For the Love of Learning – The Teen Panel – Epi#31

Alternative Education: The Teen Panel

Monday August 31, 2015  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday September 1, 2015 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST

Special Guests:

Miro Siegel
Ben Riley
Wiley Krishnaswamy
Jack Borden
Bek Martens
Kaameel Chicktay
Tameer Chicktay
Natalie-Marie Hart
Meguire McRae-King


In this episode, we explore alternative education from the teen perspective. We are joined by an incredible panel of teens who are taking control of their education and following an alternative path.  Tune in to hear about about their dreams, hopes, challenges and successes.

Tonight’s Co-host:

Miro Siegel- 16, Unschooling Worldschooler – International

miroMiro is an intrepid 16 year old who is indefinitely traveling and experiencing what the world has to offer with his mom. After traveling for almost 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 almost a half of his life, and would have it no other way.

Currently writing a collection of poems and 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.

You can read his writing here:

Bios of Tonight’s Guests:

Ben Riley- 19, New York, College Student & Musician, Former Homeschooler

benBen Riley is an accomplished guitarist and vocalist who plays acoustic, electric, and classical guitar. Ben is a Graduate of Berklee School Of Music’s Master Guitar Certificate Program, and is currently a classical guitar performance major at Nyack College. Ben plays an eclectic mix of covers and original songs that resonate with a wide range of audiences. In addition to guitar, Ben also plays Bass, Mandolin, and Banjo. Ben has played at numerous venues throughout the Hudson Valley including the Nyack Farmer’s Market, UNoodles, Roscoe Beer, and The Art Café in Nyack. Musical influences include Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Sting, The Allman Brothers, The Indigo Girls, and The Police.

I was “relaxed homeschooled” by my mom from Kindergarden-12th grade. It was a great experience for me and gave me the time and space to fully explore my various interests. I am most passionate about playing, practicing, and learning more about music. Other passions include nature, drawing and reading.

Here are some links related my music and educational experience:

My Soundcloud link:
Bandcamp link:
Facebook: Ben At Nyack
Alternatives To School interview about my educational experiences:
Interview about my music:

Wiley Krishnaswamy- 17, Massachusetts, Eclectic Homeschooler

wileyMy name is Wiley Krishnaswamy, I’m 17, and I’m an eclectic homeschooler from Dunstable MA.

What does eclectic homeschooling even mean? Basically I have some sort of cobbled together curriculum that includes the usual suspects such as mathematics, sciences, writing, etc.

I also incorporate various elements of unschooling and alternative learning to supplement this curriculum, hence “eclectic”. (I totally didn’t have to google any of that)

I particularly like learning languages, not really sure why. I speak a bunch of them.
Travel is also one of my passions. In the last couple of years I have visited India, Ecuador, Peru, Barbados, and Cuba (!!!) among other places. The two former countries I visited as a member of Lainie and Miro’s retreats. I had an amazing time on both of them.

In my free time, I like to play accordion or one of the other various instruments I own, cook random things, and be generally lazy.

I am a senior in high school this year (or I would be were I in school), and the normal thing to do at my age would be to send in college applications. I have no solid idea of where I want to go or what I really want to study, but I will pretend to if you ask. Probably anthropology or linguistics or the like.

Jack Borden- 13, California, Roadschooler

jackJack Borden is 13 and currently traveling through Mexico, Central, and South America with his parents, Terry and Sandy, on 2 BMW motorcycles. He started out his education with traditional schooling at a Spanish immersion school of which he attended for 7 years. By the time Jack was in junior high school, he started his worldschooling education. One of the many things Jack loves doing is making music.

Since Jack can remember, he was always playing the drums or making a beat with anything he could find. Throughout his travels, Jack has also taken an interest in photography, capturing moments of many cultures he has visited throughout his time in Latin America. One of the best things he personally likes about schooling on the road is being able to go and see the things he would normally see in a textbook.

The best part? To be able to say, “I was there, I saw that!”.

Bek Martens- 14, Manitoba, Canada, Self-Designed Learner, Doula

beksBek Martens is 14 years old and on the adventure of her lifetime! She has been self-designing her life for the past four years. Conforming to the mandates and teaching styles in traditional school was suffocating her as a young student. Bek’s spirit has returned and is soaring since she’s engaged in and embraced self-directed learning. She is the youngest of four children (her three siblings are grown and no longer live at home) and lives on a hobby farm in the prairies of Manitoba Canada. Her days are full connecting with nature and riding her horse, Jalepeno Jimmy.

Bek’s family has visited and helped with projects in Kolkata, India and Belize City, Belize the past two years. These experiences have opened Bek’s heart to becoming a world traveler. She is currently certifying as a doula (the youngest in Canada) and engages with vibrant communities such as the organic food co-op, youth group, and home school groups. She’s passionate about giving back to the community and world, engages in music and art, and is waiting for the next adventure to unfold!

Kaameel Chicktay- 17, South Africa, Unschooler

KaameelHello everybody. My name is Kaameel Chicktay, I’m 17 years old. I’ve been unschooled my whole life and wouldn’t have it any other way. Well actually, I did attend school for a day once….. worst day of my life LOL! But yeah. I live in South Africa (Beautiful Country…. just with a tad bit of crime). I am just a boy making his way in this fascinating world. Learning and Growing everyday.

Tameer Chicktay- 16, South Africa, Unschooler

TameerHello, I’m Tameer Chicktay. I’m 16 (born 1999). I live in South Africa. I’ve been an unschooler all my life. I’m ever so grateful to be an unschooler, as unschooling gives me the freedom to choose how I use my time and thus creating a much more enjoyable and productive lifestyle. When I was younger I played tennis on a daily basis for several years and now my current lifestyle is set around competitive gaming.

Natalie-Marie Hart – 15, Toronto, Homeschooler

11925683_747146335432045_129271702_nNatalie-Marie Hart is a Canadian teenager who began a radio show by the name of Crystal Kids Radio at the age of 11. She began showing her true compassion and concern for the protection of the environment, animals and mankind. She is now on the CCN Network broadcasting once a week on Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. Eastern a called Crystal Kids TV. Natalie-Marie Hart is known as the World’s Youngest Investigative Talk Show Host because she started a radio show online on youtube. She was only 11 when she began producing, directing, and editing many series of documentaries. Natalie-Marie is working on a book called Decoding Lost Knowledge yet to be published. Her websites are:

Meguire McRae-King

Almost 13 years old and an avid equestrian and actor, Meguire considers herself a SelfDesigner and student of the world. Her learning is passion driven, mentor rich and self directed.  She is a part of The Winnipeg Learning Centre, a family centred homeschool community that provides rich and eclectic learning opportunities ranging from social justice to crafting.  Such Stuff Players, a multi-age Shakespeare group is an off shoot of the Winnipeg Learning Centre and plays a big part in Meguire’s life.  She has also landed roles in 3 major Canadian stage productions.  In 2012, Meguire along with a group of youth and adults passionate about the SelfDesign philosophy started dreaming and envisioning a youth program dedicated to mentor rich, youth driven learning and in 2013 three65 was born.



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.

For full archives of this show and programming schedule, please visit: 

Find us on facebook: For-the-Love-of-Learning-Voices-of-the-Alternative-Education-Movement

For comments, questions, suggestions or if you’d like to be guest on the show, please contact us here.

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