For the Love of Learning – Self Directed Teens – Epi#22

For the Love of Learning Episode #22

Show Title:

Self-directed Teens

Monday June 29, 2015  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday June 30, 2015 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST

Special Guests:

Réka Kaponay
Julian Mohsennia
Azine Steenbergen
Miro Siegel


We will have a very special show focusing on Self-directed Teens. In this episode we have a candid conversation with 4 self-directed teens. In fact, tonight we will have a very special co-host, Miro, my son, who, along with me, will be both asking questions and sharing his own experiences. We’re so excited to the opportunity to speak with these very articulate and inspiring teens. What does self directed learning look like from the teen’s point of view? What are some of the challenges they face? How do they answer the critics? We’ll answer these questions and more.

Bios of Tonight’s Guests:

Réka Kaponay, 14

“This Journey is My Life. Learning and Giving light the Path to My Way Home!”

rekaSix years ago I was sitting in a classroom where my fate and everything that I was to know in this world was held in the hands of one very well intentioned, but ill-prepared person. Even then as an eight year old, I knew this environment would never be enough to satisfy the burning curiosity in my mind. Today, on the cusp of our fourth full year on the road, what is possible for me and how I see and interact with the world, is the difference between “Ég és Föld” which roughly translates from Hungarian to mean the difference between the ‘Sky and the Earth’.

Over the breadth of these last three years, I have been blessed to visit 23 countries on six continents, immersing myself in the living study of three languages. I have been able to invest into countless ancient cultures seeing and understanding the living comparison between what we hold to be our modern cultures and sub-cultures to hold a bigger view of the world today. I have met hundreds of new people, sharing in their lives, who in-turn inspired me to share my very own life. This has resulted in my account of our journey and the way I see the world. It has been these experiences of love and generosity of being, that also inspired me to write my first full feature adventure novel, Dawn of The Guardian, for which I am now seeking an agent and publisher. Now, after three years of traveling, I know that I am only just at the beginning of my journey.

Many believe that to take such a journey you have to made of cash, but the very opposite is the truth. We gave almost everything away in 2011. In fact, our sum total assets are our laptops, the clothes we own, a couple of pairs of shoes, a food-processor called a Thermomix, a couple of suitcases and four backpacks. In 2014, we lived on less than the US minimum wage $8.65/hr and still managed to travel through Hungary, Transylvania, Turkey, Rhodes Greece, Rome and Spain. It is not about the money; it is about your desire to reach out and take the first steps, and my parents and the world have taught me how to do this. With their love and guidance, they prepare me for a very different world, one where the youth of the world need to create their own future, living in the knowledge that we never need depend on the existing society to provide us with a job or a way of living.

What I have learned is that I can practically create enough to live and learn and still have enough to give back to the world. Everyday, we as human beings, have a limitless capacity to give; it is our choice as to whether we do so. Giving through projects like the one my parents’ established, EnergeticXChange, and Impossible that our friend Lily Cole started, makes it all too easy to do so. This brings the world closer together and for now, my dream is to see and know more of this world and its people. Through the gift of our journey, I wish to generate the learning opportunities that will create the sustainable means for me to pave the way and share this wealth of experience with others.

Social Media Contact:


Julian Mohsennia, 16

julianJulian Mohsennia, lived in Canada for 2 years, went to school for 3 years of his life. He is on the board of the home education youth group Septré e.V. and helped organize the Schulfrei-Festival 2014 and 2015. With his mother (Stefanie Mohsennia, from Episode #15), he created the “Schulfrei-Community”, a social-network-like website, to connect unschoolers (mainly in Germany and the rest of Europe) and answer any question they have in our forum. The Schulfrei-Community is currently available in English and German.

Septré e.V.:

Azine Steenbergen,16

AzineAzine is a human living in Holland who does not identify with her age (which is 16 by the way) but does identify with the Spirit of freedom, love, compassion and brotherhood and sisterhood and unschooling all makes her feel that way. But Azine had a rough road to find back her voice to self direct her education in a country that doesn’t support such an individual path. Azine was born in a village, where being “normal” and following a conventional lifestyle was what was expected of her. She has a really loving mother, and a father who worked a lot.

When Azine was just six weeks old, her mother, who realized she wasn’t a normal baby handed her a newspaper turned upside down just for fun to see what she would do. Azine looked at the newspaper, turned it the right way again, then gave it back to her. Azine repeated this with other family members and amazed them in the same way.
At 11 months, Azine could speak and walk, with 2-3 years of age she could read and write. Azine was put into a “suitable school” and had many friends, but was always treated as if she was “different”.

Azine was bored in school and often referred to is as a “pure dreadful boring misery”.
Azine was tested and as a gifted student with a higher than average IQ but continued to be bored in even the gifted classes, as she already learned most of what was being taught on her own, years before.

The Dutch school system works employes repetition and Azine longed for mental stimulation in school, but her only choice was to direct her own passions at home. Azine struggled through the public school system with other challenges like being bullied, family problems, over stimulation and depression. By nine years old, Azine had even considered suicide. Azine remained in the school system until just before entering high school when she was bitten by a tick and fell ill with lyme disease. Azine’s last day of conventional school was when she was 11 years and 3 months old.

At the end of 2011, Azine found CCL: Centrum voor Creatief Leren (Centre for Creative Learning) a “free school” designed for gifted youth to self direct their own education and recover from the compulsory Dutch school system. Azine enrolled at CCL while her health was recovering attending classes one day a week and by summer of 2012, she started going to the CCL 3 days a week.

There, Azine created a strong community of friends that became family to her. Azine feels those were the best 2 and a half years of her life. Unfortunately CCL ran out of funding at the end of 2014 and was forced to close it’s doors.

Luckily Azine and a few of her classmates were able to enroll at another “free school” called Talent Valley. Azine thrives in the self-directed environment, basically unschooling at school.

Azine is a supporter for the unschooling lifestyle because of what she has seen at CCL and Talent Valley, and the love for her community is what makes her want to speak out on behalf of the unschooling community. She feels compulsory school is damaging to the child and the spirit. Azine thinks making your own choices and being who you are is essential to happiness.

Miro Siegel, 16

Miro Siegel, Project World School Co-Founder, World Traveler, Writer

Miro_bioMiro is an intrepid 16 year old who is indefinitely traveling and experiencing what the world has to offer with his mom. After traveling for over 6 years, he’s been gifted with the opportunity of learning about the countless cultures that dot this planet with color. Miro has been worldschooling for a third of his life, and would have it no other way.

Currently writing a collection of short stories, he spends most of his time tapping away on his keyboard or reading, although sometimes a day of footie pajamas and video games is called for.

Miro is a devout, practicing Pastafarian, and is personal good friends with The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Miro has dug into his interests such as botany and mythology and has practiced them to some extent.

Project World School
Facebook: Seagull’s Den
Tumblr: Seagull’s Den



Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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