August 9th 2021.
- Daniel’s book Choose Life on Amazon
- Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk Do Schools Kill Creativity?— the most popular TED talk of all time
- Naomi Fisher’s book Changing Our Minds
- Naomi Fisher appearance on the Once BITten! podcast with Daniel Prince
- Galileo online platform for self-directed education
- ECON103: Principles of Austrian Economics I on Saylor.org
- Plato quote on compulsion in education. See The Republic, Chapter 7
- Peter Gray’s book Free to Learn
- Peter Gray’s appearance on Daniel’s podcast
- Peter Gray talks about Sudbury Valley School
- Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admission Scandal on Netflix
- Class Dismissed, movie by Jeremy Stuart
- Self Taught, movie by Jeremy Stuart
- Homeschooling Summit interviews
- Online events Daniel is hosting on Galileo
- InspirED resources on language learning recommended by Daniel
Saifedean Ammous: [00:03:30] Hello and welcome to another Bitcoin Standard Podcast Seminar. Today’s topic is homeschooling, and our guest is a regular seminar attendee here at academy.saifedean.com. Daniel Prince, host of the Once Bitten Bitcoin podcast and all around excellent Bitcoiner who’s been churning out great quality Bitcoin content regularly, and joining us here on the seminar, always.
You’ve definitely heard him if you listened here before, Daniel also wrote a book called Choose Life and in it he describes his adventures of quitting the rat race and focusing on homeschooling his kids and traveling the world and living a free life with which I think Bitcoin has arguably helped him quite a bit.
So Daniel has, for a long time been giving me a lot of [00:04:30] pro homeschooling propaganda. And it is something that I am generally favorable to myself. So I thought we’d have an extensive discussion here on the topic of homeschooling. And we’re going to follow this up with the next discussion in a couple of days on Fiat education and the problems of Fiat education.
So Daniel, thank you for joining us.
Daniel Prince: Thanks for inviting me on, Saif. Really glad to be here, I’m hoping that propaganda has helped in some way.
Saifedean Ammous: It has. It’s definitely inching me closer and closer towards the choice of homeschooling. So could you make the overall case for why you think somebody should consider homeschooling their kids?
Schools are out there, we get professionals to do everything for us. Professionals build our computers, they make our [00:05:30] furniture, they build our houses and you can’t expect to be able to be good at everything. So why not let a specialization do its job with children?
Daniel Prince: Very good question. The overriding point that I think people should really understand is that they have a choice.
Most people don’t even realize that in the first place, they just think school is the be all and the end all, and this is the only thing that they have available to them. Which just isn’t the case, and it hasn’t been the case many decades, and it certainly isn’t the case now. With the rise of the internet and information technology, online schooling and what else, there are so many different ways that you can look and think about educating your children, that you would actually be crazy to not consider them.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think it definitely makes sense. And [00:06:30] I think the possibilities that are available for a parent today compared to what they were just 20 or 30 years ago is very different. In fact, particularly over the last two years, and as it seems now, this permanent new world in which we live in which kids going to school is going to be a luxury of a few weeks every year, while they spend the rest of the year glued into zoom, is making it look, no matter where you are in the world, it’s looking increasingly , well no, there are a few places that are holdouts for freedom, Florida and Texas, Belarus and a few other places around the world.
But generally, most people are pretty much stuck with homeschooling one way or the other. Even if you don’t want to homeschool, you are going to be homeschooling. You’re going to have to set them up with a [00:07:30] zoom office and have them, join their teachers and their classmates at the specified times and follow up with all of the work.
So it’s almost becoming inevitable that you’re having to use that. And then of course, when you think about just the amazing possibilities of what is out there, it makes sense. But then again, isn’t it better for a person to just go and do their job rather than try and learn how to do the job of an elementary school teacher?
Tthese people specialize in doing this year in year out, 20 years, 30 years, they’ve got the experience, they’ve handled kids, they know their problems, they know what they need and you’re good at other things. You’ve done other things in your life. You’re better off going and mining Bitcoin by doing another job and then paying professionals for the handling of your kids.
Yeah absolutely, mate. And to dwell [00:08:30] on the point that you were making there about the schooling from home, which has been going on ever since COVID hit, that is very different to homeschooling. What homeschooling is, is a completely different mindset around the education of the kid.
Homeschooling probably shouldn’t even be the word because it’s not school at home. A lot of people, there are so many different terms for it mate, that it’s become a little bit of a niche within a niche. Some people like to say that they’re unschoolers, other people like to say that they’re , following a self-directed education kind of path, which is probably what we’re doing in fact, cause we use Galileo.
I know a lot of people have listened to the show and heard, me talk about that and they’ve heard Lauren on the show , and she talks about it and she sometimes has to run off and sign into different clubs. Traditional homeschooling that people have in their [00:09:30] minds is school at home.
And that is what people have been exposed to since we were locked down due to Corona and it’s hell, and it doesn’t work. Because you are not trained and you don’t have the time to do all of that. And you don’t have the will to follow the fiat education curriculum, because you soon find out yourself, god damn this is boring as all hell.
And you just know that you’re spinning your wheels. But in fact, the first thing that happens when you do this, and my wife and I, we made this first mistake when we first started to travel in 2014, the first thing we did was create a timetable for our homeschooling.
And it would be like, 9:00 AM we’ll get up and we’ll do some reading and writing. At 10:00 AM, we’ll have a break, at 10:30 AM we’ll do some kind of math. [00:10:30] Absolute disaster. Every homeschooling parent goes through the same kind of learning curve, because you realize that is only ever going to work in a schooling system where it’s compulsory, that compulsion is there and that set timetable is there.
And you have the system set in place and the teachers are going to have you sat down and opening the books and the bell is going to have you moving when, you’re supposed to. And then , you know, come the end of the day, eight hours disappears and you can leave again and then go home.
First thing you do when you get home is what? Sit at a kitchen table, eat some kind of unhealthy snack, open your homework books and spend the next three or four hours doing more homework. That system itself is a disaster. When you bring that home and you try and replicate that system. at home, there’s no way in the world that’s ever going to work.
There was an immediate [00:11:30] breakdown between parent and child, because you’re trying to force a system that is completely alien to the home, and it’s just a complete mess. But everyone, when they first start, they will do this. You can’t stop yourself because we are so programmed. It’s so psychologically drummed into us.
We’ve all been systemized possibly since the age of five, depending which country you came from, maybe even earlier, we’ve all been through it. And we’re all carrying these traumas throughout our schooling career that we’ve been exposed to and have to carry that baggage into our adult life.
And that’s another real big problem. When you sit down and you start trying to help the kids with certain problems, and that problem is out of your scope of intellect, you shut down and you start getting angry and you start getting anxious. [00:12:30] And this is a big problem that we see with homework, when kids come home and they need homework help from their parents.
But their parents suddenly realize, no way I was ever taught how to do this my 20 years ago. So they’ve changed the way that they’re teaching kids. There’s no way I can get to the answer that they want you to get to using the method that they are using.
And then you have this horrible breakdown again within the family. I rambled there, I can’t remember your exact question in the beginning,
That’s a very great answer of why not just hand it over to professionals. Actually, no, this isn’t much of an answer, this is an argument for handling them over to professionals, but you made a good point about why this kind of environment is not good. I think I[00:13:30] agree. I think one common objection you hear to homeschooling is people will say this is terrible preparation for living in society. You’ve got to go to school and you’ve gotta be socialized, but in reality, society is not like that.
