All Categories

Information & Media

Recommended books, videos, websites, blogs, podcasts, research, news, and other SDE information sources.

Books

Books about SDE, in theory and in practice.

A. S. Neill: Bringing Happiness To Some Few Children

Bryn Purdy
Bryn Purdy, who visited and was invited to work at Summerhill in the ’60s, presents, analyzes, and provides counterpoints on the canon of Neillian beliefs: child empowerment, child democracy, sexual ethics, religion, and the relevance of learning.

Alice Miller: The Unkind Society, Parenting and Schooling

Chris Shute
This book takes the work of Alice Miller a step further and discusses how her beliefs about parenting techniques can also be projected upon the work of teachers and other professionals working with children and young people.

Anarchist Education and the Modern School: A Francisco Ferrer Reader

Francisco Ferrer • Edited by Mark Bray and Robert H. Haworth
Part martyr, part visionary, Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School Movement he created have continued to preoccupy educational reformers and political activists despite or because of Ferrer’s execution by a repressive Spanish government in 1909.

Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community

Alfie Kohn
This book challenges the widely accepted premises that the teacher must be in control of the classroom & that what we need are strategies to get students to comply with the adult’s expectation – and with that, the very idea of classroom management.

Bound To Be Free

Jan Fortune-Wood
Bound to be Free explores the myth that compulsory education is free education, arguing that in fact institutionalized education is detrimental to our freedom and autonomy, whether as children, parents or members of society.

Can't Go Won't Go

Mike Fortune-Wood
The current trend to medicalize or demonize children who refuse to go to school will only add to society’s problems as well as damaging the individual. Far from leading to disaster, removing children from school can become a life-enhancing decision.

Comparing Learning Systems

Roland Meighan
The good, the bad, the ugly and the counter-productive, and why home-based educating families have found one fit for a democracy.

Compulsory Miseducation

Paul Goodman
A 1964 precursor to Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society, addressing in separate chapters the problems of primary, secondary, and college-level education, as well as the educational establishment’s detrimental effect on society.

Compulsory Schooling Disease: How Children Absorb Fascist Values

Chris Shute
This book demonstrates how compulsory schooling, with its apparatus of imposed discipline and control, is dangerous to the mental health and social development of children, and is in fact the cause of many social problems which it claims to cure.

Deschooling Society

Ivan Illich
Schools have failed our individual needs, supporting false and misleading notions of ‘progress’ and development, fostered by the belief that ever-increasing production, consumption and profit are proper yardsticks for measuring.

Edmond Holmes and the Tragedy of Education

Chris Shute
A pertinent book about Edmond Holmes, who supervised the first National Curriculum over 100 years ago. On his retirement he wrote a damning critique where he criticized his own work for the last 30 years, condemning how the NC had debased teaching.

Everywhere All the Time: A New Deschooling Reader

Edited by Matt Hern
A collection of deschooling pieces, with contributors Ivan Illich, Emma Goldman, John Taylor Gatto, John Holt, Grace Llewellyn, Leo Tolstoy, Vinoba Bhave, Gustava Esteva, Madhu Prakash, David Guterson, Zoë Readhead, Pat Farenga and many more.

Field Day: Getting Society Out of School

Matt Hern
Is institutionalizing our children for six hours a day, five days a week, for twelve years really the best we can do? And how did we get to this point where we assume that’s a defensible idea?

Free At Last: The Sudbury Valley School

Daniel Greenberg
This best-selling description of the school is bursting with the excitement of life at Sudbury Valley. Free at Last is also chock-full of stories that illustrate the many unique features of this highly original model.

Free to Learn

Peter Gray
Developmental psychologist (and ASDE co-founder) Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today’s constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development.

Freedom and Beyond

John Holt
John Holt’s brilliant and evocative 1972 Freedom and Beyond marks a significant turn in thinking about schools, when it began to become clear to many that ‘schools’ and ‘schooling,’ would be unable to hold the great forces of learning.

Freedom in Education

Elizabeth Byrne Ferm
Elizabeth Byrne Ferm (1857-1944), principal of the Modern School at Stelton NJ, a utopian-anarchist colony, proposes an educative practice distinct from pedagogy, one where the task of the educator is to get out of the way of the self-directed child.

