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.
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?”
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.
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
Paul Lockhart’s reflection on maths, both in reality and according to conventional schooling…
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.
- The Conscious Parent – Shefali Tsabary
- The Philosophical Baby – Alison Gopnik
- Holding Change – adrienne maree brown
- Parenting For Liberation – Trina Green Brown
- Untigering – Iris Chen
- How We Show Up – Mia Birdsong
- Carework – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Sanarasinha
- Schooling the World: What the Modern World has Forgotten about Children and Learning – Carol Black
- A Playful Path – Peter Gray
- Don’t Go Back to School: How to Fuel the Internal Engine of Learning – Maria Popova
- Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings – Dr. David Lancy
- The Self-Driven Child – William Stixrud and Ned Johnson
- Harnessing Children’s Natural Ways of Learning – Luba Vangelova
- Decolonizing Non-Violent Education – meenadchi
- Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind – Victoria Law and China Martens
- How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses – Joshua Davis
- Brainology: Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn – Carol Dweck
- Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School Grace Llewellyn & Amy Silver
- Don’t Go Back to School Kio Stark
- Flow Mihayli Csikszentmihalyi
- The Art of Loving Erich Fromm
- Finite and Infinite Games James P. Carse
- Super Parents, Super Children – Frances Kendall
- Punished by Rewards – Alfie Kohn
- Education and the Significance of Life – J. Krishnamurti
- Weapons of Mass Instruction – John Taylor Gatto
- Summerhill – A.S. Neil
- Democratic Education – Yaachov Hecht
- Free At Last – Daniel Greenberg