Society is not you and 30 people in one room and doing what other people have decided for you to do, and you just need to be following instructions and you’re rewarded for how well you follow instructions. This is not life, generally. This is life for students, it’s cool. And if it’s useful preparation for life, it’s useful preparation for the life of the military or for the life of a slave or for the life of somebody who’s essentially employed with no regard to their will.
It’s about what others want you to do. To an extent it is reflective of the office environment. And I think [00:14:30] this isn’t good socialization. I think the people who say this betray a very warped view of what society is like. If you think school is good preparation for society, I think you misunderstood.
You’re using your society wrong. I think you need to go back to the shop and ask them how to actually use society properly because it’s not similar to school. Society is not meant to be a place where you’re constantly being given orders and treated with no regard to what you want.
This is I think the key thing about the school system.
Socialization fud is the number 1. That’s the boiling the oceans of homeschooling. And it’s so tiring and you’ve just nailed it. And Theo has just said in the chat, anyone thinking that homeschooling doesn’t prepare for life and society never met a home-schooled child.
That is so true. And I cannot [00:15:30] like emphasize that point hard enough. Every homeschooled kid I’ve met, or world schooled kid or unschooled or self-directed, whatever you want to call it, has blown me away. And it was the early ones that we met in our travels that really started shaping my thinking that about having made the right decision. Because we would constantly questioning our decision.
What the hell are we actually doing? I’ve just quit my job, which you know, was a good fiat mining job. We’ve just left the country we’ve lived in for 15 years. We’ve got four kids aged under eight and we’re just bouncing around the world with them, like doing whatever the hell we like and just enjoying freedom.
But at the same time, using these experiences to layer on learning opportunities and education, just in an experiential way, rather than the compulsory way. Meeting the other travelers, cause you find your tribe, whatever you’re doing, you find them [00:16:30] online, Twitter, Facebook, wherever, and you do a beach meetup or a city meet up, park meet up wherever you are , meeting these other families kids I was like, oh shit, man, we’re doing the right thing.
Look at these kids! They would come up to us, they would shake me by the hand, look me in the eye, even if they were seven and introduce themselves, and then I would sit down and have a conversation with them. They were just so adept to talking to anybody of any age of any culture, any race, of any color, of any sex. I couldn’t believe it!
Whereas if you meet a typical 13 to 15 year old, completely compulsory schooled teenager, they won’t even look at you most of the time. They might just say hello, and then look to the floor or soak off into the [00:17:30] corner and go onto the device or something.
They don’t want to be part of you because to them, the adult in the room is the authority. The adult in the room is not to be conversed with. The adult in a room is not to be played with. The adult in the room is just there to be the authority, to tell them what to do, if they decide that they need them to do something. That is not social.
In my book, I did try and bust the myth of socialization. If you look in a dictionary there’s two definitions of the word socialize, number one is mix socially with others, which is what people think is happening at school. They honestly think that by sending your kid into school, to be around kids generally the exact same age as them, from the exact same town as them, [00:18:30] more often than not the same race as them, that they are going to find friends and socialize, no problem.
Now we all know that hardly ever happens. We all know that you get crammed into, randomly crammed into groups of 25-30 people. Whether or not you have anything in common, with these guys or girls at all, and you’re forced to sit with them in silence the next five to seven years, whatever it is.
And you’re not allowed to converse. So I tell people all the time, they complain, oh my God my son or my daughter, they get home from school, the first thing they do is get on the phone to their friends. And then they’re just on the phone to their friends for four or five hours.
Yeah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m like why do you think that is? They had been with them all day, so why did I have to keep on… Yeah, they’ve been with them all day, but they’ve not been able to speak to them, not once. Maybe [00:19:30] 15, 20 minutes at recreation, but otherwise they’re sat next to each other, sure. But they’re not talking to each other and they’re not sharing ideas.
They’re not thinking big picture thinking. They sat down, they’re quiet and they’re listening to the flapping head at the front of the room. The other definitions for socialization is, make someone behave in a way that is acceptable to their society.
Which is exactly what you just highlighted.
And that’s what’s going on. They are just literally teaching kids to be subservient, to not question authority and to be one of the masses. And this is the problem that we are facing in society today. People think entrepreneurs are these like amazing mega minds, you know, take big risks on whatever else and go and build huge, [00:20:30] amazing businesses.
I would argue that’s actually the default mindset of any human being. And as Sir Ken Robinson quotes , he believes strongly that we get educated out of creativity.
It’s just not allowed. That the teacher has to indoctrinate that set of kids to the answer that the curriculum calls for. So that is indoctrination to the answer. And we peel that onion back a little further, who creates the curriculum and who’s looking for the answers? We all know that it’s a top-down structure. It’s made by education ministers, unelected education ministers, bureaucrats.
They create the education, they create the [00:21:30] curriculum. That gets pushed down on to the governing bodies. That gets pushed down on to the schools. That gets pushed down onto the headmaster or headmistress. That gets pushed down onto the teacher, and that gets pushed down onto the kids.
Shit rolls downhill. There’s never a better analogy than that. So the teachers are just as stuck in the system as the kids. They do not have control over the classroom. They can’t teach to the schedule that they want to teach, they have to teach the exact schedule that curriculum calls for. They can’t be creative in any way because they have to indoctrinate the kids to the answer that the curriculum calls for. They’ve lost control.
And they are just as beaten up by the system, as the kids are. They’ve just pretty much become heavily administrative heads at the front of the class that are just basically grinding out a 30 year career so they can get to the end of it, walk away and [00:22:30] have their pension. And that’s a disaster in itself because teachers and mentors, they need space.
They need creativity, they want to connect with kids, that’s why they go into teaching. To have that ability taken away from you is a real travesty.
Yeah, I’ve noticed this, I think educational around the world has generally become a lot more formulaic and centralized and standardized over the past few years.
And I hear stories about it. It’s about getting the right answer using the right way that they want. And the right answer is how they think of it, it’s not about it making sense. It’s not about being correct in any practical sense. And I think, one thing you alluded to is the fact that they get back home and they want to talk to their friends.
Another thing that they do when they get back home is they want to do homework, which I [00:23:30] find absolutely insane. You wake them up early in the morning, you drag them out of bed, you get them dressed and you send them off to a place where they would learn and they come back and they still need to do more learning.
It seems to me, it doesn’t just seem to me, I’ve gone through this hellscape for 12 years, I know what I’m talking about. I remember, you can imagine how insufferable I must’ve been as a 14 year old having to go through school and my parents and my teachers suffered a lot with me explaining to them why this is just so stupid.
And I was there. I used to remember just how much of the day would go toward learning new things? I remember, it was around 9th for 10th grade where I would keep track by the minute of how many minutes we spent learning new, useful information during that day. And it was [00:24:30] almost always, not almost always, it was always under an hour of new stuff.
Because that’s the only kind of real new learning that you do because the rest of the day you’re going over old stuff or you’re preparing for an exam or you’re just engaged in all kinds of repetitive exercises, repeating the same kind of thing.
