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How Do People Practice SDE?
Self-Directed Education can be school-based or home-based with community support.

In order to fully pursue Self-Directed Education, school-aged children must be freed from standard, top-down, curriculum-based schooling. The legalities vary from nation to nation, and sometimes from state to state within nations, but in the United States there are, generally, two means to avoid such schooling without risk of arrest for truancy.

One is to enroll the children in a legally certified school that is designed for Self-Directed Education, and the other is to register them as homeschoolers and then allow them to direct their own homeschooling. On this website we refer to these two routes, respectively, as school-based Self-Directed Education and home-based Self-Directed Education. Home-based Self-Directed Education is often referred to as unschooling, a term coined in the 1970s by the author, former teacher, and educational theorist John Holt.

The practical distinction between these two approaches to Self-Directed Education is blurring with the emergence of a growing number of learning centers for Self-Directed Education, which are not always legally schools but are places where homeschoolers can find a community of other children and adults to facilitate their learning. Home-based Self-Directed Education does not just occur at home!

Want to learn more about how Self-Directed Education shows up in the world? Check out this video: How We See Self-Directed Education

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