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

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,283 ratings  ·  152 reviews
An estimated 700,000 American children are now taught at home. This book tells teens how to take control of their lives and get a "real life." Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program. Grace Llewellyn explains the entire process, from making the decision to quit school, to discovering the learning opport ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 28th 2007 by Lowry House (first published 1991)
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 ·  1,283 ratings  ·  152 reviews

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May 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People
Recommended to Phoenixrisingoverafriendlyninja by: I found it
Loved this book so much. . . that one day I got off the school bus, walked past the school house, and NEVER went back. Spent my time at the library. learning what I wanted .. so much that they gave me a job. Lol. I wrote the Author. Became her friend. .and worked at her Not Back To School Camp in Oregon State. A big deal and trip for a poor Kentucky boy. I feel I owe a lot to this book, the love of learning it inspires, the truth it speaks, and the community it creates . . . despite the odds.

Dec 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sanctimonious hippies
Shelves: could_not_finish
A case of a writer telling me things that I essentially agree with in a tone so obnoxious that I considered changing my mind.

Read John Holt instead.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is a very provocative book with an interesting perspective on traditional "institutionalized" schooling. It describes how the traditional school system can actually thwart the natural desire for learning all children have and hinder their ability to learn. However because the author's position is so stridently anti-school, it is difficult to extract the valuable information from what reads as propaganda. The author is a proponent of "unschooling," a radical form of homeschooling which has n ...more
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teenagers, parents, older friends of teens
As a proud high-school dropout and current college student, when I first read this book in 2003 (five years after my last contact with high school), my first reaction is that I REALLY wished I had had access to this book when I was still in high school!!!
Grace Llewellyn beautifully touches on a number of all-too-true reasons why so many of our students are bored or disenfranchised. She isn't talking here about how to "fix" curricula, either, but of the liberatory approach that will allow teenag
Eustacia Tan
Mar 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm starting to suspect I'm not normal. I read this book (which is supposedly 'life-changing'), and found myself mentally arguing with the author the whole way. Then again, all the friend's I've showed this book to so far agree with me. So, be warned, this is going to become less of a review and more of a "why I don't agree with this" rant.

Ok, so we start off with an analogy about wanting to eat fruits and learning to eat that no matter how hard I imagine, I cannot accept as being an analogy for
May 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who has ever been let down by traditional educational systems
Shelves: education
The title spells it out clearly. This is a how-to for getting out of schooling and taking charge of your own life and education. I've given nearly a dozen copies of this book away to friends whose will to learn was withering under the assault of compulsory education. Most are now autodidacts pursuing their own goals.

If you like this, I would also recommend Kendall Hailey's The Day I Became An Autodidact.
Nov 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
I am not sure the arguments in favour of un-schooling are all that well-argued. The author simply assumes that all teenagers will automatically use their own initiative to learn once leaving school.

Not only that, it does rely on teens being near a place with good public services (a good library etc.)