Freedom – Not License!

A. S. Neill
The headmaster of Summerhill answers parents’ questions on a variety of topics associated with rearing children.

Get Out of the Way and Let Kids Learn

Carl Rust
This book challenges basic assumptions of traditional education and offers suggestions for ways to allow children more freedom, more agency, and more control over their own education.

How Children Fail

John Holt
An enduring million-selling classic, including insights into how children investigate the world, into the perennial problems of classroom learning, grading, testing, and into the role of the trust and authority in every learning situation.

How Children Learn

John Holt
“Learning is as natural as breathing.” In this delightful yet profound book, John Holt looks at how we learn to talk, to read, to count, and to reason, and how we can nurture and encourage these natural abilities in our children.

In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness

Chris Mercogliano
Virtually every arena of kids’ experience is now subject to some form of outside control. Lamenting risk-averse parents, overstructured school days, and a lack of playtime and solitude, this book is a clear and compelling plea to save childhood.

Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better

John Holt
Holt’s most direct and radical challenge to the educational status quo and a call to parents to save their children from schools of all kinds, laying out the foundation for unschooling as the vital path to self-directed learning and a creative life.

John Holt

Roland Meighan
Challenging the often held notion that Holt’s work was romantic and impractical within the context of compulsory schooling, enabling readers to appreciate the view that individuals outside the education system can change what is happening within it.

Learning All The Time

John Holt
The essence of John Holt’s insight into learning and small children is captured here. This delightful book shows how children learn to read, write, & count in their everyday life at home, and how adults can respect & encourage this wonderful process

Outra Escola é possível: o Modelo Sudbury de Educação

Luís Gustavo Guadalupe Silveira
Coletânea de artigos em Português sobre o Modelo Sudbury de Educação escritos por pessoas envolvidas com o cotidiano de espaços Sudbury. [Collection of articles in Portuguese on Sudbury Model of Education by groups involved with Sudbury spaces.]

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Paulo Freire
Arguing that ‘education is freedom’, Paulo Freire’s radical international classic contends that traditional teaching styles keep the poor powerless by treating them as passive, silent recipients of knowledge.

Punished By Rewards

Alfie Kohn
A landmark psychological critique of basic motivational strategy, this book attacks the strategy of dangling incentives in front of people to affect their behavior.

Rethinking Learning To Read

Harriet Pattison
Through the analysis of parents’ experiences and reflections this book begins work on the construction of alternative representations of what happens when a child learns to read.

Sage Homeschooling

Rachel Rainbolt
This book offers a natural learning path for gentle parents who dream of living fully in joy and connection with their children while giving them all they need to be successful, with eight secrets to living a fulfilling unschooling life.

School Is Dead: Alternatives In Education

Everett Reimer
The result of a conversation with Ivan Illich, a book on the societal problems inherent in having institutional schools, intellectually and emotionally enslaving children and giving them an institutional mindset akin to what criminals get in prison.

Starting A Sudbury School

Daniel Greenberg and Mimsy Sadofsky
This is a basic introduction to the complex process of starting a school. It analyzes various steps that fifteen founding groups have taken to get their schools off the ground and allow them to thrive in the early years.

Stay Solid! A Radical Handbook For Youth

The Purple Thistle Centre, Matt Hern
Stay Solid! provides essential support for radically inclined teens who believe that it’s possible for all of us to hang on to our values and build a life we believe in.

Teaching as a Subversive Activity

Neil Postman & Charles Weingartner
A no-holds-barred assault on outdated teaching methods — with dramatic and practical proposals on how education can be made relevant to today’s world.

The Modern School Movement

Paul Avrich
Based on extensive interviews with former pupils and teachers, this Pulitzer Prize-nominated work is a seminal and important investigation into the potential of educational alternatives.

The Pursuit of Happiness: The Lives of Sudbury Valley Alumni

Daniel Greenberg, Mimsy Sadofsky, and Jason Lempka
What becomes of students who attended Sudbury Valley as they pursue their lives as adults? This book explores the lives of students who spent their formative years at the school, examining in depth their values, their character, and their careers.