But you’ve gone through the enormous hassle of getting all these kids shipped off to one location, which is always a logistical nightmare. Getting them all in safely into the same place on buses or cars, all of them to come in together. All that they do is learn a very few things, and then they go home and they need to go home and they need to study on their own because they have to learn on their own.
They have to spend their time doing their homework. And
it’s an enormous waste. If you think about it , what kids [00:25:30] do in summer when they’re free from school, ends up being the most memorable and the most even educational things that they do because in the summer they can take advantage of this and actually go out and explore nature, explore life, get a summer job.
You know, live like members of society rather than members of we are the cult. They can actually go out there and help somebody in their shop and make a little bit of money and then buy something with it. It’s, very educational. So life itself has a lot to offer for everyone and definitely has a lot to offer for children who have seen so little of life, so just getting them out there to experience life for me is extremely valuable and school prevents that from happening and it doesn’t do it. It doesn’t take up a lot of time because it’s worth it. It takes up a lot of time because it’s inefficient, I [00:26:30] used to think, if I was doing the curriculum on my speed , it would take a lot less time.
And I think it’s true for most kids generally, because classes generally have to go at the speed of the slowest kids. And on the one hand you have that, but then even perhaps more important than that is just the inefficiencies of having to get everybody on the same page and then switching them up, where you have to go from chemistry to mathematics, to all these different subjects and 50 minutes intervals and get the kids to snap out of this topic and get into that topic.
Move kids around or move the teachers around.
There’s a lot of inefficiency involved in it, as opposed to just letting the kids figure out what they want and supervising the learning. I can definitely see the benefits of having professional teachers. But I don’t see the [00:27:30] benefits of this industrial scale model.
I think it’s done primarily to the benefit of government and organizations that want to have people turned into useful docile, order-takers. In the second degree, it is beneficial for parents, because they get a lot of free time without having to deal with their children.
And it’s a relatively cheap although, public schooling is cheap, but private schooling is expensive. But it’s definitely not in the interest of the student. I think if the student had the means of an adult who would be willing to give them some time and attention, they could do a lot with their time. That they could learn much more efficiently.
What do you think about that? In terms of just the efficiency of learning the educational material, whatever [00:28:30] it is.
First of all, it shocks me to learn that you were questioning authority the age of 14. And saw through the inefficiencies of the industrial beast that it is, but you’re so right.
It’s daycare. Let’s call it what it is. It’ s daycare and that’s going to trigger a few people. The best meme they ever came up with was free education is a human right. That is a meme, it’s a tagline and it’s very powerful and people repeat it and they repeat it and they repeat it.
And then as soon as they feel like free education is a human right. Then bam, I’ve got to put my kids into school. I’ve got to put my kids into that education system. What they didn’t tell you, like the small print of that meme was, as long as we have the ability to teach them whatever we want whenever we want.
And this is where we have the nationalistic curriculums in different countries around [00:29:30] the world. And again, people are going to be like, oh what’s he talking about? There’s no way that’s nationalistic. You know, check a history curriculum in any different country. You’ll find they’re very nationalistic bias towards that country.
Iin America, I believe they still stand up each morning and pledge allegiance to the flag. If that’s not nationalistic, I don’t know what else is. In Singapore, our kids, we school them across different schools. When they went to state school, they played the national Anthem every morning at 7:30 AM.
When you’re expected to be at the school gates. If you were walking across the playground with your child, psych them into the class and the first bar or the national Anthem started you have to stand still man. No walking whilst the national Anthem played, it’s mental when you think about it! And it is just daycare, you’re so right. It’s because it frees up and we will know why, there was a [00:30:30] huge push back in well, after the fifties and sixties, a huge push to push women into the workplace.
And again totally agree with, ladies you want to go and work? Absolutely 100%. But that was infiltrated. And for very good reason, women were aggressively pushed into the workplace because you suddenly become a taxpayer.
Your tax base goes up, by a lot, if you’ve now got women in the workplace, so what do you do? You lay on daycare, daycare is state education under the guise of free education as a human right. So you have these inefficiencies in the system that you’re talking about, these kids, like you’re saying maybe you’re 12 maybe you’re in a math class and it’s just clicking what you’re talking about that day, you’re just getting it. Then [00:31:30] the bell goes and you’re off to history. You can never get in a flow state.
It’s crazy. It’s just not the way we learn as human beings. We just do not learn that way. We learn when we’re involved in something and everybody listening to this will attest to the fact they’ve listened to thousands of hours of Bitcoin podcasts. They’ve read all the books, they’ve read all the articles.
They’ve watched all the YouTube videos. Their own time. And they have no idea how many hours they’ve done doing it because they’ve been so involved in it, they’re in that flow state, they’re interested in the material and they’re going to learn. They’re just going to naturally learn. That human beings learn.
Not in short, sharp bursts of 45 minutes or an hour and a half if it’s a double period, listening to the flapping head, who’s disinterested just as much as the kids, because they’re thinking about the next period. And maybe they’ve got the 15 year olds coming in next and they’ve got prepare mentally in their [00:32:30] mind. What’s the next part of the curriculum for them?
It’s such a broken system but very few people ever wants to challenge it. The system never gets challenged, ever. What happens instead is really insidious, it’s the kid’s fault. There’s something wrong with the kid. If there’s something wrong with the kid, that blame gets pushed onto the parents, it’s the parent’s fault.
So the parents get pulled into school, your son can’t sit still. He’s 8. There’s something wrong with him, and we can’t have him disrupting the rest of the class. So now it’s the parent’s fault. And Naomi Fisher talks about this in her book. Changing Our Minds is a brilliant book and she talks about the blame or brain phenomenon that happens when you’re faced with this as a parent. It’s like well, I’m going to blame myself, which is difficult to do as a parent [00:33:30] because you know you’ve done everything you can for your child.
It’s just natural or there’s something wrong with the brain. And so then what happens? Oh, there’s something wrong with our kid. Then you get pushed into this corner of begging for a diagnosis of something, just give me a diagnosis so that we know what’s wrong with our child. There’s nothing fucking wrong with the kid at all. It’s the system.
We have got this despicable problem where ADHD, or it’s called something else I think in the inner states,
Or ADD, I don’t know. We’re pumping kids full of Ritalin because they can’t sit still in a classroom they’re bored out of their heads with. Mate, I cannot state how angry that makes me.
Yeah, it’s insane. I think there’s an enormous amount of money that is being made from , medicating, normal [00:34:30] human reactions to all kinds of things. Instead of thinking about what is in the environment that is driving people to do these dysfunctional behaviors , the idea is nope it’s, gotta be something chemical.
And so let’s just give them some drugs and that’ll fix it. And of course , education is contributing to that particular sales funnel, quite prolifically. It’s astonishing the number of people that have their lives taken over almost by a dependency on a drug from a very young age.
And it’s pretty difficult to beat it, but some people do beat it, but it’s not easy to get over this. It’s absolutely insane because when you think about it, yeah the kids don’t want to sit still in class because they want to do other things. They do have other ideas of what they’d like to do [00:35:30] and all of these other things that they interest them, they could develop into learning opportunities or they could develop into careers or they could develop into lifelong passions.
letting the child have the freedom to explore and learn what they want will eventually drive them in the direction of wanting to learn. Whatever it is that the child is interested in. So let’s say they like sports cars. So then they get into sports cars, they spend their time pursuing their interest in it, and then they realize if you want to work in sports cars, you need to learn math and you need to understand engineering and that means there are certain things you need to learn. Here’s some books read this book and you’ll be able to maybe one day get a job making these cars or designing them. And that’s going to get the passion of the child to start spending an enormous amount of time on this.
