The Story of Liberated Learners
Liberated Learners is the extension of a single innovative program that helps teenagers use self-directed learning into a network of closely related projects across the country and around the world. North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens began supporting teens to live without school in 1996, and its inspirational track record has led others to inquire about the model and in some cases to start their own versions of this model. The first full-scale programs modeled after North Star are now up and running.
North Star held its first small effort to share its model in a weekend workshop in 2007. Then, in 2011, North Star hosted its first Summer Replication Conference, involving seven programs. In 2012, the second Summer Replication Conference attracted eleven working groups. Throughout these years, North Star received numerous inquiries from people interested in learning more about the model.
The growth of this interest inspired the creation of Liberated Learners, a non-profit organization separate from North Star to direct the work of spreading the model. Liberated Learners handles the consulting and support necessary to assist others in starting their own programs towards our goal of seeing a self-directed learning program in every community.
Liberated Learners hosted the 2013 Summer Replication Conference, involving more than thirty people from nineteen programs.
While each center in the Liberated Learners network uses this fundamental model as a guide, there are distinct variations depending on local conditions.
Liberated Learners centers are defined by adherence to the following principles:
- Centers adopt a mission of helping children and teens leave school, using homeschooling law to improve their lives and learning, and of helping existing homeschoolers sustain or improve their use of this approach.
- Members are not compelled to attend the center.
- All center activities are strictly optional.
- Centers are not accredited “schools” (nor should they use school, academy or other such synonyms in their names) and therefore do not offer grades, credits, or diplomas or require testing of their members.
- Centers maintain a physical space, open on a regular schedule, where members, staff, and volunteers participate in various group and individual endeavors, such as classes, workshops, advising, tutorials, and meetings with families.