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The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

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An estimated 700,000 American children are now taught at home. This book tells teens how to take control of their lives and get a "real life." Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program. Grace Llewellyn explains the entire process, from making the decision to quit school, to discovering the learning opport An estimated 700,000 American children are now taught at home. This book tells teens how to take control of their lives and get a "real life." Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program. Grace Llewellyn explains the entire process, from making the decision to quit school, to discovering the learning opportunities available.


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An estimated 700,000 American children are now taught at home. This book tells teens how to take control of their lives and get a "real life." Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program. Grace Llewellyn explains the entire process, from making the decision to quit school, to discovering the learning opport An estimated 700,000 American children are now taught at home. This book tells teens how to take control of their lives and get a "real life." Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program. Grace Llewellyn explains the entire process, from making the decision to quit school, to discovering the learning opportunities available.

30 review for The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phoenixrisingoverafriendlyninja

    Loved this book so much. . . that one day I got off the school bus, walked past the school house, and NEVER went back. Spent my time at the library. learning what I wanted .. so much that they gave me a job. Lol. I wrote the Author. Became her friend. .and worked at her Not Back To School Camp in Oregon State. A big deal and trip for a poor Kentucky boy. I feel I owe a lot to this book, the love of learning it inspires, the truth it speaks, and the community it creates . . . despite the odds. I Loved this book so much. . . that one day I got off the school bus, walked past the school house, and NEVER went back. Spent my time at the library. learning what I wanted .. so much that they gave me a job. Lol. I wrote the Author. Became her friend. .and worked at her Not Back To School Camp in Oregon State. A big deal and trip for a poor Kentucky boy. I feel I owe a lot to this book, the love of learning it inspires, the truth it speaks, and the community it creates . . . despite the odds. I still have friends from that camp. Outlaw Education. . . How Cool . .How Real. No profession has changed so little as the way we choose to educate ourselves. Compulsive - Memorization-style education is not for everyone. Einstein failed Math! ! ! Some of the great Japanese master poets could not spell correctly! It's not about being a computer andriod of memory or an intellectual elitist. Our culture so often misses the point of education. . . and that is to foster a true Love of Learning and Beautifully Inspired Minds. Thank You Grace! . .and Unschoolers everywhere! Keep the Truth! and make Beautiful Lives Stretching across the land like wildflowers dancing in the wind/sunshine. <3

  2. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    A case of a writer telling me things that I essentially agree with in a tone so obnoxious that I considered changing my mind. Read John Holt instead.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    This is a very provocative book with an interesting perspective on traditional "institutionalized" schooling. It describes how the traditional school system can actually thwart the natural desire for learning all children have and hinder their ability to learn. However because the author's position is so stridently anti-school, it is difficult to extract the valuable information from what reads as propaganda. The author is a proponent of "unschooling," a radical form of homeschooling which has n This is a very provocative book with an interesting perspective on traditional "institutionalized" schooling. It describes how the traditional school system can actually thwart the natural desire for learning all children have and hinder their ability to learn. However because the author's position is so stridently anti-school, it is difficult to extract the valuable information from what reads as propaganda. The author is a proponent of "unschooling," a radical form of homeschooling which has no formal structure but merely relies on the student's own curiosity for direction. There are a lot of things about the unschooling philosophy which I like (allow a child to pursue her interests without rigidly insisting on precisely what she learns when, allow the child's natural rhythms to determine the day's schedule, etc.) Unfortunately, the author essentially proclaims that anyone who would choose traditional school over unschooling is either an idiot, brainwashed, or a willing slave to the will of "the authorities." She refuses to allow for a situation where a child actually thrives in the traditional environment, where a child can be a creative & independent thinker in traditional school. I know of many examples where such is the case, and for the author to deny those individuals their positive experience and their personal integrity is disrespectful in the least. This book is written specifically for teenagers, and the extreme tone of the book makes me wonder if the author isn't trying a bit too hard to be "the cool adult" by using such anti-school invective. I'll still give her book for parents ("Guerilla Learning") a shot and see if I can get a more balanced view....

  4. 4 out of 5

    Veganpike

    As a proud high-school dropout and current college student, when I first read this book in 2003 (five years after my last contact with high school), my first reaction is that I REALLY wished I had had access to this book when I was still in high school!!! Grace Llewellyn beautifully touches on a number of all-too-true reasons why so many of our students are bored or disenfranchised. She isn't talking here about how to "fix" curricula, either, but of the liberatory approach that will allow teenag As a proud high-school dropout and current college student, when I first read this book in 2003 (five years after my last contact with high school), my first reaction is that I REALLY wished I had had access to this book when I was still in high school!!! Grace Llewellyn beautifully touches on a number of all-too-true reasons why so many of our students are bored or disenfranchised. She isn't talking here about how to "fix" curricula, either, but of the liberatory approach that will allow teenagers to learn how to take responsibility for their own lives and communities. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is young or knows/ has some ties to young people! It could very well change lives.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eustacia Tan

