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Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling
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Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  1,207 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
The classic work on teaching children at home, updated for today's new laws, new lifestyles, and a new generation of home-schooling parents
ebook, 368 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Da Capo Press (first published July 1981)
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Dec 10, 2009 Carlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, a lot. Before picking up John Holt (one of the unschooling masters) I thought unschooling frankly, sounded like a lot of hooey. Really, kids just being all motivated to learn everything they needed to know....on their own. Riiiiiiight! And then I read this book. I have totally changed my tune and now think that unschooling actually sounds more than plausible, it sounds inspiring and right up my alley. I'm going to be looking for other books by John Holt and other books by unsc ...more
Sep 22, 2009 Miranda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Hmm, an interesting book. I was somewhat dubious about homeschooling before I read it and it has made me think again. I am intrigued and convinced by the ideas that learning is a part of living, and is most effective and enjoyable when it happens spontaneously and independently rather than being forced on students.

However I felt that my main concerns around homeschooling, namely a feminist discomfort with the way so many (although of course not all) homeschoolers seem to be women supported by th
May 18, 2013 JP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is John Holt's most direct coverage about "unschooling" - why to do it, how to do it, and how to deal with those who believe otherwise. After his death in 1985, Pat Farenga continued his message, including updates to this work, primarily to comment on modern issues and the latest political developments. This book will challenge traditional views in a persuasive no-nonsense way. I suspect it will also challenge most home school parents to consider more creative methods based on their childre ...more
Jul 15, 2008 Homeschoolmama rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've just discovered this maverick guy. What a trailblazer he was. I'm only sorry he died young and didn't stick around long enough to continue writing and publishing his magazine Growing Without Schooling. While I don't agree w/all his ideas, I do find many of them compelling. His analysis of how children learn and how the public school system discourages natural curiosity in favor of mass conformity makes so much sense! I recommend reading this one, as well as How Children Learn.
May 28, 2013 Afton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
A good book, but for some reason I didn’t like it quite as much as some others I’ve read. I’m in favor of homeschooling, but the arguments seem to be a little too idealistic at the beginning. Patrick Ferenga takes John Holt’s original book and leaves his own comments about what was said. It’s an interesting mix.

Despite all that, I learned a great deal from the book and I think it was still an important resource in building up my educational philosophy and solidifying my reasons and desires for h
This book is a little idealistic, like you can tell the original author (Holt's writing is in a different font from Ferenga's) never actually had any kids of his own and doesn't understand what it's like to be with them 24/7 or to have any sort of legacy stake in their development. But I do think an excellent point he makes is not to quash a child's curiosity or experimentation too young (or at all, ideally). Also to learn by doing and autodidactism.

Holt comes across as highly diplomatic and op
Feb 07, 2012 Raven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Holt has a lot of inspiring things to say about homeschooling and about living with children. I love his ideas about respect for the child and about giving them plenty of opportunities to learn from real life and engage in play. He tends to get a bit hyperbolic (but this seems natural for someone who felt he was fighting for a cause) and I don't agree with all of his assertions, especially his ideas about learning disabilities. However, there was much that I enjoyed and admired about his writing ...more
Jun 13, 2008 Elissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
There are several things I really agreed with in this book, such as the fact that children have different learning styles, many of which are not encouraged in a traditional school setting. Also, although schools are considered experts in educating children, the parents are really the experts because they know the children well. Also, children really delve into learning, enjoy and remember it when it is something they choose to learn.

But Holt goes off in many tangents that I thought took away fro
Sep 15, 2008 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone with children/grand kids
THis is my favorite book on "unschooling". THis is written by a mom of two who was a teacher and shares her joys and stuggles of opening her children's life to the opportunity of natural learning. I strongly recommend anyone skeptical or curious about unschooling to read this book, it is a must!! It's wonderful how she describes her and her husband's own stuggles over comming the ingrained tradition learning/teaching they were taught and gives the results of what happens when that is pressed upo ...more
Feb 05, 2009 Shawna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's harsh to give this two stars when I only flipped through it, but the truth is, it just wasn't what I was looking for. This book is a compilation of letters written to John Holt detailing experiences people had with responses on how to school at home. While I've no doubt that it's incredibly useful, I found it very difficult to read and was more interested in other homeschooling texts that give more information on the life experience of homeschooling as well as how to make use of those teach ...more
Mar 15, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Changed the way I think about education, for sure. This book is the reason I decided to homeschool my daughter. In the words of a friend when asked what to do if you're considering homeschooling: "Read anything by John Holt. The End." This is the one that did it for me.
Karri Lewis
Sep 27, 2007 Karri Lewis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents of Homeschooling Kids, Parents of Kids
This book is awesome and a classic! I pick it up from time to time to go back and find all of the gems inside again. A must read for all homeschooling parents and parents who are contemplating homeschooling.
Jodie St. Clair
So glad I read this. Full of interesting educational philosophy and ideas. Things I'm sure to work into both violin teaching and what we do with our son. Also wonderful to read so many examples and letters from parents working with their kids at home and how they facilitate learning.
Sep 16, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book will make you never want to place your loving child in a public or private school. This book is amazing, inspiring and simply wonderful.
May 18, 2009 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I hadn't already been convinced I should homeschool my children, this book would have convinced me. Intelligent, thought-provoking, and inspiring.
Aug 10, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really inspiring book...I read about a lot of ideas and examples that never occurred to me before about schools, children, and learning.
Sharon E.
Feb 18, 2008 Sharon E. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am still working on this. It is such a valuable, important and relevant book. John Holt is amazing. Too bad he is no longer with us.
Jul 14, 2009 Eileen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book for those who are thinking of home schooling
Feb 11, 2008 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eye-opening. This book helped me have the courage to homeschool my children.
Nov 28, 2008 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can, and will teach my own!
May 19, 2012 Sanz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have very mixed feelings about this book. Holt is a crusader for homeschool, but really I don't think he even advocates homeschool all that much. His ideas are much more for unschooling. I figured I should read at least one book by him. I don't think I'll read any more of his books. He was an advocate for homeschooling in the 70's, when it was much less accepted by society.