And if you look at people that excel in many fields, you find that they had that freedom growing up, [00:36:30] where their school was almost turned into a secondary concern because they were spending their time, the majority of their time going after this one passion of theirs, and it could be becoming an athlete.
It could be studying a topic. It could be performing music or all kinds of things. Or it could be just a highly specialized, skilled job which they grow into. Say like a graphic designer or a programmer or, all of these things, people end up pursuing them with passion outside of school hours because they’d love them.
They enjoy them. They want to learn. They want to get better at them and you see it. And you see people doing this all through their life. And for children, it’s just a very big waste of time to engage in this, in my opinion, in this formulaic system [00:37:30] of performing rituals, in order to get to education, when you could be directing yourself towards the things that you want.
And I still think, you need adult supervision, but I don’t think you need adult supervision in the form of being shuffled into one building with hundreds of people and subject to standardized testing and having your schedule hijacked for an entire day for essentially nine months of the year.
I don’t think that’s the guidance they need. I think kids could use a lot more individualist guidance. I see perhaps the value in having classes, but I don’t think it makes sense. I can see how it would make sense for a bunch of kids parents to get together and hire somebody who’s good at chemistry to give them good chemistry classes.
But you know, [00:38:30] having it as part of an entire curriculum along with the other topics is just asking for trouble. If you start systematizing it, and if you start forcing all these scheduled development around the topic, it turns it into a chore basically. And then it knocks out the curiosity.
Yeah, 100%. It’s funny, you mentioned a sports car driver for example, Fangio, the best sports car driver of all time became the best, he attributes the fact that he became the best sports car driver of all time, because when he was a teenager, I think his father wanted him to be a doctor or something, or the classic doctor, lawyer, finance, whatever.
He just wanted to work with cars and he would go and work in the local garages, for free even. And he got a very very intimate understanding of the mechanics of a car to the point where he was driving, [00:39:30] in Formula 1 he could still strip and rebuild that engine. Now there’s a reason he became the number one driver in the world of all time, because of when he was a kid, he got lost in that learning.
And he became part of that whole experience. With his hands, he was learning from his mistakes. You know, that’s not something you can learn in a classroom. If it have taken mechanical sports car racing, mechanical lessons for 45 minutes once a week, he would not have had the same results.
Yeah, and even if he studied mechanical engineering at university level, which I did, to be perfectly honest a lot of it is just a bunch of equations that they tack on later. But if I wanted to go out there and get a sports car to actually work, pretty much 90% of what I’d need to know to make the sports card [00:40:30] work, I wouldn’t have learned in mechanical engineering.
And 90% of what I learned in mechanical engineering is not going to be relevant to making that sports car work. It’s relevant and useful for making exams and for having a curriculum. And to give credit, I think it’s useful in filtering people in terms of conscientiousness and work ethic in that you can’t get an engineering degree unless you have the ability to sit down and spend several hours tackling a problem and thinking about it and thinking really hard about how to solve it.
So you see, there is some value perhaps in that, in the screening for employees, but it’s an enormously inefficient way of screening. You could get a much better, more efficient way of screening for these things without having to go through all of these [00:41:30] very elaborate rituals. But yeah, I think it’s very different in that sense.
So tell us then how do you go about it? So you don’t do the curriculum, you don’t have math and , you don’t have a set hour for math. So then what do you do, party all day?
Daniel Prince: Yeah, exactly! We’ve got four kids and this is another thing you’ve got to remember. Like each kid is completely different.
We have twins, mate completely different. Like a totally different work ethic, totally different interests, totally different learning style, completely different. So if they’re in the same classroom together, which we’ve experienced, they’ve been in the same classroom together. We’ll get good reports for one and me ripples for the other.
It drives me crazy because now all of a sudden their personalities are being judged rather than their , their abilities and their abilities as we know as their parents are just found in different [00:42:30] areas, and if one of those abilities isn’t being addressed in a classroom, then they can perform badly in the eyes of the teacher.
Sso right now, our 16 year old, she chooses to go to school. She uses the education system. We are in France and and when we, traveled for two and a half years during the world schooling. We took a break, we took, a long-term rental in France, and we wanted the kids to learn another language.
And we knew the only way that we could do that was to immerse them. So again, it comes back to the original point, choice. You have a choice. You can do what you want and what you need to do when you see the opportunity arise. So there was a Montessori French school, we put the three youngest ones in there.
Let’s try this out for a week. The school we’re really happy to bring them on [00:43:30] and the kids really enjoyed it. My oldest one went to the oldest school, college excuse me. The younger three, they’re all back out. And they using what we call a self-directed education platform.
That’s Galileo, galileoxp.com and the way that works is because it’s self-directed education, kids are in charge of making the decisions of what clubs they want to join. So they take a look at the clubs, each month the clubs get mixed up. There were some that just run all year round, like the math class runs all year round, science classes, english writing classes run all year round. Which they do and which they enjoy doing.
There’s a coding class that runs all year round as well. So you decide, and then they have these [00:44:30] monthly clubs that they just pop up. There might be a club on, I’m trying to think of the most recent ones, anthropology or archeology, or you know, just studying amphibians for whatever reason.
And somebody will come on and run that club for the kids to join if they’re so interested. So what you get is a teacher on a zoom call with 10 to 15 kids that have chosen to be there. They’re there for a reason, the teacher’s there for a reason. And so you have a much better learning environment straight away.
So my kids days, they start around 9:00 – 9:30. They log onto their zoom calls. They do their morning meeting check-in with the usual bunch of guys for 30 minutes, then they’ll go and make themselves some breakfast, generally egg and bacon. My son loves a breakfast burrito. Can’t stop him eating them.[00:45:30]
And then they have the rest of the day. They might have a couple of hours where nothing’s going on. So they might, hang out with me. They might be doing something with mum, but then 11 o’clock, they’ll have a book nook meeting where, that’s English literature for example, they’ll be playing games, learning about English, learning about grammar, with the English teacher, maybe this afternoon, I think they have a debate club which is hosted by an adult and he will pick a topic each week and split the guys into two and debate a subject.
Whether it’s a current event or an existing event, or just a made up hypothetical event. And that’s been a really good experience, actually. The kids all love that one. They’ve now started a few language classes. And the cool thing is they plug into all of the different tools that are already available or starting to [00:46:30] launch on the internet.
Saif there’s so many different platforms starting now. Like we talk in the Bitcoin space about how Corona has sped up the world by about 10 years. The shift, the move to online or alternative education, whatever you be wanting to call it, is happening so damn quickly. And I know you’re involved with saylor.org, so that’s a perfect example of how that is going to make university almost seem obsolete.
