Irregular Schools and Schooling

Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


The twentieth century witnessed the emergence of a number of alternative education choices in both the USA and Europe. Educational theorists, including John Dewey, Maria Montessori, A. S. Neill, and Rudolf Steiner, promoted child-centered learning environments with an emphasis on democratic governance involving both staff and students. However, alternative education does not just embrace pedagogy within a physical setting but also considers alternative spaces in which instruction may be given. Both these differing approaches challenge the philosophy of mainstream, state education. The aim of this chapter is to explore the ideologies and spaces of alternative education that have historically challenged the prevailing orthodoxies of this mainstream state education in Western countries by asking the question what is “regular” in terms of schooling? In examining the ideologies and spaces, the focus is on three case studies, “home-schooling,” “distance education,” and “Rudolf Steiner schooling,” and how each approach has evolved to become accepted alternatives to education provision offered by Western governments.


Alternative education Home-schooling Distance education Steiner education Waldorf schools 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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