Sora Journal

Unstoppable Learning: Meet the Wells Family

By Rebecca Wells

What does a professor of educational technology at the University of Newcastle in England, a family in Florida, and Sora all have in common? I think it’s unstoppable learning. 

Hi, we are the Wells Family: Sean, Rebecca, and Logan (a new 6th-grade Sora student in the Pegasus house). We reside in St. Augustine, Florida with our 2 rescue dogs, Jimmy and Silka. 

Educational Philosophy

Eleven years ago when Logan was one year old, I heard an interview on NPR about Sugata Mitra’s research and TED Talk. He shared through decades of research that learning doesn't have to be taught. He called it unstoppable learning; something that happens at every stage in life. 

Mitra had early access to computers in the 90s and the inequality of computer access had bothered him for some time. An opportunity to change this came when he was asked to test computer kiosks in public spaces. He secretly stuck a computer in India, “in a hole, in a wall, in a slum with no running water, limited electricity, and crowded schools.”

He then watched remotely as the children accessed Microsoft Paint, Microsoft Word, and without even a keyboard they found the character map to write their names. He was astonished. Repeating the experiment many times across underprivileged villages in India, he found that in nine months a group of children left alone with a computer in any language would reach the same standard as an office secretary in the West! 

He even tested if 12-year-old Tamil-speaking children clustering around a roadside computer could teach themselves the biotechnology of DNA replication in English, 10 years ahead of their time! Read the article to find out what happened; but I’ll tell you this interview on this one afternoon changed how we would forever think about education in our family. Learning is not something to make happen; it's about providing the resources to let it happen. 

Finding Sora

Sora is markedly different from public school. In our state of Florida, it can take years to update the public school curriculum! We feel this is a huge loss for children when new discoveries, technology, and world events are happening daily. 

Sora is also distinct from the homeschool environment we have always known. It is more structured and has much more support than we have ever had access to. For us, Sora is the right blend of an adaptable curriculum that is relevant to today’s changing world. Then layer on a healthy dose of support, community, and fun. All of this together makes Sora perfect for us. 

Right away we saw a change in Logan. He immediately found a new friend in a different school house, set up a chat, and connected directly with them. Every weekday he was engaged with Sora school, was comfortable problem solving, self-organizing, and committing to additional activities like clubs and leadership roles.

We are so pleased to have found a home at Sora…well actually, Logan found it through a friend who attends Sora. He then asked to travel to meet her in person in D.C. where we were able to chat about the school (thanks Bennett Family). He pursued it, convinced us, and well here we are. 

With help from financial aid, we were able to give Logan his Sora acceptance as his big Christmas present this last year. It’s where he wants to be, what he wants to be up to, and when a child sets their mind - it’s truly unstoppable! 

Now, we are looking forward to connecting with the families that call Sora their community and making new friendships. 

The Wells Family,

Rebecca, Sean and Logan