NEW FAMILIES- (this page is under a process of construction)

Self-Directed Education is a whole life process and practice. It’s not just for kids; it actually can’t be, because the adults are the naturally the facilitators of this process. Many parents come to us looking for a place that will restore joy and peace to their child, or because they want to make sure they never lose it in the first place. It’s very common for the parents to soon realize their role in this process is not a passive one and involves actively modeling, deschooling, and creating the lives we want with our children.

We aim to enroll families based on good fit, so we want to make sure families understand and agree to what Wildwood ALC is about. Self-Directed Education (SDE) looks very different (in SO many beautiful ways) than most conventional or curriculum-based education. SDE in a supportive community like Wildwood can be life-altering and magical for families and learners, but it usually requires significant and on-going work to view learning from a different lens and value what SDE has to offer. In addition, Wildwood is a community which requires commitment and active involvement. To increase the odds that we are a good fit for your family, we request all interested families thoughtfully follow this process:

STEP 1: Do the research: Before submitting and application, we require families do the following; explore the ALC educational model; watch our latest video; read our FAQ page; carefully review our Parent Agreement (this is a form ALL parents who play a role in the young person’s life will need to sign); learn more about Self-Directed Education to understand the underlying philosophy and review our Contribution philosophy.

In addition, we encourage you to visit our Resources page to find links to articles, websites, videos & books that have inspired us and Follow us on Facebook to get a sense of what we do and see the day-to-day in action.

STEP 2: After your have completed Step 1, shoot us an email us to let us know you are interested and include any questions you have at

STEP 3: Once Steps 1 and 2 are complete, read and completely fill out the application form HERE. Please fill out one per child. There is a parent AND child section. Submit your $20 non-refundable application fee. Only one $20 is needed even if you have multiple kids.

STEP 4: Family Discussion/Interview- We’ll reach out after we get your application to let you know if a spot may be open or if you’ll be added to our waiting pool. If we have space, we will set up a time to talk on the phone or in person. We require all family members who are involved at all in decision making regarding learning attend this discussion.

STEP 5: If we are all feeling aligned after the family interview/discussion we will work with you to schedule a visiting day/week. A visiting week allows the family to experience what it is like to be here and lets us to make sure our community can effectively support and integrate the new family. ($75.00 for one week; $150 for two weeks). This longer visit allows young people to participate in the variety of experience at Wildwood since each day is different.

Step 6: Final Step: After the visiting period, we will touch base to discuss and if it is mutually agreed upon that it is a good fit, you will email us a Yearly Contribution proposal (yearly amount you could pay for Sept-May. We will adjust it based on start date later if applicable). If we are all in alignment around enrollment, you will complete your enrollment by paying a deposit of 20% of the annual tuition offer and executing the final enrollment to determine if we have a space available at the level proposed. If accepted, pay a 10% deposit of your Yearly Contribution amount which will go toward your May payment. *

Click HERE to pay your nonrefundable $20 fee. Only one $20 fee is needed per family.

Financial Contribution Philosophy Overview

The culture of an ALC is rooted in trust. We are committed to developing relationships of trust with students, among the facilitators, and certainly with our families. Wildwood ALC is primarily supported through the contributions paid by its families. In determining this process, we’ve focused on a few important ideas — program sustainability, trustaccess, and responsibility.  By trusting families to be generous and responsible we increase our accessibility & sustainability. We are always assessing our fee process to make sure we’re being responsible to our current families and to the future health of the program.

Overall, we ask for less than other similar programs in the area. Currently, we need an average of approximately $2700-$3600 per year (which averages our to $300- $400 per month for 9 months) per child to run our program, with some families paying more and others less, depending on their ability. Our community aims for diversity and seeks to be available to people based on fit, not income lever, and we provide scholarships/reduced fees to families when possible. Please note- Families paying in the $2700-$3600 range only covers our most basic costs and does not support our efforts to provide scholarships/reduced fees. In order to provide financial assistance, we count on all families to give as generously as possible and beyond the $3600 if possible (larger contributions above $3600 may be tax-deductible). *Please let us know if you are unable to meet this current average amount and would like to see if reduced fees or scholarships are available.

Wildwood is open 3 days a week starting the beginning of September through mid May with breaks for holidays, spring break and occasional closures for inclement weather. Keep in mind that fees cover the cost of running the entire program for a year and although you may make monthly installment payments, we do not pro-rate partial months or when you are unable to attend. We accept members with the expectation of a year commitment.