Free Range Exchange

international homestays for self-directed teens

What is a Free Range Exchange?

Across the world, there are growing numbers of homeschoolers, unschoolers, and members of self-directed learning centers and democratic free schools. We all believe in self-directed education — so why don’t we hang out with each other more?

The Unschool Adventures Free Range Exchange initiative seeks to connect self-directed learners from around the world to promote cultural exchange, independent travel, new friendships, and foreign language learning.

Below you can browse current and previous exchange opportunities. You may also join the Free Range Exchange Facebook group to connect with other families who want to independently organize a do-it-yourself (DIY) exchange.

Want to learn what we learned from the first “Free Range Exchange” between a democratic free school in Berlin and four teenage home/unschoolers from the USA? Check out the document we produced.

Current Opportunities

None at this time.

Have an opportunity to contribute? Write to Unschool Adventures director Blake Boles:

Previous Opportunities

Demokratische Schule X Homestay & Exchange

May 2-27, 2022

Demokratische Schule X (DSX) is a democratic free school, similar to a Sudbury school, located in Berlin, Germany. Visit their website, the Google-translated website, and their YouTube channel to learn more. DSX has roughly 70 students, 18 of whom are age 14-16. A handful of older students (age 17-18) also attend.

This is an opportunity to attend DSX for four weeks (May 2-27, 2022) and do a solo homestay with a family whose child(ren) attend(s) DSX. There is space for up to 8 teenagers (ages 14-19) to participate.

Costs include:

  • €100 tuition, payable to DSX
  • €400 homestay fee, payable to the host family, which covers most meals and everyday expenses
  • School lunches, international airfare, and other personal costs/activities are the responsibility of individual participants

Unschool Adventures is not charging a fee! Instead, we ask all participants to do an “exit interview” with UA director Blake Boles, so that we may learn from your experience.

Participants will be required to sign a contract with DSX and follow all school rules. Homestay family rules, expectations, and other details will be worked out directly between the host families and participant families (i.e., Unschool Adventures is playing match-maker, not couples-counselor). All participants will live in shared rooms with a host sibling.

No previous German language experience is required. Students at DSX possess varying levels of English proficiency, and many will see this as an opportunity to improve their English. Regardless, every participant should have some interest in learning and using the German language. At least one parent in each homestay will speak basic English.

This is a one-way homestay, but there may be opportunities for DSX students to later visit North America and stay with your family.

Applicants should be prepared to fly independently (without an accompanying adult) to/from Berlin.

Please note that we cannot guarantee everyone a homestay due to space limitations, but applying early and putting lots of effort into the questions will maximize your chances!

The application deadline was November 22.

Unschooling Au Pair in France

Flexible dates + length

An unschooling family in La Tour-du-Pin, France (a small village outside of Lyon), is seeking an English-speaking teen or young adult unschooler to serve as au pair for three children (ages 2, 4, and 6) for 1-3 months in 2022.

This volunteer opportunity includes room, board, and all expenses for family-sponsored activities. Further details may be worked out directly between families.

Applicants should have previous childcare experience, a genuine interest in learning French, and preparedness for independent living in a foreign country.

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