The Student Resistance Handbook

Cevin Soling
The Student Resistance Handbook provides children with information on how they can effectively fight back against their school and work towards abolishing this abusive and oppressive institution.

Unconditional Parenting

Alfie Kohn
This book presents a provocative challenge to the conventional wisdom of raising children.

Unschooled

Kerry McDonald
A primer on Unschooling and the origins of the self-directed education movement, with answers to many frequently asked questions and tons of references for further research and reading.

What Do I Do Monday?

John Holt
When teachers listened to Holt’s talks, or wrote him letters as hundreds did, invariably they would say something like: “I understand what you’re saying, but what can I do about this in my own classroom? What do I do on Monday?”

What Is Unschooling?

Pam Laricchia
How do children learn without school? Will it work for us? How do I get started?

When Kids Rule the School

Jim Rietmulder
The first comprehensive guide to democratic schooling, where kids practice life in a self-governed society—empowered as voters, bound by laws, challenged by choice, supported by community, and driven by nature.

Émile, or On Education

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
In his pioneering treatise on education, the great French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) presents concepts that had a significant influence on the development of pedagogy in the eighteenth century.

Film & Video

SDE-themed movies, documentaries, videos, and TV/web series.

Approaching the Elephant

Year one at the Teddy McArdle Free School in Little Falls, New Jersey, where all classes are voluntary and rules are determined by vote. Approaching the Elephant is a vivid portrait of unfettered childhood and human relationships.

Being and Becoming

A documentary that explores the theme of trusting children and their development, and invites us to question our learning paradigms and options.

Class Dismissed – The Movie

Class Dismissed showcases a growing trend in alternative education strategies that are working for many families across America.

Don't Stay in School

A renowned rap that highlights the fallacy that conventional schooling teaches students valuable life skills needed for the professional world.

EDiT — Education in Transformation

An Open Media Platform that amplifies the Self-Directed Education movement through Video Storytelling and a Global Upcoming SDE Events Calendar.

Schooling the World

Schooling the World takes a challenging, sometimes funny, ultimately deeply disturbing look at the effects of modern education on the world’s last sustainable indigenous cultures. Available free online.

Schools of Trust

Schools of Trust is a German film about Self-Directed Education.

Teacher Liberation TEDx Talk - Joel Hammon

Joel Hammon talks about his decision to quit his job as a high school teacher and how creating self-directed education centers can improve the lives of teachers and their students.

The War On Kids

Exposing the many ways the public schools system has failed children and America’s future by robbing students of all freedoms, largely due to irrational fears.

Other Info & Media

Educational Heretics Press

Origionally run by Professor Roland Meighan, EHP has been publishing since 1984 on the general topic of questioning the dogma of the educational establishment. EHP also markets books produced by the Education Now Cooperative (founded in 1980).

Hilltown Families: Community-Based Education Network

Established in 2005, Hilltown Families is a community-based education network which highlights the embedded learning found throughout Western Massachusetts, making the information accessible online to self-directed and life-long learners wanting to g

Podcasts & Radio Shows

SDE-focused audio content sources.
(Note: Audiobooks are included in "Books".)

Alpine Valley School Podcast

Features interviews with graduates of Alpine Valley School, which follows the Sudbury model of education. Also includes discussions of the school’s unique philosophy, and ways to get involved.

Education Revolution Podcast

Alternative Education Resource Organization founder, Jerry Mintz, talks with people about different facets of learner-centered education.

Exploring Unschooling

From a long-time unschooling mom to three now-adult children: Unschooling fascinates me as much today as it did when we got started back in 2002, and each week on the podcast my guests and I dive deep into unschooling and living joyfully with our fam

Fare of the Free Child

A weekly-published podcast community centering Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color in liberatory living and learning practices.

Off-Trail Learning

Interviews with self-directed learners, innovative educators, and young people blazing their own paths through life. Hosted by Blake Boles; Formerly the Real Education Podcast.

Sage Family Podcast

ASDE member Rachel Rainbolt is the host of this podcast, inviting listeners to gather around a virtual campfire and share meaningful conversations with inspiring and insightful friends around Gentle Parenting, Unschooling, and Simple Living.

