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

Grace Llewellyn
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

September 1998
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.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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You won't find this book on a school library shelf--it's pure teenage anarchy. While many homeschooling authors hem and haw that learning at home isn't for everyone, this manifesto practically tells kids they're losers if they do otherwise. With the exception of a forwarding note to parents, this book is written entirely for teenagers, and the first 75 pages explain why school is a waste of time. Grace Llewellyn insists that people learn better when they are self-motivated and not confined by school walls. Instead of homeschooling, which connotes setting up a school at home, Llewellyn prefers "unschooling," a learning method with no structure or formal curriculum. There are tips here you won't hear from a school guidance counselor. Llewellyn urges kids to take a vacation--at least for a week--after quitting school to purge its influence. "Throw darts at a picture of your school" or "Make a bonfire of old worksheets," she advises. She spends an entire chapter on the gentle art of persuading parents that this is a good idea. Then she gets serious. Llewellyn urges teens to turn off the TV, get outside, and turn to their local libraries, museums, the Internet, and other resources for information. She devotes many chapters to books and suggestions for teaching yourself science, math, social sciences, English, foreign languages, and the arts. She also includes advice on jobs and getting into college, assuring teens that, contrary to what they've been told in school, they won't be flipping burgers for the rest of their days if they drop out.

Llewellyn is a former middle-school English teacher, and she knows her audience well. Her formula for making the transition from traditional school to unschooling is accompanied by quotes on freedom and free thought from radical thinkers such as Steve Biko and Ralph Waldo Emerson. And Llewellyn is not above using slang. She capitalizes words to add emphasis, as in the "Mainstream American Suburbia-Think" she blames most schools for perpetuating. Some of her attempts to appeal to young minds ring a bit corny. She weaves through several chapters an allegory about a baby whose enthusiasm is squashed by a sterile, unnatural environment, and tells readers to "learn to be a human bean and not a mashed potato." But her underlying theme--think for yourself--should appeal to many teenagers. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

