S2: E10: Self-Directed Education w/ Abrome (Antonio Buehler)

antoniobuehler.png

Abrome is a self-directed, year-long school located in Austin, Texas. With a focus on intentional community and deep dives into goals, interesting, passions, and happiness - Abrome seeks to create remarkable children without an intentional focus on college or career preparation. Instead, Abrome adopts the philosophy that students will learn through play, experimentation, and creation - students will seek out their own interests and lead their own lives.

Joining us from Abrome is Antonio Buehler - who founded the school. Antonio is heavily against the standardization of education. Before starting Abrome, Antonio worked as an admissions consultant for those seeking entry to top colleges and MBA programs, as well as a middle and high school teacher at an alternative school in Austin. Prior to that, he worked in the finance industry and the military. Furthermore, Antonio founded the Peaceful Streets Project - an organization aiming to change institutionalized criminal justice towards non-violence - and has served in a plethora of service projects.

I wanted to invite Antonio to talk about his views on self-directed education, whether or not public schools are in the best interests of students, and what, if anything, public schools can change to adopt a child-focused approach.

Antonio and I discuss the pitfalls of traditional education and the characteristics, plus benefits, of self-directed education. We also discuss the philosophical differences between progressive schools (as a term) vs. self-directed schools. Namely, progressive schools tend to have teachers who mentor and guide - and have elements of self-directed learning, but a hierarchy still exists where teachers respond to and lead students. In a self-directed school, all decisions are made by students, with teachers there to assist.

At the Human Restoration Project, we believe there are benefits to both systems. We emphasize progressive education as we see it as a natural remedy to traditional public schools, but fully support efforts to promote and build self-directed learning centers. As long as students are choosing to attend either type of school - doing what's in their best interest - children will have a fantastic experience.