Unschooling Resources: Books

David H. Albert - And the Skylark Sings with Me: Adventures in Homeschooling and Community-Based Education

"Listening carefully to how their children expressed their own unique learning needs, David Albert and his partner decided to educate their chilren outside of school. This triggered a decade-long adventure that led them to learn as much as their children - and to tell an inspiring story of contemporary education in the process. From astronomy and botany, to opera and mythology, and much more, the family discovered resources and opportunities within their community ti fulfill their children's learning quests, and have a wonderful and unusual time doing so."

David H. Albert - Have Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow: Homeschooling and the Curriculum of Love

"Gently and passionately, homeschooling advocate David H. Albert insists that the curriculum of love is not about externals. It is about what is essential in each individual human being, and in every child. Its code words are communication, inquisitiveness, acceptance, joy, honesty, and courage. It demands that we assist our children in seeking to embrace a world that is their own, and prepared to render up her secrets. It is about surprises, unveilings, moments of spontaneous recognition, journeys completed and new ones waiting to be undertaken. Have Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow. is a powerful, humorous, fearless, and thoroughly appealing approach to learning that relies on what everyone knows but few have the courage to act upon: love and freedom are the cornerstones of any education worthy of the name."

David H. Albert - Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self Discovery: A Journey of Original Seeking

"Are children empty boxes into which we pour knowledge and wisdom? Or are they naturally predisposed to acquire these things? David H. Albert presents a collection of articles laden with gems, including the single most important lesson to teach a child. Topics include: how children learn to read, "perfection" -- why children are perfectionists and how to respond, how to encourage your child to seek greater challenges and achievements, teens and what to do about them, and why the testing is destroying our schools."

Cafi Cohen - And What About College?: How Homeschooling Can Lead to Admissions to the Best Colleges & Universities

• Transcripts and homeschool course descriptions
• Sample curricula and record-keeping
• Application essays and portfolios
• Cover letters and resumes
• College planning checklist
• Applying to a service academy
• Listings of colleges that have accepted homeschoolers
• On-line resources

Valerie Fitzenreiter - The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School

"In Valerie Fitzenreiter, we find the serenity we often seek as parents. She is the wise friend who advises us to reconsider the "traditional" approach to parenting and to ask questions about our underlying beliefs and goals as parents. The Unprocessed Child is not so much a book about how to raise our children without school, but a book about respect, dignity, and honor of the cery nature of childhood. Valerie's grown daughter, Laurie, is proof that life without school is both possible and desirable. In these pages we find practical advice, encouragement, and best of all, a future of possibilities." - Tracy Million Simmons

John Taylor Gatto - Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Education

"Dumbing Us Down reveals the deadening heart of compulsory state schooling: assumptions and structures that stamp out the self-knowledge, curiosity, concentration and solitude essential to learning. Between schooling and television, our children have precious little time to learn for themselves about the community they live in, or the lives they might lead. Instead, they are schooled to merely obey orders and become smoothly functioning cogs in the industrial machine. In his 26 years of teaching, John Taylor Gatto has found that independent study, community service, large doses of solitude and a thousand different apprenticeships with adults of all walks of life are the keys to helping children break the thrall of our conforming society...."

Mary Griffith - The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your Child's Classroom

A great introduction to unschooling. "Did you know that a growing percentage of home schoolers are becoming unschoolers? The unschooling movement is founded on the principle that children learn best when they pursue their own natural curiosities and interests. Without bells, schedules, and rules about what to do and when, the knowledge they gain through mindful living and exploration is absorbed more easily and enthusiastically. Learning is a natural, inborn impulse, and the world is rich with lessons to be learned and puzzles to be solved."

Mary Griffith - Viral Learning: Reflections on the Homeschooling Life

"Now that active homeschooling was coming to an end for our family, I found myself pondering its long-term effects: How different am I from the person I would have been if I'd not been a homeschooling parent? How have my interests and values changed because of our kids learning at home? How are my kids different from their peers? Suddenly, after all these years, I realized there was another homeschooling book in my head. But this book isn't another guide to how to homeschool, nor is it meant to help homeschooling parents survive the empty-nest syndrome. This book is personal. It's a reflection on how I (along with a few of my friends) came to homeschooling, how it affected us and our view of the world, and how those changes in us may spark changes around us."

David Guterson - Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense

"David Guterson takes the adage "education begins at home" seriously. Though he teaches his neighbor's kids in his high school classroom, he and his wife, Robin, teach their own children at home. With one foot in each world, Guterson examines life at school and the inexhaustible opportunities for learning outside it. The most important lesson he has to teach is that no matter where education takes place, family matters; homeschooling is just one way of embodying that neglected truth and reaffirming the bond between parents and children." An unflinching presentation of the pros and cons of both schools and homeschooling from someone with a stake in both worlds. - Patrick Farenga

John Holt - How Children Fail

"First published in the mid 1960s, How Children Fail began an educational reform movement that continues today. In his 1982 edition, John Holt added new insights into how children investigate the world, into the perinneal problems of classroom learning, grading, testing, and into the role of the trust and authority in every learning situation. His understanding of children, the clarity of his thought, and his deep affection for children have made both How Children Fail and its companion volume, How Children Learn, enduring classics."