The writing is dynamic and interesting, the premise a good one, but I can't see all the fuss.
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who will go or has gone to school
I didn't discover this book, unfortunately for me, until the middle of my senior year of high school. Reading it made me feel, for the first time, like I wasn't the only person who was totally unsuited to traditional American schools. I found the resources in the book enormously helpful (I even attended one of the non-traditional colleges mentioned) and the information provided inspirational. ...more
Oct 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
I'll start this by saying I'm homeschooled myself (eight years). This book was repeatedly recommended to me because I don't like my homeschooling situation and needed a change. The reviews I read before checking a copy out from the library mentioned a strong delivery from the author, but I didn't expect it to be like this. I couldn't get through the first 20 pages of this book because the tone was so irritating. There are a variety of ways to strongly relay your point to the reader, but Ms. Llew ...more
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teacher-books
Because teaching is my passion, I have spent many summers reading books that I hope will infuse fresh passion, energy, and skill into my calling. Thus, the choice of this book when my own children were on the brink of the teen years. The Teenage Liberation Handbook is crafted by a passionate soul. It is well-written and thought provoking. Much of it was rich and stimulating--I took a lot of notes and gleaned many tips for independent learning projects. The style of homeschooling that Grace Llewe ...more
May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teenagers, Teachers, People who hated school but are smart
This writer has courage for opening our eyes to something so taboo yet so obvious. A Life-changing, Powerful and Extremely Inspiring book on something that most people would think ridiculous. After you read this however you won't think it is so ridiculous anymore, instead you will blame yourself for not thinking of such a wonderful idea much sooner. The author is very descriptive, informative and encouraging, she gives so much useful information and resources there is no way you could get lost w ...more
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who doesn't want to go back to school, but misses learning new things.
Shelves: reference
oh man, this book changed my life in a really good way. i read this after hearing it was a bookstore owner's favorite book, as well as seeing it referenced in bomb the suburbs. i wasn't disappointed.
i went to public schools all the way, then went to college (my friend calls this "playing by the rules"). the whole homeschooling thing was a mystery to me. then i met some really smart, lovely homeschooled girls who worked at bookpeople, and i knew their parents had to be onto something.
imagine sp
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was very difficult to finish. I believe it should be called the "Teenage Liberation Handbook for Students Living in Small Privileged College Towns." The book is based off of interviews with unschooled students and consistently harps on teachers and schools but continues to use teachers and schools as a resource. I guess high school, according to Llewellyn, is the real killer but college is what one should be striving for. At times I agreed with what she said about public schooling, but a lo ...more
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book restored some of my sanity when I was in high school, mostly reassuring me that I was not the only one who had issues with "standard" public education. I almost quit school because of this book, and I often wonder if I had followed that all the way through how my life would be different. But really, the book brought a sense of peace and agency that was essential even if I did not end up homeschooling or some alternative arrangement. Now I'm starting to think of dim and rainy Oregon dus ...more
I'm 16, and I left school seven years ago, so I'd say I'm pretty close to the target audience for this book. Not that I left on a quest to 'get a real life and education', it was actually just to try out home-education and see what it was like, but I haven't been back since. I was interested to read this author's perspective on home-education and hear the arguments she made in favour of it, as well as suggestions and ideas for new ways to pursue my interests and all that. My mum has a huge colle ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic, 2012
This book's premise is spelled out in the title. I read about 200 pages completely, then the other 200+ in chucks as they interested me.

If I based my review / rating on the first 100(ish) pages, it would be much lower. In railing against school, Llewellyn was snide, judgmental, and unnecessarily harsh. It was also a bit like TEEN ANARCHY, RAWR! Basically, it didn't resonate a whole lot and made me cranky.

I disliked passages like this:

p 30 - "If you truly enjoy school and all its paraphernalia
May 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I am really torn on this book. On one hand, it was fantastic. I've always been drawn towards unschooling my children (we've always homeschooled), but the thought of letting go and actually letting them unschool terrifies me! What if they can't get into college? What if they just do nothing all day? What if we can't pass the end of year test we're required to take? This book helped me to see the possibilities of what unschooling can be, and it gave me some great ideas. However, there are a lot of ...more
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by a friend when I started homeschool in what would have been my sophomore year of high school, and it had a profound effect on my self-lead education. Public school had bored me, and I think that most students easily excel that the subjects that they are interested in. It was important for me to read that following my interests was a perfectly acceptable way to approach education. Admittedly, I chose to largely ignore subjects that weren't that interesting to me, ...more
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
In this book, Grace Llewellyn gives teenagers the tools they need to quit traditional school and educate themselves at home. I found this to be a great resource for not only teens, but anyone who is interested in expanding their horizons. It's packed full of information on how to achieve your educational goals, whether it's through volunteering, apprenticeships, jobs, travel, etc. She lists resources for curriculum, the bookish type or the real-life, get your hands dirty type.

