Wednesday, October 27, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks - Book 36: The Teenage Liberation Handbook

Being in school is like being incredibly hungry and sitting at Burger King eating too much, too fast to be satisfied and then puking it up. 

This is an excellent book by a proponent of unschooling. Unschooling is a form of home schooling where the student takes total responsibility for choosing what to learn and when to learn it. The parent looks for opportunities to help the student achieve his/her goals. Personally, I am not an unschooler. While many aspects of this lifestyle are attractive, I do think that adults should guide their teens studies so that they will have a sufficient education. 

The author, Grace Llewellyn, has chosen to address this book to teenagers instead of their parents, hoping to inspire them to get their parents on board with this idea. Be careful if you leave this book lying around your house! The first two parts talk the student through the reasons why they should unschool and then how to convince others that it is the right thing to do. The next three parts include some nuts and bolts information that serves to inspire the reader on the various routes available for learning various types of knowledge. It is then finished up with some stories from unschoolers about how they live an an appendix with resource information.

As I said, I do not ascribe to unschooling personally, but I did learn a lot from this book. Mostly it served as a reminder that there are a variety of ways to learn material and that we need not be overly dependent on textbooks to determine what is learned within a subject area. Biographies, histories, original documents and hands on experiences (especially in the sciences) are all valuable resources to draw upon in a course of study. I hope this perspective will assist me as I design the high school courses my son must take, as well as the ones that he desires to take.

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