Billionaire entrepreneur and tech deity Elon Musk revealed in an interview with Beijing Television that he didn’t think his kids’ school was good enough, so he created his own secret, small and experimental school for them.
The Los Angeles-based school is called Ad Astra, latin for “to the stars, ” and it doesn’t have a website and you won’t find it on social media. Ad Astra, which currently holds 14 kids but will increase to 20 in September, has no grade levels. Musk is “making all the children go through the same grade at the same time, like an assembly line, ” he Beijing Television.
Musk wasn’t happy with what he saw from his children’s traditional elementary school. “I didn’t see the regular schools doing the things I thought should be done, ” he explained, so he took his kids out, started Ad Astra, and hired one of his children’s old teachers to work for him.
According to Christina Simon, a writer who reviews private schools in Los Angeles, the school is very small and mostly caters to the children of SpaceX employees.
Musk, who has six sons, explained how the school works:
“Some people love English or languages. Some people love math. Some people love music. Different abilities, different times. It makes more sense to cater the education to match their aptitudes and abilities.
“It’s important to teach problem solving, or teach to the problem and not the tools … Let’s say you’re trying to teach people about how engines work. A more traditional approach would be saying, ‘we’re going to teach all about screwdrivers and wrenches.’ This is a very difficult way to do it.”
Musk favors a more hands on approach — give the kids an actual engine, teach them how to use tools, and work together to disassemble it.
“How are we going to take it apart? You need a screwdriver. That’s what the screwdriver is for … And then a very important thing happens: The relevance of the tools becomes apparent.”
Musk explained that so far, Ad Astra “seems to be going pretty well.”
“The kids really love going to school.”
At least for Musk and his kids, his solution is a happy ending — Musk explained how he was relentlessly bullied growing up and hated going to school.
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