Books and Articles

Current Staff Favorites

Free To Learn
by Dr. Peter Gray

This is a book we recommend to those new to Self-Directed Education as an accessible, well-written introduction by one of the most foremost experts on the topic.

Raising Free People: Unschooling As Liberation And Healing
by Akilah Richards

This long-awaited book from unschooling parent and self-directed education advocate Akilah Richards is our favorite intro text for those looking for a more personal and experience-based exploration than offered in the research or ‘parenting advice’ type books.

Emergent Strategy

by adrienne maree brown

Part of how some of us came to this work was through exploring how change happens in individuals and societies. At some point, “how can we grow and support the growth of other humans?” spiraled out to “how can we seed and nurture the growth of new communities?”

How to Love

by Thich Nhat Hanh

We relate to facilitation as a practice, because our facilitation is connected to our work being in relationship in ways that recognize, cherish, celebrate, and make space for the continued blossoming of the best in all involved. This is a book we keep on hand (and frequently replace quietly when curious minds pocket the school copy), along with its companion booklet True Love, because it has lots of light, clear action steps tied to the kind of love we’re trying to practice.

Here’s the Brainpickings synopsis.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish, Kimberly Ann Coe

A popular book within the facilitator community, this one was introduced to us early on by a parent who had found it helpful in her relationship with her kid. It’s come up at trainings since, suggested by both facilitators and parents, most recently for the insights about problem-solving.

Trust Kids
by carla bergman

An upcoming anthology from a learner, creator, and parent who has co-founded and run many projects in support of youth liberation, featuring voices of many of our favorite collaborators and other folks we respect.

Everywhere All The Time: A New Deschooling Reader
by Matt Hern

To copy right from the press website: “Contributors include, among many others, Ivan Illich, Grace Llewellyn, John Taylor Gatto, Vinoba Bhave, Emma Goldman, Gustava Esteva, Madhu Prakash, Pat Farenga, the Pedro Abizu Puerto Rican High School and Albany Free School, as well as interviews with unschooled children and an array of international alternative-to-school experimenters in Israel, Thailand, India, and Mali.

Far From The Tree
by Andrew Solomon

While in every relationship the individuals involved are magnificent, strange universes, sometimes reading striking illustrations–such as these case studies in which parents reflect on their relationships with their distinctly different children–helps us reflect on our perspectives and relationships.

Posts / Essays

Articles by Mel Compo, Abby Oulton…

…Ruben Alvarado, Anthony Galloway, David O’Connor, Crystal Byrd Farmer, Nancy Tilton, Rebecka Koritz, and more! Agile Learning Facilitators from across the network have contributed articles to Tipping Points, the publication run by the Alliance for Self-Directed Education

I’m Unschooled; Yes, I can Write.

Life-long self-directed learner Idzie Desmaris’ blog

aka How To Think Like An Unschooler

Carol Black’s thought experiment

What happens when Unschoolers grow up?

Peter Gray’s post here links to the results of a study on outcomes for grown unschoolers

A Mathematician’s Lament

Paul Lockhart’s reflection on maths, both in reality and according to conventional schooling…

Further Reading

There are many kinds of resources relevant to self-directed education and Agile Learning Centers. There are works specifically about self-directed education, like Akilah Richards’ amazing podcast and the Agile Learning Centers Network Starter Kit. There are sometimes useful frameworks in standard educator-training texts, like the Freire, Dewey, and Vygotsky folks coming from conventional education are likely familiar with. There are interesting histories and ideas in works on “alternative schools,” such as those on Reggio or Montessori philosophies or on democratic free schools and Modern Schools.

Our facilitators are particularly fans of contemporary work on learning sciences and human development, like that by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Sanjay Sarma, Alison Gopnik, and Bethany Saltman. And there’s always helpful guidance in resources on relationships, ecosystems, and movement-building, like the works of Mia Mingus, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Sasha Costanza-Chock, and Lama Rod Owens…and so many more! The learning is abundant and everywhere, once we start looking and learn to recognize it.

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