    I'm starting to suspect I'm not normal. I read this book (which is supposedly 'life-changing'), and found myself mentally arguing with the author the whole way. Then again, all the friend's I've showed this book to so far agree with me. So, be warned, this is going to become less of a review and more of a "why I don't agree with this" rant. Ok, so we start off with an analogy about wanting to eat fruits and learning to eat that no matter how hard I imagine, I cannot accept as being an I'm starting to suspect I'm not normal. I read this book (which is supposedly 'life-changing'), and found myself mentally arguing with the author the whole way. Then again, all the friend's I've showed this book to so far agree with me. So, be warned, this is going to become less of a review and more of a "why I don't agree with this" rant. Ok, so we start off with an analogy about wanting to eat fruits and learning to eat that no matter how hard I imagine, I cannot accept as being an analogy for school. But if I start a literature analysis this post will double in length so I will stop here. Before we even reach part one, the authoress says to kids who actually enjoy school "Maybe I have something to learn about docility. Or maybe I have a healthy aversion to something dead in people that should be alive." Wow, I'm insulted and I'm not even in the first chapter. I can't even express how insulting this is to Malala, a brave girl who got shot in the head by Taliban for going to school. In fact, I call your bluff and say that those who enjoy school are the ones who are really alive. They know what school really means, and don't waste their time complaining. And so, we reach: Part 1 - Making the Decision Apparently, rules = lack of freedom, and minors are "one of the most oppressed groups of people in the U.S., and certainly the most discriminated against legally." Here I was under the impression that minors get treated better by the law (look at the penalties for crimes for minors and adults. Look at why that rapist in India is so anxious to be tried as a juvenile). After all, we have a phrase called "kids gloves". It certainly doesn't mean something like "worst every treatment". The freedom they speak of are things like "I don't have to raise my hand to speak", "[In school] you had to have permission to go to the bathroom". I'm sorry, maybe it's because I'm Asian, but how is that restrictive? That's called having respect for one another. In real life, you don't interrupt a conversation, you find a way to catch your partner's attention (like by raising your hand). In real life, when you're with a group of people, it's normal to excuse yourself to the bathroom. In Chapter Two, we find out that "School is not for learning". The main arguments are that schools use passive learning, busywork and prioritize appearance over reality. That is how school is? Wow, to think I learnt how to debate in school, how to research a topic of my choice in school, how to think in school. I never knew that was called passive. I never knew the the multiple drafts I wrote for one essay was called busywork. I thought I was learning how to refine my writing skills. I didn't know that whenever my teachers did things like inviting guests to share their experiences with us (for example, what is it like to live in a welfare state?), that was appearance over reality (a favourite literature theme for us anyway). And look, a quick quiz! "Which has more books, a school or a library?" Hmm.... most of the time, probably my school. The local library isn't very big, unless you're talking about regional or national libraries. Plus, if you're into researching stuff, school libraries are really helpful (the librarians will help you get the books too!) "Which has better books, a school or library?" See above. "Where are you made to read deadly textbooks?" HEY, I LIKE my textbooks. They're actually quite interesting. "Where can you read at your own pace, for your own pleasure, without being tested and tricked and otherwise disturbed?" My home. But then again, all the books are from the school library. Oops, I think I gave the wrong answers. I guess I failed your quiz. Last thing to note: all the teachers I've ever had have always been opinionated. And contradictory. This just means they taught us the difference between facts, opinions, and how to form your own opinion. Chapter Three: What School is for. Apparently, to churn out workers. True, a lot of entrepreneurs end up dropping out of school, but for me and my friends, school was where we got our first taste of entrepreneurship. When you have to set up a Haunted House yourselves or find a product you can buy and sell at a profit, you learn about things like Supply and Demand really quickly. And no, my teachers weren't hand-holding us (they had a lot of other things to do). And yes, this was compulsory for us. And then, she starts talking about teachers in Chapter four. The basic thing is that they're all fine people, but they don't teach from the heart. ... I understand that you were once a teacher, but I'm beginning to thing that despite what you claim, you sought out schools where you would be stifled to prove a point. Either that, or I go to an exceptional school. And I'm only at page 67 of 444. Do you guys really want me to go on? Bottom line is, the first part is where I disagree with everything. And these are the only things I have reservations from the later sections (which are actually the majority of the book). There is one section where a European girl (girl living in Europe) reflects on her unschooling experience and mentions that due to the lack of resources, she basically lies to get what she wants. Nice skills for the future you got there. And another section about Japan, which makes the schools sound terrifying. Well, I haven't gone to a Japanese highschool (I'm in university and all), but most of my high-school friends seem happy enough. I'm guessing that while the bullying and physical punishment do exist, it's for a rather small number of students. Next, she brings in Yin and Yang (and also, she calls the Dao De Jing the Tao Teh Ching. What's with the "h"? I think the "t" and the "c", while not pinyin, are common ways of spelling - if you're not learning Chinese). I won't say anything about the yin-yang part, but I do want to say something about the section of the Dao De Jing she quotes. The quote is "The Tao Teh Ching reminds us, 'For all things there is a time for going a head, and a time for following behind; a time for slow-breathing, and a time for fast breathing;... A time to be up and a time to be down.' " Even if I'm not talking about how incredible hard it is to understand, let alone translate the Dao De Jing, I think she's mis-using the quote. The original Chinese is this "故物或行或随,或嘘或吹,或强或赢,或载或隳。" If you can't read Chinese, there's a pretty good translation here (this is from chapter 29). The meaning of this is actually: extremes are bad. Don't go to extremes. The way she uses this quote implies that there's an appropriate time for a certain extreme, but actually, this passage is telling to avoid all extremes and practice moderation. You may call this a subtle difference, but I think it's pretty important. In other words, the book gets much better as she gets into advice on how to learn different subjects. The potshots at school and teacher get less, and it's much easier to ignore. Still, a lot of what she recommends to "unschool" are things that I either remember doing in school, or that the school offered (sometimes, I didn't bother taking advantage of everything - because I had no interest in it!). Bottom line, my stand is the same as always: homeschooling is not for everyone. And yes, I carry serious doubts about unschooling. I think that if the child is not intensely self-motivated, unschooling will not work. Even though she claims that you'll be smarter even if you don't do anything, I doubt that will be true. How can you be smarter if you have no interest in reading (poor language skills), maths, etc? If this book didn't have the first section, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Or to put it another way, if she didn't insult my love for school, my school experience or my teachers, I wouldn't have gotten so emotional. I realise this is an extremely long review, and I've only touched the tip of the ice-berg! If you want me to write out a full review, chapter by chapter (because I don't think I can summarise it), let me know. I may just do it. And if you strongly disagree with me, please comment and let me know why (no ranting though). If you're really persuasive, you might just convince me(: First posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    The title spells it out clearly. This is a how-to for getting out of schooling and taking charge of your own life and education. I've given nearly a dozen copies of this book away to friends whose will to learn was withering under the assault of compulsory education. Most are now autodidacts pursuing their own goals. If you like this, I would also recommend Kendall Hailey's The Day I Became An Autodidact.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cinco

