We would love help from people like you with our site. In particular we are looking for:
- Illustrators (the site could use some pictures)
- Programmers, or people who know WordPress (not so difficult to learn but good to know HTML)
- More ideas for what to do with this site! (new info, features, how to promote it)
If you think you are as dedicated as us to the cause of helping people find alternatives to school, contact us!
Things You Can Do on Your Own
Change comes in two ways: trends and grander disruptive events. There is already a trend toward self-directed learning. Although there are no hard numbers, there is ample evidence that the number of families practicing this approach at home is growing steadily. Many democratic schools and resource centers catering to self-directed learners have also opened in recent years, and more are in the planning stages around the country.
The stage has been set for a grander disruptive event (or series of such events) to effect mass transformation in short order. Some relevant disruptive events have already begun, such as the rise of low-cost but high-quality online learning opportunities. Hopefully this web site can serve as another such catalyst, by serving as a resource to raise awareness, and also by bringing like-minded people together so they can mobilize and drive change in their communities and across the nation.
If you, like us, believe that there is an urgent need to transform our education system, because our children’s future is at stake, there are numerous things you can do. It can start with something as simple (yet powerful) as encouraging people to think deeply about education and question their long-held assumptions, and alerting them to options and resources they probably didn’t know existed.
As you go about this, it can be useful to recall your own journey, and the fact that new information is best absorbed when it’s offered in the spirit of humility and offering assistance. Change takes effort, so people understandably evaluate new ideas based on what benefits they might experience, and it can be helpful to focus on that. (The choice of words can also make a difference. For example, you may have noticed that this web site favors the term “self-directed learning” in lieu of “unschooling.” That is because the former is a positive term that emphasizes what this approach IS rather than what it ISN’T. It’s therefore easier for people to get their heads around, and it also doesn’t provoke an immediate negative reaction that can take considerable effort to overcome.)
We hope to add more features—including media toolkits, issue briefs and networking tools—to this web site soon (click here to be alerted to new content), to facilitate such activities. But there are plenty of things you can do in the meantime, including:
- Join existing self-directed learning groups in your area (do an online search, perhaps also checking Yahoo Groups, for “unschooling” and your location name).
- Sign up for our email alerts and forward them to your network.
- If you have a blog or other web site, include links to the content on www.AlernativesToSchool.com.
- Start a self-directed learning group (post notices on community listservs, in libraries, bookstores and other community gathering places).
- Share articles and web site links with people in your networks and communities, as well as with broader online communities on sites such as Reddit.
- Attend education-themed community meetings and advocate for greater freedom for students to direct their own learning.
- Take advantage of opportunities to raise awareness of these issues on online discussion boards, when school topics arise (as noted above, bearing in mind that new information is best absorbed when it’s offered in the spirit of humility and offering assistance).
- Start a democratic school or resource center in your community (information on how to do this can be found here).
- Pass out fliers to students to make them aware of the ingrained problems with schooling and the availability of other options.
- Write op-eds for your local newspaper.
- Call your local television station and suggest a story on how families in your area are forgoing standard schooling in favor of self-directed learning.
- Create a network of people in your community interested in sharing resources and skills with self-directed learners.
- Start a FreeSkool in your community.
- Give a public lecture or hold a public discussion about self-directed learning in your local library.
- Organize an “opt out of standardized testing” protest at your local school.
- Give a know-your-rights talk to students.
- Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
- Support this web site’s efforts with a tax-deductible donation.