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The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education Paperback – Sep 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 435 pages
  • Publisher: Lowry House Pub; Rev Exp edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962959170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962959172
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 621 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #146,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback
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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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 that our school system fosters true learning and the confidence and self-knowledge necessary to creat a satisfying, fulfilling life. It quite frankly does nothing of the sort, and Llewellyn is very good at logically spelling out for us exactly why this is so.
Like Llewellyn, I attended compulsory school, was a good student, and went through college (a professional school) in preparation for a career, and also like her I now see the terrible limitations inherent in our school system. Had I had the opportunity of different and more choices, I could have avoided a lot of the tedium, mediocrity, and loss of freedom that such an educational path demanded, even had I eventually *chosen* to educate myself in a traditional way. As well, I have spent the last decade of my life unlearning bad habits that are directly a result of being coerced for years into doing things that are irrelevant to my life, and being subject to arbitrary authorities. Those things crowded out my spirit and my voice until I forgot I had them or how to use them. I am now remembering how, and books like Llewellyn's have been invaluable to me in doing so.
"It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiousity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty." -- Albert Einstein...
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