Posted 2020-06-15

WHAT’S UP AT ASDE?

Each month, either Bria Bloom (our executive director) or I present a brief summary of new developments in ASDE’s efforts to make Self-Directed Education available to all. Here’s my June report.

Initial Phase of Library Initiative Project is Complete

In collaboration with the Westbank Library, in Austin, Texas, we have completed a survey of public libraries, supported by a grant from the Woodshouse Foundation, aimed at learning how libraries can provide and are providing support for self-directed education. Because of library closures resulting from the pandemic, we had to cut the survey shorter than planned, but still we managed to collect information from 52 libraries, spread across the US — including big-city, suburban, and small-town libraries. We are in the process of analyzing the results for publication, so we will have more to say later, but I can report now that the findings are very encouraging.

Most libraries allow children over 10 to use the library without an adult, and some allow younger children. Many libraries have maker spaces, most libraries offer opportunities for free play for young children and some offer such opportunities for older children and teens. Many libraries have special rooms where teens can play games or just hang out with one another. Many libraries have special accommodations for homeschoolers.

Perhaps most important, essentially all libraries welcome patrons’ input concerning services they might offer. Libraries want to serve YOU. That is the fundamental difference between public libraries and public schools. Libraries want to help you do what YOU want to do, not dictate to you what THEY want you to do. We continue to be excited about the idea that libraries can become the publicly supported SDE replacement for coercive schooling.

Results of the Book Cover Art Contest

As I noted in the March What’s Up Newsletter, ASDE is venturing into the realm of book publishing. We now have a company called Tipping Points Press. The first four books, ready to go to press, are collections of essays written by yours truly originally for Psychology Today. We held an art contest, for cover art for all four books, open to people under age 19 who are pursuing SDE. The submissions were amazing. We had a very hard time deciding which works to use as the covers. We wanted to use all of them. You can see all of the submissions here, not just the winners, grouped according to the themes of the books to be illustrated. Do take a look! There are some wonderful artists and creative thinkers in SDE land!

First ASDE Online Members Meeting, July 14, 8:00 pm Eastern Time

If you are a member of ASDE, not just a Newsletter subscriber, you will receive an invitation to join this meeting via Zoom. It will be an opportunity for you to hear directly from Bria Bloom, me, and some of our Board members about our current efforts and plans and for you to share your thoughts about directions we should be taking. If you are not already a member, this moment, right now, would be a great time to join. Just go to self-directed.org and click the JOIN button. When you join, please make as large a donation as you think you can reasonably afford. What we can do is limited only by what our members can give.

Supporting Parents During Uncertain Times and Beyond

Board member Maleka Diggs ran a series of support webinars that that were responsive to the needs people are experiencing during this time of pandemic. You can find recordings of Maleka’s wonderful sessions here.

That’s it for now. Keep well, or get well soon if you aren’t; and do what you can toward promoting freedom for children and for all. Blessings.

-Peter Gray