Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories

self-directed learning

by Wes Beach,
Author of Forging Paths: Beyond Traditional Schooling

What guarantees success? Four years of high school? A college degree? A nine-to-five job? Perhaps, but many teens yearn for a different path. In his latest book, “Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories,” Wes Beach argues that people who recognize their genuine interests and talents need only their self-knowledge, confidence, enthusiasm, determination, ability to persevere, and sense of autonomy to carry them where they want to go. Wes shares stories of people whose needs were not met by traditional education, and thus created their own paths. Wes also includes transcripts and information that his students used to gain admission to colleges and universities throughout the country. “Self-Directed Learning” speaks to people who desire to pursue their passions and grow into productive and fulfilled adults.

Available in print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and for Kindle and Nook. See below for international availability through Amazon!

Check out Wes Beach's Amazon Author Central page.

Check out the entire GHF Press catalog!

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgment
  • Introduction
  • Editor’s Note
  • Chapter 1: Nontraditional Ways to Spend the “High School” Years
  • Chapter 2: Finding a Life (not Necessarily a Lifetime) Direction
  • Chapter 3: Enrolling in a Community College
  • Chapter 4: Writing Transcripts
  • Chapter 5: Choosing and Applying to Colleges
  • Chapter 6: Two-Year Degrees, Other Programs, and On-the-Job Training
  • Chapter 7: Succeeding without College
  • Chapter 8: Discarding Assumptions
  • Appendix: Resources
  • About the Author


Peter Gray, Research Professor, Department of Psychology, Boston College,  Psychology Today blog, and
I recommend Self-Directed Learning to all teenagers and young adults concerned about their futures, and to their parents.  Beach shows clearly, with examples, that there are many paths to success in our world, with or without formal schooling.  Even if you take a standard route, involving conventional schooling, after reading this book, you will do so with a sense of choice rather than coercion; and that makes all the difference.

Patrick Farenga, Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling,
Wes Beach takes the mystery out of creating high school transcripts for self-directed learners. Using entertaining personal stories and examples of successful transcripts derived from them, this book clearly shows how to present your personal learning in the best light to achieve your goals. This short, sharp book is a vital resource for anyone needing to know how nontraditional learners create transcripts that gain entrance into college and work.

Wes Beach and his school show that there are far more ways to learn and grow into happy, successful adults than by grinding through high school to gain college admission or work you want to do. Read this book to see how.

Ann Zeise, A2Z Home's Cool
Just got Wes Beach's new book delivered to my door. It is a fairly quick read: only 64 pages long. Wes helped many teens, including our own son, to follow their own path as teens rather than attend high school. and whether their goal was to attend college or begin a career. If you are currently homeschooling a 12-13 year old, and concerned about homeschooling high school, this is a must read. If your teen seems to be interested in anything BUT academics, these stories will help you guide their way.

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