Information & Media
Recommended books, videos, websites, blogs, podcasts, research, news, and other SDE information sources.
Books about SDE, in theory and in practice.
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
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.
Alternative Approaches to Education: A Guide for Parents and Teachers
Among the multiple alternatives presented in this work, specific chapters are dedicated to democratic and free schools such as Summerhill and Sands in the UK, and a basic framework for starting your own small school.
Alternative Schooling and Student Engagement: Canadian Stories of Democracy within Bureaucracy
Nina Bascia, Esther Sokolov Fine, Malcolm Levin
This work documents the progress of alternative schooling in Canada’s public school system, with chapters focused specifically on Self-Directed democratic schools.
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.
Anarchist Pedagogies: Collective Actions, Theories, and Critical Reflections on Education
Edited by Robert H. Haworth
Important and challenging issues in the area of anarchism and education are presented in this history of egalitarian and free-school practices.
Liza Kleinman & Brook Gideon
In this fresh and funny middle-reader novel, the author deftly explores, with poise and insight, the growing unschooling movement as well as the challenges of moving to a new home, making friends, and finding room for differences within a family.
Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community
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
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
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
The good, the bad, the ugly and the counter-productive, and why home-based educating families have found one fit for a democracy.
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
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.
Creating Learning Communities: Models, Resources, and New Ways of Thinking About Teaching and Learning
Edited by Ron Miller
Bringing together real-world information & innovative theoretical thinking on the present & future state of education, from homeschooling & distance learning to autodidactics & learning clubs, a world of true learning communities is envisioned here.
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.
Doing It Their Way: Home-Based Education and Autonomous Learning
An overview of the philosophies of autonomous learning, questioning the prevailing mythology of essential, age-related, ‘balanced’ education and the relevance of school models of compulsory, age-related socialization.
Don't Tell Me I Can't: An Ambitious Homeschooler's Journey
A book about his journey through entrepreneurial unschooling that led him through an early path of conquering devastating setbacks on the way to his accomplishments.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
John Taylor Gatto
Thirty years in New York City’s public schools led John Taylor Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders like cogs in an industrial machine.
Edmond Holmes and the Tragedy of Education
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.
Everything I Thought I Knew: An Exploration of Life and Learning
As the debate continues on how to improve our failed education system, the author delves into what it’s like to live, learn, and parent without it.
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
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
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 Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything
Laura Grace Weldon
With data from neurologists, child development specialists, anthropologists, educators, historians and business innovators, this book turns many current assumptions about school-based education upside down.
Free to Learn
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’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
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.
God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn
A book on unschooling, written from a Biblical Christian perspective.
Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized Society
A 1960 runaway bestseller on “the disgrace of the Organized System, of semimonopolies, government, advertisers etc. & the disaffection of the growing generation,” which inspired much of the ’60s youth resistance.
Growing Without Schooling Volumes 1-3
John Holt and various authors
These issues have Holt’s direct correspondence with families that were homeschooling families with a variety of approaches, their growth, legal challenges, and sharing of resources. His book reviews at the end of each issue are great.
Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves
McKee guides us between her roles as classroom teacher & homeschooling parent as awareness gradually emerges that edu. & schooling are very different things. A clear examination of what children need & why even well meaning schools can’t supply it.
How Children Fail
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
“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
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
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.
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.
Joy Baker: Trailblazer for Home-Based Education and Personalized Learning
Joy Baker believed that she could do a better job of educating her children than the State could, in spite of its good intentions. Chris Shute tells the story of her bitter encounters with the Authorities and eventual win of freedom for her children.
Jump Fall Fly from schooling to homeschooling to unschooling
Lehla Eldridge and Anthony Eldridge Rogers
How one family abandoned traditional education, embraced the freedom of childhood, self directed learning and play to better prepare their children for a rapidly changing future.
Learning All The Time
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
Learning Unlimited: The Home-Based Education Case Files
Fifteen stories — case-files — from the experiences of home-based educating families, collected over the course of thirty years by Roland Meighan.
Learning is Natural, School is Optional: The North Star Approach To Offering Teens a Head Start On Life
In telling the story of North Star’s beginnings, Ken Danford offers inspiration and guidance for how to support young people to leave school and improve their lives through self-directed learning.
Like Water The Extraordinary Approach to Education at Fairhaven School
Fairhaven is a Sudbury School in Maryland and McCaig is one of the founders. He writes briefly of its history, organization, and life inside the school. Quote “Students at Fairhaven do one thing more than any other- they decide.”
Living and Learning in the Free School
Mark W. Novak
This book is an ethnographic study of one of Canada’s publicly funded, Self-Directed learning environments in the 1970’s.
