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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

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,444 ratings  ·  97 reviews
The classic and indispensable work on teaching children at home, fully updated for today's new laws, new lifestyles, and the growing new generation of homeschooling parents

Today more than one and a half million children are being taught at home by their own parents. In this expanded edition of the book that helped launch the whole movement, Pat Farenga has distilled John H
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 17th 2003 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published July 1981)
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,444 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
Apr 25, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
If I hadn't already been convinced I should homeschool my children, this book would have convinced me. Intelligent, thought-provoking, and inspiring.
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book for those who are thinking of home schooling
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Really inspiring book...I read about a lot of ideas and examples that never occurred to me before about schools, children, and learning.
Jan Zeiger
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book really helped me understand child-led learning.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Eye-opening. This book helped me have the courage to homeschool my children.
Sharon E.
Feb 18, 2008 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.
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I can, and will teach my own!
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is it about?

This book is the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of Homeschooling. I think John Holt originally wrote this book sometime in the early 80s or late 70s, and it was updated by Pat Farenga in 2002. Still, a lot of the information is relevant today. If you have any remote interest in the idea of homeschooling it is a useful tool in learning more about it.

Was it good?

If this is your first John Holt book, I think you will find it brilliant. Having just read Learning All The Time
Whitney Holley
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read some Holt because he is so heavily referenced by other home education books and I'm glad I did. Honestly his thoughts are so mainstream now that it's easy to forget how revolutionary some of his thoughts are on childhood education. While the parts on the legality of homeschooling is no longer as relevant, I appreciated his insight into educating children as whole people. A lot of homeschooling books I read are completely derogatory of public school, and while he has negative thi ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschool, parenting
This book really challenged my ideas about how children learn and therefore how they should be taught. It has opened my eyes to how incredibly capable children are and what a tragedy it is that we expect so little from them and give them so few opportunities to do truly meaningful work. In fact, often we even steer then away from meaningful learning because it does not fit in a pre-made curriculum at that moment in time. I have a lot to think about, a lot more to learn, and I think this will gre ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book for all of the letters from parents who had either taken children out of school or had homeschooled children for long periods of time. To read of the beautiful stories of relationship with parents and the children flourishing in their interests was such a sweet thing for me to read. The book is quite old now and much of the legal information seems dated but, otherwise, still a wealth of knowledge.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I love homeschooling and this book had a lot of gems, but overall it was very outdated. While there were some timeless truths about how we all learn and why our children dont need compulsory education in order to learn, the tone often seemed too opinionated. It took me a long time to get through all the anecdotes.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
We're pondering whether to homeschool our child, and if we do, we may take the approach talked about in John Holt's books. The notion of learning without traditional schooling techniques is one that makes sense to me. Holt lays out here his thoughts on how and why to let your child learn at home, and how we as parents can facilitate that. I liked the updates by Patrick as well.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book. Would love to see a revised edition as this one is pretty dated now.
Kathi Herter
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Good information but very repetitive. Some information is dated.
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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
“Leaders are not, as we are often led to think, people who go along with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see, whether anyone is following them. "Leadership qualities" are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, stubbornness, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head, even when things are going badly. True leaders, in short, do not make people into followers, but into other leaders.” 299 likes
“Real social change is a process that takes place over time, usually quite a long time. At a given moment in history, 99 percent of a society may think and act one way on a certain matter, and only 1 percent think and act very differently. In time, that 1 percent may become 2 percent, then 5 percent, then 10, 20, 30 percent, until finally it becomes the dominant majority, and social change has taken place.” 7 likes
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