Evidently relying on the old adage "If you want something done right, do it yourself," Elon Musk is now a school founder. In a recent interview on Beijing Television, the Tesla founder revealed that he opened a school, called Ad Astra, last year for his five children. In his view, regular school wasn't educating his kids the way he thought it should.
"They weren't doing the things I thought should be done," Musk said during the interview. "I thought, well, let's see what we can do. Maybe creating a school would be better."
Musk hired one of the teachers from the boys' school to help found Ad Astra, and the school now teaches 14 elementary-school-aged kids from mostly SpaceX employees' families. The CEO wanted his school to teach according to students' individual aptitudes, so he did away with the grade structure entirely. Most importantly, he says learning should be about problem solving.
"It's important to teach problem solving, or teach to the problem and not the tools."
"It's important to teach problem solving, or teach to the problem and not the tools," Musk said. "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. A much better way would be, like, 'Here's the engine. Now let's take it apart. How are we gonna take it apart? Oh you need a screwdriver!'"
Right now, the school is small and experimental, and Musk is unsure about how long his children will be enrolled. But the kids seem to like it, and the class size will grow to 20 by the fall.