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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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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 book's methods are for those who see a young person from a "theory y" viewpoint. It's the rare teacher, principal, or guidance counselor who views a student as "theory y." The demands and pressures put on them by the school-system itself tends to make them and even their students hold a "theory x" viewpoint. (Private school-systems are no better than their public counterparts in this regard. This reader's contact wtih private school-system educators has been contact with those who believe "theory x" to pretty much the only credible viewpoint.)
I read this book and it does provide a lot of good pointers on how to "unschool" a teenager. This reader has some reference to judge methods on how to school a teenager. This reader has taught public high-school courses for nearly a year as a long-term sub.