Who participates?

The easiest answer is that life without school is for school-aged children, and for families that understand that freedom is a prerequisite for learning. It is also for its founders, staff, and friends.  We also support a sister program, Turtle Spring Studios, for folks 18 and up who want to foster an intentional community of artists, makers, and scholars.

Life without school is for folks, young and old, who hold the view that education ought to emerge naturally within a relatively small community of parents, students, and teachers who share similar goals and values. Learning is a natural process that emerges from choice. Choice requires freedom. Freedom of choice both demands and creates responsibility. This is the foundation of lifelong learning.

When children are too young to bear the responsibility of their choices, the right and the responsibility of choice falls to the parents. The heart of education, for younger children especially, lies first within the family.

Naturally and certainly, a child’s field of learning expands beyond the family and into the surrounding community. Indeed, all of us live and learn within a social context. At this level, life without school includes the child, the family, and the folks who foster the larger educational context that surrounds the family.


Children – We are currently comfortable with children over age 10, though we have some mature 8 & 9 year olds in our some of our groups. As our community grows to include someone with expertise with younger children, we hope to expand. To date, students in life without school have been bright, creative, and often non-conformist. We are especially interested in children who have experienced traditional schooling as having hindered rather than fostered their learning.

Parents – We intend life without school to be a solution for parents who would like a home school situation for their children, but who have to work, or who feel they do not have the expertise or learning community to do home schooling well. We also welcome parents who are already doing unschooling or home schooling, and would like to expand their network of people, resources, and educational options. In any case, we believe that it is important for parents to thoughtfully embrace the sort of open, life-long education that life without school espouses.

Staff – Beyond the fundamental requirement that staff members believe in the principles of life without school, we seek and engage individuals with both expertise in working with students, and achievement in the areas they teach. Some staff members pass through the community teaching a specific course for a limited time. Others hold more long-term positions teaching, learning and creating life without school as a viable educational community. Previous life without school students are frequently our strongest teachers.

For more information about our current staff, follow the links in the staff section that follows.