Self-Directed Education

The following recordings, from numerous presenters, all focus on self-directed education or homeschooling. For more information on the different presenters, read their bios at the bottom of the page.

Navigating the Home Education Adventure

With Panel of Unschooling Mamas. Q&A Facilitated by Bria Bloom

Recorded September 9 2020

Join this panel of home education, unschooling mamas who are here to support you, answer your questions, and share their diverse experiences. Are you thinking about or just starting out with home education and/or unschooling and want to know more about what it looks like for different families? Are you finding some struggle in balancing family life, work, and supporting your children? Do you have questions that have come up regarding home education or unschooling that you would like to ask people who have been experiencing, living, and practicing this for years? This is your chance to ask your questions and learn more about how homeschooling and unschooling can serve your child and help build community, virtually and globally.

Raising Free Black, non-Black Indigenous, and People of Color Children

With Akilah Richards

Recorded August 26 2020

What does it take to make and then keep a commitment to raise free people amid the pattern of anti-Black racism and the pervasive myth of white supremacy?

During an hour-long interactive session, Akilah, a well-respected voice in the unschooling community and author of the forthcoming  Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work, will offer some of her ideas and experiences and invite discussion focused on and for people raising BIPOC young people today. Come learn and share liberation language for partnership-centered ways of living with our children, protecting their freedom, and fashioning our own.

Coronavirus and the Rediscovery of Childhood

With Peter Gray and Lenore Skenazy

Recorded August 20 2020

The virus shut down schools and after-school adult-directed activities for kids. So, what happened? Kids suddenly had free time that they didn’t have before. They experienced boredom and found ways to overcome it. Mind-building, body-building, resilience-building ways! Because that’s what kids do when they have free time. Parents, seeing their initiative and competence, gained new appreciation of their children’s capacities for independence, so they granted them new opportunities for such. In this webinar, Lenore Skenazy and Peter Gray, of the Let Grow nonprofit, will describe the results of a survey of how 1,600 families have dealt with children at home during the pandemic. They will also describe how Let Grow has been working with schools and communities to bring childhood back to children and will suggest ways that families and society as a whole might apply the lessons learned from the pandemic in creating a better post-pandemic future. 

Should You Send Your Kids Back to School in September? A Free Webinar for People Thinking of Homeschooling

With Peter Gray, Bria Bloom, and James Mason Esq.

Recorded August 12 2020

As state and local governments consider plans for reopening schools for 2020-2021, many parents are considering the possibility of not sending their children back to school. Many families have found that their children learned very well at home, during the school closures of this past school year, in ways that are more meaningful and enduring, and less stressful, than the ways they had been learning at school. Everyone knows that the threat of Covid-19 is going to be present for some time to come, and children indeed do spread the virus to one another and to family at home. Is homeschooling a reasonable option for your children? What are the legal requirements for homeschooling in the United States? What does research show about the success of homeschooling? What are the family and community conditions that maximize the success of homeschooling? Why has the variety of homeschooling commonly called “unschooling” grown so rapidly in recent years? These are among the questions that the panel will address so you can make the right decision for your children.

Self-Directed Education During Uncertain Times and Beyond: A Q&A Session

With Akilah S. Richards, Alex Khost, and Bria Bloom

Recorded April 29 2020

Suddenly, many kids have more free-time at home to explore and play, and now more than ever families are spending increased time together. Many families are witnessing their young people engage in new activities that speak to their own passions, while others are experiencing the difficulties and struggles of forced school-at-home.

In a follow-up session to Peter Gray’s webinar “Education is Much More Than What is Taught in School”, three prominent leaders of the Self Directed Education movement will address the specific questions, puzzlement, and situations coming up for you in your relationships with your kids, and how the values of raising free people, unschooling, and self-directed education can be applied to our various situations.

The Hidden Opportunity of Coronavirus School Closures: Education is Much More Than What is Taught in School

With Peter Gray

Recorded April 19 2020

A pandemic is a terrible thing, but it never hurts to look for silver linings. Professor Peter Gray has, for years, been writing about the harm created by our over-scheduling of children’s lives. We have gradually, over decades, been increasing the time that children spend at school and school-like activities outside of school and decreasing their opportunities for free play and other self-directed activities. The consequences include record levels of anxiety, depression, and even suicide among schoolchildren. Now, suddenly, the schools and all those after-school organized activities are canceled. Suddenly, children have free time. How are they using that time? What will they learn from this new-found freedom? How might this experience lead parents, educators, and all of society to reassess our obsession with keeping children so busy with adult-directed activities and so deprived of free play? Might we regain an appreciation of what childhood is all about?In this session Peter will address these questions and make time available for questions, comments, and discussion.

