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Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know about Schools and Rediscover Education
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Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know about Schools and Rediscover Education

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  79 reviews
While most schools continue to resist change, homeschooling families are abandoning the K-12 system and rediscovering what childhood education means. They are identifying new methods and goals that are powerful, born of common sense, and incompatible with today's schools. The author, education expert Clark Aldrich, has explored the cultures and practices of homeschoolers a ...more
Paperback, 155 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Greenleaf Book Group (first published August 20th 2010)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  598 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Melody Warnick
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Take-away: When your kid's wild about something, move mountains to feed their passion.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have actually read this book a few times now. It really lends itself to quick reading. Short chapters that often build on one another with enough writing to encourage thought and discussion but without the overwhelming technical speak of education books. As a teacher who also just went through the graduate phase of my career, Mr. Aldrich gives much food for thought that is current with on-going debates in education on how to make learning meaningful and authentic for learners. Unschooling Rule ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Ugh, this author has an ego the size of Alaska. While he makes some valid (and obvious) points about the need for allowing students time and freedom to explore their own interests and learning styles, he spends so much time talking down his nose at educators that the only result can be to increase the antagonism between parents and schools. Meanwhile, his level of privilege-blindness is staggering. Who, exactly, are these parents who can afford to stay home from work every day to "unschool" thei ...more
Thomas Herlofsen
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is an incendiary bomb aimed at US educational system, but as a teacher in Norway (where home schooling is practically forbidden) most of the descriptions felt painfully relevant. The system IS broken, and its pathology is painfully accurately outlined here. The book is very short and to the point, and this is why some parts seem slightly underdeveloped (special needs and social/class differences are basically ignored). On the other hand there's no reason why anyone concerned with educa ...more
Gwenn Wright
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, nook-app, 2015
Less a book than a glorified pamphlet. If you're more of a "Well-Trained Mind" parent, this is not the book for you. Truthfully he lost me at: a spellchecker frees us up from memorization and thus, spelling tests. Really? He also doesn't seem to believe in the reading of classics and instead encourages Internet reads, material that is more relevant, current. Don't take tests, see how many followers you can get on Twitter because that will gauge your knowledge and skill. His philosophy goes a lit ...more
Challice Neipp
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an ok book. I didn't dislike it. I didn't really like it. It was nothing new for me and the information was valid and stuff I already knew. It was a good reminder as to what I am striving for, education vs knowledge. I think this would be very beneficial for someone beginning the homeschool journey rather.
April Winder
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was an easy and quick reference style book. I enjoyed how short the chapters were and although the author has an obviously big ego, there were plenty of things that he wrote which made me think differently about the subjects. I never would have pondered many of the items his opinion brought up and some of them I still not agree with. However, I did enjoy looking at things from a different perspective and several of the chapters have made me begun my own research. I recommend it to anyone, n ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Aphoristic, sometimes cliché. Many great theories, but the real work is in the implementation. As a teacher about to join a school with this unschooling philosophy at heart, I wish there were fewer platitudes and more real-world examples.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very easy read offering ideas on how to best educate children. You may not agree with everything contained within. It doesn't offer much in terms of academic research to back most of its claims. That said from my perspective the ideas offered are intriguing alternatives to the industrialized approach to public (and most private) school education.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
This is a very short read. I wanted to like it more than I did. Some of the ideas in it I heartily agreed with, but others I just didn't. Mostly this seems like a book of ideas designed to stir the pot to get people thinking about education and what it should be. Most of these ideas would need a fair amount of fleshing out to figure out how you would incorporate it into a real education (or school). It is worth reading for the sake of pondering education and how it might be better or different t ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
I literally read this book (more of a pamphlet, really) in 20 minutes.

I have no idea why he invested the time, money, and effort publishing it as a book; he should have put it out on the web as an e-book.

It's fine for as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far.

He's writing as an expert who has studied these issued deeply, yet all he's published here are his bottom-line conclusions with no supporting evidence or research, no depth, very little explanation.

As a long-time homeschooling father and fer
Jan 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Meh. I don't disagree, but I don't totally agree either. This book states that there are many things children need to learn that aren't taught in school. I agree, but I don't think the school should be teaching them, it's the family's job, or the church's, or it's the kids job to just figure out some truths on their own. I didn't even finish the book, it just didn't appeal to me. "You don't have to go to school to get an education, " but I didn't learn that tidbit from school.
Jan 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
The surely well-meaning author bandies around the most annoying word in education, "should." This word does not require evidence, research, or even polling. The kinds of items that provide support from a broad set of information. "Should," is just one person's like experience, which as we know is flawed.

Occasionally, in this list of platitudes Clark hits on something that may have merit. His style of no substance and weird chapter design lead me to easily discount it.

Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
There really wasn't any new information presented in this book, but it did serve to help me focus back on what our actual goals for education are. Love of learning and exposure to as much as possible are what we consider truly important; and I had gotten off that track in the last year or so. This was a great book to start off the year with and we'll start making the shift back to child-directed learning now.
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Much of what Clark Aldrich writes in Unschooling Rules is incredibly spot-on, precise and a refreshing breath of fresh air. He has many excellent suggestions for improving the archaic public school education system. Great insight for public schoolers, home schoolers/unschoolers, parents, teachers or anyone else interested in gaining new perspective on education.
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Super fast read (about an hour). Mr. Aldrich is insightful and dead on in his summation of the public school system. He doesn't only highlight the problems, he provides "doable" solutions. It's obvious his primary concern is that children incorporate learning into everything they do and for it to be viewed as a gift, instead of curse.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Unschoolers
Though, this book would appeal more to Unschoolers, I think that Non Unschoolers could benefit from this book. It is an easy read of 55 tips of thinking outside the box. Full of great ideas and worth having a copy to reference now and then as reminders.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great book for people who want to find better ways to teach and educate children
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
This book offered some good thoughts and motivation. Simple and easy to read, offered me direction in a time of doubt.
Katie Langford
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education is a quick introduction into the world of disruptive education. An easy read split into chapters as short as two pages, Aldrich moves through best practices emerging in educational research, all of which bring the inadequacies of traditional schooling into focus.

The overarching theme is that the way children are hard-wired for learning, with innate curiosity and an eagerness to gain knowledge is stamped ou
Ozy Frantz
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
This book has probably given me the best vision of the day-to-day life of the unschooler. I appreciated the concrete advice about how to unschool. Sample advice: have children spend time with animals; show them microcosms of more complex systems, from fishtanks to one-person businesses; give them apprenticeships, internships, and interesting jobs; teach them to use a spreadsheet program well, which covers a lot of basic math skills necessary for life; have a well-stocked library, including maps, ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Short, concise, simple, yet thoughtful and profound. I am an educator and I will be returning to this book again and again. While reading, I actually could recall some of the misery, terror, and shame of my own childhood educational experience vividly, as Aldrich enumerated some of the methods schooling uses to "teach" children. I think it's entirely possible that my emotionally-miserable childhood education, in what was considered a "first rate" school district, eradicated any desire I might ha ...more
Michelle Myers
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a very short read, but has some very powerful concepts. The author really pushes towards homeschooling being the best way to unschool, but I feel these concepts can be applied to other types of schools. I think this is a great primer to really open minds to some of the pitfalls of the current education system and how they can be better, but I do wish it dug a little deeper and discussed more ways to apply this to public schools, because homeschooling is definitely not an option for every ...more
Juan Gómez
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Having the last sentence of each chapter directly connected with the one after was not only entertaining but addictive, very well written. I would recommend this book for anyone involved in teaching in the traditional school system and looking for a way to break the mold or a parent interested in their kids education.
Sérgio Pinho
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very pratical and profound book

I like the style, the simplicity, the humour and the common Sensei and wisdom of the author. He proposes 55 ideas that can make a diference. I love the way as he follows and links these ideas on an natural unfolding of unschooling in a proper way. The ONLY pack for a 5 stars is a little more examples that could illustrate the ideas.
Sejal Sharma
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a quick reference book for those who are looking for a DO's and Don'ts of educating children. It opens your eyes to exactly what is going wrong with the education system. It also give points to parents on how they can make this experience better for their children. It is super easy to go through and revisit any time. Loved how simple yet profound it is.
Charly Troff (ReaderTurnedWriter)
This book came highly recommended, but I actually didn't like it. The author didn't seem to know what he was talking about and most of the time, didn't back up what he was saying. I will say, there were some redeeming parts where he did share some important ideas about education and what is best for the child.
Annie Eby
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
Strays into some personal tastes and dogmas. The final diagram of the school of the future perfectly embodies his thinking -- ultimately half-traditional. Speaks to a limited audience of select parents. But overall agree with much of what's said, and appreciate the humility in its brevity.
Ingrid Skousgard
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun, quick read if you are interested in unschooling, homeschooling and the like. If you are already well versed in alternative education, it won't be telling you much you don't already know. But if you are just starting to looking into it, it's a wonderful start.

I say this as it was the first book I read on alternative schooling, and it was just the right simple introduction to the subject.
Don Wallom
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book

Great job ideas to help students learn by doing, not be over scheduled and learn to be. Highly recommended book
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“the goal of schools shouldn’t be to manufacture “productive citizens” to fill some corporate cubicle; it should be to inspire each child to find a “calling” that will change the world.” 0 likes
“Each child has a spark of genius waiting to be discovered, ignited, and fed. And the goal of schools shouldn’t be to manufacture “productive citizens” to fill some corporate cubicle; it should be to inspire each child to find a “calling” that will change the world. The jobs for the future are no longer Manager, Director, or Analyst, but Entrepreneur, Creator, and even Revolutionary.” 0 likes
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