    I didn't discover this book, unfortunately for me, until the middle of my senior year of high school. Reading it made me feel, for the first time, like I wasn't the only person who was totally unsuited to traditional American schools. I found the resources in the book enormously helpful (I even attended one of the non-traditional colleges mentioned) and the information provided inspirational.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ashe

    I'll start this by saying I'm homeschooled myself (eight years). This book was repeatedly recommended to me because I don't like my homeschooling situation and needed a change. The reviews I read before checking a copy out from the library mentioned a strong delivery from the author, but I didn't expect it to be like this. I couldn't get through the first 20 pages of this book because the tone was so irritating. There are a variety of ways to strongly relay your point to the reader, but Ms. Llew I'll start this by saying I'm homeschooled myself (eight years). This book was repeatedly recommended to me because I don't like my homeschooling situation and needed a change. The reviews I read before checking a copy out from the library mentioned a strong delivery from the author, but I didn't expect it to be like this. I couldn't get through the first 20 pages of this book because the tone was so irritating. There are a variety of ways to strongly relay your point to the reader, but Ms. Llewellyn decided to use a ridiculous amount of exclamation points... and caps lock. It's obvious that the author is completely against contemporary schooling. From what I could manage to skim through and read, she doesn't acknowledge that there are good public, private, and alternative schools. I honestly can't understand how people continuously give The Teenage Liberation Handbook such great reviews. Maybe I'm just easily annoyed. As a warning to other easily annoyed people, if you don't like being shouted at and having one-sided views shoved down your throat, don't read this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    K

    I am not sure the arguments in favour of un-schooling are all that well-argued. The author simply assumes that all teenagers will automatically use their own initiative to learn once leaving school. Not only that, it does rely on teens being near a place with good public services (a good library etc.) The writing is dynamic and interesting, the premise a good one, but I can't see all the fuss.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This writer has courage for opening our eyes to something so taboo yet so obvious. A Life-changing, Powerful and Extremely Inspiring book on something that most people would think ridiculous. After you read this however you won't think it is so ridiculous anymore, instead you will blame yourself for not thinking of such a wonderful idea much sooner. The author is very descriptive, informative and encouraging, she gives so much useful information and resources there is no way you could get lost w This writer has courage for opening our eyes to something so taboo yet so obvious. A Life-changing, Powerful and Extremely Inspiring book on something that most people would think ridiculous. After you read this however you won't think it is so ridiculous anymore, instead you will blame yourself for not thinking of such a wonderful idea much sooner. The author is very descriptive, informative and encouraging, she gives so much useful information and resources there is no way you could get lost when you start unschooling. She answering any question or concern you could think of, rightfully breaking every tie you have left to the sour system of traditional schooling. Even the most bored school-hating kid will be yearning for knowledge and brimming with intellectual curiosity after reading this. P.S. Even those who still aren't open to the idea of unschooling after reading this amazing book can still benefit tremendously from reading it. It will change the way you look at the world, the way you think about the word "learning" and give a new spring to your step. Like I said it is eye-opening and will fill you with a new love of life, experience and learning.

  11. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    oh man, this book changed my life in a really good way. i read this after hearing it was a bookstore owner's favorite book, as well as seeing it referenced in bomb the suburbs. i wasn't disappointed. i went to public schools all the way, then went to college (my friend calls this "playing by the rules"). the whole homeschooling thing was a mystery to me. then i met some really smart, lovely homeschooled girls who worked at bookpeople, and i knew their parents had to be onto something. imagine sp oh man, this book changed my life in a really good way. i read this after hearing it was a bookstore owner's favorite book, as well as seeing it referenced in bomb the suburbs. i wasn't disappointed. i went to public schools all the way, then went to college (my friend calls this "playing by the rules"). the whole homeschooling thing was a mystery to me. then i met some really smart, lovely homeschooled girls who worked at bookpeople, and i knew their parents had to be onto something. imagine spending your days not just cooped up in a classroom, but being responsible for your own education. imagine getting to go to the library and read a book of your choice on american history, not just to complete your homework, but to actually learn. grace llewellyn gives tons of suggested reading for every subject you are working on, as well as good suggestions for finding mentorships and internships. i think i want to pick this book up right now and head to the library.

  12. 5 out of 5

    J & J

    Another difficult one to rate. I agree with much of what the author wrote but the book is just snarky enough to make me feel that it's more of a vendetta than a sincere attempt to inform. I also don't know how realistic it is for too many people, especially self-absorbed teenagers, to be motivated enough to follow the secrets to "success" explained in the handbook. Kudos to anyone who can and does find a better way to earn an education other than mainstream schooling.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Poiema