Stories of an Unschooling Family

All about radical unschooling. (It’s not as scary or as wild as some people make out!) Join me as I share ideas, stories, homeschool record-keeping tips and resources for living an unschooling life of unconditional love.

The Unschooling Life

Episodes cover many frequently asked questions and objections to Self-Directed Education and unschooling.

Use Your Outside Voice! Unschooling Podcast

We are three mamas, unschoolers, regular people, and revolutionaries in the many small moments, pulling together threads from our diverse experiences around living authentically with children and rejecting the school model of relationship.

Research & Journals

Scientific and academic research related to SDE.

Free Alternative Schools in Germany

Matthias Hoffman
In this essay the roots of Free Alternative Schools (FAS) are depicted and their history in Germany over the last 40 years is sketched.

Is There A Curriculum In This House?

Aravinda Pillalamarri
The author, speaking on unschooling, seeks to help us redefine and reclaim the concept of curriculum as an internal path toward learning.

Self-Directed Learning and Student Attitudes

Jennifer Schwartz
This study examines the experiences of twenty three students, in two different Sudbury model schools, and the correlation between freedom and student attitudes about school.

Starting a School

Carlo Ricci, Kristin Simpson
This resource is an introductory guide for starting a new school based on the author’s experiences of forming a Sudbury model school in Canada.

Team of Thirty Unschoolers Survey

Judy L Arnall
This survey details thirty children who unschooled from 3 to 12 years and were all accepted to colleges, universities and tech schools. 12 of the 30 went into STEM careers (4 in Engineering).

The Most Democratic School of Them All

Christine R. Traxler
Subtitled “Why the Sudbury Model of Education Should Be Taken Seriously,” this essay by a public high school English teacher challenges the dominant model of education.

The challenges and benefits of unschooling

Peter Gray & Gina Riley
232 unschooling families answered questions about their reasons for unschooling, the path that led them to unschooling, and the major benefits and challenges of unschooling for their family.

The courage to let them play

Kristan Morrison
This article explores the question of what gives parents the courage to reject conventional schooling and choose the educational path of unschooling for their children.

Unschooling Passions

Pam Laricchia
A parent demonstrates how allowing her children to deeply immerse themselves in their passions, especially controversial ones like video games and fandom, can lead to a diverse set of learning outcomes and experiences.

Unschooling, Then and Now

Kellie Rolstad & Kathleen Kesson
Authors compare their experiences of unschooling in the 1980s with what it is like to unschool now, in an era when our society has come to distrust children more than ever.

Who Asks the Questions?

David Gribble
If children are to grow up to be responsible adults who contribute to the development of an ideal society, they need to feel able to ask questions of their own rather than simply learning the answers to other people’s questions.

Websites, Blogs & News

Online sources of SDE-related information and support.

Divergent Labs

We are creating autistic spaces that make it possible for the genius, integrity, concern for details, and specialized focus that are the trademarks of the autistic mind to be expressed to and to create value.

Douglas County Unschoolers

Facebook support group which offers opportunities for gatherings, including a book club, for unschooling families in the Douglas County area of Colorado.

EDiT — Education in Transformation

An Open Media Platform that amplifies the Self-Directed Education movement through Video Storytelling and a Global Upcoming SDE Events Calendar.

Freeschoolin' Community

A safe and inclusive community of Freeschoolers, Peaceful Parenting Passion-led Learners, Worldschoolers and Radical/Wholelife Unschoolers.

Generation On

generationOn inspires, equips and mobilizes people to take action that is changing the world. They envision a world in which everyone has discovered their power to make a difference, creating healthy communities in vibrant, participatory societies.

Growing Without Schooling

Growing Without Schooling was founded by the late author/teacher John Holt in 1977 to support unschooling and self-directed education and it continues today as a website and source of information about learning at home and in one’s community.

GrownUnschoolers.com

A free website that shares long-form profiles of grown unschoolers, ages 20-99, in their own words.

