by Aza Donnelly

Aza Donnelly, MHA board treasurer

Unschooling reading list. Because Summer is hot, sticky, and crowded.

There are lots of unschooly things to do all summer long. I could give you a list of things to strew (casually placing interesting things about to see what catches someone’s fancy), but that seems silly since there is an abundance of things to do in summer — swimming, camps, movies, cabins, parks, libraries. As home educators, we never lack for summer opportunities. So instead, I am going to give you a reading list for the summer. You can save this list until the dog days, when it smells like state fair, and you wish fall would hurry up and cool things down, and make your family’s favorite places less crowded.

There have been some recent questions about unschooling coming through our email. The list I am going to give you is not exhaustive. I am going to start by strewing a few things in a few categories.



Full disclosure I have not read all of these, but intend to this summer. I’d love to chat with anyone else who reads them.

“Teach Your Own” by John Holt

John Holt is the granddaddy of unschooling. He has written several books. I really enjoyed this one when I was first learning about unschooling. He passed in the 80’s, but Pat Farenga keeps his legacy alive at Growing Without Schooling.

“The Art of Self Directed Learning”  by Blake Boles

I just finished this book. Its engaging and encouraging.  It’s a great how to for self directed learning for the whole family really, but I can see referencing it over and over as my kids grow.

“Teenage Liberation Handbook”  by Grace Llewellyn

This book has been around for years and years. Last I checked, I cannot get it on my kindle, and will have to order it IRL.  As my kids reach their teenage years, this is on my list. I have not met anyone yet who wasn’t fascinated by this book. This one I would really like to get to this summer.

“Homeschoolers are not Hermits” by Kathy Oaks

A little hometown pride. This author is right here in the Twin Cities, and many of you have probably had the pleasure of meeting her. I’ve skimmed it quickly, but intend to dive into this one on these gross humid days. While its not exclusively unschooling, it is a comprehensive guide to get you started homeschooling, with a healthy dollop of unschooling thrown in.



This happens to be my area of expertise. I spent my children’s sleepless nights (and my delirious days) examining every nook and cranny of the unschool world I could find on the internet. There are oh, so many blogs, websites, Facebook groups all dedicated to the various different flavors of unschooling. (Oh, so many flavors.) It can be very loud and very overwhelming. Today, here are just a few websites to get you started — most of which have Facebook, Twitter….etc.

John Holt GWS

This website is full of treasures. It has archives of the Growing Without Schooling magazine (Summer 1977 to Dec.2001) scanned and online to read. You can also find Pat Farenga’s blog here. Pat was John’s assistant and has kept his legacy alive.  There is so much stuff here, I have not seen it all. But I will tell you, on days that I worry, I go find writing by John Holt and Pat Farenga. They remind me of why I am unschooling.

Psychology today, blog, Freedom to learn by Peter Gray (Also the title of his book)

Peter Gray is a research professor at Boston college. He has conducted a couple of recent studies on unschoolers, and recently started Alliance for Self Directed Education.  For those of us who appreciate studies and data, this is our guy.

Living Joyfully with Unschooling  by Pam Larrichia.

Pam Larrichia is a long time unschooler with grown children. She has a lovely website, podcast, email subscription, and a subscription just for families brand new to unschooling that she emails in installments.  She is a radical unschooler, which is much more of a whole life commitment rather than just educational. She is around on several of the unschool facebook groups out there, and is extremely kind and approachable.


Neurodivergent (unschooler) blogs

We are a neurodivergent family. But before we knew that, we were unschoolers. When we started to realize we were different, I started searching for others who are also neurodivergent unschoolers. What many of us have found is that unschooling works perfectly for our kids that learn in their own space and time. Luckily there are several talented writers out there giving us their insight into unschooling.

Respectfully Connected

This is a collaborative group of authors who are neurodivergent, have neurodivergent children, and some are unschooling, from both here in the US and Australia.

This is one of the first places I landed in my searching for other unschoolers like us. They are a fantastic group and I highly recommend this blog.


Written by Court Alison, who also writes for Respectfully Connected.

Court  also has a lending library on Facebook

and writes for Autistic Women and Non Binary Network.



I really want to be a podcast person, and maybe someday, when I grow up……..  But I know many people are. I am guessing there are several unschooling podcasts out there, but these are two that I have bumped into recently.

Living Joyfully with Pam Larrichia

(Neurodivergent families, I recommend this interview with Erin Human, writer, cartoonist, unschooler, autistic. )

“Fare of the Free Child”

This is a podcast I have recently stumbled upon via Instagram. Please read about her Her work pulls my heartstrings.


So, there’s the list.  I am always excited to chat about unschooling, and I would love to hear your feedback on this list. Feel free to email me at or message me via Facebook.

Stay cool! Enjoy summer. Use bug spray.