Peter Gray

Peter Gray

Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, is the author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn for the magazine Psychology Today. He is a founding member and president of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education and a founding board director of the nonprofit Let Grow, the mission of which is to renew children’s freedom to play and explore the outdoors, independently of adults.

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Akilah S. Richards

Akilah S. Richards

Akilah Richards hosts a widely celebrated podcast, Fare of the Free Child, that features more than 150 episodes on Self-Directed Education among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. She is a public speaker who has written for and has conducted livestream sessions with publications including Mater MeaMy Brown BabyMutha Magazine, and Tipping Points, the online magazine of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, of which she is a founding board member. Akilah is the author of the forthcoming book Raising Free People, and she and her partner are raising two self-directed daughters.

Bria Bloom

Bria Bloom

Bria Bloom is a born-and-raised unschooler. Through growing up as an unschooler, she has had personal, life-long experience in the values of Self-Directed Education (SDE) and youth liberation, which led her to become an advocate for SDE and young people’s rights. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and stepson, who attends a center for Self-Directed Education. She is a writer and a facilitator and founder of PDX Flying Squads (a community for self-directed young people in Portland). She is also the Managing Coordinator for the Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE).

Alex Khost

Alex Khost

Alex Khost is the Editor-in-Chief and a regular columnist for Tipping Points, the online magazine of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. He is the founder of Flying Squads and Voice of the Children, providing youth with self-directed opportunities, and serves on the Board of Friends of the Modern School. He also is a facilitator at the self-directed homeschooling coop, Brooklyn Apple Academy. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner and three self-directed children.

James Mason Esq.

James Mason Esq.

James Mason, Esq. is Vice President of Litigation and Development for the Home School Legal Defense Association. He has represented families in a wide range of challenging situations and has set precedents that have expanded freedom for the homeschooling community. Jim and his wife Debbie have homeschooled all seven of their children, six of whom have graduated and one of whom is still learning at home.

Panel of Unschooling Mamas

Panel of Unschooling Mamas

MEREDITH KEITH CHIRCH supports her daughter in her self-directed life, and is passionate about being an advocate for the SDE movement, particularly the POC in SDE (people of color in self-directed education) movement. Meredith enjoys spending time on multiple projects related to her varying roles, including those of dancer, vocalist, musician, self- directed learning advocate, and health educator. She’s part of a low-tech, car-free, school-free, conscious living minimalist family who tends to follow what will make them happy in life, whether it be with big decisions or day-to-day ones.

BROOKLYN WETZEL is a grown unschooler. From a young age, she rejected institutional schooling and sought her own path in music promotion, art, and small business. Over the last 5 years, she has facilitated at a democratic school, ran a photo booth business and worked at an Indigenous language game start-up in rural Montana. She is currently a facilitator at The Hub micro academy. Brooklyn has one child who likes animation, science and video games and one child who is a digital and traditional artist. Both are radically unschooled.

LOU HOLLIS-WILKERSON: As a widowed entrepreneurial unschooling parent, grief unschooled this homeschooling mama into the self-directed unschooling journey. Lou creatively manages a 25 plus year career as a model/actor/talent/youth advocate, as well as managing the careers of two of her three children as talent in the entertainment industry. Lou shares her healing journey as she overcomes grief, depression, anxiety and traumas through the new podcast Grief, Growth & Goals.

MELISSA BINGHAM is a mom of a two-year-old, Carter, and a sixteen-year-old, Avahrie, who has been on an unschooling journey for almost two years. Her passion to pursue unschooling with her family stemmed from her own childhood experience of being homeschooled. Melissa looks forward to her own deschooling journey as she partners with the youth in her community to help them achieve critical life skills including emotional stability, self-reliance, and confidence in their natural talents.

NAOMI FISCHER is a mother of two who lives in London, England. She unschooled her children from 2012-2018, and they now attend a democratic school in Paris. She is a clinical psychologist, and she has special interests in trauma, parenting, and autism. She is a freelance writer and is currently writing a book on the psychology of self-directed learning.