A Lifelong Learner’s Journey into Education and Self Discovery

You are here looking meet your child’s unique educational needs, let me tell a story about how you just found it.

Rethinking Education

We are living through one of history’s most intense periods of global change. I believe it rivals the acceptance of gravity, the declaration of democracy and the abolishment of slavery. The magnitude of change is comparable but the time frame is not. What we have experienced in the last three years took decades if not centuries to reverberate and integrate around the world. Thanks to the internet, today’s changes have been essentially instantaneous for Humanity. So what does that mean for our children? Can we get back to school as usual? I do not believe so. I believe the children of today will inherit a world we cannot currently comprehend and therefore, we cannot expect the teaching of yesteryears to develop their full potential, especially when it fundamentally failed them during lockdowns and “re-opening.” Looking at the problem holistically, I have come to the conclusion that Humanity, America for starters, must reclaim our power and independence through food, health, education and self sufficiency at the hyper-local community level. Its not about a complete overnight overhaul of our country’s broken systems, its about planting tiny seeds of freedom and nurture their growth into a dense forest of independence.

I am studying the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher whose work serves as the philosophical backbone for Waldorf schools around the world. I have developed a personal value structure that will guide the development of The Radical Rootz Learning Farm: A nature-based early childhood learning center that facilitates a child's first stage of learning through the imitation of core holistic lifestyle skills necessary to successfully navigate the complex new future we all see emerging.

The focus of learning will move with the seasons, utilizing the flowers and food in bloom to create soul expressing art and cook naturally medicinal food. We will use sticks, stones and leaves to create wonderful worlds of imaginative and unstructured play. When it is time for rest we will listen to stories, practice silence and whimsically imitate meditative movements, some call it yoga. Every day follows a carefully crafted rhythm, not routine, that harmonizes the natural energies of the day and little people. Rise, release, recharge, resume and retire.

Learning with our hands.

Steiner breaks down human development into four distinct seven year cycles. The first stage of learning, years 0-7, is when the child is simply absorbing everything around them. This is the time when children learn best through imitation and the discovery of their physical bodies.

Structured learning of math, reading and writing is not prioritized in these years, instead, children are exposed to healthy living habits, enrolled in the basic chores of life, indulge in unstructured play and express themselves through the arts.

The writing, reading and math will naturally come in the next development stage as their first seven years have intentionally, yet passively woven fundamental building blocks for these skills into cooking, playing, stories, crafts and chores.  

Learning with our hearts.

As our children turn eight, their self-awareness begins to come online as the body prepares to introduce hormones. We all remember the physical and emotional difficulties of pre-teen biology. In these years, imagination is the driving principle for learning. Children are exposed to the academic subjects through creative story. Math is presented in engaging word problems; history through dramatic performance; science through arts and crafts. Writing is uniquely practiced by children creating their own “textbooks” that serves as journals of what they have learned. By age 14, students will have begun their own libraries and gained a true passion for developing learning skill sets.

The learning environment will encourage the exploration of difficult and confusing feelings/emotions that come up in these years.  Students will develop high emotional intelligence instead of anxiety induced from the chaos of your average public elementary/middle school: where the student to teach ratio is so out of balance that bullying and group think is the daily norm.

Learning with our minds.

Now 15, children are becoming young adults. With core physical and emotional understandings developed, the brain and the spirit are now ready to engage in the rational, intellectual world of adults. Academic exploration guided by personal curiosity and the scientific method become the focus.

Students have now built a solid foundation of appreciating learning and are motivated to dive into core competencies and let their curiosity drive individual pursuit for deeper understanding. The goal is for students to have developed the personal compass to confidently craft their journey towards college acceptance or a professional trade.

The Teacher.

Zachary Bailey - A passionate husband, father, educator and professional engineer focused on synergizing homesteading, homeschooling and engineering into an independent economic structure that facilitates a family-first lifestyle.

The Maker.