Making It Up As We Go Along: The Story of the Albany Free School
Making It Up as We Go Along is the story of the Albany Free School, a school based on real freedom, real community, real democratic principles, and real affection between teachers and students.
NO! Against Adult Supremacy
A collection of Youth Liberation writing, originally published online by Stinney Distro.
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
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
A landmark psychological critique of basic motivational strategy, this book attacks the strategy of dangling incentives in front of people to affect their behavior.
Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work
Akilah S. Richards
Richards examines the ways that her relationships to blackness, decolonization, and healing work all combine to form relationships and enable community-healing strategies rooted in an unschooling practice.
Rethinking Learning To Read
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.
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 Free - The Home Schooling Handbook
An alternative to the academically mediocre, often violent, unmotivating, passive education that characterizes so many public school classrooms.
School Is Dead: Alternatives In Education
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.
Schooling Beyond Measure & Other Unorthodox Essays about Education
In this collection of provocative articles and blog posts, Alfie Kohn challenges the conventional wisdom about topics ranging from how low-income children are taught to whether American schools have really fallen behind those in other countries.
Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life
Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis
Two economists argue that education is used by the bourgeoisie to control the workforce. They reject the notion that there are equal opportunities for all, because schools reproduce existing social inequalities.
SelfDesign: Nurturing Genius Through Natural Learning
SelfDesign is a philosophy and practice based in the belief that children are natural learners.
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.
Success Without School, Unschooling my Children From Birth to College
Jean Proffitt Nunnally
Jean Nunnally details her family’s journey of self-directed learning from discovery to practice to success. Her honest stories of meeting doubts, challenges, and fears are both compelling and inspiring.
Summerhill School - A New View of Childhood
Alexander Sutherland Neill
Originally published in 1960, Summerhill became an instant bestseller and a classic volume of education for an entire generation.
Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling
John Holt and Pat Farenga
A classic text on teaching children at home, updated in 2003 to reflect new laws, new lifestyles, and the growing new generation of homeschooling parents.
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.
Teaching the Restless: One School’s Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed
In Teaching the Restless, Mercogliano issues an urgent call for a shift in how our society perceives hyperactive children—away from theories of faulty brain chemistry and toward an understanding of children’s lives.
The Art of Self-Directed Learning: 23 Tips for Giving Yourself an Unconventional Education
A collection of 23 stories and insights, offering practical advice and inspiration to become a more motivated and self-guided learner.
The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money
This explosive, well-researched book argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students’ skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity―in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee.
The Lives of Children: The Story of the First Street School
A look at the short life of First Street School; a New York City free school in the mid-1960’s.
The Modern School Movement
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 Soft Revolution: A Student Handbook for Turning Schools Around
Neil Postman & Charles Weingartner
Inspiring many students in the ’70s to stop complaining about the state of education and do something about it.
The Student Resistance Handbook
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.
The Teacher Liberation Handbook: How to Leave School and Create a Place Where You and Young People Can Thrive
A guide about how to leave school and create a place where you and young people can thrive.
The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
This book tells teens how to take control of their lives and get a “real life.” Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program.
The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School
A work of nonfiction about a child raised with no coercion and no curriculum.
The Willed Curriculum, Unschooling, and Self-Direction: What Do Love, Trust, Respect, Care, and Compassion Have To Do With Learning?
A deep, thoughtful, intellectual look into unschooling. Dives into aspects of unschooling that are not often discussed, provides detailed real-life examples of the ideas, and ties the points together with intelligent conclusions.
Trusting Children: A look at Sudbury Education Around the World
Trusting Children is an anthology that shares the perspectives from different Sudbury model schools on issues of trusting children and trusting the model.
This book presents a provocative challenge to the conventional wisdom of raising children.
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.
Unschooling To University: Relationships Matter Most In A World Crammed With Content
This book explores the path of 30 unschooled kids who went to college and university and outlines how unschooling fits with brain and child development learning stages. It is full of evidence-based material.
Unschooling: Exploring Learning Beyond the Classroom
Academic text exploring Unschooling.
Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent
Iris Chen shares her journey of leaving behind authoritarian tiger parenting to embrace a respectful, relational way of raising children and supporting them in self-directed learning.
What Do I Do Monday?
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?
How do children learn without school? Will it work for us? How do I get started?
When Kids Rule the School
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.
Wild Children - Domesticated Dreams: Civilization and the Birth of Education
Layla AbdelRahim, an anthropologist, writes about people’s attitudes towards humans and nonhumans, expressed through dominance and violence, and the large role schools play in this.
