Self-Directed Education

Found a great article on “Self-directed education” (aka “Natural Learning” or “unschooling”)!

Self-directed Education

The subtitle says it all, “Self-directed education is the most natural and joyful form of education”.
<mic drop>

If that’s the case, which we believe it is, why do anything else?

The article begins…

“Children come into the world biologically designed to educate themselves. Their natural curiosity, playfulness, sociability, and planfulness were shaped by natural selection to serve the purpose of their education. Joy lies in the manifestation of these drives and in the discoveries and increased skills that result from them.”

Does Self-Directed Education Work?

After giving actual quotes from unschooling families, the article addresses whether or not Self-Directed Education (SDE) actually “works”:

“OK, Self-Directed Education creates a happy childhood and adolescence, but does it lead to a happy, satisfying, productive adulthood? Can these people go on to higher education, if they wish, and do they get good jobs? The answer to all these questions is yes.

“The most compelling evidence that Self-Directed Education works, in the sense of preparing people well for adult life, comes from follow-up studies of adults who were in charge of their own education, outside of traditional schools, during what would have been their K-12 school years.”

Then the author reviews a good deal of statistical data suggesting that self-directed education accomplishes all the goals of traditional schooling.  This conclusion agrees with my own personal exploration of the survey results done on graduates of the ultimate SDE school, Sudbury Valley School.  They published a book entitled, “Legacy of Trust” that gives lots of statistical data regarding their graduates.  Crunching all the numbers myself, I came up with these conclusions:

  1. Sudbury Valley School graduates are just as likely to attend college as grads of traditional schools.
  2. Sudbury grads who attend college are statistically more likely to actually graduate.
  3. They are also more likely to go on to get an advanced degree.
  4. Sudbury school grads are 14 times more likely to launch their own business by the time they are 30!

Those four should be reason enough. But there’s more! Children engaged in self-directed learning enjoy lower stress levels, are less prone to give in to social pressure, and know exactly what they want to study in college before you start paying their college tuition, thus costing you less!

Easier than ever!

The article then goes onto discuss all the reasons why engaging in SDE is easier now than ever before. Here’s a summary:

  • The increased acceptability of Self-Directed Education in the culture at large (there are more people doing it),
  • The availability of schools and learning centers designed for Self-Directed Education has been increasing
    (Hey! they’re talking about us!)
  • The number of homeschoolers engaged in Self-Directed Education has likewise been increasing.
  • More and more people, including education authorities, know young people taking this route and see their success.
  • Today, anyone with a computer and Internet browser can access essentially all the world’s information.


    We’re obviously sold on SDE, is just an extension of “Natural Learning”.  Natural learning is the same kind of learning young children come programmed to do.  They learn all sorts of complex tasks and skills before they even reach school age.  We can’t imagine that God, or Nature, meant for children to stop following their natural programming when they turn 5 or 6!

    Children come wired to learn. And our natural learning center offers kids the exact things God/Nature gave them when they arrived here:

    1. A safe place to roam free (as an infant, it was your home).
    2. Learning resources (everything in your home provided these),
    3. Role models (you and any other children in the house),
    4. Freedom – the freedom to try, fail, and try again.


    We invite you to learn more by reading our entry on Natural Learning, or, you’re welcome to read the entire article on Self-Directed Education here.


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