John Holt - How Children Learn

"This enduring classic of educational thought offers teachers and parents deep, original insight into the nature of early learning. John Holt was the first to make clear that, for small children, "learning is as natural as breathing." In this delightful yet profound book, he looks at how we learn to talk, to read, to count, and to reason, and how we can nurture and encourage thses natural abilities in our children."

John Holt - Learning All the Time

"The essence of John Holt's insight into learning and small children is captured in Learning All the Time. This delightful book by the influential author of How Children Fail and How Children Learn shows how children learn to read, write, and count in their everyday life at home and how adults can respect and encourage this wonderful process. For human beings, he reminds us, learning is as natural as breathing. John Holt's wit, his gentle wisdom, and his infectious love of little children bring joy to parent and teacher alike."

John Holt - Teach Your Own

"More than a million and a half children today are being taught at home by their own parents. In this splendidly expanded edition of the book that helped launch the whole movement, Pat Farenga has distilled Holt's timeless understanding of the ways children come to understand the world and added up-to-the-moment legal, financial and logistical advice. No parent even considering homeschooling should be without this wise and unique reference. Rather than proposing that parents turn their homes into miniature schools, Holt and Farenga demonstrate how ordinary parents can help their children grow as social, active learners. Chapters on living with children, "serious play," children and work, and learning difficulties...."

John Holt - Instead of Education

"The starting point for this, John Holt's most provocative book, is an olt truth: we learn things by doing them. It is a truth forgotten by today's educators who believe we shouldn't start to do things until after they have been "learned." Instead of Education shows how we can turn our whole society into a place of genuine learning - with methods that do not call for outlays of cash or outpourings of jargon. Holt proposes expanding the creative uses of the facilities we already have, adding new facilities that will serve more people for less money (like neighborhood printing presses), and most important, using that most neglected of resources: human excellence."

John Holt - Escape from Childhood

"This is a book about young people and their place, or lack of place, in society today. It is about the institution of modern childhood, the attitudes, customs and laws that determine to a large degree what their lives are like and how we, their elders, treat them. And it is about the many ways in which childhood seems insufficient and inadequate for those who live within it, and how it should and might be changed. The fact of being a "child," of being wholly subservient and dependent, of being seen by older people as a mixture of expensive nuisance, slave, and super-pet, does most young people more harm than good. Holt proposes instead that the rights, privileges, duties, responsibilities of adult citizens be made available to any young person, of whatever age, who wants to make use of them."

Katharine Houk - Creating a Cooperative Learning Center: An Idea-Book for Homeschooling Families

"Creating a Cooperative Learning Center is a practical, realistic, yet inspirational guide for homeschoolers desiring a gathering place designed specifically to enhance the home education experience. Why reinvent the wheel! This guide tells the story of a center founded by a few dedicated parents where now over seventy home-educated children flourish. Within its pages you'll find ideas for group activities, classes, workshops, field trips, community service, special projects, and more.... You'll find actual copies of bylaws, incorporation papers, surveys, registrations forms...."

Jan Hunt - The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart

Unlike many (if not most) attachment parenting or, as the author calls it, empathetic parenting, books, The Natural Child continues along the gentle, engaged parenting path through unschooling, often referencing John Holt. Some articles are more technical, while others are geared toward beginners and offer an overview of the concepts presented, such as alternatives to and problems with punishment, natural grandparenting, tips for shopping with children, and finding medical professionals for children. The book is divided into six sections: Parenting with Empathy and Trust, Living with a Baby, Living with Children, Guiding Children, Helping Children Learn, and Advocating for Children. With a forward by Peggy O’Mara, longtime editor of Mothering magazine, The Natural Child is a highly recommended read.

Peter Kowalke - Grown Without Schooling

Video: "Accompany 10 grown homeschoolers from around the country, ranging in age from 19 to 31, as they explore and candidly discuss the lasting influence home education has had on their lives. Produced and edited for the homeschooling community by a lifelong homeschooler, this 107 minute documentary is a frank and often illuminating portrait of the triumphs and struggles homeschoolers face as children, teens and adults."

Rue Kream - Parenting a Free Child: An Unschooled Life

An engaging, gentle and truthful look at the life of a radically unschooling family. Divided into lots of extremely helpful short chapters, this book is great for reading in bursts when the need arises. Each chapter begins with a question (such as, "How can I support my daughter as she transitions to unschooling?" "What is a typical day?" and "What about math?), followed by Rue's response and examples from her family. An inspiring read!