At least give you an option, do I want to spend 200 grand or do I want to go and learn what I want at my own pace on this platform over here? So we’ve captured it all now. From eight to 18, you have platforms like Galileo, where you can learn whatever you want, self-directed. Find what you’re interested in, and then you’ll have something like saylor.org where you can really start knuckling down. And even, I think Michael Saylor said they’re hoping [00:47:30] in the next couple of years, to even become fully accredited. So you’d be able to ‘graduate’ from that online university, with the accreditation that you need to go out into the marketplace and start looking for work.
This is huge! This is massive!
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, it’s insane. I was just discussing saylor.org with Michael Saylor a couple of days ago on Twitter Spaces. And I’m going to be releasing this as a podcast. On fact, it’s probably going to be out by the time this one’s out. And it’s amazing.
They’re closing in on a million students, they’re going to have their millionth students coming, joining them in the next month or so. And when you think about it, the cost of getting an education for a student there, think about all of the money that they’ve spent on saylor.org, since conception until today for a million students, it’s going to be, I would imagine probably at most 20 bucks a student, if 20 million is the total [00:48:30] amount of spending, maybe.
So whatever it is, it’s not going to be more than a hundred, so it’s a hundred dollars. It could be as little as a dollar. I don’t exactly know how they run it on the back end, how much it costs, but it’s a million students for what is definitely less than a hundred dollars per student.
And then you think about universities, traditional universities who are always looking for donations, think about how much your money can go there. So you could donate to one of these universities, $200,000 and you would give one student an education. Whereas if you donate maybe a hundred dollars to saylor.org or $50 or $10, you give a student an education.
And I think, it might be much less than that in all likelihood. So the efficiencies involved are enormous. I think there are definitely [00:49:30] advantages to the personal experience of education where you go to a classroom and interact with others. Sure, it’s definitely nicer than sitting in front of a screen, but you have to think about, you have to weigh all of the costs and benefits of both decisions in order to come out to with an answer of which is better because you get the vast majority of the benefits of the lecture, whether you’re watching it online, or if you’re watching it in person.
And then with the money that you save, if you go to saylor.org and the whole thing costs you nothing basically, just the internet connection and the electricity. Well, if you wanted to get the certificate, you need to pass the courses. There’s an actual exam that you have to pay for. There’s a hundred dollar fee or something, because you’re going to pay for somebody to proctor you while you take the exam.
So it’ll cost you something, but practically it rounds down to zero. It’s a rounding error [00:50:30] next to the cost of going to a regular university. So now think about the opportunity costs of the going to the university. Is it really worth that extra personal interaction you get from sitting in the classroom?
Is it really worth having all that money available for you to invest in something that you enjoy working on after you graduate? I think this is really the key thing. I used to say this to my students when I was a university professor and it would seriously make them question staying in university. Which is like a loss, whatever it is that you want to do, whatever job you want to get, think about all the money that you’re putting at university and spend the years of university learning on your own online and learning on the job in whatever job you want to do.
So let’s say you want to go into graphic design, go and get a job in graphic design and learn online, or if you [00:51:30] want to get into hospitality business, say hotels or restaurants, go work as a waiter in a restaurant and save all that money. And after three years of being a waiter and learning about it learning about hospitality industry online, after three four years of that take all the money that you would have paid for the university, and use that to set up your own business or go as a partner in another business or something.
And I think there’s an enormous there’s an enormous opportunity cost that people have just been conditioned not to think about. Our econ textbook that we teach at the university barely mentions opportunity cost for very good reason.
I think if students were made to think of it, just think of what money you pay for the degree, think about how much of a headstart it would give you in whatever industry you want to go into, if you had that money available. And if you could just learn online and that’s the key thing, [00:52:30] even if it’s not the same as the experience of the classroom, when you get it for a thousandth of the cost, that means you can save all that extra money and use it to launch your career, to do whatever it is that you want to do.
The things that you know, the destination from the university, because the university is not the destination.
Daniel Prince: No, and there’s a lot of things going on there as well, because how do you get the money? You’re not going to have it, so you have to go into debt personally, to get the student loans.
And then by the time you hit the job market, probably not at the level you were even expecting to hit it at, after that four years of working, you’re probably partying your balls off to get through to college. You generally feel that by the time you walk away from that, you are entitled to some half decent paying job. Very very rarely ever happens.[00:53:30]
So you come out of that with that kind of psychological baggage, what the hell just happened there and how am I 200,000 in debt, or maybe mom and dad have paid for it. And then that just causes a huge strain on the relationship within the family. There’s a lot of messed up relationships where people they’ve gone to university on mum or dad’s dime.
And then there’s the pressure, like it’s real. Especially if people have that kind of tiger mum hanging over them. You’ve got to be a lawyer, you’ve got to be a doctor, whatever it is. And some people would just come away so messed up. And then when they get out of college, they realize that four years, I just ground that out.
This is not what I want to do at all. Like not at all do I want to go in and follow this path, but that’s the PhD I’ve got. That’s the degree I’ve got. So now [00:54:30] they feel handcuffed and, kind of painted themselves into a corner that they’ve got to keep following that path. They’ve got to go and get that ‘high paying job’ to start paying off the loan or to at least kind of validate mom and dad spending that money for you in the first place to go.
It’s really damaging. And if people would just been given the freedom of choice to begin with, and they’ve been able to follow their passions and just follow the natural bent, there’s a quote by Plato, I’ll have to find it.
Something along the lines of learning under compulsion holds nothing over the mind or something like that. And you know, it’s letting people find their, passions or their natural bent. I’ve completely butchered that, I’ll have to find it. Perhaps you can put it in the show notes, but it’s brilliant, and that’s Plato! [00:55:30]
This is not a new thing. We forget school is a new thing. School is an experiment, right? We didn’t have school 200 years ago, I didn’t exist. It is not the norm. We think it is, but it isn’t, it never was never had been, up until the late 18th century.
But now here we are just blindly walking the line and sending our kids to school without even thinking about it and a you brought something up earlier as well about dragging the kids up out of bed at seven o’clock in the morning, shoveling some bullshit cereal down their necks, putting them onto a bus.
So they’re going to the school already exhausted and malnourished.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah.
Daniel Prince: And they get to school and what are they going to eat? They’re probably going to eat the packed [00:56:30] lunch that you’ve packed, which is a bread sandwich and some kind of chocolate bar and a packet of crisps and a juicy drink. Or they’re going to go to the school canteen.
Goodness knows what they’re going to be given there. Malnourished, exhausted, they get home. And then, like you said, books out, carry on with the malnourishment and the exhaustion. It’s a spiral, a death spiral, and there’s no learning going on. Ah Markita thank you. The Plato quote, “Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent.”
Saifedean Ammous: Nice.
Daniel Prince: When was Plato around? Anyone know?[00:57:30] There’s so much, there’s so much wrong with it that people aren’t questioning.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think one thing about it is that it destroys a lot of people’s sense of discipline for life. School does that. I can see the point here where you could say maybe Plato can say something like this, but most kids these days need to just shut up and learn their numbers, there is definitely a point there.
There are some things that sometimes maybe, it shouldn’t all be, it’s not just the consumer experience, it’s not a sensory experience. You know, if you just let the kids completely have their goal, what their curiosity directs them, they’re going to want to learn about eating ice cream every day.