Homeschooling / Unschooling Diversity

This is a healing space centering those of us that have been “Othered” due to racial, ethnic, (dis)ability, gender, class, age and/or sexual identity. It is a space for us “Othered” to feel safe, find resources & be heard.

Homeschooling en Madrid

Somos un grupo de familias que educamos a nuestros hijos sin escuela en la Comunidad de Madrid.

I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write.

A blog by a grown unschooler exploring the intersections between self-directed lifelong learning, youth rights, respectful parenting, and social justice.

Not Exactly Florida Unschoolers

A Facebook group for Florida parents seeking alternatives to independent homeschooling and unschooling; a resource for parents interested in finding or creating SDE communities (co-ops, learning centers, schools, etc.) in Florida.

Parenting Tidbits

A once-a-week newsletter for those interested in reflecting on their parenting and moving towards, or deepening their practice in, a more partnership-based, relationship-based way of being with your young people.

Peer Unschooling Network (PUN)

A digital community for teen unschoolers to make friends, discuss projects, question the meaning of life, and support those interested in self-directed learning to take the leap.

Project-Based Homeschooling

This website offers guidance on how to mentor self-directed learners using the approach of Project-Based Homeschooling – a way to combines a child’s genuine interests with long-term, deep, complex learning.

Radical Unschooling Nederland

Nederlandse radical unschoolingsgroep die nog een stap verder gaat dan gewoon unschoolen, namelijk je kinderen ook vrij laten in schermtijd, eten, slapen, etc. In feite maken je kinderen alle keuzes zelf, net als volwassenen, voor zover dat mogelijk.

Rhode Island Unschoolers

This group was established as a forum for RI Unschoolers (and those nearby) to share their questions, comments, and support in their unschooling journey.

Roots & Shoots

Roots & Shoots is a service program that empowers and encourages youth of all ages to pursue their passion, mobilize their peers, and become the leaders our world needs in order to ensure a better future for people, animals, and the environment.

School Survival

Support site for kids who hate school. Encourages them to consider SDE if possible.

Texas Unschoolers

A collection of resources for Texas homeschoolers: Homeschooling laws, TX unschooling groups, videos, other websites & blogs, unschooling conferences, colleges & transcripts, and discussion forums.

The Higher Process

Connections Are Everthing – Whole Life Evolution – Partnership Paradigm – Childhood Without School: Margaret Bennett, MFA artist & single parent blogs about the process of life living in authenticity & unschooling through divorce and trauma

The History Tree

Educational technology website for students to learn history while learning computer technology and Internet coding.

The Homeschool Resource Roadmap

A website that provides home-educating families with summative information about more than 3,500 educational resource providers, enabling parents and children to find material best-suited to meet each child’s interests and needs.

UK Radical Unschooling Network

A group created to help people expand their understanding of Radical Unschooling and to help parents implement the principles in their own families. As well as providing the opportunity to connect with other people on this path in the UK.

Unschool Rules blog

Tons of SDE resources including: transcript walkthrough, breakdown by subject, PA homeschooling guide, their “curriculum” by “grade”, and “homeschooling for working moms”

Unschooling / Oskolning Sverige

Facebook group in Swedish discussing the topic of self-direction and unschooling. The group is open for active unschoolers, those interested in starting, and others curious about the topic.

Unschooling In Peace

Here is a safe place to ask questions and to share ideas, post projects and coordinate groups for outings. Unschooling and natural learning is our focus. Child directed learning and team focused family structures.

Unschooling Info Australia

A discussion group for Australian parents who are unschooling, or are considering unschooling their kids. We will discuss unschooling philosophy and how to become better unschooling parents as we help each other with the deschooling process.

Unschooling Special Needs

A global unschooling support group for parents and caregivers of Special Needs kids. You may join to learn about unschooling, get support in switching to unschooling, or share your experience unschooling your Special Needs child.

Unschooling en France

Pour les familles pratiquant l’unschooling en France/ en français ou s’y intéressant :)

UnschoolingNL

Heb je interesse om unschooling te kunnen gebruiken, of ben je er al door geïnspireerd en er volop mee bezig in jullie leven? Dan is deze groep wellicht iets voor je!

See something missing?

Add a Resource