Émile, or On Education
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.
Self-Directed Education Tidbits - YouTube Channel by Bria Bloom
Self-Directed Education Tidbits – from a grown unschooler involved in the movement.
Self-Taught: Life Stories From Self-Directed Learners
A documentary exploring the lives of several adults who chose to follow a self-directed path of learning.
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
Berkshire Freedom Academy
Berkshire Freedom Academy is the Berkshires first self-directed education center and community hub for all branches of the homeschooling umbrella but with a focus on self-direction.
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
LEAVE SCHOOL: what teachers can't tell you
LEAVE SCHOOL is a mobile app that teaches young people how to thrive without school.
The Unschool Files Community Zine
The Unschool Files Community Zine, an accessible, gritty, handmade zine that is currently publishing quarterly with the help of the volunteer Zine Team. It features the art, poetry, essays, recipes and musings of unschoolers around the world.
Podcasts & Radio Shows
SDE-focused audio content sources.
(Note: Audiobooks are included in "Books".)
Blog and podcast exploring creative and ethical living, revillaging, conscious parenting, home education and nature connection.
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.
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.
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.
One Free Family Podcast
A husband-wife podcast about gentle parenting, family life, and self-directed education.
Radical Learning Talks
Radical Learning Talks is a bi-weekly podcast focused on radically shifting the way we think about education, learning, community and what it means to build equitable relationships.
Rethinking Self-Directed Education
Conversations on the intersection of liberation, community, parenting, deschooling, decolonization
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 Unschool Files Podcast
a podcast that celebrates and examines the many ways folks live life without school with an evolving intersectional lens
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.
A Plea for More Tightly Focused Research
A discussion of ways to improve research on democratic schools and other informal educational environments.
An agentic perspective of self-directed learning as applied to children.
Michael K. Ponton, Christine T. Schuette, and Gary J. Confessore
This article promotes self-efficacy and agency for children to help them develop into Self-Directed learners.
Autonomous and informal education under threat: Summerhill, UK, Sudbury Schools in The Netherlands and home education
A brief introduction to legal challenges against Self-Directed Education in schools and home.
Children Teach Themselves to Read
In this article, Peter Gray describes seven principles of how individuals learn to read without formal schooling.
Democratic schooling: What happens to young people who have charge of their own education?
Peter Gray & David Chanoff
A follow-up study of the graduates of the Sudbury Valley School, a democratically administered primary and secondary school that supports Self-Directed Education.
Differences between home educated and traditionally educated young adults
This study assesses whether homeschooled young adults’ needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness are better satisfied as compared to young adults who were not homeschooled.
Enthusiastic Students: A Study of Motivation in Two Alternatives to Mandatory Instruction
Donald A. Berg, Jennifer Henderlong Corpus
Research study using Self-Determination Theory as a framework for understanding motivation in a Self-Directed learning community and a home school resource center.
Evaluation Of A Temporary, Immersive Learning Community Based On Worldschooling
This article describes the evaluation of a temporary, immersive learning community for Self-Directed teen learners, Project World School (PWS), which was based on a new, pedagogical approach to learning called worldschooling.
Exploring Unschoolers’ Experiences In Learning To Read: How Reading Happens Within The Self-Directed Learning Environment
Through interviews with twenty eight unschooled adults, the author explores how reading can be learned naturally, without adult intervention; and how this may effect later motivation for reading, writing, and other academic endeavors.
Framing Unschooling Using Theories Of Motivation
Dr. Sherman utilizes research surrounding multiple theories of motivation to defend the practices of Self-Directed Education in unschooling.
Free Alternative Schools in Germany
In this essay the roots of Free Alternative Schools (FAS) are depicted and their history in Germany over the last 40 years is sketched.
Freed to Learn: Five Fundamental Concepts of Democratic Education
Leo J. Fahey
Leo J. Fahey identifies five aspects that he argues are fundamental to a democratic education: self-direction, emotional readiness, student choice, learning to learn, and community self-governance.
Grown unschoolers' evaluation of their unschooling experience
Peter Gray & Gina Riley
This peer reviewed research article summarizes the unschooling experiences of 75 adults who were unschoolers for at least the years that would have been their last two years of high school.
Grown unschoolers' experiences with higher education and employment
Gina Riley & Peter Gray
A sample of 75 adults, who had been unschooled for at least the years that would have been their last two years of high school, answered questions about their subsequent pursuits of higher education and careers.
How my now six-year-old daughter learned how to write her name, recognize numbers, read some words and draw: A narrative
This narrative examines how the author’s young child learns basic skills without being directly taught to do so.
