For the Love of Learning – Alliance for Self-Directed Education – Epi#85


Show Title:

For the Love of Learning Episode 85

Alliance for Self-Directed Education

-During the showtimes, watch the show live by clicking this link-

Monday December 5, 2016  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday December 6, 2016 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST


Pat Farenga
Akilah S. Richards
Peter Gray
Tomis Parker
Danielle Levine
Brooke Newman
Scott Noelle
Kerry McDonald





It’s Time To Show The World: Self-Directed Education Works!

Education is the process of acquiring knowledge, values, and skills that are conducive to a satisfying and meaningful life.

Self-Directed Education is education that derives from self-chosen activities and life experiences of the learner, whether or not those activities were deliberately chosen for the purpose of education.

Some of us are already choosing to practice self-directed education in our families and within our larger communities. We know, first hand, that self-directed education works beautifully when the conditions are provided to enable it.

We invite you to join us in building the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Together, we can create a movement that will liberate children and empower them to take charge of their own education — the way nature intended.

Pat Farenga


Patrick Farenga brings more than 34 years of fieldwork, advocacy, and personal experience (he and his wife unschooled their three daughters) to help parents and children learn in their own ways. Farenga is a writer and education activist who addresses academic and general audiences about working with children, not on children, to help them learn.

Farenga worked closely with one of the founders of the modern homeschooling movement, the late author and teacher John Holt, and published Growing Without Schooling magazine (GWS) from 1985 until it stopped in 2001. GWS was the nation’s first periodical about learning without going to school, started by Holt in 1977.

Farenga speaks as a homeschooling expert at education conferences around the world—such as in Colombia, Ireland, France, England, Canada, and Italy—as well as on commercial radio and television talk shows in the United States (The Today Show, Good Morning America) and abroad.

Farenga writes about homeschooling and self-directed learning for a number of publications and operates the John Holt/Growing Without Schooling website, He is also a founding member of

Farenga’s books include The Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling (Holt, 1998), Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling (Perseus, 2003), The Legacy of John Holt: A Man Who Genuinely Understood, Trusted, and Respected Children (HoltGWS, 2013), and the forthcoming How to Report Unschooling to School Officials (HoltGWS, 2015).

Farenga has also written chapters about homeschooling in Encyclopedia Britannica (2014, 2010), A Parent’s Guide to Homeschooling (Mars Publishing, 2002), Creating Learning Communities (FER, 2000), The Handbook of Alternative Education (Macmillan, 1994), The Exhausted School (Oxford Village, 1992), Schooling At Home (John Muir, 1990), and The Encyclopedia of School Administration (Sage, 1988).


Information, books, and other resources about unschooling and John Holt:

Starting to Homeschool with Pat Farenga (This video series will be available for sale by Sept. 30, 2015):

How to Report Unschooling to School Officials (this will be available for sale by Sept. 30, 2015):

Growing Without Schooling: The Complete Collection (this will be available for sale before the end of 2015). All 143 issues of John Holt’s groundbreaking magazine, reformatted for print and digital reading.

Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling,

The Legacy of John Holt: A Man Who Genuinely Understood, Trusted, and Respected Children,

Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children by John Holt,

Akilah S. Richards


Akilah S. Richards is a writer, mama, partner, digital nomad, and unschooling activist. She produces podcasts, books, classes, and articles on radical self-expression in practice and in study. Her online home is where she works to support, connect, and highlight people of color designing their own liberation through self-directed education and love-centered community building.

Dr. Peter Gray


Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 7th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine. His own play includes not only his writing and research, but also long distance bicycling, kayaking, backwoods skiing, and vegetable gardening. Before joining the faculty at Boston College, he earned his undergraduate degree at Columbia College and Ph.D. in biological sciences at the Rockefeller University, and taught at Hunter College and City College in New York.

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, is now available in paperback and for the kindle.

See also his Psychology Today blog and and join him on Facebook

Tomis Parker


Tomis Parker has been working with self-directed education models since 2008. After four years with the Manhattan Free School and some freelancing in the EdTech world, Tomis helped birth the first Agile Learning Center in NYC. In 2013, he began running the ALC in NYC where he remained the Director through the 2015-16 school year. During that time, he oversaw the launch of the Agile Learning Centers brand, trained new leadership, consulted with The Mosaic School (now ALC Mosaic), co-organized the first Agile Learning Facilitator training program, and co-founded the ALC Network. Tomis has experience in both facilitating with young people in a self-directed environment, as well as with the administrative and entrepreneurial aspects of the work. He is currently organizing the launch of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education with a growing group of folks from around the self-directed education world.


Agile Learning Centers


ALC Mosaic

ALC Network

Danielle Levine


Danielle A. Levine is a lawyer and children’s rights activist. Her firsthand experience of the psychological and legal harms caused by mainstream schooling led her to join the unschooling movement. Her personal mission is to promote greater legal status for children, including the right to vote, exercise free speech, and make intimate decisions.

Danielle’s current projects include: Executive Director at Dida Academy, founding board member and volunteer teacher at Brooklyn Apple Academy, and working group member of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. During law school, Danielle represented suspended students at their administrative hearings with the Suspension Representation Project. After graduating from law school, Danielle served as the Director of Continuing Legal Education at the Brooklyn Bar Association, where she worked with expert attorneys and judges to produce specialized legal courses.

Danielle is happiest when she’s hanging out with kids and helping them learn more about whatever’s important to them. She has worked with learners of all ages as a personal tutor for several years. Danielle is interested in the governance issues related to independent educational ventures and increasing financial accessibility to self-directed education.

Brooke Newman

Brooke Newman was trapped in the compulsory school system for way too long. She was fortunate to have parents who were not only open to an alternative model of education, but also found the money to send her to a school that was radically different. She is a proud graduate of the Sudbury Valley School (SVS) in Framingham, MA. She went on to study political theory at Eugene Lang College at the New School University. She also completed her Masters in Public Administration at the Baruch School of Public Affairs in New York City. Her time at SVS, coupled with her years working as a writer, researcher and nonprofit administrator, led to her interest in developing SDE based opportunities that would be accessible to all families and SDE organizations that would be sustainable. Her affiliation with the Alliance began in 2013, while she was working on projects to develop SDE based groups in the Boston metro area. Brooke is a nonprofit consultant and writer and lives with her partner, a SVS graduate, in Santa Cruz, CA.

Scott Noelle

Scott Noelle is a parenting coach and the author of The Daily Groove: How to Enjoy Parenting… Unconditionally!. Since 2006, more than 20,000 families have been served by his practical parenting wisdom through the free Daily Groove mailing list (online at

Scott believes that children are innately good and that a natural, partnership style of parenting is the best way to foster their goodness. He teaches parents how to avoid coercive parenting methods by focusing on four positive pathways to power — Partnership, Authenticity, Trust, and Heart — an approach he calls PATH Parenting.

As an advocate of homeschooling and self-directed learning, Scott is on the board of directors of the newly formed Alliance for Self-Directed Education ( He lives in Portland, Oregon (USA), with his partner Beth Noelle and their two teenage children.

The Daily Groove –

Book — The Daily Groove: How to Enjoy Parenting… Unconditionally!

Coaching Info–

PATH Parenting –

The Continuum Concept-

Co-sleeping Info-

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald has been deeply involved in education policy and practice for two decades. She has a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. from Harvard University, where she studied education administration, planning, and social policy. She is a writer for Natural Mother Magazine, a founding member of, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Kerry lives and learns together with her husband and four, never-been-schooled children in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She blogs at Whole Family Learning (

This episode is produced by Anne Boie

Hosted by Lainie Liberti




Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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