    Because teaching is my passion, I have spent many summers reading books that I hope will infuse fresh passion, energy, and skill into my calling. Thus, the choice of this book when my own children were on the brink of the teen years. The Teenage Liberation Handbook is crafted by a passionate soul. It is well-written and thought provoking. Much of it was rich and stimulating--I took a lot of notes and gleaned many tips for independent learning projects. The style of homeschooling that Grace Llewe Because teaching is my passion, I have spent many summers reading books that I hope will infuse fresh passion, energy, and skill into my calling. Thus, the choice of this book when my own children were on the brink of the teen years. The Teenage Liberation Handbook is crafted by a passionate soul. It is well-written and thought provoking. Much of it was rich and stimulating--I took a lot of notes and gleaned many tips for independent learning projects. The style of homeschooling that Grace Llewellyn advocates is "unschooling" and I think many adults wish they had the courage to let go and take the unschooling risk with their kids. The freedom to pursue individual bents and interests is appealing and Grace provides many testimonials to prove it can also be very successful. At first I felt thrilled and stimulated by her ideas, but as the book progressed, I felt increasingly uncomfortable. One of the things that bothered me was that there was little acknowledgement that parental authority can be used in a positive manner. The whole idea seemed to be "get free, do your own thing, don't let anyone control your life." While I concur that teens are capable of marvelous things--much more than we usually give them credit for--I still believe that God has ordained a chain of command that places them under the authority of parents. The string of teen accomplishments that were trotted out as "proof" of success, were showcased almost in a manner that I would equate with "show-off pride." Any adult would be thrilled to have a teen aim high and achieve, but for me the whole thing is ruined when the underlying attitude is haughty and prideful. It was for this reason I only gave the book 2 stars. Better recommendations would be: _Do Hard Things_ and _Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar_.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book restored some of my sanity when I was in high school, mostly reassuring me that I was not the only one who had issues with "standard" public education. I almost quit school because of this book, and I often wonder if I had followed that all the way through how my life would be different. But really, the book brought a sense of peace and agency that was essential even if I did not end up homeschooling or some alternative arrangement. Now I'm starting to think of dim and rainy Oregon dus This book restored some of my sanity when I was in high school, mostly reassuring me that I was not the only one who had issues with "standard" public education. I almost quit school because of this book, and I often wonder if I had followed that all the way through how my life would be different. But really, the book brought a sense of peace and agency that was essential even if I did not end up homeschooling or some alternative arrangement. Now I'm starting to think of dim and rainy Oregon dusk...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daisy

    I'm 16, and I left school seven years ago, so I'd say I'm pretty close to the target audience for this book. Not that I left on a quest to 'get a real life and education', it was actually just to try out home-education and see what it was like, but I haven't been back since. I was interested to read this author's perspective on home-education and hear the arguments she made in favour of it, as well as suggestions and ideas for new ways to pursue my interests and all that. My mum has a huge colle I'm 16, and I left school seven years ago, so I'd say I'm pretty close to the target audience for this book. Not that I left on a quest to 'get a real life and education', it was actually just to try out home-education and see what it was like, but I haven't been back since. I was interested to read this author's perspective on home-education and hear the arguments she made in favour of it, as well as suggestions and ideas for new ways to pursue my interests and all that. My mum has a huge collection of education and parenting books around the house, but the reason this one stuck out to me was the fact that it's aimed at teenagers. That, for starters, I thought was a bold and unique choice, but at the same time such a clear and rudimentary one when you consider the subject matter. I wrote [this book] because I wished that when I was a teenager someone had written it for me. I wrote it for teenagers because my memory and experience insist that they are as fully human as adults. I wrote it for teenagers because I found an appalling dearth of respectful, serious nonfiction for them. In short, I wrote it for teenagers because they are the experts on their own lives. Being a home-educator myself (completely by my own choice), and knowing many others by now, obviously I'm biased in the opinion that I think home-education rocks. But I will say I didn't agree with everything this book has to say. Llewellyn takes a pretty black-and-white stance on the matter of education and isn't subtle in her opinion that school is, to put it frankly, evil. I'm not saying this opinion isn't right - it may well be, there's plenty of logical arguments for it - but I'm just not into that way of thinking. I actually really liked school when I was in it, and still think there are cool things about it. Basically, I think home-education is so much more than the opposite of school, school at home, or a rebellion against schools - any term that defines itself by school, basically. Hence why I've become accustomed to calling it 'home-education' rather than 'home-schooling' or 'unschooling' (the type most referenced in this book, which is the style our way of doing it is most similar to I'd say). This is not to say the part of this book dedicated to examining and evaluating the school system wasn't interesting to me. I had been looking forward to getting to the part actually about being home-educated, but in retrospect I think the 'Making the Decision' part was the strongest and most enlightening part of the book. Llewllyn certainly has a lot to say on this subject, having had experience working as a teacher, and clearly having done her research as well. Here are a couple of points I thought were particularly profound and well-said: "I have no hope that the school system will change enough to make schools healthy places, until it makes school blatantly optional." [Side note: In case you didn't know, in most places school is optional, if not blatantly, it's only having an education that's compulsory] :) "In the long run, pressure is an ineffective substitute for curiosity and the freedom to pursue those things you love, because people only remember and think about things they use or