BY: ZOE MELNYK
13-year-old Logan LaPlante discovered a way to revolutionize the idea of education through a new brand of homeschooling called hackschooling.
Hackschooling stresses that passion is the best teacher, and although hacking is generally met with a negative connotation, LaPlante sees hacking as a life skill. LaPlante used this term to describe a targeted form of education that customizes education based on the interests of an individual student.
“Hackers are innovators, hackers are people who challenge and change the systems to make them work differently, make them work better,” LaPlante said during a TedTalk at the University of Nevada.
Hackschooling is less concerned with standardized curriculum, and instead encourages students to customize their education.
This hybrid form of education continues to grow with organizations such as Natomas Homeschool Alliance teaming up with fellow charter schools to create an inclusive environment where parents can chose an alternative education plan for their children.
The Natomas Homeschool Alliance still allows students to learn in groups and take field trips, much like a regular public school, but also works with local businesses and specialists in order to offer students opportunities for hands on experience and internships.
Since being pulled from public school and transitioning into a hackschooling program at the age of nine, LaPlante gained a passion for writing through connections he made with the Squaw Valley Kids Institute, gained stress management skills through outdoor survival classes, and attained an internship at Big Shark Print to develop his design skills and marketing techniques.
Logan has used his education to further develop his passion for skiing.
Aside from the confidence that comes with hands on experience, LaPlante’s largest concern with his education is learning to live a happy, healthy life.
“What if we based education on the study and practice of being happy and healthy, because that’s what it is, a practice, and a simple practice at that,” LaPlante says.
LaPlante still follows Common Core Standards, which The United States put into place in order to create a standard level of education for all students. Along with unorthodox classes meant to broaden his horizons, he takes classes for math, science, history, and writing to ensure that he remains balanced.
“Education is important,” LaPlante says, “but why is being happy and healthy not considered education?”
Hackschooling gave LaPlante the chance to find out what makes him happy and how to gain the mindset of a “hacker” but he doesn’t disqualify the opportunities presented in public school.
“It’s a mindset, not a system. Hackschooling can be used by anyone, even traditional schools,” LaPlante says.
Hackschooling has identified 8 areas that sustain happiness and health.
While hackschooling does challenge the standardized system of education, LaPlante says that it is not meant to create a binary between homeschooling and the traditional public model, but rather ideas of a cookie-cutter curriculum, which might favor certain lifestyles and types of intelligence.
In fact, LaPlante recently made the decision to enroll in Forest Charter School in order to develop skills in a different atmosphere from homeschooling and to prepare for college.
“I don’t use any one particular curriculum, and I’m not dedicated to any one particular approach, I hack my education.”