The following coaches work directly with young people (teenagers and college-aged) who are pursuing alternative paths through education.

Wes Beach

Wes Beach

Beach High School

Wes Beach is a former schoolteacher who now runs a one-man digital high school for self-directed learners. You can enroll from anywhere in the world and earn a California high school diploma. Wes is especially good at helping self-directed learners create transcripts and navigate college admissions.

I met Wes at a California homeschooling conference long ago, and he’s truly dedicated to the cause of helping bright young people learn and grow, unrestricted by formal schooling.

From Beach High School: At Beach High School you can pursue your interests in ways you choose. You can immerse yourself in a few or in many constructive endeavors which may or may not resemble conventional schoolwork. Even if you choose to engage in the most unusual pursuits, you can gain entrance to the best colleges if formal college education is something that suits you. A diploma from Beach High School, earned very quickly or after months or even years of enrollment, may help get you where you want to go.

Amy Childs

Amy Childs is a happiness consultant and serial podcaster. In her words: “I began offering unschooling as an option to my three children in 2001, when they were 8, 10 and 13.  At the time, I had never heard of unschooling and thought I was the first person to think of it. My personal and philosophical journey had led me to examine many of our society’s assumptions about human beings and the world we live in. I observed that most people went to school as children and most people were unhappy as adults, and I wondered if school was teaching children the wrong things. It certainly didn’t seem to be teaching people how to be happy, or how to make the world work in a healthy and inspiring way.”

I’ve gotten to know Amy through her amazing kids (with whom I worked at Not Back to School Camp) and appeared as a guest on one of her podcasts. I’m always impressed by her depth of knowledge and the voluminous amount of really useful content (interviews, blog posts) that she shares with the world.

From her coaching website: One of the things I love so much about working with young unschoolers is the amazing diversity of their strengths, challenges, passions, and dreams.  Through the years I’ve facilitated in-person classes and groups, international conference calls, online discussions and workshops, game nights and gatherings. I also offer tutoring, pep talks, a listening ear, encouragement, brainstorming and mentorship.

Pat Farenga

Pat’s Website (HOLT GWS)

Pat Farenga worked closely with one of the founders of the modern homeschooling movement, the late author and teacher John Holt, and published Growing Without Schooling magazine (GWS) from 1985 until it stopped in 2001. GWS was the nation’s first periodical about learning without going to school, started by Holt in 1977. Pat speaks as a homeschooling expert at education conferences around the world as well as on commercial radio and television talk shows  (e.g. The Today Show, Good Morning America).

I’ve interviewed Pat and met him in person, and he’s incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about helping young people thrive as homeschoolers and unschoolers.

From his consulting pageI usually do one or two consulting sessions with parents and/or their children on a specific topic, but I also help teenagers develop their own independent learning plans and, if they want, turn them into transcripts or resumes that they can use for college or work applications. I provide support, exercises, resources, and ideas to help young people discover and move towards their goals. Some previous consultations I’ve done with teens include turning their real-life experiences into conventional transcripts for college; helping teens who don’t want to go to college discover work they want to do; brainstorming and working towards personal goals; supporting and validating their unschooling experiences as they learn and grow. I also have the deep personal experience of raising and helping our three daughters, now grown women with degrees and full-time jobs, navigate their high school and college years as unschoolers.

Mikala Streeter

The LIFE School

Mikala Streeter is a former teacher and software engineer who now runs a school for self-directed teens. While her school is based in Atlanta, Mikala works virtually with teens from anywhere that want to map out passion projects, earn academic credits or a Georgia high school diploma, plan trips, start businesses, learn to set goals, and manage their time. In addition to coaching teens directly, Mikala also often works with the parents of teens who want to discuss how to support their unschooling teen and ensure that they are prepared for a successful future, whatever path they choose.
Don’t miss my interview with Mikala on the challenge of exposing teens to new ideas!

Blake Boles

[Bias alert! I’m the creator of Off-Trail Learning.]

Hi, I’m Blake. You know me. I’ve served as a private educational coach to self-directed teenagers for a long time now.

From my coaching pageI help young people become more engaged self-directed learners. Engaged self-directed learners know themselves. They’re aware of their interests, motivations, work habits, and blind spots. They work diligently toward their current goals while also keeping themselves open to new directions and possibilities. They ask for help, introduce themselves to strangers, and take calculated risks in the pursuit of their learning goals. They balance the needs of the present—following curiosities and passions—with the needs of the future, such as thinking about career and college. My coaching isn’t for everyone. I only work with teens who want to work with me and actively see the value in our relationship. (This isn’t something a parent can sign you up for.) I ask teens to do things that are challenging, intimidating, and sometimes weird.

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