care about." "Think about it. Would you continue to enjoy (and improve at) skateboarding or hiking if someone scrutinised your every move, reported to your parents, and acted as if you'd never succeed in life if you didn't perfect your double kick flip before Friday, or add ten pounds to you pack and reach the pass by noon? Obviously, we all need both privacy and respect to enjoy (learn) any activity. By privacy, I don't mean solitude. I mean freedom from people poking their noses into your business or 'progress'." "School conditions you to live for the future, rather than to live in the present. [...] Marti Holmes, mother of a 15-year-old, wrote, 'Homeschooling has not closed any doors that I can see, and has provided rich, full years of living (rather than "preparing for life").' [...] More than anything else, this book is bout living - now, as well as 20 years from now." "The world and its complex, terrible, wonderful webs of civilisation are far bigger and older than our 19th-century factory-style compulsory schooling system. There is room for all kinds of people - those who love books, and those who'd rather build things and take them apart all day, not just for an hour in the woodshop or autoshop. There is room for those who would rather wander dreaming on a glacier [...]. There is room for those who want to make lasange and homemade French bread and apple pie all day. None of these callings is better or worse than others. None means failure as a human being, but they may cause failure in a dull system that you never asked to be a part of in the first place." Let me just say this last quote, even as someone who's been in charge of her own education for so long now, was really inspiring to me. I think the school system and its conceptions of self-worth (being acceptable at everything, not exceptional at one) can really get drilled into you and apparently did for me more than I realised. This quote alone I feel was something I needed to hear, firmly and directly, so honestly it's worth picking this book up even if you just get one moment like that from it - regardless of its overall flaws. I can think of a lot of people in my life who I think would be a lot less judgemental of home-education if they read The Teenage Liberation Handbook, so it's definitely got some helpful ideas. However, I do have to agree with other reviewers that the author's strong views and the not-so-subtle way she expressed them, could come across as quite obnoxious at times. Don't get me wrong, as a teenager I think it's great to have a stubbornly encouraging voice telling you all this stuff, but I don't know if it's the best approach for getting the wider population on board with home-schooling. In addition to this, I found myself pretty disappointed with the advice for once you get started home-educating. Looking back, I can see a big gap in this book of discussions of what home-education actually is. Obviously, part of this is a reflection of how vastly different it can be for each and every person doing it, but it kind of comes back to what I was saying earlier - home-education is a concept in itself, more than just 'not being in school'. This book claims to be a handbook for teenagers taking the reins of their own education, but the fact that the author was not one of those becomes blindingly obvious as we get into the second half of this book. As I said above, she's clearly knowledgeable and well-read on this subject, yet there were still fundamentals left out of this book. There was frequent references to 'unschooling' but not much in the effort of explaining what this meant or mentioning the alternatives. I'm sorry to say that to me also there wasn't enough attention to the common fears and uncertainties that come from both inside your own head and the people around you when you make this kind of major, pretty unorthodox life decision (again I'm taking about starting home-education here, not stopping school - to my disappointment, the latter was given more emphasis). Part 3 (The Tailor-Made Educational Extravaganza) and Part 4 (Touching the World - Finding Good Work) were the ones I was most looking forward to, and the ones I thought me in my current position would get most out of - the ones giving suggestions, advice and motivation to get the most out of your freer education and life. Maybe they would give those things to a new home-educator, and maybe I'm just into the flow of it enough already, but to be honest I found them to be mainly boring, insuccinct listings of resources you pretty easily could think up yourself, or find on the internet. Countless times I saw a sentence along the lines of: "If you want adventure, you can learn to fly planes, explore local cultural monuments, or challenge yourself to eat a new food everyday..." or "Studying English for unschoolers can involve anything from writing your own novel, studying a major author from history in depth or volunteering to coach people for whom English is their second language..." Honestly, she could have just said the possibilities for everything are endless and saved us both a lot of time. I know this is not all down to the author - the possibilities of home-education are pretty much endless - but the way she supposedly 'guided' us was so lazily vague that none of it felt helpful to me, or like it was coming from a very experienced position. I would've liked to have seen more general stuff about what the subjects in the chapter names actually entailed (I imagine Llewellyn would have a lot to say about them having much more to them than what school teaches you - so why not explore that, go into specifics?) and more personalised advice. E.g. for Literature and Writing: "If you already enjoy writing, try experimenting with different types (novels, poems, essays etc.) and see which you like best. If you don't, consider looking into how it can benefit future endeavours into what you are interested in, or try seeking out interviews of people who do like writing (successful authors, for example) on why they enjoy it, before discounting the subject completely." Obviously this is much more brief and rough than it would actually be in the book, but hopefully it gets across the kind of thing I would've found useful. OK, so I feel like I've been being really negative in this review, when actually I'm really glad I read this book. I loved every single real life account from real life home-educators and their experiences (where have all these super cool home-ed teenagers been all my life?!). Particularly talk of the 'depression period' after leaving school, where you don't really know what to do with yourself, was really relatable for me, as I remember going through that phase, and actually had no idea before this that almost everyone does. The section on the laws surrounding home-education in all different countries, as well, was incredibly insightful. Overall, lots of good in this book, but it's definitely not perfect in my eyes. Though I would recommend it if you want to learn more about home-education, I would say go in with an open mind and don't take all it's points for fact.

