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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Hmmm, this is an odd book. It is a list of platitudes about unschooling. It is noteworthy that the author found 55, but it reminds me of the students in high school who made the margins and font size on their term papers bigger and re-worded Cliff Notes. There is lot of white space. Judging from other reviews it does seem to provide some encouragement to new unschoolers, and that is very good. However, I did not find anything that you can't find on the internet for free. If you want something revolutionary, I recommend re-reading John Holt. This book is something akin to Chicken Soup for the Unschooling Soul. If you are looking for platitudes, this is for you, otherwise you may want to move on.

Edited to add: I wish Amazon had a way a reviewer could easily indicate if a review is written by a friend or colleague in the field of the author. Re-reading the reviews, this looks to be the case with several of the positive reviews, and I wish I had spotted that sooner. I also do not find anything to support the publisher's (?) description that the author has experience with homeschoolers and unschoolers and is an education guru.If this is the case, I wish the author or publisher would provide some information on it. There should be more transparency to decrease the likelihood that customers such as myself feel like they were taken for a ride.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
This expansive and intelligent look at the concept of "unschooling" is not only as penetrating an exposition of "what's wrong with schools" as I've seen but also gives the reader what I think is a very useful insight into the appeal of unschooling, why it's booming and why, to borrow an opinion from elsewhere, "it's not just for hippies".

Whatever our 'love affair' with the school classroom might have been in the past (I have a grown up daughter who was very successful in school throughout the 1990s), I live now in a culture of unprecedented educational opportunity, a reality where every self-motivated individual with an internet connection is free to learn whatever they choose to learn whenever and wherever it suits them. It's the age of the "digital revolution" - and that has made schools the laggards of the education world and in need of the kinds of fundamental changes that Clark Aldrich explores through his ideas, often with the help of some wry and perceptive humour.

I do like this little book very much (which is why it features on my website!) and consider it recommended reading for anybody interested in the future of education, whatever form that might ultimately take. For those who are unschooling, I think it's a gift for biting back at the critics. For parents with children in school who just want schools to be better than they've become it may however be a provocative read - there are many things to think about in this book that you might find yourself thinking about for the very first time.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book and it is such a great read! What a wonderfully insightful piece of work by Mr. Aldrich that will enlighten and challenge even the seasoned unschooler/homeschooler! But this is not just a book about unschooling FOR unschoolers, this book speaks to and endeavors to engage society as whole in a new conversation and perspective about education. This should be required reading for all learners and educators (and we ALL are learners and educators) who don't believe that schools and true education are necessarily mutually inclusive. If you value true education and are ready for something different, Unschooling Rules is for you.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have been convinced by others in the unschooling movement that this method or train of thought does work. I have seen it work in our family with my three sons, one of whom is autistic. I have basically unschooled for the better part of 8 years of homeschooling and my son just took the Iowa Based Assessment Test (just to see where he was at and what he needed to concentrate on to get into college this next semester)and he scored 2nd year college level in everything except Math which was age appropriate. My son just turned 16 in March and will be going to college in the fall. He has never taken a test except the one I mentioned above, and he still has learned through experience, doing things he is interested in, and following his own path through this world. I think that Mr. Aldrich backs this up through his examples in the book about the way a lot of people view the electronics of our time (yes - children can play electronics and still learn!) He also follows the unschooling path by the way his whole book is laid out - wandering from one thought or fact to the next. This book is an easy read (I read it in a couple of hours)and it is uncomplicated and clearly thought out, provoking the reader to rethink their opinions about public school and that there is clearly another way for children to learn without the stress of government intervention.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a well written, insightful book. It will either reinforce your decision to Homeschool and give you direction, or make you reconsider your decision to let the public school system raise your child. The consequences of continuing the way we are are unacceptable. I enjoyed the book and absolutely recommend it.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm an unschooling fan, but I wish we had a better book to promote our cause than this. Pithy 1.5 page chapters that say cliched truths doesn't exactly prove to the world that unschooling is for the most intellectual of people out there. This is a fine introductory book of tweets, but please, someone give us a better rallying cry/defense/explanation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
Unschooling Rules is finally a cogent and clear-eyed look behind the curtain of the formal educational system. We have, for way too long, equated Schooling with Learning. Clark teaches us that there are, for starters, at least 55 concise and practical ways to make the system start to work as if it was the digital 21st century instead of the industrial 19th century when formal education was institutionalized.

So this is a must read book if you have a child either about to enter. or already deeply embedded into the formal school system. And if one or more of your kids is already in, buy copies for at least the teacher's who "teach" them and the Principal who runs the factory, er, I mean school.

Start the conversation since what we have MUST change and you need to be the change agent who inspires a difference, instead of a quiet parent who worries about test scores during your turn in the pro forma teacher-parent meeting.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am very disappointed. This is not a real book. It is a list of chapters that are a little over a page long each, and contain very little in the way of useful information. I was especially offended by the several times the author claims that calculus is a waste of time, should only be mentioned in history lessons, and is only used by engineers and mathematicians. I disagree very very much. My husband and I are both chemists, and calculus is the gateway to understanding the natural world. I personally only have a bachelor's degree and cannot claim to be good at or even have a good understanding of calculus, but my husband uses it daily in his work, and he is neither an engineer nor a mathematician! Anyone who does anything in the physical sciences needs to be able to use calculus.

Even before I got to the parts about calculus being a waste of time, I was already annoyed I had spent money on such a useless book! There is absolutely no useful information in it. A waste of time unless you like reading things that just make you feel good about your decision to homeschool/unschool/whatever. I personally find such things a waste of my time. I feel good by doing things, not by reading someone else's opinion on what I happen to be doing. I'd rather be reading a novel, or even a calculus textbook! I was hoping for a book with constructive ideas, not a litany of public schooling criticisms and abstract ideas of what homeschooling should be about.

I did finish the book. It took me less than 2 hours to read the whole thing start to finish, and what a waste of 2 hours that was! I got not a single thing out of it that I didn't already know. Plus, as a bonus, I got to be annoyed by the author's assumption that my children are "average" and would be wasting their time learning higher maths and sciences. Not everyone can make money writing books full of useless drivel. Some of us like to actually have the brains and innate curiosity to learn how the world works at the atomic or subatomic level. My children are the future, and I don't mean the future burger flippers of the world!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I had to consciously restrain myself from jumping up and down with excitement in the middle of an airport during my first read of Unschooling Rules! Clark's concise, direct approach is right on target. For those of us familiar with unschooling, it is a joy to read Clark's 55 items of observation and advice, and agree with every single one of them! For those new to unschooling, Clark's insights provide a fantastic starting point for exploring this other paradigm of learning. As Co-Founder and Executive Director of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens in Hadley, MA, I will share Clark's book with all families exploring our program as an alternative to traditional schooling. To those readers inspired by Clark, I offer an invitation to visit North Star to witness a real-life experiment in making this approach available to all interested families. Best wishes, Clark!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
This should be required reading material for all educators and I recommend it to all my peers and students. This will start a revolution. Clark Aldrich is a bringer truth wherever he goes. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will hopefully inspire you to think and act differently. Years from now, I believe that this book stand out as a catalyst for change.

This book demystifies the myths of education in an enjoyable and thoughtful manner. It should be required reading material for all educators. Buy a copy of this book for a principal, a superintendent, a politician, a loved one, and yourself!
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