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Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling Paperback – April 17, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


"An expansion and revision of the homeschoolers' bible, written by the late, outspoken Massachusetts education reformer John Holt." -- Boston Globe Magazine 03/21/04

"For many parents this book is an indispensable handbook for educating their children at home." -- Austin Family July, 2003

"[An] enduring homeschooling classic...A landmark work...This book is indispensable." -- Home Schooling Today December 2003

About the Author

John Holt (1927-1985), one of this country’s leading educational and social critics, was the author of ten influential books which have been translated into fourteen languages. Known both as a passionate reformer and as ”the gentle

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Paperback Edition edition (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738206946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738206943
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

173 of 178 people found the following review helpful By Artist on March 17, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Do you remember what they taught you at school? Me neither. I learned to read very early on, mostly at home, and I still remember some math, but only because I balance my checkbook and know when I'm getting correct change at the market. All those years, isolated from the real world in the artificial environment of school, sitting at a desk all day with 30 of my same age peers, how was I to learn about what an actual life in the world is like, or about what I wanted to do with mine? I remember learning to take tests. Now I never take them. A lot of it was pleasant enough, some of it was not, most of it was boring, and somehow I never noticed that I was mostly wasting my time.
Now I know better having read John Holt, a sweet, caring man and a wonderful writer. He's radical, but he never rants. He persuades, gently, eloquently. He learns through years of careful, loving observation and by trial and error and he shares that with you in a way that makes it seem as though he's one of your oldest, most comfortable friends. He reminds you of what you went through in school. He makes sense. He's fun to read. And you know he's right as you read him, because we have all gone to school.
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155 of 162 people found the following review helpful By catherine kendall on April 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an totally new version of a classic book. Instead of the classic work of Holt, much of it is a 'commentary' by the new author.

I didn't like the 'new' version. I bought this to learn from Holt, not read someone's 'commentary." I grew frustrated that instead of letting me read what Holt wrote, there was a ton of the new author stating "Holt said in Teach your own...."

Also, I didn't like that Farenga cut out big chunks of the book. ie he decided that we didn't 'need' to know about the histories of court rulings, and in one instance took the parent testimonials that Holt had used in one section the original book and added 'more modern

I got so frustrated that I bought a used copy of the original from Amazon. I got it yesterday and have read almost all of it. The original is really great.

The 'new' version reads as if was written by someone who really doesn't like unschooling.

I would recomend the 'classic' version!
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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By IntegrityLee on September 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
This single book completely transformed our family's plan for educating our child. After 3 years of perfectly normal, traditional (private and public) schooling, the light bulb went off and we are now embarking on the incredible journey of homeschooling. John Holt speaks such truth, and reminds us that all human beings are born naturally curious, wanting and able to learn. Imagine the potential of our world if each child spent 11,000 hours out in the real world, hungrily soaking up all that life has to offer, instead of sitting all day, being fed information to regurgitate with no apparent and immediate relation to their needs, their interests or their lives. Holt reminds us that "school" is a relatively new invention, and that earlier generations who could not only write exquisitely, invent, create, build and lead, were all schooled at home. Holt also helps every parent who has ever said "I could never homeschool my children" rethink the entire idea of being "the teacher". Rather, every parent can assume the role of "facilitator"... simply providing access, resources and examples... and watching the miracle of natural human development take off on its own. Take the journey. You will never look back.
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115 of 121 people found the following review helpful By MFS on May 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this unofficial treatise for the homeschooling movement, John Holt, longtime private school teacher, maintains that the traditional classroom model no longer works and may, in fact, ruin kids for learning. He exhorts parents to challenge the conventional wisdom and be their children's teachers. You don't need to be a homeschooler to benefit from Holt's books; you simply need to care about children and education and to have uttered, if only once, "There's got to be a better way."
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Graham H. Seibert TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
As I read about homeschooling, I found several references to this groundbreaking book. John Holt was an educator who traveled what has become a common path among educators. It starts with enthusiasm to teach, followed by the discovery that one is really good at it. The kids love you. Then, looking around, the educator discovers that the educational bureaucracy loves him a whole lot less than the kids do.

They don't trust him. First of all, he doesn't have a great deal of respect for established curricula, schedules, standardized tests and the other trappings of classroom education. A real teacher looks at each kid is an individual challenge, and does the best with every one of them. Administrators hate that. It is said that in France, a Minister of Education boasted that one any given November 5 he could walk into any eighth grade history classroom in France and know what was being taught. It seems that all pedagogues like that kind of control, and hate the maverick who would challenge it.

Teachers generally belong to unions. Unions demand equal pay for everybody, which they justify with the assumption that all workers are interchangeable. A teacher who is visibly effective and loved by his students is a threat to that comfortable assumption, and hence to the whole system. Only a few schools, mostly private or charter, can tolerate such personalities, and even then only up to a degree. I say this wryly; I taught private school after I retired, and only one headmaster out of ten was able to deal with the fact that I did it because I enjoyed it, and what he paid me did not give him control over my life. Thanks, David Schapiro.

Holt's book is dated.
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