  16. 4 out of 5

    AnandaTashie

    This book's premise is spelled out in the title. I read about 200 pages completely, then the other 200+ in chucks as they interested me. If I based my review / rating on the first 100(ish) pages, it would be much lower. In railing against school, Llewellyn was snide, judgmental, and unnecessarily harsh. It was also a bit like TEEN ANARCHY, RAWR! Basically, it didn't resonate a whole lot and made me cranky. I disliked passages like this: p 30 - "If you truly enjoy school and all its pa This book's premise is spelled out in the title. I read about 200 pages completely, then the other 200+ in chucks as they interested me. If I based my review / rating on the first 100(ish) pages, it would be much lower. In railing against school, Llewellyn was snide, judgmental, and unnecessarily harsh. It was also a bit like TEEN ANARCHY, RAWR! Basically, it didn't resonate a whole lot and made me cranky. I disliked passages like this: p 30 - "If you truly enjoy school and all its paraphernalia more than anything else you can possibly imagine doing, I suppose I'm not writing for you, because I don't understand you. I'm not sure you exist, but if you do, we live in different universes. I used to think everyone was strong willed and independently inclined. Now I'm not sure. Sometimes I think perhaps school really does completely destroy that fierce, free spirit in some people." p 76 - "If you plan to scrub floors or assemble plastic toys all your life, then yes, school will break your spirit ahead of time so you don't fight when you get nothing wonderful out of adulthood." p 81 - "But it's easy to go to school - I don't have to think for myself! To you, I have nothing to say. Stay right there at your graffiti-adorned desk. When you turn eighteen, proceed directly into the army. Be all that upi can be, for someone else." But even in that first stretch, there were moments of inspiration that I enjoyed: p 69 - "Adolescence is a time o dreaming, adventure, risk, sweet wildness, and intensity. It's a time for you to "find yourself," or at least go looking. The sun is rising on your life." p 74 - "You know: life is not the color of linoleum halls or the drab hum of industrial lighting or the slow ticking of the clock. Look at the stars. Look hard at all the faces of people throwing frisbees in a park, singing in church, passing the potatoes, planting tomatoes, fixing a kitchen table or the engine in an old pickup truck. Look at a baby or a piece of handcarved furniture or a three-hundred-year-old tree or a pebble or a worm or the sweater your grandmother knitted for you." THEN, the rest of the book happened. It's a really fantastic resource! There's still some cheekiness, but it's not the dominant vibe. It's just endless suggestions for really getting the most out of life, intellectually and emotionally, including a gazillion book recommendations. And, despite the author's own views, I think it could benefit all kids, all types of homeschoolers. p 156 - "Now that you're out of school, why bother at all? (...) Because if you find out and soak up some of the conflicting mesmerizing shocking funny logical illogical beautiful sparks we call "knowledge" or "information," you will grow a broader mind, more capable of seeing the connections and relationships between things that make the world and life so mysterious and beautiful. Because knowledge mixed with wonder shapes your mind into the interesting, lively kind of place you'd like to inhabit for the next eighty years, maybe even eternity. Because if you don't know what's been said and thought and tried before you walked in the door, you may repeat someone else a few times before you contribute anything new. The world does need new contributions, which is one good reason the schoolboard has for wanting you to be educated. Because it's not fun to be ignorant and confused..." p. 181 - "The idea is not to fill your mind up like a crowded refrigerator. The idea is to weave a prayer rug out of everything that comes your way." Some books, mentioned in the text, that I want to look into: Mathematics: The Language of Science by George O Smith Eyewitness to History, edited by John Carey Mine Eyes Have Seen, edited by Richard Goldstein Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards Classic Walks of the World, edited by Walt Unsworth The Independent Scholar's Handbook by Ronald Gross Bear's Guide to Non-Traditional College Degrees by John Bear Wishcraft by Barbara Sher Lend a Hand: The How, Where, and Why of Volunteering by Sara Gilbert The Kid's Guide to Service Projects by Barbara Lewis Other things of interest: Center for Global Education seminar trips Volunteers for Peace International Workcamps

  17. 5 out of 5

    L.

    This was very difficult to finish. I believe it should be called the "Teenage Liberation Handbook for Students Living in Small Privileged College Towns." The book is based off of interviews with unschooled students and consistently harps on teachers and schools but continues to use teachers and schools as a resource. I guess high school, according to Llewellyn, is the real killer but college is what one should be striving for. At times I agreed with what she said about public schooling, but a lo This was very difficult to finish. I believe it should be called the "Teenage Liberation Handbook for Students Living in Small Privileged College Towns." The book is based off of interviews with unschooled students and consistently harps on teachers and schools but continues to use teachers and schools as a resource. I guess high school, according to Llewellyn, is the real killer but college is what one should be striving for. At times I agreed with what she said about public schooling, but a lot of her ideas are naive and not based on anything besides one interview. There are just suggestions on what to do and it would take a highly motivated kid to keep it going for so long. And, what bothered me the most, was the idea that she felt as if she truly understood public school teachers because she had taught in a private school for two years. I don't think that gives her the right to be an insider or someone to constantly talk poorly about teachers. I read this to challenge a lot of my ideas about public education and examine some of the problems I see with the system as well, but this just made me annoyed at the vague plans, condescending tone of the author and very homogenous audience that she was writing about/to. She also suggested that the best English teacher is one who just sits at her desk reading "Jane Eyre" and waits for the students to approach her about something in their text, never teaching about reading critically etc. Yup, not so sure about that one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I am really torn on this book. On one hand, it was fantastic. I've always been drawn towards unschooling my children (we've always homeschooled), but the thought of letting go and actually letting them unschool terrifies me! What if they can't get into college? What if they just do nothing all day? What if we can't pass the end of year test we're required to take? This book helped me to see the possibilities of what unschooling can be, and it gave me some great ideas. However, there are a lot of I am really torn on this book. On one hand, it was fantastic. I've always been drawn towards unschooling my children (we've always homeschooled), but the thought of letting go and actually letting them unschool terrifies me! What if they can't get into college? What if they just do nothing all day? What if we can't pass the end of year test we're required to take? This book helped me to see the possibilities of what unschooling can be, and it gave me some great ideas. However, there are a lot of things I didn't like. It wasn't very well written, and it was a bit more liberal politically than I would like, and the language just seemed very disrespectful all the way around. And some of the examples given just bothered me. Like the father who let his 13 year old live on a commune in another state for 5 years, oh except the year when she was 16 and lived in Iceland with her 26 year old boyfriend.(!!!!) All of the examples of unschoolers given seemed extraordinary--boating around the world, amazing musicians, dancers, etc. What if you're just ordinary? I suppose Llewellyn gave me a lot to think about. I'm still not entirely certain if my family could unschool, but we'll try it out over the summer and see how it goes. :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This book was recommended to me by a friend when I started homeschool in what would have been my sophomore year of high school, and it had a profound effect on my self-lead education. Public school had bored me, and I think that most students easily excel that the subjects that they are interested in. It was important for me to read that following my interests was a perfectly acceptable way to approach education. Admittedly, I chose to largely ignore subjects that weren't that interesting to me, This book was recommended to me by a friend when I started homeschool in what would have been my sophomore year of high school, and it had a profound effect on my self-lead education. Public school had bored me, and I think that most students easily excel that the subjects that they are interested in. It was important for me to read that following my interests was a perfectly acceptable way to approach education. Admittedly, I chose to largely ignore subjects that weren't that interesting to me, namely math and science. I read a lot of classics, history books, and spent 2 years deeply immersed in learning Korean and French. I think this book makes suggestions that are much easier to undertake in the age of the internet, but for its time was pretty radical and right-on. Most college students are motivated to take classes about things that interest them; why not begin that earlier and encourage a life-long love of learning? Despite overlooking my own math and science education, I ended up a science major in college and I love it. I still follow the principles of this book and I think the bigger picture of it is that it encourages teenagers to follow their curiosity and develop their own studying habits, which has certainly helped me in higher education.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    In this book, Grace Llewellyn gives teenagers the tools they need to quit traditional school and educate themselves at home. I found this to be a great resource for not only teens, but anyone who is interested in expanding their horizons. It's packed full of information on how to achieve your educational goals, whether it's through volunteering, apprenticeships, jobs, travel, etc. She lists resources for curriculum, the bookish type or the real-life, get your hands dirty type. The fir In this book, Grace Llewellyn gives teenagers the tools they need to quit traditional school and educate themselves at home. I found this to be a great resource for not only teens, but anyone who is interested in expanding their horizons. It's packed full of information on how to achieve your educational goals, whether it's through volunteering, apprenticeships, jobs, travel, etc. She lists resources for curriculum, the bookish type or the real-life, get your hands dirty type. The first thing she does, though, is put (or perhaps reinforce) the idea in the reader's mind that school is the last place they want to be. She lays out compelling arguments for leaving traditional school and taking control of one's own education. While I agreed with much of what she said, I was a bit troubled by her tone. She seemed combative and at times had a condescending tone which, I realize, reflects her anger at her own situation in which she received a traditional education through college. She writes that she wishes she'd at least known there were other options out there, which was a big motivation for her to write the book. I liked the out of the box thinking, but sometimes didn't like the way it was presented.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aadel Bussinger

