Family & Education

‘The Education Vacation’: A Conversation With Children’s Book Author Connor Boyack

BY Barbara Danza TIMEAugust 5, 2019 PRINT

Connor Boyack was looking for resources to teach his children about liberty and a free society. When he couldn’t find any books that would do, he created his own series for kids: “The Tuttle Twins.”

Each installment of “The Tuttle Twins” features the adventures of Ethan and Emily as they learn about big ideas like individual rights, entrepreneurship, the “golden rule,” and how money works.

The latest book is focused on education; I asked Boyack about “The Tuttle Twins and the Education Vacation.”

The Epoch Times: How would you characterize the response to your books so far?

Connor Boyack
Connor Boyack. (Courtesy of Connor Boyack)

Connor Boyack: Most parents treat our books like a person stranded in a desert, thirsty for water—it’s a welcome reprieve from the deprivation they’ve experienced.

School curriculum isn’t teaching the ideas of a free society, and many parents feel ill-equipped to do so on their own. So when they discover “The Tuttle Twins” books, they’re typically relieved to have the support to introduce these ideas to their children.

The Epoch Times: What inspired you to focus this book on education?

Mr. Boyack: John Taylor Gatto has been a hero of mine for some time—a 30-year, award-winning veteran of the public school system, who became its fiercest critic. He wasn’t afraid to point out the problems he saw, and I think we need more of that.

John recently passed away, and while we had this topic in our lineup down the road, we decided to accelerate its publication to honor him and spread this super important message to thousands of families and keep his message going.

The Epoch Times: What key lessons do you hope kids take away from this book?

Mr. Boyack: Too often, kids consider homework as “work” and drudgery. The natural spark of curiosity gets snuffed out by rote memorization and busywork. Our message to kids is that the world is a super interesting place, and learning is an amazing thing that can happen all the time—not just when you’re in a classroom or reading a textbook.

The Epoch Times: A unique feature of “The Tuttle Twins” books is that they tend to be just as informative for parents as they are for their children. What do you hope parents will take away from “The Education Vacation?”

Mr. Boyack: This book’s message, in particular, is as much for the parents of our young readers as it is the little ones themselves. Providing children the natural freedom to focus on their interests and discover the world around them creates a much deeper and long-lasting memory of what’s being learned. It’s the topic of my book “Passion-Driven Education.” Gatto wrote the foreword for it because it resonated so well with his message.

The Epoch Times: How would you describe your education experience as a kid? Did that play a role in writing this book?

Mr. Boyack: My own education experience was fairly normal—I went to public school, disliked all the homework, memorized things only to forget them soon after the test, etc.

But as a father, we’ve chosen to homeschool our children to give them maximum flexibility in focusing on things that matter to them, so that their “curriculum” is the world, and not some set of standards created by a faceless committee I don’t know. Some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way—including from the writings of Mr. Gatto—are incorporated in our new book.

The Epoch Times: Where do you think education is headed in the future?

Mr. Boyack: The future of education is individualized—and we’re already seeing it. People have come to expect their car to pick them up when they want, their food to arrive in just the way they ordered in their app, etc. The entire economy is segmenting down to the individual level, and consumers demand flexibility to meet their personal preferences. We can’t imagine life without this option.

That trend is going to bring the education system to its knees sooner or later, forcing innovation into an industry that was set up to satisfy an industrial warehouse economic model we no longer use or need. Teachers and school administrators would do well to embrace this change rather than resist it—after all, it’s what will most benefit their individual students.

Epoch Times Photo

The Epoch Times: Are there any future plans for “The Tuttle Twins” you’d like to share?

Mr. Boyack: We are super excited to be launching a weekly free-market curriculum for families this month! And we’re even contemplating creating a card game so families can continue learning after they’ve read the books. You can follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date with new announcements.

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Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart. Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.
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