He has very extreme ideas (doesn't really believe in ADD/ADHD or learning disabilities) and really I thought more than an
Oct 23, 2009 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holt, in all his works, tells us, reminds us, that we can learn, that our children are constantly learning, and that our lives together in this journey of life are not so much about “schooling” but about discovered knowledge and wisdom, time shared. The philosophy of “unschooling” is truly an embracing of all that is natural. Learning is as natural as walking. Just like learning to walk, it’s best if one doesn’t give it too much thought at the beginning, rather trust and take that first step. On ...more
Feb 20, 2013 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Frankly, I was disappointed in this book. Having read Holt's _How Children Fail_ and _How Children Learn_ I was expecting to hear that same engaging voice here and it is almost completely absent. He allows his text to be overridden by an overabundance of quotes and anecdotes from others without sufficient analysis to make it sound his own. Of course this is not entirely Holt's fault because their is another author (Patrick Farenga) who updates Holt's work by offering his own commentary and aside ...more
Oct 01, 2015 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few chapters I mostly skipped, because I didn't have need for them, such as "Common Objections to Homeschooling" -- though if I want to take time someday, I'm sure reading Holt's perspective on these would be interesting. I read most of the book, though. It has been edited/updated and added to by Patrick Farenga, who worked closely with Holt. Thought-provoking, philosophical. I like Farenga's definition of unschooling. "When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much ...more
This book is the last of 5 home/unschooling books by John Holt that I have read, and it is by far my favorite. It is like a summing up of all of his other books in one plus bonus material. I gave this book a 5 but I mean for it to have 4 1/2 on the basis that someone needs to take this fantastic work and update it with current stories, situations, etc. The last section on legal issues was interesting although no one I know gets taken to court anymore for homeschooling unless the parents are in a ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book confirmed my own observations, as a preschool teacher, about how children learn and how adults get in the way of their learning. It also provided reassurance that I can relax and place more trust in my homeschooled 14-year-old to find his own path.

Holt's role as a founding philosopher of the unschooling movement means that his main ideas will be already familiar to anyone who has read through a few books or websites on unschooling. The book may be most interesting to those fairly new t
Sep 13, 2013 L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I hadn't already made my mind up to "unschool" my children, this book would have persuaded me. It isn't informative in the sense that you're told what your child needs to know; it's informative in the sense that it gives you peace of mind: your children will learn, regardless of whether or not they are "taught." Humans do that.

The best point, I thought, in the book was about learning, itself; being taught by a teacher is passive; learning by teaching oneself is actual learning. If anything, t
Kelly Newton
A very good book, filled with an abundance of quotable passages. I liked that it paired the original author's words with more recent passages, to include updates in technology, statistics, and law.
I definitely believe that all parents, libertarians, teachers... and pretty much everyone else, read this book. When we stop attempting to regulate every aspect of life and instead, allow people to be good and curious and productive, we would accomplish much more as a culture.
As a parent of young kid
Jan 14, 2015 Saraelizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book was great. Written in '81, so it is dated in some respects. Especially when he addresses legislation concerning schools, and how to access homeschool laws ( before Internet of course). Thankfully, it is easier to access information now, and homeschooling is much more widely accepted by the general public. And yet at the same time, Holt is far ahead of his time with respect to the educational ideas he promotes. I think anyone in education should read this, not just people intereste ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've heard so many good things about John Holt, and this was probably not his best work. I didn't like all the stories from random homeschooling families and would much have preferred to hear from the man himself. I'm also not sure why he's so adamant that there is no such thing as learning disabilities. I pulled my son from school because his IEP needs and goals weren't being met. I adopted my son at birth, he was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and drug addicted. He exhibits classic signs of ...more
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After teaching in private schools for many years John Caldwell Holt wrote his first two books, How Children Fail, and How Children Learn. He became a vocal advocate for school reforms, and wrote several more books about education theory and practice, including alternative forms and many social issues relating to the education system. Eventually he decided school reform was impossible, and changed ...more
More about John Holt...

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