    From reading other reviews of this book, you either love it or disdain it. Love it for it's refreshing look at institutionalized education and the mediocrity it bestows on its many participants. Hate it for the absolute propaganda-ish writing style and one-sided opinions. I for one love the idea, as I felt trapped in my school experience. On the other hand, I do take offense to some of the writer's broad generalizations and stereotypes. I also do not agree with some of the things she From reading other reviews of this book, you either love it or disdain it. Love it for it's refreshing look at institutionalized education and the mediocrity it bestows on its many participants. Hate it for the absolute propaganda-ish writing style and one-sided opinions. I for one love the idea, as I felt trapped in my school experience. On the other hand, I do take offense to some of the writer's broad generalizations and stereotypes. I also do not agree with some of the things she tenderly suggests as ultimate freedom. Freedom without boundaries is miserable. I read it as a parent, whose children are yet too young to understand and have never experienced 'school'. To give it to a teenager without guidance and support would probably be an unwise thing. The message is strong, and without a discerning 'take the meat and pick off the bones' approach, this book can become doctrine to a frustrated youth. It can also cause many a rift between youngster who wishes to be free and parent who is still responsible for them until a certain age. This should be read together, or reviewed by the parent and then discussed as openly and respectfully as possible.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    I feel robbed having not found this book until adulthood. This book was suggested to me by a friend after I made the decision to pull my 14 year old daughter from school. Grace Llewellyn (a belly dancer...yip!) wrote this book for teenagers who want to quit institutional schooling and learn in a free environment where they can follow their interests, intern, volunteer, travel and read. Unschooling is free-range homeschooling based on the natural human tendency to learn when left to their own dev I feel robbed having not found this book until adulthood. This book was suggested to me by a friend after I made the decision to pull my 14 year old daughter from school. Grace Llewellyn (a belly dancer...yip!) wrote this book for teenagers who want to quit institutional schooling and learn in a free environment where they can follow their interests, intern, volunteer, travel and read. Unschooling is free-range homeschooling based on the natural human tendency to learn when left to their own devices. It hit me that I've been learning this way my whole life, I wrote about it here: http://nevergeteaten.com/2014/01/18/u... Highly recommend this book to all parents, homeschoolers, teenagers, teachers and administrators. For Unschoolers will find tons of ideas to unschool all the "core" subjects and have fun doing it. Great read for the revolutionary soul!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shifting Phases

    Is our goal to help kids learn as much as possible? Or is our goal to run schools as well as possible? These two paths can diverge dramatically, as Grace Llewellyn demonstrates. The book provides strategies for maximizing learning by working outside the school system. It's called "unschooling," it's been in use for decades by lots of young people (some of whose stories are in the book). Llewellyn demonstrates that there is no goal you can reach with schooling that you can't reach outside of form Is our goal to help kids learn as much as possible? Or is our goal to run schools as well as possible? These two paths can diverge dramatically, as Grace Llewellyn demonstrates. The book provides strategies for maximizing learning by working outside the school system. It's called "unschooling," it's been in use for decades by lots of young people (some of whose stories are in the book). Llewellyn demonstrates that there is no goal you can reach with schooling that you can't reach outside of formal schooling -- and describes what she sees as the advantages of doing it that way. It's written for young people, but is a valuable read for parents and teachers too. You may not agree with the conclusions Llewellyn reaches, but the questions she raises are worth considering.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I wish I had known this book was around when I was a teenager. It might have made a difference. I highly recommend it for teenagers and adults.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mehran Jalali