How unschoolers can help to end traditional reading instruction
A professor of Early Childhood Education describes how his children learned to read without formal instruction.
Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning as Unschooling: Relevant Studies and Contemporary and Indigenous Definitions of Unschooling
E. D. Woodford
Looking at Unschooling through the lens of indigenous living and learning.
Is There A Curriculum In This House?
The author, speaking on unschooling, seeks to help us redefine and reclaim the concept of curriculum as an internal path toward learning.
Laying the Foundations for Democratic Behavior – A Comparison of Two Different Approaches to Democratic Education
This article investigates the question: In what ways and to what extent can alternative models of education support the development of democratic skills in children?
Legacy of trust: Life after the Sudbury Valley School experience.
Daniel Greenberg & Mimsy Sadofsky
This book describes a study conducted in 1991 to determine what became of Sudbury students after they left.
Letting The Child Work: Real Learning, Real Play In School
This article gathers arguments that support play as not only a pleasure but a necessity for growth, learning, and mental health in children.
No School Left Undemocratic: Experiencing Self-Government In A Free School
This ethnographic work examines democracy in action, at a free school in Canada, and highlights the skills learned that promote good citizenship and self-confidence.
Other Education in Practice
A short exploration of democratic alternative schools around the world.
Pedagogues for a New Age: childrearing practices of unschooling parents
Rebecca Zellner Grunzke
This dissertation compares the childrearing practices of parents whose children are engaged in unschooling, homeschooling, or traditional schooling.
Play as the foundation for hunter-gatherer social existence
Hunter-gatherer cultures promoted the playful side of their human nature, which made possible their cooperative, egalitarian ways of living.
Playing in the zone of proximal development
Peter Gray & Jay Feldman
A qualitative study of self-directed age mixing between adolescents (ages 12–19) and young children (ages 4–11) at a democratic school.
Producing unschoolers: Learning through living in a U.S. education movement
Donna Harel Kirschner
An ethnographic study of the unschooling movement, through a countercultural lens.
Self-Directed Education -- Unschooling and Democratic Schooling
Written for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education, this in-depth article provides a comprehensive overview of SDE, from its evolutionary origins to its modern expressions.
Self-Directed Learning and Student Attitudes
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.
Self-directed learners change our world: Self-directed learning as a force for innovation, discovery, and social change
Lucy Guglielmino, Elizabeth Gray, Kim_Le Arvary, Joe Asen, Donna Goldstein, Fran Kamin, Monica Nicoll, Nancy Patrick, Krista Shellabarger, Deborah Snowberger
A look at notable, Self-Directed individuals, and their contributions to society.
Sing, O Muse: On the Link Between Creativity and Self-Directed Education
This article discusses five ways in which the concepts of creativity and Self-Directed Education overlap.
Skype interview with Jerry Mintz, Director of the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO)
Helen E. Lees
This interview address key problems facing the alternative education movement.
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 Early Learning Center at Jefferson Open School: (Re)discovering the joy of learning.
Ana Mettler and Mary Korte
This article highlights the successes and challenges of developing Self-Directed learning environments for K-12 students within publicly funded school systems.
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 Most Democratic School of Them All Why the Sudbury Model of Education Should Be Taken Seriously
Public high school English teacher Christine R. Traxler challenges the dominant model of education and discusses why the Sudbury model is a much more compelling model for all children.
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
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.
The role of Self-Determination Theory and CET in home education
This article explores Self-Determination Theory, Cognitive Evaluation Theory, and intrinsic motivation as they apply to home education.
Toward a critical unschooling pedagogy
This paper outlines the theoretical, pedagogical, and philosophical framework for critical unschooling.
Trusting Children: Lifelong Learning And Autonomy Within The Unschooling Movement
Lorena Sanchez Tyson
The purpose of this article is to explore the concept of autonomy in the context of education and analyze the complex features of unschooling, a particular movement within the home-based education paradigm.
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 and How I Became Liberated
This article is a brief, personal narrative of how the author found his way to unschooling through The Teenage Liberation Handbook.
Unschooling and social justice/multicultural education: (Un)realized potential
Kristan A. Morrison
Research on Unschooling families and whether or how they experience a social justice curriculum.
Unschooling in Hong Kong: a case study
This study describes the experiences of an unschooling family in Hong Kong, where alternative forms of education are discouraged.
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?
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.
Worldschooling: Homeschooling Away from Home
A review and analysis of five retreats organized by Project World School in 2016, based on pre- and post-experience questionnaires filled out by the participants.
