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*Most of the descriptions of the resources are from the Alliance for Self-Directed Education website -


Raising Free People - Akilah 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.

Deschooling SocietyIvan Illich

Written in 1971 but still relevant today, Illuch argues that 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 success. He offers alternatives that are worth thinking about.

Free to Learn - Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life - Peter Gray

A leading expert in childhood development makes the case for why self-directed learning -- "unschooling" -- is the best way to get kids to learn. 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. Drawing on evidence and research, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. (description from Amazon)

Trust Kids! - carla bergman (Editor); Matt Hern (Foreword)

Trust Kids! weaves together essays, interviews, poems, and artwork from scholars, activists, and artists about our relationships with children in all areas of our lives. (description from AK Press)



Schooling the World: White Man's Last Burden - Carol Black

This film takes a challenging and deeply disturbing look at the effects of the spread of "schooling" historically across the world and on the world’s last sustainable indigenous cultures. 

Unschooled - Rachel Beth Anderson and Timothy Grucza

Three inner city high school students in North Philadelphia embark on a radical journey to direct their own education. What happens when children have the power to decide what and how they learn?


"Ours First" - Dr. Kelly Limes-Taylor Henderson 

Dr. Limes-Taylor Henderson eloquently describes how self-directed education was the way of learning marginalized groups long before the time of colonialism, and is not only a new fad for white upper-middle class families. 

"Is Unschooling the Way to Decolonize Education" - Valerie Vande Panne

"As the ongoing pandemic brings into sharp focus the ways kids are learning (or not), Next City looks at self-directed education, which respects each student’s passions, encourages self-sufficiency and turns the city into a classroom." 

"They Played Their Hand, and We Have to Say, "We're Not Going Back" - Crystal Byrd Farmer

Byrd Farmer explains that the coronavirus crisis and the closing of schools have highlighted how conventional schools have failed and how white supremacy operates; and what we can do about it moving forward. 

 Organizations / Programs 

Ka-Lo Academy - Oakland, CA

With a deep belief in each person's ability to forge their own paths, Ka-Lo Academy supports young people and their families create their own meaningful education path outside of conventional schooling. 

Alder Commons - Portland, Oregon

Centering the values of collective liberation, self-determination, and community support, Alder Commons is a self-directed learning community center where kids and adults alike can attend workshops & classes, and spend their time freely, whose mission is to cultivate a multi-age community of self-directed learners. 

Alliance for Self-Directed Education

This non-profit organization brings together self-directed education practioners from around the world, and is "dedicated to normalized and legitimizing Self-Directed Education." 

Heartwood ALC - Clarkson, Georgia

With a focus on equity and social justice, The Heartwood School is an Agile Learning Center that facilitates self-directed education for young people and is a space for kids to pursue their curiosities and develop community.  

Gastonia Freedom School - Gastonia, North Carolina

This black-owned, woman-owned, disability-owned Agile Learning Center offers students with disabilities "offers real-life education in an environment that encourages creativity and independence. We use self-directed learning to give children the freedom to go their own way!"


Fare of the Free Child - Akilah Richards

"Fare of the Free Child is a weekly-published podcast community centering Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color in liberatory living and learning practices. With a particular interest in unschooling and the Self-Directed Education movement, Akilah S. Richards and guests discuss the fears and the fares (costs) of raising free black and brown children in a world that tends to diminish, dehumanize, and disappear them." (from the Raising Free People website) 

Rethinking Self-Directed Education - Bria and Daveed

"Self-directed education, unschooling, partnership parenting, raising free people. For us these are all collective liberation movements. We chat about the intersections of liberation, community, anti-oppression, parenting, SDE, Deschooling, decolonization, unschooling, societal implications, and the systems of oppression working against us. Going deep on our own experiences and the way the systems interact with us as individuals and communities trying to treat and raise children differently in society." (from Apple Podcasts preview) 

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