That’s going to be what they want. So obviously, the role of a parent or an educator is to channel their [00:58:30] interests in a way that is productive to try and direct them in a way that is useful, that can help them ask the right questions so that they can get preoccupied in the right things and not just choose to, I’m going to eat ice cream all day every day, and that will be my learning experience. But I think the issue with schooling is that when it’s done according to this brutal schedule and this top-down direction, then it doesn’t quite teach children discipline in the healthy way.
It teaches children discipline out of fear. It teaches children the idea that you do the things that you are supposed to do, because otherwise you get into trouble and maybe you get caned or you get suspended from school or you get low grades and then your parents get angry. And there are all these terrible consequences to not performing the job in school.
And I think for a lot of [00:59:30] people, you know what screws up their twenties is the fact that in their mind, as I got out of university, I got out of school, I no longer have to do what I’m told. And then that takes away the entire concept of discipline, the entire concept of self control.
And so you’ll do everything that you want whenever you want, then you become a child all over again. And I think it’s very common because it teaches kids that discipline and productive work is something that can only be coaxed out of you or that you have to be coerced into. And then once you snap out of that, once you’re out of it, once you’re not in a position where somebody can , influence you and coax you into action or threaten you or cajole you into action, then you don’t have to do anything.
So you just spend all of [01:00:30] your day just following your basis desires, eating and partying. But of course, I think when you do experience that in your twenties, eventually it catches up to you in one way or the other, you realize, if you don’t turn up to work, you lose your job, you lose your money, and then you start building the healthy sense of discipline. Of understanding discipline has freedom.
Understanding discipline as just protecting yourself from the negative consequences of what will inevitably happen if you’re not disciplined. And that’s the healthy approach, which I think this is what childhood should be about. I think this is what education should be about. If there’s anything that children should do is develop this conception of discipline. Teach them to develop this idea of wanting to do the right thing.
Obviously it’s not easy, but I think the school isn’t really helping. The school is getting in the way. And then they only [01:01:30] learn, as most of us I think only really learn this stuff in our twenties.
Daniel Prince: Yeah. What’s going on is obedience, right? They’re don’t teaching discipline, they’re teaching obedience.
And Peter Gray, he was brave enough to come out and he wrote the book Free to Learn, and actually when he was on my podcast, I have a little joke, running joke with my oldest daughter that chooses to go to school, I call it the local Gulag. I’m like why on Earth do you want to go into that Gulag? And it was Peter Gray that brought this up, that schools, you can compare a school directly to a prison. And in fact, he’d got a lot of shit for that, as you can imagine. That just triggers a lot of people. But then when you think about it and he logically explains it anybody can go back and listen to that interview with him.[01:02:30]
He talks about, if you think about it you take the kid to school, you leave them at the gate, that gate gets locked at a certain point. No parents are allowed on to the school grounds. No child is allowed to leave. And they are under constant supervision all day long.
They are only given X amount of free time to go and play, the food is definitely comparable. And in fact, I think, people who’ve done studies on this found that there’s more free time given to inmates than there are to kids in school. And when you start thinking about it that way, you’re like, holy shit, that’s so true.
And it comes back to the socialization thing again, when people talk about school has to be, you have to send your kids to school so they can socialize. It’s[01:03:30] an anti social arena, because like we said, you’re put in to that classroom, you have no choice. You have to sit down and shut up.
The only chance you’re going to get to make some kind of connection or make some kind of friends is in that break time, 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour, maybe at lunch, whatever it is. But you generally spend the most of that time avoiding the people you already know you want nothing to do with, rather than hanging out with the people.
And you would not ever go and talk to the people younger than you and you wouldn’t ever, because they’re below your station, and you wouldn’t ever go and speak to the people higher than you. So you get niched, stamped and packaged within your first two weeks of that schooling career. And that’s you man, you’re done.
That is your niche subset for the whole time. There’s nothing social about that.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. And I think at a very basic level, and we studied [01:04:30] this in our economics course on academy.saifedean.com. Society is made up of people who interact with one another voluntarily. Civilization is based on the idea that we don’t have to know each other, but we respect each other’s property.
We respect each other’s bodies. We don’t take each other’s stuff, we don’t hurt each other. And we cooperate when we both agree to it. And that’s not what sch ool is. Children are not autonomous in school. They’re dragged around and told what to do in very specific, almost mechanistic terms.
You stand in line at this time. You go in, you take notes, you remember this, you memorize that, you answer this way, you answer that. And it’s just a constant exercise in subjugating your will and not enacting your will, not listening to your [01:05:30] will not listening to yourself and not letting yourself act the way that you want.
It’s just a constant subjugation of your will. And this learned helplessness of understanding that whatever’s going to happen now is going to happen because it’s been predetermined. And your only way of fighting is to get into trouble, basically become a misfit. Either submit or become a misfit basically, and become a failure and then get drugs and then have your parents show up and then be treated like you’re sick because you don’t want to go along.
So it’s a cruel exercise almost in drumming the humanity out of children.
Daniel Prince: Yeah, completely. We should probably talk about certification because people ask me about it all of the time. Do you remember when you started your academy.saifedean.com and you were thinking about, I think someone even asked you is there going to be a [01:06:30] certificate if I take this course, and I remember having an email exchange with you about it, and I’m like if people want a certificate, you can just download one from the internet and send it to them if you want.
And you responded to me, fuck it. Decision made. There’s no way I’m doing certificate.
Saifedean Ammous: That’s true. I’m, perhaps revisiting that, I must admit, in general, when I want to do things, I’m extremely laser focused in a way that can be a little funny and absurd and inappropriate at times. But my idea was I wanted to teach an Austrian economics class and so everything else was details.
And when I just get taken by the mission of doing something, like getting this class done, the focus is on the mission itself. And it’s very hard for me to think of other things. And so for me, it was preparing the material for the course [01:07:30] and all the time that I could spend on preparing the material is time that I wanted to spend on preparing more material and preparing an exam just did not strike me as being intellectually interesting.
I think it doesn’t quite make sense to test people for many things. And I think Austrian economics is not easily conducive to those kinds of questions. I thought of these quotes as being perhaps more about the individual just learning for their own sake rather than for certification.
And that’s why I haven’t offered any certification, but now, saylor.org have bought my course and they made me add questions for it. And I must admit it’s helped me rethink examination, where I think there is some value to it. Examination[01:08:30] particular to students to test their own knowledge.
But I think also there’s a value perhaps in some kinds of certification. Ultimately I had too much of a reaction against the idea of certification based on universities. Because universities turn this into something absurd, but I think brief online course with a standardized test is something that people might benefit from adding onto their CV.
If you can guarantee a specific way of testing and, making sure that it can’t be easily hacked as saylor.org do. So it might be useful, so maybe I’ve changed my mind a little bit about that.
Daniel Prince: Yeah, I get asked all the time, how are your kids ever going to be able to go to university if they don’t have any qualifications?
This is another myth that’s been busted about a hundred times, if [01:09:30] not more. I’ve actually interviewed people that run businesses where they help kids put together, in the U. S. it’s called a transcript, basically a great big folder of everything that you’ve learned throughout like your childhood.
Every book that you’ve read, any languages that you’ve learned, et cetera. And what generally happens is homeschooled kids and homeschooling parents, they always play the system slightly differently. So what they would do is make appointments to go to the office of the administration’s officer in the universities, and actually turn up, make an appointment, turn up, the child and the parent with the transcripts, sit down in front of the admissions officer, go through everything that they’ve done, all of their experiences.
