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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(3 star). See all 98 reviews
on April 23, 2015
I basically agree with all of the "rules" presented in this book. My objection is that the author takes such a bitter and adversarial tone in relating anything to the public school system. My suspicion is that he does this because many people who choose to unschool do so out of frustration with public schooling. I also found some examples of what unschooling looks like to be a little less than inspiring. I believe in portfolio development and passion based learning. I fail to see how hanging around to watch police respond to a threatened suicide can be singularly educational. In fact, that example reminded me of many "learning experiences" I had in a traditional school setting. Children will learn things about how the world works by happening upon novel experiences whatever way you choose to approach education.
I was hoping for more from this book. It fell short of my expectations in many ways. Again, I do not disagree with any of the rules, but I felt like this was a simplistic treatment of a worthy subject written by someone with an obvious chip on his shoulder that does not allow for a realistic portrayal of public education.
17 people found this helpful
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on November 26, 2013
If you are looking for a concise summary of reasons to homeschool, this book works. Although the writings of John Holt are much more thorough, this book is a quick read with useful bullet points.
One person found this helpful
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on December 18, 2014
It seems like a good idea, but the classroom size ratio would be very difficult to do because of the expense. It is very good in theory but little is actually practical. Where the genius is is that parents of children who go to these schools are academically more gifted and have involved parents. A parent who is involved with the education will have chosen who are educated and will pass courses and excel.
2 people found this helpful
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on March 7, 2014
I am 75 years old, and I have seen several cycles of this 'let your children do what they want to do just then...'.
I believe in this approach for someone under 5 yrs. of age, and over 14. From 6 to 14 - discipline and organized studying!
Creativity has to be fostered, BUT SO MUST ABILITY TO BUCKLE DOWN AND WORK at less-than-fun organizational tasks.
I am a mathematics graduate from UCLA, and I only get angry when I think about modern math...
No wonder the USA education is falling behind third-world countries...
Stop multiple-question testing, go back to essays! That is more work for the teachers - but so much more effective for students!!

Go observe the successful German school system! Especially - in Bavaria!!

Thanks, Tatjana G.
4 people found this helpful
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on December 30, 2011
It's def worth the money to read if you're just starting your journey into homeschooling. The book is good in making you realize how formal public/private schooling is not working for a lot of children. He presents his ideas from a sincere place but I find most of his ideas are unrealistic. The average Joe couldn't follow through w/most of his suggestions. I just don't think they are realistic for a majority of the population. Kudos to him for bringing light to a subject that is on the edge of making a popular forthcoming trend.
4 people found this helpful
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on July 30, 2016
I imagine if you'd never heard of unschooling and you wanted to "dive in" this may SEEM helpful, but actually it's not. It's reducing unschooling to checklists and contradictions. If you really want to unschooled you need a picture of unschooling such as in the book Free Range Learning or Project Based Homeschooling. If you want to give your husband or friend something to read that's very brief (almost too brief) and has no references or very little examples then choose this book!
As a teacher turned unschooler I believe there are more helpful books that reference child development, nature studies, other resources for unschooling rather than a "cliffs notes" of unschooling.
I also don't like how this book says to "use all the technology" then limit technology and read books. Well of course. Don't take a stance on technology or anything! Then later they're saying "don't use assessment's they're useless" and a few pages later encourages online assessment. Say what?!
I'm being generous by giving 3 stars. If your library has it and you're super curious, check it out. Otherwise don't waste your time. There are better books.
3 people found this helpful
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on April 18, 2013
There is a lot of really good information here. I like that its organized into the 55 differ "rules." That makes it simple to understand and remember. There are some parts that I disagreed with, however. Most schools no longer "track" their students into academic and vocational tracks. If anything the opposite is true. With the emphasis on "every child college ready" and standardized tests, much of the vocational education has been done way with. This is actually a tragedy, in my opinion, because the vocational classes are some of the most project based classes that schools have to offer.

The other thing I disagreed with was the recommendation (or plug) in the afterward for the K12 curriculum. I find K12's curriculum materials to be the very antithesis of "unschooling." They are more like school text books just repackaged for online use.... Not at all exploratory, and very rarely project based, especially in the secondary grades (middle and high school). Their high school courses are more of the same... Just online, with less teacher support if any. That and their teachers are treated quite poorly, which leaves them unmotivated to really help kids learn, inspire their passions or curiosity.

Other than those two points, I agreed whole heartedly with just about everything else. I appreciated at it was a quick read, and affordable.
One person found this helpful
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on January 4, 2012
I just finished reading the book. Statements like children are born naturally curious and parents should do their best to encourage this interest in learning hit home. I liked the idea of encouraging children to create multimedia portfolios that captures their interest in a topic and development of knowledge over the years, to demonstrate mastery.

Other ideas I found overly idealistic and simplistic. Much of it I thought was common sense and didn't need to be written down - encourage your kids to try different things, anyone? Some strategies suggested such as encouraging children to be outdoors as much as possible and have them observe and learn from the world around them are fantastic for the younger ones. Unfortunately, knowledge of how computer chips are designed or how to apply breakthroughs in biochemistry to cure cancer cannot be gained through osmosis and hanging around experts on the topic or while communing with nature and observing the world around you.

The student necessarily needs to find an equipped lab and a teacher, virtual or otherwise, to pick up knowledge and skills which will be valuable in tomorrow's society. A person who hopes to be skilled in these high paying, in demand jobs of the future must necessarily spend years acquiring this highly specialized knowledge. Dinging a college education as useless and unnecessary for _anyone_ was too simplistic for me. Sure, college may not be the answer for everyone, but if you want a high paying sought after job of the future that requires special training, college is the easiest way to get there for most.

The book had a very "formal education is evil" tone to it which made me uncomfortable with the presumption that this is the universal truth, across all knowledge domains.
8 people found this helpful
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on April 4, 2013
This book was a little more technical than I had thought. It is interesting but not as informing on everyday matters as I wanted.
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