- Paperback: 435 pages
- Publisher: Lowry House Pub; Rev Exp edition (September 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0962959170
- ISBN-13: 978-0962959172
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education Paperback – September 1, 1998
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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
"Bursting with ... wise guidance .... the sole inspiration for ... an endeavor we thought was out of the question." -- The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog
The TLH is more than a book. Its a map . . Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always thought provoking... -- In2Print Magazine, Fall 1997
The single essential book for those who value learning but not school... a complete tool kit. . . -- LUNO (Learning Unlimited Network of Oregon), April 1992
Will . . . embolden homeschoolers to be courageously creative . . . and will encourage parents to trust their childrens choices. -- Clonlara Home Based Education Program
[Llewellyns] enthusiasm. . ., great faith in kids, and... wonderful educational possibilities she presents will make her book tantalizing reading.... --Booklist, October 15, 1991
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Top customer reviews
I read this book when I was nineteen - I'd already finished high school, and had even spent a year at university. That I hadn't read it earlier broke my heart.
Some kids do just fine in school. I don't mean in terms of grades, I mean emotionally. They are ok with sitting still all day every day in an authoritarian environment. They believe adults who say "there is no use complaining, school is a reality, if you can't fit in there is something wrong with you, etc".
I'm sure that these kids exist.
Most of us, however, have recurring nightmares about pop quizzes for the rest of our lives. If we are lucky enough to rediscover our creativity, our freedom of spirit, then we must grieve those things in order to reclaim them in our lives. We regret the years of our youth lost to 'learning', and wonder why we couldn't have spent our precious time doing the important stuff.
No matter your age, this book will be a liberating experience. If you are still in school, or know someone who is, this book will also be a thoroughly helpful guide to taking control of their lives.
This book ought to get ten stars out of five. It is absolutely brilliant, it's honest, it's helpful, it's inspirational.
This conditioning follows most of us into our adult lives, as we exchange one domineering form of authority for yet another and never learn intellectual/mental independence. We enter the workplace to sell our time to bosses and fulfill alienating, drone-like work positions, without ever really figuring out what is important to us or fully understanding the vital concept of self-direction.
The spoon-feed cycle spills over into all aspects of our lives, as we look to media talking head "specialists" and "experts" to tell us what we should know and point us to information they deem important.
Worst of all, we are constantly living for the promise of a utopian future that never arrives. School children are waiting for recess, the 3 o'clock bell and summer, while adults are waiting for lunch, the 5 o'lock hour and vacation. Our lives basically become an abstract mosaic of past and future. The present loses all meaning and becomes irrelevant, yet the idea that present misery is necessary for future happiness/comfort has been driven into our psyche since the day we entered the schooling regiment.
Llewellyn passionately encourages kids to cast off these lies and take their minds and futures into their own hands, rather than buying into the empty abstractions and false promises of a institutionalized education system that kills off innate human spontaneous curiosity and love of learning.
I won't reiterate what other reviewers have stated, but my favorite part about this book is Llewellyn's argument that true learning/intellect is born out of lived experience, not regurgitated facts memorized sans meaningful context and later forgotten. She shatters a slew of myths associated with institutionalized schooling, particularly the idea that the school setting provides a child with "friends." (Any meaningful friendships that occur within the age-segregated, institutionalized school environment truly occur accidentally, despite school authorities' best efforts to prevent "unauthorized" interaction!) Or that conventional schooling is a prerequisite for college and a "good job" later on in life. None of these myths bear a spark of truth, but what they are designed to do is prevent children from harnessing their unique potential as individuals and realizing the world of possibility that exists outside of the four walls of One-Size-Fits-All Junior High. And if they starting thinking along these lines, who knows where such radical thinking might lead?
Give this book to every school kid you know. At the very least, it might provoke a shift of consciousness that just might save their intellectual life during their time in the schooling machine.