Maybe they’ve been world schooling families, and they can just pull up the blog. And we did this., this. is why we don’t have the typical [01:10:30] SAT results and whatever else. They get signed up on the day. One lady, she had the admissions officer walk them down to the photocopier, took pictures and had everything photocopied and signed and whatever else to come and study at the college of their choice and the subject of their choice.
Now the reason for that is as an admissions officer, you let that person walk out, you’re trying to attract people to the university, and if you can attract slightly different forward thinking people that are going to bring something else to the university, then you’re going to take them on straight away.
Rather than that, just stack of SATs that is just sitting there, that you take a hundred at random and say, okay, yeah, fine, you can come, you’re in. You should watch actually if you’ve not already, the College Admissions Scandal on Netflix. That gives you [01:11:30] a real insight as to how broken that system is in the U. S. for people getting into and going to college.
Like how bad it is for students that lose out because of the scandals that have been going on, for people getting in that shouldn’t have got in at all. But like you say, if you make a donation to the right place, or if you use that coach, that’s going to get you in the side door then yeah, you’re all good.
It’s complete nonsense. I was going to go off on another tangent, certification. So yeah, is there a need for it? No. Is there a want for it? Yes. Some people want to have the certificates. They like to have something to show for the work that they’ve put in. Our daughters 16 now and 13 this year, virtually sat a GCSE French exam.
Because [01:12:30] they can speak French. They’re fluent in French and they want the certificate to say, they want to get the A or the A*. They want that. So my wife and I, we looked around, how can we make this happen? There are companies, there’s even a remote school here in France, which we could use and we could pay them.
I can’t remember how much it was. It’s not stupid. And you sit the exam, you’re online with the tutor who’s over watching it all. And then you send in the answers. We’re currently waiting for the results to come out in the next two weeks, there are a hundred different ways you can make this happen.
Again, it comes back to you have a choice, explore your options, do your own research and kind of design the life that is best for you. But you’re going to come up against a lot of pushback. A lot of pushback from the social construct because people, [01:13:30] man, they don’t mind telling you straight away that you’re a bad parent if you’re even thinking about doing this.
Because it’s just, you face this as a Bitcoiner as well. You go against the financial legacy system, people are going to look at you like you’re a heretic or just some crazy conspiracy theorist. Same with homeschooling mate. Same with homeschooling, alternative schooling of any sort. Just follow the rules, just get the certificates and life will be all right.
You’ll get the 2.4, the kid, the two cars, the white picket fence, and everything’s rosy. But we all know that’s bullshit too. So if you have the choice which you do, then exercise it.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah well, the choice is something that we might not get to exercise for very long in many places. The limit of what we can choose is becoming more and more fictive every single day. [01:14:30] So in terms of choices, you still don’t really have a very set answer about what to cover.
That’s just let the child decide, or is there some kind of curriculum that you aim to cover? Are there some kind of milestones, they need to be able to read and write by this age, they need to be able to do additional subtraction, multiplication, algebra? How does that work?
Daniel Prince: No, there’s no set curriculum. They’re all reading and writing. That’s another myth about school. You don’t learn to read at school. You just don’t. You learn how to do the alphabet and you learn to how to copy things off of a blackboard. But reading is always learned in the home. Reading’s learned with mom and dad, reading stories together when kids are small and that love of learning and that love of reading should just be given time to develop.
If you think [01:15:30] about your home, your kids are surrounded by books all the time, and they have the opportunity to go and pick them up and read them whenever they want or read them with you or read them with their older sister or older brother. They have the opportunity all of the time. In school, our kids were only allowed to visit the library once a week.
And take out one book that they had to then bring home, which they never read because they chose that book under compulsion and then take it back. It was just completely pointless. So I’ve lost my train of thought because I’m not answering the question again that you were mentioning, curriculum.
So no we don’t have any kind of milestones set in place. We do insist that [01:16:30] they’re doing the writing classes each week with the Galileo. Otherwise, I’m already blown away.
My second oldest daughter, we were using that same online, remote school in France at the moment. She’s learning GCSE maths, because she wanted to. So she’s going through that. I can’t do those math problems. She’s doing algebra and all of this crazy stuff, it’s just completely over my head, but it’s fun to watch her kind of tackle that.
And whether she sits that GCSE early or not, or does another year or two of study, because she shouldn’t even be sitting GCSE s for another three years. But again, you can speed this process up, as you said, the inefficiencies in the system are just so crazy. But yeah, to answer your original question, no set curriculum as far as [01:17:30] we’re concerned.
Saifedean Ammous: How common is it for children to fall behind in these kinds of settings where they are 12 and they still can read, or they still can’t do subtraction and addition? Because you can see the parents get caught up in all kinds of things and not following through, or what do you think?
Daniel Prince: Very rare. There are some cases , Peter Gray did a study of the Sudbury Valley school and , in the U. S. which Ben Prentice went to actually, Mr. Cool BP from wtfhappenedin1971.com. He is a crazy, self-directed educated kid from the Sudbury Valley school in Massachusetts.
That school, you turn up, if you want to turn up, you learn what you want to learn. You join what class you want to join. And there was a story of a kid there that just wanted to go fish in the pond every day. And that was [01:18:30] all he did. And they just let him do it and God knows what he’s come on to be genius of some sort, I’m sure.
There were kids, some kids don’t learn to read until they’re 11. And then all of a sudden they pick the book up, done. Got it done because they needed to and because they wanted to, and then you can’t stop them. Having these milestones and testing kids is really dangerous.
It can really put a lot of psychological baggage on them, make them feel as though they are thick for want of a better word , and unable to do it for some reason. Something wrong with their brain, comes back to that again. Whereas they’re just not naturally ready for it yet. Yeah, there’s so much worry out there about it.
In the UK, I know they test kids [01:19:30] at reading stages. You’re putting pressure on a five-year old kid to be reading at stage X, Y, or Z by the age of five and by the age of six and by the age of seven. And if you’re not able to read this book and comprehend it, then you’ll be behind. You’re being told you’re thick at the age of five.
That’s not teaching or mentoring. That’s sorting. And it’s very destructive.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think I agree. I think in particular with the young kids, as you said, people could stress out too much about these early milestones, but they’ll read when they need to read.
Daniel Prince: Have you ever met an adult who can’t read?
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah.[01:20:30]
Daniel Prince: Have you met them?
Saifedean Ammous: Yes, there are people who can read in the world. It has happened.
Daniel Prince: There are, yes. But what’s the percentage?
Saifedean Ammous: I don’t know, literacy is going up all the time, but there are people who still can’t read.
Daniel Prince: Is that because they didn’t get to go to school or they weren’t exposed to books?
Saifedean Ammous: Both probably.
Daniel Prince: I would say if they were exposed to books, that would probably just solve the problem.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think you pick up the skills you want when you need to, but yeah, if you’re not exposed to books and if you’re not exposed to the concept of needing to learn to read then yeah. These would be older people in general.
I think younger people will have figured out a way to read very quickly, very easily these days.
