Hackschooling with Logan LaPlante at TEDx

13-year-old Logan LaPlante talks about a real-life education model that makes learning relevant. This works.

The best part of hackschooling or homeschooling is that it can be tailored to fit your student, as well as your life and budget. That’s what Logan’s talk illustrates. Sure, you could listen to this talk and list all the learning activities he enjoys, then try to apply them to your own students, but that’s not the point at all. His education wouldn’t fit you or me–it’s tailored to Logan’s interests and needs, and that’s why it works.


You can make your homeschool more effective simply by opening doors and allowing your students to take advantage of opportunities in church and community. Encourage them to take a more active role in planning what to learn, and leave enough time open each day for them to learn, be, and do what they are gifted for.

Your life circumstances will affect what you do and how you do it, but if your student wants to do something you feel you can’t afford, let him start a microbusiness and pay for it, or figure out how to barter for it. Everything is a learning experience, and a student who owns an idea and follows through will gain much more than the student who is spoon fed a standard one-size-fits-a-few curriculum.

I’m sure I was an odd child, but despite being in institutional schooling, I read like crazy. I managed to study and learn things that interested me, even when adults didn’t see the relevance. I spent much of middle school studying everything connected with interior design and architecture–color theory, history of furniture design, drafting, whatever else I could find. In high school, I found a course on COBOL programming in a book at the library, and worked my way through it, despite the fact that I’d never seen a computer, and my grandmother thought I was crazy. It didn’t matter what anyone thought, I found it interesting, and I’m certain that I learned more from reading than I did from K-12 classes.

That’s an important point, by the way–even if you don’t see how something could  be “useful,” help your student find a way to learn what interests him. Knowledge is never useless, and you have no way of knowing where his calling will take him in adulthood. I’ve never had to program in COBOL, but understanding a bit of how computers think has made it easier to work with technology as an adult.

When you homeschool, you have the opportunity to open doors and let your children soar. I hope you’ll be encouraged to try it.

3 Responses

  1. Romayne Parnell says:

    I need help in knowing what homeschool curriculum to choose for my son. He just finished his 2nd six weeks of 8th grade honors traditional school. It is NOT what’s best for him!!!! He has a spinal disability that causes his attendce to be a serious issue. Every day is a challenge due to pain and dread. He’s very smart and loves music he’s in drumline however, the school system makes him feel like a failure 🙁 please help point us in the right direction of homeschool options…Logan is so much like my son in interest and style. Please help


    • Dear Romayne,
      I’m so glad you can work with your son at home—it sounds as if it will be a good atmosphere for him. There are so many homeschool choices, and my personal favorites are based on great books. If you’re just now jumping in to homeschooling for the first time, here is a post with a few things to consider as you look at curriculum: Three Things to Consider When Making Curriculum Decisions. In addition, you may find reviews by Cathy Duffy and the Rainbow Resource catalog helpful.

      No matter what we used when I was homeschooling the boys, I always adapted it to fit our family. For example, we purchased Core packages from Sunlight Curriculum, read all the books, and did only a few selected items from the teacher’s guide along with reading and activities I felt fit the boys’ needs. The more you read and the more you get into it, the easier it will become to decide on learning resources. In addition to curriculum, we used audio and video courses from The Great Courses, many library resources, and lots and lots of books.

      You may find it helpful to connect with homeschool groups in your area — they sometimes sponsor classes, musical groups, and other activities. To find groups, just search Google or Bing for “homeschool group” plus your state or city name. These groups will also be familiar with the state law and can help you find good local resources. Whatever you choose, remember that your relationship with your son is of deepest importance, and enjoy your time together. If he is interested, let him help you choose learning materials. I’ve usually found that if my boys chose something, it fit their learning style, and they were much more willing to use it. It may take a few tries to find a group or curriculum that fits your needs exactly, but I wish you joy in the journey.

  1. June 4, 2013

    […] HackSchooling with Logan LaPlante, TEDx […]

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