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HOW STRANGE AND self-defeating that a supposedly free country should train its young for life in totalitarianism. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book (one warning though) May 24 2004
This book is excellent. I sometimes wish it had a different name because a lot of people can benefit from it other than teenagers. I am a homeschooling mom of young children but I still got a lot out of it. Her philosophy is basically that you don't need a curriculum to learn. I agree with this. I liked her idea that you can still spend 4 hours a day doing "school work" but you do what YOU want to do instead of what someone assigns you. You do self directed learning. I have found that a solid math and grammar program is all you really need. In the end the SAT and GRE only tests you on your verbal/math skills anyway. Why waste time learning all kinds of subjects in the order some adult tells you to? The only subjects worth studying in a regimented manner in my opinion are math and grammar. Aside from that you should follow your interests. Now the author is a bit extreme in her views so I find you have to temper it with your own good judgement.
The warning is that she actually endorses experimenting with drugs. Pretty scary but she does. I find this very irresponsible of her. Fortunately I was able to work around that and read the rest of the book. You just have to realize she's a bit of an extremist so you have to just take what you learn from it and let the rest go.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful unschooling manual July 9 2004
By A Customer
I just finished this book after unschooling my children for the past 6 years and neither has attended a school. It has reaffirmed my belief that unschooling CAN work and my kids will not flip burgers all their lives.
The book goes through every subject and gives lots of resources for unschooling it. I wish I had found this book sooner and I would have had many less sleepness nights, worrying about unschooling versus "school at home"! I am purchasing a copy to use as a reference manual in our library. Lots of volunteer organizations, internships, business ideas. Just an awesome resource for unschoolers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Teenage Liberation Handbook (TLH) Oct. 24 2003
This book changed my life.
When I was thirteen, bored with school, I was given this book. It took me one long hard summer to convince my parents to let me unschool, but I did. I haven't looked back since.
When I read this book, my immediate thought is: "I am the luckiest teenager in the world to be given this book." I loved myself, my life, and I was so happy I was leaving. It also made me angry that I hadn't left school earlier, that I'd been tricked by everyone.
I know, I know. You're all wondering about social concerns, right? Well I go to school and have lunch with my friends once a week. I also occasionally stay after school with friends and watch football games or sports. I am involved in the school's after school activities and am considering joining our high school's choir. Just because you're leaving school doesn't mean you leave all of it's benefits! You recieve the best parts of both worlds!
However, unschooling is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I love it. I've learned so much more than school ever taught me, as much about life as about academics. If I don't do my "work," I don't just get a bad grade and forget about it. It still needs to be done, and I've learned to just do it.
In response to what another viewer said (It's harder to look in the library for something to give yourself in education--in school everything is laid out) I agree with that. It's true. I've learned how to look through a library and find that. I've learned to ask the librarians, my parents, and former teaches for suggestions. I've learned how to find things on my own. Also, someone mentioned that Grace "glossed over" things, and I'd like to say that I believe the reason she did that was because each state/country is different about how it deals with unschoolers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and well- researched! Dec 28 2003
My only concern about this book is that if a teenager is trying to pursuade her parents to allow her rise out of conventional school she'll need to find another book to give them in order to broach the subject. This book, which is extremely informative for teens and dead-on to those of us in the choir, may be too in-your-face for those who have never heard of nor considered homeschooling as an option for their child. A parent must be approached carefully about the education of their student, since considering a change of this magnitude necessitates a deep examination of all those things most earlier generations have been told all their lives. A "radical" book is always attractive to young adults, but can be off-putting to their parents. Still, the author has paid her dues and has come out the other side informed and with a clear sense of purpose: To sway teenagers to search for a better education by taking control of their own schooling. It's an admirable endeavor and one with which I agree. But as a parent, I had to get beyond the confrontational approach in the beginning. Still, Llewellyn's intended audience IS teenaged, so I persuaded myself to give it 5 stars rather than 4 -- Powerful stuff.
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Grace Llewellyn's TEENAGE LIBERATION HANDBOOK is not an opinion. It is a real way to escape the dog-eat-dog hell that is the philosophy of all schools. There's nothing honorable about honors programs. It's elitism that enslaves good human beings. Llewellyn's book is a good place to learn how to destroy the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. I only wish that the book had been out 40 years ago. Going to school as a child did one thing--destroyed a bright cheerful human being who has spent decades trying to recuperate. I read her book four years ago and have found many things that were useful even to a 60 year old man with five accredited college degrees and numerous certificates and diplomas from non-accredited schools. Get your kid out of those damnable breeders of rotted intellect! Get Llewellyn's book!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars And one chapter later...
It took me about a chapter to realize that I truly hate school, as much as I've said otherwise, and no matter how many times I've been moved up I'm not going to get anywhere. Read more
Published on May 15 2004 by Lorna Folk
5.0 out of 5 stars an important, engaging work
There are no doubt going to be a lot of people threatened by what Grace Llewellyn has to say, because a lot of people have their entire identities and lives invested in believing... Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2003 by LH
5.0 out of 5 stars Ditch school (or work) and read this book--now!
I am 32-year-old recovering public school student. This book finally validated what I knew in my heart all along: education is not a one-size-fits-all deal. Read more
Published on July 10 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Anarchist Propaganda
I am disgusted by the book, and the fact that Ms. Llewellyn is preying upon teenagers, feeding them what they want to hear, and profiting from that. Read more
Published on July 4 2003 by Alex Kriegel
5.0 out of 5 stars slow down and read every word; it's that important
It is frightening though to hear how bad life is for most high schoolers. I was looking for books on homeschooling in my local library when a teenaged bystander put this book in... Read more
Published on March 27 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars THE COOLEST BOOK!!!
First of all, the reason I gave this book 4 starz (rather than 5) is because Grace Llewellyn doesn't seem very open-minded about any type of education besides unschooling. Read more
Published on March 10 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopeful and Inspiring
I was in a school that was a failure in almost every way. Emotionanlly and physically abusive, the low achievement and education rates were hardly worth noting. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed this homeschool mom's view - in the 1st chapter!
If your looking to open your eyes to reality, this is it. I have been a homeschooling mom on and off for 15 yrs. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2003 by Laurie40
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