‘Unschooling’ In The Context Of Growing Mental Health Concerns Among Indian Students: The Journey Of 3 Middle-Class Unschooling Families
Emma Emily de Wit, Daniel Eagles, Barbara Regeer
This article illustrates how issues such as parental experiences, culture, and concerns over mental health caused three Indian families to unschool their children and looks at their experiences with the practice of unschooling.
Websites, Blogs & News
Online sources of SDE-related information and support.
Blog and podcast exploring creative and ethical living, revillaging, conscious parenting, home education and nature connection.
Facebook page for unschoolers and life learners in Calcutta. Also a WhatsApp group you can ping the number to be added to.
Deschooling and Unschooling Support
A group for monthly Q & A about anything related to deschooling and unschooling.
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.
A safe and inclusive community of Freeschoolers, Peaceful Parenting Passion-led Learners, Worldschoolers and Radical/Wholelife Unschoolers.
Freilernen in der Praxis
In dieser Gruppe können Fragen zum Freilernen in der Praxis diskutiert werden.
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.
A site for students who are stuck in school.
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.
Grown Unschooler Opportunity Network
A network for grown unschoolers (ages 18 to 20-something) to find new work, volunteering, travel, and other exciting opportunities.
A free website that shares long-form profiles of grown unschoolers, ages 20-99, in their own words.
Home and Unschoolers in Spain
Homeschool in China
Group for anyone who is a homeschooled student in China or interested in homeschooling in China. Let’s share our experience, make friends, help each others and start a community!
Homeschooling & Unschooling in Italia
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.
News and community for homeschoolers in India
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.
A Facebook group specifically for Unschooling in Ireland.
Facebook group. Support for the beautiful LGBTQ Unschoolers!
Community learning resource network, built to support Self-Directed Education on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
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.
Oyna Yap Boz
“Oyna Yap Boz” is a project advocating for child-led play and self-directed education. It is a non-profit project that works on translating and creating documents about SDE and organizing child-led play events.
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.
Peaceful Parenting/Unschooling Support
A safe, respectful place we can discuss Peaceful Parenting/Unschooling/Radical Unschooling topics, ask related questions and post about our journeys.
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.
Peter Gray's Website for People Interested in Play, Child Development, and Education
A website where people can download pdfs of Peter’s academic articles, can find out about his books, and access some of his recorded talks.
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 Learning Blog
A blog that supports parents in their deschooling process
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.
Radical Unschooling de PR (Aprendiendo Naturalmente)
Información e inspiración sobre educación no tradicional y disruptiva; unschooling, natural learning, self centered education, y otras variantes.
Radical Unschooling en Español
Apoyo con información y experiencias de vida sobre el Radical Unschooling en español.
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.
Support site for kids who hate school. Encourages them to consider SDE if possible.
A collection of resources for Texas homeschoolers: Homeschooling laws, TX unschooling groups, videos, other websites & blogs, unschooling conferences, colleges & transcripts, and discussion forums.
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.
Welcome guide & community for homeschoolers and unschoolers on the Danish island Bornholm. Meetup group: https://www.facebook.com/Bornholms-Frie-Familieklub-110726500723675
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.
Hola colegas y amigos apasionados/interesados por/en la desescolarización radical. Es juntos como aprendemos. Por eso un grupo en el que todos podamos compartir.
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.
Learning all the time, everywhere, naturally, unconditionally and happily.
Unschooling To University Blog
Information, support and advocacy for self-directed learning in the home.
Unschooling UAE Facebook Group
We are an online community of families based in the UAE, and are passionate advocates of self-directed education and life learning.
This page is a celebration of all things unschooling. Join our friendly community and gain support and comfort on your learning adventure.
Gathering together information about unschooling and people who share the values of unschooling in Ukraine.
Unschooling en France
Pour les familles pratiquant l’unschooling en France/ en français ou s’y intéressant :)
Unschooling in Vietnam
Nơi kết nối những người quan tâm đến Unschooling.
Unschooling of ontscholen in België
Over een gezin dat de jonge mens vertrouwt in zijn/haar leerproces
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!
Blog and social media pages dedicated to exploring peaceful parenting, unschooling, and decolonization from an Asian American lens.
We Are Worldschoolers
Ultimate worldschoolers online destination, filled with tons of valuable resources, interviews, how-tos, mini courses, articles, reflections and incredible insights, sourced from within our community.
Westman Homeschool Connection
A facebook home for Westman Homeschoolers! A place to share links, info, books/resources and local activities!
Blog highlighting neurodivergent unschooling and autonomous existence, conversation, and practices from the perspectives and experiences of my queer family of color. Where joy, reflection, play and ease are absolutes in our living liberation work.
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
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