Astra Taylor is a 31-year-old Canadian-American filmmaker well known for her films Zizek
and Examined Life
. She is a writer as well, and her work has appeared in numerous magazines. In 2006, Filmmaker Magazine
listed her as one of 25 new filmmakers to watch. Astra was unschooled until she was 13, an experience she says shaped the course of her life. While she has chosen to give various “schools” a try throughout her adult life–including a short stint at Brown University, a BA from the University of Georgie, and an MA from the New School, she embodies the spirit of autodidacticism. In the lecture embedded here, she talks at length about her unschooled life. It’s well worth checking out if you hope to better understand what unschooling (or life learning) means. Here you can here it first hand from a grown unschooler. Please watch.
As a side note, I was watching Taylor’s lecture the other night, and my 7-year-old son Aidan (who is unschooled) came up and sat on my knee. He was drawn in from the other room when he heard me listening to the talk. He sat there with me for the full hour and 15 minute long lecture, completely engrossed. It’s neat to see how curious he is to hear others talk about the unschooling life. He, and other unschoolers I know, seem to be keenly and critically aware of their own educational experiences and processes–in ways that traditionally schooled kids are not (at least the ones I know). Maybe this is because they are choosing these experiences completely of their own free will.
If you’re interested in hearing more adult unschooler perspectives, check out the blog of one particular adult unschooler Idzie Desmarais. She is in the process of collecting a series of interviews with unschooled adults.