Agnes Leistico - I Learn Better by Teaching Myself & Still Teaching Ourselves

"This new edition combines two popular books under one cover. How a homeschooling mother learned to trust her children - and herself - to learn in new ways. Covers elementary years through high school. These books are especially good for anyone wrestling with the question of "how much structure should there be in a homeschool?"

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

An especially wonderful books for teens (or parents with teens), Llewellyn is adept at inspiring kids to get out and do what interests them. The Teenage Liberation Handbook introduces teens to unschooling with passion, and the book has been a favorite with unschoolers for years. An unschooling classic!

Grace Llewellyn - Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School

"In 1993, eleven homeschooled teenagers described their lives in rich detail, and Real Lives quickly became a homeschooling classic. Erin’s favorite teacher was her horse Nick, blind in one eye. Kyla flew to South America in September of what would have been her senior year—alone, except for her mountain bike. Jeremiah and his sister Serena published a newsletter on peace issues. …. Now those eleven homeschoolers have grown up and engaged the territory of adulthood, college, and career—and the new edition of Real Lives includes updates from all of them."


Grace Llewellyn - Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School

"Let your daughter read her library books instead of finishing her homework . Ask your eleven-year-old’s beloved third grade teacher to comment on his poetry. Invite a massage therapist to dinner because your daughter wants to go to massage school instead of college. Give your child the freedom to pursue his interests, develop her strengths, cultivate self-discipline, and discover the joy of learning throughout life.... Filled with fun and exciting exercises and projects to do with children of all ages, this remarkable approach to childhood, education, and life will help you release your child’s innate abilities and empower him or her in the wider world that awaits beyond the school walls."

Alison McKee - Homeschooling Our Children Unschooling Ourselves

"A compelling story about one family's journey into the unknown territory of homeschooling, told with skill by Alison McKee, a gifted teacher with a wide experience in traditional education and a special sensitivity to the individual needs of children. Trusting her own children to "show me the way" was a difficult challenge - but one that gave unexpected and rich rewards. Anyone familiar with the writings of John Holt will be interested to learn how things worked out for a family that decided to test his belief that children are the best directors of their own education. McKee offers the reader insights on how children learn, plenty of illustrations and practical advice about how "unschooling" works, and thoughtful commentary on the state of education today...."

Melissa L. Morgan and Judith Waite Allee - Homeschooling on a Shoestring

• Ideas for making money while staying at home.
• Sources for an inexpensive curriculum.
• Thousands of ideas for affordable teaching tools.
• Hundreds of suggestions for low-cost field trips.
• Ways to save on everything from housing to utilities.
• Ways to get free or low-cost computers.

A.S. Neill - Summerhill School: A New View of Childhood

"Originally published in 1960, Summerhill became an instant bestseller and a classic volume of education for an entire generation. Now, this thoroughly expanded and revised version of the original Summerhill reinstates the revolutionary "free school" traditions begun by Summerhill's founder A.S. Neill.... The children of today face struggles far greater than any previous generation and we, as parents and teachers, must teach them now to make choices for themselves and to learn from the outcome of their decisions. This classic work yet again invites a new view of childhood and presents an essential treatise that challenges us to rethink our approach to education."

Rebecca Rupp - The Complete Home Learning Source Book

"This exhaustive and comprehensive sourcebook... not only covers basic academic subjects--the three R's--but also addresses interests that are off the beaten path of public school curricula, such as paleontology and meteorology. Thorough and up-to-date, this invaluable resource reviews all possible learning tools.Arranged by subject, including "Philosophy," "Life Skills," and "Electronic Media," the sourcebook's organization and succinct and insightful entries make it a breeze to use. Icons next to the entries denote the format and intended age group of each resource. Whether readers are looking for the best way to explain relativity or Egyptian mummification...."

James Vollbracht - Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand: How to Create a Culture that Cares for Kids

"In Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand, James Vollbracht offers a blueprint for transforming our unstable and disconnected culture into a healthier, supportive one. Vollbracht bases his approach on six overlapping circles of community-our personal circle, families, neighborhoods, larger communities, business worlds, and elders-and outlines simple actions within each circle that will help rescue our kids. Through a rich blend of heartwarming anecdotes and creative, practical strategies, Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand affirms the age-old wisdom that the power and responsibility to heal our communities rest in our own hands."

Nancy Wallace - Child's Work: Taking Children's Choices Seriously

"What happens when children are allowed to spend their growing years doing what they want to do rather than what others think they ought to do? What happens when they have the time and the opportunity to explore the world in their own ways? ...In Child's Work, Nancy looks at... how Vita and Ishmael explored and became skilled at music, mathematics, art, and writing, and how Nancy learned to trust their idiosyncratic ways of learning and to respond seriously and helpfully to the choices they made. Child's Work is about how children make knowledge and understanding out of what is available around them, and as such it is an important book for parents, teachers, and anyone interested in learning from and about children."

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