The first thing she
Aadel Bussinger
From reading other reviews of this book, you either love it or disdain it. Love it for it's refreshing look at institutionalized education and the mediocrity it bestows on its many participants. Hate it for the absolute propaganda-ish writing style and one-sided opinions.

I for one love the idea, as I felt trapped in my school experience. On the other hand, I do take offense to some of the writer's broad generalizations and stereotypes. I also do not agree with some of the things she tenderly sug
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I feel robbed having not found this book until adulthood. This book was suggested to me by a friend after I made the decision to pull my 14 year old daughter from school. Grace Llewellyn (a belly dancer...yip!) wrote this book for teenagers who want to quit institutional schooling and learn in a free environment where they can follow their interests, intern, volunteer, travel and read. Unschooling is free-range homeschooling based on the natural human tendency to learn when left to their own dev ...more
Shifting Phases
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Is our goal to help kids learn as much as possible? Or is our goal to run schools as well as possible? These two paths can diverge dramatically, as Grace Llewellyn demonstrates. The book provides strategies for maximizing learning by working outside the school system. It's called "unschooling," it's been in use for decades by lots of young people (some of whose stories are in the book). Llewellyn demonstrates that there is no goal you can reach with schooling that you can't reach outside of form ...more
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mehran Jalali
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: schooling
This was, quite literally, a handbook. For example, in a chapter about pursuing XYZ out of school, it dedicated pages and pages to naming books about XYZ, organizations that help you with XYZ, the names of some unschoolers who have pursued XYZ, and so on. I didn't read a lot of that, mainly because it did not affect me in any way. So, if you're trying to assess this book as a handbook, this review is not for you.

The first 7 chapters of the book were about why you should not go to school. I found
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Very inspiring.
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love how this book is written as if the author, Grace, is actually talking to you. It's full of connections and real life experiences she has had with students and the school system back when she was a teacher. She knows first hand the sorts of things that are expected of teachers, which gives you an inside look at school it's self. It's also full of quotes from home schooled and unschooled teenagers. The book gives helpful tips about having an education outside of school with fun and cool id ...more
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book, which I found around ninth grade (a good twelve years ago now) saved my sanity. I cannot be objective about this book, because it did so much for me, because I found it at the perfect time and I needed it so much. For social reasons, school was miserable for me, and I was knocking myself out to get good grades to absolutely no gain to myself (good grades = even more social ostracism and good grades /= good education). I was stuck in the downward spiral of "If I'm just good enough, peo ...more
Jan 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
While she recognizes the stupidity of school, she does not recognize it's source - taxation/government - starting with the first sentence:
"How STRANGE AND self-defeating that a supposedly free country should train its young for life in totalitarianism."

This trend continues with her being glad about a statist compliment on page 41:
"Best—and most surprising—of all, he congratulated me on my "good citizenship" and encouraged me to keep on speaking up when something wasn't right in the world."

May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This does seem like a "love it or hate it" book. I found it refreshing in my stage of life as I'm homeschooling our 5- and 7-year-olds. Grace Llewellyn is a annoyingly dogmatic in her presentation of teenage unschooling, but it seems to be her style of trying to shake people out of the status quo and consider the possibilities for their lives. I appreciated her high view of adolescents and their ability to present this schooling philosophy to their parents in a lucid and compelling manner. I was ...more
Feb 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschool
371.3 LLE

Been re-reading this, now that my older kids are teens. I've been rather unschooling in our approach the whole time we've homeschooled, even before I knew it.

I forgot, however, how "ANARCHY!" this book was!

I love it, though, because this choice, these possibilities, deserve a voice that's intelligent. Grace Llewellyn does that. The revised version goes into greater detail about legalities. There's just so much in this book; it's packed. I love all the snippets from the Growing Without
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Grace Llewellyn taught school for three years before unschooling herself and writing The Teenage Liberation Handbook at the age of twenty-six. She has since edited Real Lives: eleven teenagers who don’t go to school and Freedom Challenge: African American Homeschoolers, and written Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School (with co-author Amy Silver).

With th

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