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Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything Paperback – June 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"... explains why so many families are making this choice." -- Ron Miller, PhD, Editor, Education Revolution

"... a must-read." -- Carlo Ricci, PhD, editor, Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning;Prof. of Graduate Education, Nipissing University

"About so much more than homeschooling, this book incorporates wonderful philosophies such as slowing down, kindness, cooperation, the dangers of materialism, & creating a heart-centered lifestyle. A beautiful read." -- Jane Nelsen, Ed.D., co-author: Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World

About the Author

Laura Grace Weldon writes for national publications about learning, sustainability and spirituality. She is a long-time columnist with "Home Education Magazine," and an award-winning poet. She also writes about learning, sustainability and spirituality for many other publications. Laura lives on a small farm with her husband and their four homeschooled children. Her background includes teaching conflict resolution and developing community enrichment workshops. Visit her at

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Hohm Press (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193538709X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935387091
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Grace Weldon's happy childhood was marred by the presence of alligators under her bed. No one ever proved they weren't real.

She found peace in a small forest behind her home, where she hoped small woodland creatures might grow to trust her and eat the offerings of food she brought each day. They didn't.

She also sought refuge in books, happily bringing home dozens each week from that heavenly realm called The Library. When told, "get your nose out of that book and go outside" she rode her trusty pink bike for hours. Quite regularly she discovered the thrill of getting lost. Back then small girls found their own way home from construction sites, major highways and Lake Erie. The only consequence? A sense of adventure.

The continuing adventure has led Laura to write a book of poetry with nursing home residents, run support groups for abused children, teach nonviolence workshops, develop community enrichment programs and make messy art.

Laura lives on Bit of Earth Farm ( with her family. Although she's not a particularly useful farm wench she takes part in raising cows, chickens, produce, honeybees, and the occasional ruckus. In her idle hours she writes essays and articles, edits other people's books, spends time on the blog she said she'd never start, writes poetry, and is slow at work on her next book: Subversive Cooking (

By the way, she's learned that the alligators haunting us are exactly where any of us put them.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 114 people found the following review helpful By R. McFarlin on June 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Free Range Learning is born from the idea that a child learns best naturally. If one is able to harness a child's natural bent toward learning then one can instill not only a love for learning but a curiosity about the world. Children and teens blossom academically when the restrictions are lifted and they are free to learn. This book also emphasizes how homeschooling takes center stage in allowing this type of academic freedom. While Laura does an excellent job explaining her position she is backed up by an array of experts from neurologists, historians, child development experts and more. The book is filled with hundreds of stories from the experience of homeschoolers around the world.

So what did this homeschooling mom think? Well, let me start off by saying that I ascribe to a Charlotte Mason/Eclectic method of homeschooling. I am by no means an unschooler or a free range parent. I am a bit of a free spirit and a rule breaker yet it is tempered by a desire for organization and routine. I also believe in a firm hand of discipline when raising children.

Am I doing a good job keeping you guessing? Well....ahem....I have to say...that...well....Laura Grace Weldon's book is RIGHT ON! I was not sure what to expect but when I opened those pages to read how a child learns and how to encourage a child to retain a curiosity and a love for learning, I was hooked. This book is NOT about some free willy nilly way of spending your days in the sun in hopes it teaches your child science. This book promotes the freedom to learn and express yourself naturally and creatively. A child is free from restrictions of traditional means of learning which has been proven to be less than educational.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A. Myers on August 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am a public school teacher who has, over several years, become more and more disenfranchised with public education as a means for truly opening childrens' minds and allowing them to reach their potential. I have arrived at the point in life where I am thinking of having my own children, and have realized that despite my love of teaching, I don't want my kids to grow up in a "traditional" classroom where conformity and test taking are key elements. So I began to look at alternative options.

I fell in love with Laura's book right from the onset. Her book is an excellent combination of real-life "case studies" - home-schooled kids and their parents talking in their own voices about their experiences - and scientific data gathered over a number of years to support this style of learning and teaching.

In addition, as a foreign language educator, I have spent a great deal of time working to understand "learning" versus "acquiring." Learning, in this context, is what we do in a controlled classroom environment. Acquiring, on the other hand, most closely resembles how babies and children learn about the world - not only speaking, but all modes of behavior. They are immersed in experiences and take everything they can from it. Why is it that in traditional schooling, we reach a point where we decide that tests and worksheets should replace actual experience? Acquisition has been shown over and over to be a far more effective means of conveying any subject matter. Homeschooling offers far more opportunities for students to acquire the knowledge they need, and this book is an excellent place to start.

In my opinion, the ultimate goal of any educational experience should be to learn how to think - to analyze, synthesize, and create novel ideas and world concepts. Free Range Learning is an excellent guidebook for helping our children achieve this goal.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By L. Walsworth on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i am new to the homeschooling community and had some difficulties finding a book/movement that spoke to me and the way that i want to school my children. luckily, this book did just that. i wanted a happy medium between unschooling and the classical method. i can't be too loosey goosey, but the idea of a rigid, orderly system wasn't for me either. this book gave ideas, explanations, and examples for a very organic form of homeschooling. i would recommend this book to anyone with children, homeschoolers or not. it portrays a beautiful way to raise and educate children.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Leah Pinnix on July 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've surprised even myself with the decision to homeschool this year and I've read many books in preparation (Amazon loves me). I've just got to tell you - your book is by far the greatest inspiration. Finally, I'm overwhelmed by opportunity and not curriculum choices! Everything that I have felt that led to the decision to homeschool is in this book and you put it in such a simple way to grasp. I am in awe and believe that no one could read this book and not want the same for their children. I will be making my first Amazon review in appreciation.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By S. Martin on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The way learning is discussed and described in Free Range Learning has never sounded so right, not to mention refreshing. As a former public school educator who is now considering homeschooling, I can confidently say that Laura Weldon accurately (and sadly) describes much of the tension and pressure that is placed on students of all ages who are in various school systems. Weldon helps us understand more about the natural learning process that takes place in young minds day in and day out in contrast to a more controlled method of learning. As I've just started my own investigation in homeschooling, this was the perfect book to guide my thoughts, answer some questions, offers ideas and suggestions and to raise other thoughts and ideas that may not have come to my attention otherwise. I also gleaned wisdom from the priceless experiences of others through the hundreds of quotes submitted by individuals from across the globe.

Free Range Learning has excited me for the opportunity that homeschooling has to help shape my children's attitudes and experiences with daily, lifelong learning.
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