Elon Musk has attracted a lot of media attention recently, mainly for his company’s breakthrough invention of the Tesla Battery, but also for his legendary entrepreneurial history and status as “the real life Iron Man.”
Recently, Musk made headlines by announcing that he had created an “unschool” for his children to attend, an alternative form of education that doesn’t involve a grading system. The basic concept is that children’s interests should drive their lesson plans.
In an interview conducted by journalist and media proprietor, Yang Lan, Musk admitted that he didn’t believe traditional schools were teaching in the most effective way. “Some people love English or languages. Some people love math. Some people love music. Different abilities, different times. It makes more sense to cater the education to match their aptitudes and abilities,” said Musk.
Looking to remedy the current hole-riddled educational system for his own kids, Musk hired one of his boys’ former teachers who shared his vision, and began employing his own philosophies to create his own school that now has 14 kids in attendance, and an expected six more to enrol in September. Musk named his school Ad Astra, after the Latin phrase meaning “to the stars.”
In the interview, Musk discusses the concept of “teach[ing] to the problem and not the solution,” using the example of taking an engine apart, where instead of first learning about the necessary tools (as they do in traditional schools), it makes more sense to first identify the problem and then follow up by learning what tools are used in solving each step of the problem. This is one of the techniques employed at Ad Astra.
Though the school is still a pilot-project for now, Musk reports that now his kids actually complain that their vacation time is too long and that they would rather be back in class.