Stella Grace Bailey - The 2 and 1/2 year old toddling inspiration for The Radical Rootz Learning Farm. She exudes such genuine joy, compassion, curiosity, intelligence and power that is simply too special to be stunted and limited by the standard public education system.

The Healer.

Behind every great brand is a team of makers and doers. Let your visitors know who they are.

Why do I teach?

From a very young age, I learned that education would be the key to a rich and fulfilling life. Success would be measured in grades and the better grades, the greater the success. A’s were the gold standard so I pursued A’s in every class, every year and graduated 11th in my high school class of 589 and secured a seat at Georgia Tech where I graduated with a 3.89 GPA, highest honors, a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. Many people attribute this kind of scholastic success to innate intellectual capacity, that some are born with, while others are not. I do not believe in this school of thought, I attribute my success to my learning process and understanding of education itself.

I loved learning, especially the language of math. I was curious. I built relationships with my teachers. I engaged in every class. I got involved in school extracurriculars: sports, theater, student government, etc. I took advantage of every opportunity offered to me and I gave back what I could. I gave back through teaching. First to peers in class and study groups and then professionally. Over the last decade I have run a mentoring/tutoring business working with children and adolescents ranging in age from 3 to 18 and spanning the entire learning capability spectrum.

Through high school volunteer organizations I started working with students navigating down syndrome, autism, aspergers and ADHD. I found a joy, intuition and talent around hearing their unique needs and facilitating growth in areas of resistance. Finding success and passion with teaching, I kicked off a tutoring service for middle school math and worked until I graduated. I learned how to patiently listen for the needs of students and present what they asked for. Sometimes it was how to isolate a single variable in an algebraic expression and other times, it was how to deal with the difficult emotions, feelings and situations life was presenting them. I was a mentor, still a kid but an older kid who believed in them, showed them genuine respect and encouraged them to do their best by illuminating what their best was.

At Georgia Tech I continued with middle school tutoring and expanded into college prep: essays, resume and SAT/ACT/AP test strategy. Once I began my professional career with Lockheed Martin, I began volunteering at local high schools and elementary schools, acting as a mentor and ambassador for STEM education. I became particularly engaged with students in gardening and robotics clubs at Wheeler and Maynard Jackson High School. As I experienced the collision of science, engineering, food production and education, I began to see a bright future for the planet our youth will inherit. A future where we engineer our technology and machines through an artistic lens, designed to cooperate with Nature’s natural cycles as humanity steps back into authentic co-habitation with it, as God imagined.

To bring this future to fruition, I believe we look no further than Steiner’s cycles of development and realize that our society has forgotten that the right of passage into adulthood occurs after 14 years of learning. At 15 our kids should have the ability to survive a night in the woods on their own, build something they imagine, cook delicious nourishing meals and have the personal, moral compass to understand in what direction they would like to begin their journey into adulthood. I believe it is critical that we reimagine the first 14 years of education for our youth to enable this coming of age moment where parents are able to look to their kids and say: “I trust you and I believe in you. It is time for your life’s direction to be your choice, we will always be here for support, guidance and council but you are now ready to create the life you want to live. What do you think you would like to pursue, how can we support you in that quest? Is it college, trade school, professional athletics, performing arts, journalism, etc? Whatever it is, we trust you and will help you create the map that gets you there.”

I came to this larger world view before I was a father, I was just a wanna-be futurist farmer envisioning a high-tech, carbon neutral, permaculture, regenerative farm that could be scaled from urban rooftops and backyards to transforming 1000’s of acres of arid Utah desert.

Today, my daughter, Stella, stands 13 years from the threshold of adulthood’s doors. I think we can agree that the world is going to fundamentally transform in that period. This unique personal reference is at the core of the Radical Rootz Learning Farm because I recognize the challenge humanity faces and now, more than ever, understand the unique difficulty it will present our youth, my daughter included. Therefore, I am going to completely devote my talents to best prepare her and the community peers she will share that future with.

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