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The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

Customer Review:
You won’t find this book on a school library shelf–it’s pure teenage anarchy. 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.

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14 Responses to “The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education”

  1. Inocencia Costa says:

    I should have read this years ago. This should have been published when I was 12. I can still remember those nights of apprehension when I was still enrolled in a school in NY. Now, my eldest daughter is homeschooling and I am satisfied by the way she handles herself even in a crowd.
    Inocencia Costa´s last post: Call for ArticlesMy Profile

  2. Toni says:

    We have at least two copies of this book. What we need now is an “Adult Liberation Handbook” for the parents.

  3. Chris says:

    If it spends 75 pages explaining why school is a waste of time, I really wish that I’d found this book as a teenager.

  4. Kent Eaton says:

    Alternative Learning Organization aka “Stichting alternatieve leervormen” (Dutch) owns the publishing rights for non-English versions of Teenage Liberation Handbook” So far it has only inspired a German version, however we would like to publish in other countries and languages.

    We are looking for publishers in such countries who may be interested. or funds to do so ourselves. It’s a great book and can be a real key of letting so many young persons realize they have so much more power than they have been led to believe.

  5. Waldemar says:

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    How to bring up a “Theory Y” Individual
    According to Douglas McGregor, an uber-famous professor from MIT’s sloan business school, a person can be viewed in two ways. 1st way is externally-directed known as “theory x.

  6. Yanichel says:

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    it changed my life
    After reading this book at the age of 17, I got a GED, went to community college, and now hold a Master’s in English. As a highschool student I had a 1.

  7. Prisca says:

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Must Read
    This is the only review I have ever written so take note.
    This book changed my life.I went through school being vaugly aware of the opression I was suffering but I…

  8. Oraefo says:

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent!! Truly Excellent!!
    I love this book! I unschool my two children – ages 14 & 11. The author has fabulous ideas and speaks in a voice that rings true at my house!

  9. Nubia says:

    2.0 out of 5 stars
    This is not an educator calling for change, this is a self-centered child that wants licentiousness, not liberty. She thinks all kids are able to be free.

  10. Maclean says:

    3.0 out of 5 stars
    good resource
    Read this book with the idea that whether or not you agree with everything, it will provide many opportunities for reflection.

  11. Ulema says:

    1.0 out of 5 stars
    weak, effeminate, lacks seriousness
    I thought the author was a bit immature. I found the author’s lack of seriousness to be a serious conflict to my real interest in accomplishing something in the world via…

  12. Sy says:

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    17 Years Too Late For Me….
    I love this book. Would have been The Best Thing back in the day, but alas, it was published the same year I graduated high school, and I never heard of it until now…

  13. Zulema says:

    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Think for yourself
    I am a middle school English teacher, and I use this book to teach the importance of thinking for yourself–but probably not in the way it was intended.

  14. Xaviere says:

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Buy one for every kid you know
    I’m a former teacher in both public and private schools, the doting father of a teenager, a multi-term school board member, and a graduate of an “excellent” urban high school who…

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