Homeschoolers and Radical Unschoolers Making News—in a Good Way

One of the great pleasures I've had while traveling and speaking recently has been reconnecting with some old friends. I had a great time in Chicago at the InHome Conference, where I spent time with David Albert. Besides the usual interesting insights into homeschooling that David shares, he also described his work with the group Friendly Water for the World. They note:

Right now 900 million people around the world drink, cook, and wash in untreated water full of harmful viruses, bacteria, worms, and parasites.  

* 3.5 million people die of water-related diseases every year.

* A child dies of a waterborne disease every 20 seconds.

* In the past decade, more people have died of water-related causes than from all wars combined.

This group is not just about providing clean water, but about teaching people how to build, and train others how to build, eco-friendly, low-cost biosand water filters. This filter, currently in use in India, Kenya, Burundi, and Mexico, removes 99% of bacteria and viruses, as well as metals, from contaminated water.

David notes that despite lots of development aid, fresh water and proper sanitation are often overlooked. For instance, David says the schools built by Greg Mortenson's group in Afghanistan do not have clean water for washing hands nor do they have sanitary toilet facilities. Rather than wait for a major water pipeline and purification facility, these biosand water filters are built with common, low-cost household technology and can be put into use very quickly. A training session will be held on July 2 - 6, 2011 at Olympia Friends Meeting House, 3201 Boston Harbor Road, Olympia, WA 98501. You can request more information by emailing:


Homeschooler Hannah Newsom, is a finalist in the 2011 Google 4 Doodle. Here is her impressive entry, titled Illustration.



I had a blast at the Unschoolers Waterpark Gathering in Sandusky, OH earlier this week. The biggest indoor waterpark in N. America is truly something unique, especially if you enjoy water as much as I do. Among the many interesting people I met for the first time was Zoe Bentley, now 14, and her family. In 2010 Zoe was the second place winner of the 2010 USA Today/NASA "No Boundaries" National Competition for her website Exogeology ROCKS!

Here is a television feature about Zoe and her family.