    This was, quite literally, a handbook. For example, in a chapter about pursuing XYZ out of school, it dedicated pages and pages to naming books about XYZ, organizations that help you with XYZ, the names of some unschoolers who have pursued XYZ, and so on. I didn't read a lot of that, mainly because it did not affect me in any way. So, if you're trying to assess this book as a handbook, this review is not for you. The first 7 chapters of the book were about why you should not go to sch This was, quite literally, a handbook. For example, in a chapter about pursuing XYZ out of school, it dedicated pages and pages to naming books about XYZ, organizations that help you with XYZ, the names of some unschoolers who have pursued XYZ, and so on. I didn't read a lot of that, mainly because it did not affect me in any way. So, if you're trying to assess this book as a handbook, this review is not for you. The first 7 chapters of the book were about why you should not go to school. I found myself agreeing with everything the author was saying. I had thought of most of them myself, and I despised a lot of the things the author despises too -- but maybe not to such an extent. Most of the parts on why you shouldn't go to school quoted or referenced John Holts' books. Maybe if that's the only part you're interested in reading, John Holts' books are for you. The reason I didn't rate this book 5 stars is because while the author does despise a conventional "education," she doesn't advocate for deviating much from it. She basically says "quit school and you can learn that stuff on your own in less time and have more free time" rather than "quit school and pursue topics that interest you or are useful to you -- regardless of whether they are taught in school." She basically advocates for quitting school and then leading a conventional life, like quitting school and then working at a retailer, or working at a pet store, etc. Yes, she does sometimes cover quitting school and pursuing very important stuff like research, activism, and entrepreneurship, but those parts were too rare and too far in-between. However, I don't think the parts advocating for a pretty conventional life would sway someone who doesn't want to do that, so only half a star deducted. The other half-star was because while it was insightful, it never made me go "WOW."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trinity

    I love this book! Very inspiring.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Phaedra

    I love how this book is written as if the author, Grace, is actually talking to you. It's full of connections and real life experiences she has had with students and the school system back when she was a teacher. She knows first hand the sorts of things that are expected of teachers, which gives you an inside look at school it's self. It's also full of quotes from home schooled and unschooled teenagers. The book gives helpful tips about having an education outside of school with fun and cool id I love how this book is written as if the author, Grace, is actually talking to you. It's full of connections and real life experiences she has had with students and the school system back when she was a teacher. She knows first hand the sorts of things that are expected of teachers, which gives you an inside look at school it's self. It's also full of quotes from home schooled and unschooled teenagers. The book gives helpful tips about having an education outside of school with fun and cool ideas for each subject. Wonderfully written with out a thing left out. I felt all my questions were answered after reading it. For example, i was wondering if any home schoolers got into any major colleges. She devoted a whole chapter on going to college after being home schooled or unschooled. It was very helpful to hear different statements from home schoolers, including the parents of two guys that were home schooled and went to Harvard! It also really changed what I thought of education. Before reading this book, I thought of it as just being forced to sit down and work out of a textbook or on a test. But now i know that it is more about exploring things you are interested in. I started home schooling this year and my first assignment was to read this book. Reading it really helped me see a whole different side of education and helped to get me excited to learn again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This book, which I found around ninth grade (a good twelve years ago now) saved my sanity. I cannot be objective about this book, because it did so much for me, because I found it at the perfect time and I needed it so much. For social reasons, school was miserable for me, and I was knocking myself out to get good grades to absolutely no gain to myself (good grades = even more social ostracism and good grades /= good education). I was stuck in the downward spiral of "If I'm just good enough, peo This book, which I found around ninth grade (a good twelve years ago now) saved my sanity. I cannot be objective about this book, because it did so much for me, because I found it at the perfect time and I needed it so much. For social reasons, school was miserable for me, and I was knocking myself out to get good grades to absolutely no gain to myself (good grades = even more social ostracism and good grades /= good education). I was stuck in the downward spiral of "If I'm just good enough, people will like me" which doesn't work. This book showed me the path I was on, and gave me the courage to say, "I don't like this and want to change." I was not allowed to actually homeschool, but after I read this book, I concentrated on what I thought was interesting, stopped caring about what other people told me should matter, and just became a more focused person on what I enjoyed and thought was fulfilling. It also articulated, in a way that I could not, exactly what I found so irritating and harmful about school (forced socialization with people who hate me, yay!). I can see why some people would find the tone irritating, but it was exactly what I needed to read when I needed it, and this book will always be on my shelves (unless I'm lending it out).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    While she recognizes the stupidity of school, she does not recognize it's source - taxation/government - starting with the first sentence: "How STRANGE AND self-defeating that a supposedly free country should train its young for life in totalitarianism." This trend continues with her being glad about a statist compliment on page 41: "Best—and most surprising—of all, he congratulated me on my "good citizenship" and encouraged me to keep on speaking up when something wasn't right in the w While she recognizes the stupidity of school, she does not recognize it's source - taxation/government - starting with the first sentence: "How STRANGE AND self-defeating that a supposedly free country should train its young for life in totalitarianism." This trend continues with her being glad about a statist compliment on page 41: "Best—and most surprising—of all, he congratulated me on my "good citizenship" and encouraged me to keep on speaking up when something wasn't right in the world." Later on, in "fixing the world", she asserts using the coercive system: "Here are two major ways you can become more deeply involved—one working through the legal system, the other working more or less outside of it. However, these can be combined—for example, you can use civil disobedience to help raise people's awareness, which can then lead to changed laws. 1. Get a new law passed." In short, she fails to see the root of the problem, even while getting on the populist bandwagon of calling school coercive.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This does seem like a "love it or hate it" book. I found it refreshing in my stage of life as I'm homeschooling our 5- and 7-year-olds. Grace Llewellyn is a annoyingly dogmatic in her presentation of teenage unschooling, but it seems to be her style of trying to shake people out of the status quo and consider the possibilities for their lives. I appreciated her high view of adolescents and their ability to present this schooling philosophy to their parents in a lucid and compelling manner. I was This does seem like a "love it or hate it" book. I found it refreshing in my stage of life as I'm homeschooling our 5- and 7-year-olds. Grace Llewellyn is a annoyingly dogmatic in her presentation of teenage unschooling, but it seems to be her style of trying to shake people out of the status quo and consider the possibilities for their lives. I appreciated her high view of adolescents and their ability to present this schooling philosophy to their parents in a lucid and compelling manner. I was moved by her self-awareness about how difficult it was for her to teach effectively and treat her students with respect and honor. She gives lots of practical tips about how to get the job done, but what this book excels at is presenting a vision for self-initiated education. I can imagine encouraging our kids to read this book when they turn 13.

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