It’s a rite of passage in the waning days of summer. The smell of leaves in the crisp, autumn air. New clothes. New school supplies. Packing the first lunch box of the season.

Earlier this month, we took our son for his very first day of school. Janet packed his (surprisingly large) lunch and with some nervousness, we walked him up the sidewalk to the school. He was very excited!

This is a near universal experience for parents. It arouses a range of feelings: excitement, pride, trepidation, anxiety at separating as they take their first steps into the world….

One thing that may be different in our case is that our son is 17 and his first day of school was at university.

You see, our son never attended public or private school. Instead, he learned at home with us and from mentors in our community. As a mother, Janet knew that school wouldn’t be the best place for him by the time he was two years old. It’s not that he couldn’t do attend public or private school, that he had such exceptional learning needs that he couldn’t be accommodated in the school system. It’s that this ‘rite of passage’ seemed unnatural to us and so we began to question it.

It was such a joy to see him learn and explore as a baby. After 5 years, it seemed unnatural to interrupt this passion and obvious success as a learner and turn him over to someone not in our family. We couldn’t bear to send this precious little guy with an insatiable appetite for learning off to an institutional setting that might break something in his spirit. Since the day we decided not to walk him into Kindergarten class, it’s been a joy watching our son SelfDesign- and compose the symphony of his life each day.

Over the years, he has had time to play and explore the world in ways he wouldn’t have the time to do otherwise. He learned to create computer games, not just play them. He has worked as an online computer consultant in a variety of capacities, from programmer to website designer to tech support. Most importantly, he had time to explore his passion- music- in a variety of ways. He has enjoyed lessons and theory from formal classical training to garage bands. He has run his own home-based music studio since he was 13 and has developed some business sense along with the social acumen to relate to his customers, who are of all ages. He has his own recording label and enjoys all the creative aspects that go along with making an album from scratch- lyrics, music, recording, editing, album design, publishing and performing. He has found a passion that will always bring him- and others- joy. And we are proud that he has learned the ideal of community service– he is now returning the gift of music by volunteering his time and energy at fund raisers and benefits. He is a success by many measures. Perhaps the greatest of these is the enthusiasm and passion with which he enjoys learning.

With others as excited as me about sharing a new paradigm for learning, a team of us created SelfDesign Global, to bring the award-winning SelfDesign methodology to the world. Janet and I had our own dreams for our son that are now manifesting themselves in the world in a positive way. In a society that is increasingly mobile, with learning tools that bring the world to our fingertips, in a world that is more than ever a global village–you will have your own reasons for how you invest in the precious hours of your child’s education. What dreams do you hold for your child? What are the values- educational and otherwise- that you want them to hold and carry forth to the world?

We would be thrilled to discuss these dreams with you. And how you can keep them alive. I invite you and your children to explore learning in an engaging and enthusiastic way through SelfDesign with the guidance of a personal Learning Consultant trained in the nuances and joys of natural learning.

Visit to begin your exciting journey to a new rite of passage!

Darrell Letourneau
SelfDesign Dad