Hi, I'm Nick. This is my blog. I'm a life-long unschooler living in New York. You can find more about me here.

I help run the Recurse Center (YC'S10).

Follow me @nicholasbs


May 23, 2007

This site is, in short, a collection of things that I think and care about. Those things include free culture, educational philosophy, design, current events, technology, and engineering. I particularly like it when these things overlap.

This site is also my formal web-presence. Given that I spend about as much time online as I do in meatspace, I decided it would make sense for me to formally exist online beyond the confines of Facebook.

I should probably take a moment to say a bit about this site's name. Unschooling is a liberal[1] form of alternative education that falls under the ecumenical banner of "homeschooling" but, apart from the fact that it is an alternative form of education, shares virtually nothing in common with the traditional view of "school at home" (i.e., mom teaching biology to her socially deficient kids at the kitchen table). Unschooling philosophy is based first and foremost on the idea that children are naturally curious and should be free to learn about and explore the world largely as they see fit.

As you may have now guessed, I am an unschooler. This means that prior to going to college I lived without grades, tests, homework, formal curricula, and just about all the other trimmings of the modern-day American school-system. I deeply believe that unschooling is good both pragmatically and philosophically. Expect posts on this in the future.

It's taken much deliberation -- as well as a little inspiration -- to decide to finally start blogging. My reasons for not starting earlier are pretty standard: I worried I wouldn't have enough time to write and that the site would quickly stagnate. I feared the inevitable public judgement and criticism of putting my thoughts online for any and all to see. And I always had the lingering fear that the whole thing was more than a little narcissistic.

Those concerns may have faded a little, but they have certainly not disappeared from my mind entirely. What's changed is that the reasons I do want to blog have managed to surpass my trepidation. Besides, I need to find a new way to procrastinate, as I'm starting to suspect I may have actually seen all of Facebook.

Just recently, I remembered a quotation I hadn't thought about for nearly five years:

"Anything that I have ever done that was ultimately worthwhile, initially scared me to death."[2]

My first regular entry comes tomorrow. Stay tuned.
-Nicholas Bergson-Shilcock

  1. I use liberal here mostly to mean free and not in the political sense. Unschooling respects the freedom of children and young people and is thus strongly non-coercive but ultimately not strictly tied to a single political movement. For what it's worth, most of the unschoolers I know are politically left-leaning.
  2. I have no idea where I first heard this. A little googling shows that it is attributed to Betty Bender, who, according to her search results, is famous for saying the above quotation.