The North Star model is based on the groundbreaking work of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens which has been in existence since 1996.

The North Star Model is an approach to supporting young people to live and learn without school. The primary goal of North Star is to support teenagers feeling trapped in school to use homeschooling as a mechanism to stop attending school. North Star provides the ongoing support and community necessary for any interested teen to use this approach. North Star has a professional staff supported by an extensive network of volunteers that offer a range of classes, tutoring and mentoring. North Star also provides an advisor to each of its members to manage the transition to self-directed learning. North Star maintains a physical location in Sunderland, MA that is open four days a week.

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 embrace 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.
  • All center activities and attendance 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.

Hear the whole story of North Star.  Co-Founder Ken Danford speaks at TEDx Amherst College in November, 2013.  Ken describes his experience in teaching middle school, his choice to create North Star, and stories of success and appreciation from alumni.  Inspirational!


In a podcast on Driven 2 Educate, Ken Danford explains the history of North Star, the 7 principles that underlie the North Star model, and the spread of the movement through Liberated Learners.