is one of those instances. Great post! I can’t wait to read more!


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