Daniel Prince: A hundred percent, especially if they’re online mate, like they are all at the time. Playing things like [01:21:30] Minecraft or Roblox where you’ve got a little chat box open and you’re playing with your cousin, who’s in a different country or different part of the country.
And you’re chatting to each other in the chat box whilst you’re playing. People think that they’re just bumming out doing nothing. They’re learning. That is a learning opportunity, especially Minecraft where you’re building stuff. Yes, you’re in a virtual world. You might not be out in nature, but you’re in a virtual world.
You’re building things. You have freedom to learn and you’re reading and you’re writing at the same time. It gets completely no, they’re playing computer games, we’ve got to stop that.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, yeah. That’s that’s interesting. So you would call yourself more of an unschooler than a homeschooler?
Daniel Prince: Self-directed education. To homeschool, you have to unschool I would say. Because if, like I said at the beginning, if you go into it with a school mindset [01:22:30] and here’s the thing, here’s a a warning to parents, like you got to get yourself ready. You’ve got to unschool yourself, first of all.
And you’ve got to take a very strong look at what the system has done to you in the past, how it’s affected you and your adult life and your learning opportunities, your career path, because all of it will tie back to, some positive or mostly in most cases , highly negative problems that you’ve faced in school.
And that could range from being placed in bottom sets or being bullied or not being able to take exams because your grades aren’t good enough or, just being a faced against a bad teacher, being paired [01:23:30] with awful classmates. There’s a lot there and it’s deep. You have to face that down and unschool yourself and believe. Place faith back in the process of learning and trust that the child is learning all of the time, all of the time, all of the time. Even if they’re not in a lesson, they’re learning always. You can’t stop it.
Unfortunately, school tries, but you can’t stop, you cannot stop a kid learning. So if you can get in the way when you need to , and give them exposure to the tools that they need, when they’re showing interest in something, and it could be anything, it could be showing interest in learning to play guitar, go on eBay and buy a guitar for [01:24:30] $30, just put it in their hands.
Don’t hire a teacher and send them off to lessons, just get the damn tool and give it to them and see if they are going to enjoy it. And if it doesn’t work out, it was 30 bucks, resell it, doesn’t matter. But if it does work out and they’re showing more interest, then go and get the tutor, or then they join a band or a group of other people that are looking to play.
And that’s real socialization. That’s socialization. Football is socialization. My son plays for the local team. That’s where his friends are. He doesn’t have friends out of a school, he has friends from his football club, because they love football and they depend on each other when they’re playing in the team.
And so they create this comradery with each other and they socialize with each other. They go to each other’s birthday parties, used to. That’s socialization. [01:25:30] Getting in the way as a parent, when you need to, to provide the tools for a kid that’s shown interest in something is hugely important.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think this is the first response I have for the socialization question as well. That’s not preparing for society, society is a place where people deal with each other voluntarily. And I think the follow-up is, just because the kid doesn’t go to school doesn’t mean they’re not going to socialize.
They’re going to socialize in settings that are more similar to what they do in life. In other words, they decide willingly and voluntarily to join some kind of organization and setting where they want to be part. So it could be we join a soccer team, we go swimming, we go sailing.
We go hiking in the mountains. You you get together with like-minded people who want to do something similar, you go take photographs. Or [01:26:30] you know, you learn chemistry, you go to somebody’s house to learn chemistry from them, or you go and learn math from somebody who’s really smart at math and who gives lessons.
Daniel Prince: Or Austrian economics?
Saifedean Ammous: Or Austrian Economics, exactly.
Daniel Prince: These weekly calls, like seriously, everybody here on this call we’ve been turning up for, God knows how long, like it’s like a therapy session each week. It’s brilliant, but like you and I would not have met if you didn’t set that up. And I turned up cause I wanted to learn and you showed up because you wanted to teach.
And so did all the other guys, so now we’ve got like how many now Saif, 20, 30, 40 people, on any week, that are showing up and socializing. We socialize, not all of these calls are recorded, right? Sometimes we’re just hanging out and bullshittin, this is huge. You formed a social group and we come and we socialize and we learn at the same time without even realizing we’re learning sometimes.
Saifedean Ammous: [01:27:30] Yeah, and it’s because it’s voluntary and that’s why everybody behaves in a civilized way because everybody realizes everybody else has a choice about whether they want to be here or not. And so if you behave in a way that is antisocial, you alienate others, or they stop coming in. So then the whole thing is gone.
So people have a very different mentality. Iit’s interesting that kids wi ll bully each other and will get bullied in school, but then you moved them to another setting where they interact with each other in university or at work.
And that dynamic disappears because they’re dealing with each other in the voluntary setting and this kind of somebody who’s there, who’s stuck and this kind of antagonistic hostility towards one another disappears when you take them out of that setting.
Daniel Prince: Yeah, completely. And , did you [01:28:30] see what Lindley’s said in the, if we are socializing here, does that make us socialist?
I dunno man, is there anything left? Did we tick everything off? I’ve got a few tools if people want to use it. Actually, here’s another quote from Sir Ken Robinson, you can’t ask an eight year old child to sit down and do low grade clerical work for eight hours and day and not expect them to get bored.
And it’s just perfect. Five days a week.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah.
Daniel Prince: That’s crazy, but there are some tools that the listeners can check out, if they want to do their own research , John Holts, he wrote a book. I think it was in the fifties. He’s very well known as probably the founding father of the homeschooling movement coming out of the U. [01:29:30] S. you can find his books carried on his work at johnholtgws.com, Naomi Fisher’s book, Changing Our Minds , Hold On To Your Kids by Gabor Maté, that’s where I started picking up on all of the psychological and traumatic damage it does to kids. And he does a brilliant job of outlining that in his book. And he tackles the social problem as well.
There’s a few films that you guys might be able to find on the internet , made by Jeremy Stuart. One is called Class Dismissed and the other one is called Self Taught. Plenty of other tools, which I can share with Peter to put in the show notes as well.
Saifedean Ammous: Fantastic, yeah. And we have a bunch of questions from people and we have well, the next seminar, which is on Wednesday, we’re going to go over some of these questions and discussing fiat education in more [01:30:30] detail.
You’ve got a lot that we’ve, we’ve spoken about fiat education today, but I think there’s more about the insidiousness than we want to cover.
Daniel Prince: There’s definitely more and I want to go over it because I’ve been, I’ve read the chapter and I’ve got some notes here that I want to pull some threads on, so I’m looking forward to it.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely. So thank you for joining us Daniel, and thanks to everybody else for joining. And I know we didn’t have time for questions today, but we’ll have a lot of these questions on Wednesday.
Daniel Prince: Cheers Saif, really appreciate the chance to come on and before I go, I really got to say a huge, thank you for the book you wrote, first of all.
That, without doubt has changed my life already. I owe you a beer at the very least for that. Like we were talking about, putting this course together and these weekly calls that you host has definitely kept me sane in the last 18 months. [01:31:30] I’ve got so much value out of it.
You’ve done an incredible, service to so many tens, hundreds of thousands of people. And I can’t imagine how many more people are going to learn from you and be orange pilled by your book and everything else that you’re doing. Your other two books are coming out, so really appreciate everything that you’ve done.
Massive thank you!
Saifedean Ammous: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much, appreciate you coming on and appreciate your words. Thanks a lot!
Daniel Prince: Cheers!