pioneering studies :: a radically practical learning lab

the primary objective of this program is not to teach specific skills. the mission is to teach people how to use their inherent intuition to truly learn... through experience, trial and error, persistence.  the secondary goal is to pass along building blocks: fundamental knowledge of essential subjects, a solid basis for critical thought, a spark to ignite a passion for creative work that simultaneously employs the worker's hands, heart and mind.  jane goodall's roots & shoots and samuel mockbee's rural studio have had a huge impact on my post-college view of education, and the means and ends of this project.

the following is a rough outline, a starting point for a curriculum of sorts, which is fluid and evolving, as i continue to explore more about how things such as the known universe works, and my place within it.  please drop me a note with your thoughts, if you're inclined. 

  thank you -g


:: fundamentals

math / physics / mechanics

natural systems / permaculture


tools: handling, care, maintenance

primal: food, shelter, security, community...

diet / fitness

philosophy / spirituality (keeping it together)

:: primary skills

trades: carpentry, metal working, masonry, ceramics...

agriculture: propagation, soils, siting, seed saving...

alt energy / heating: rocket stoves, thermo-syphons, solar hwh...

micro-economics: household (energy / heat, food storage, cooking, fermentation...)

communication networks

:: advanced

architectural design

structural engineering

mechanical / electrical

natural medicine / herbalism

community economics.  alt markets/exchange, local lending, local currencies

building a regional commodity exchange (esp. recycled / salvaged matls)

petri dish: how to facilitate organic development of authentic human culture



peripheral enterprise

community / philanthropy

charitable projects done for material cost or free of charge.  building projects, energy, garden installations.    


construction, maintenance, retrofits, upgrades, heat / energy solutions, garden installations.  these projects can be used as teaching vehicles for advanced students.


engineering, architecture, energy, gardens, home econ / organization


passive solar water heaters, rocket stoves, hay boxes, cold frames...

info hub / commodity exchange

a place to post / locate resources, materials, services, support


sample projects / products


rocket stove


thermosiphon.  sun heats black screen in frame.  a vent at the top allows warm air to travel into the space.  vents at the bottom draw cooler air into the frame for heating.


solar water heater



passive solar collector.  sun heats fluid, fluid heats slab, slab heats space. 



related programs


see also







samuel mockbee | rural studio




about   contact







Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.

  ―Mark Twain


The only means of strengthening one's intellect is to make up one's mind about nothing, to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts.  

  ―John Keats


Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.

  ―Richard Feynman


The only source of knowledge is experience. 

  ―Albert Einstein


Those who know do not say; those who say do not know.

  ―Lao Tzu




building, agriculture, econ, philosophy...