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


Unschooling, a by-product of the widespread homeschooling movement, is a unique approach to education--one that uses children's natural curiosity to propel them into a world of learning. This practical guides reveals the secrets of unschooling success even as it addresses the misconceptions and criticism unschoolers may encounter....

Title : The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your Child's Classroom
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780761512769
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 230 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

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

  • Becca
    2019-01-19 08:56

    I found this in the anemic "parenting" section of my new library. It's a lean little volume, mostly of extended quotes from self-titled "unschooling" parents. The technology is excruciatingly outdated (just go to AOL Member home to join a list!) circa 1997, and even though it calls itself a "handbook" there's nothing very handy or step-by-step about it.With those criticisms out of the way, though, this was a very interesting book.I'd never heard of "unschooling" before but the more I read the more I recognized my own experience as a 9th grade high school drop out. When school became so painful and miserable that I no longer was recognizable to myself or my family, my mom finally pulled the plug on it and said, "fine, no more school for you." I stayed home making mountains of sculpey beads, eating ayurvedic food, drawing anatomical diagrams of the bones in my hands, reading my parent's college textbooks, learning latin and middle english, and "helping" my mom with her home businesses. My mom basically left me alone to learn what I wanted, though I relished her very smart criticisms and direction. It was the most healing and life-giving year of my life. When I did eventually go back to public school, I was transformed-- learning at school was suddenly easy. This book is basically a gentle introduction to a model of very kid-directed homeschooling, where you allow the kid to choose her passions and then spend days or weeks doing nothing but. You provide plenty of raw materials-- books or animals or travel or responsibilities or friends or whatever-- but you don't try to do school at home.If I hadn't done it myself, I would guffaw. But knowing what a beautiful experience I had "unschooling" I would gladly do it with my kids.I think this book does gloss over some of the problems and day to day how-tos of unschooling in favor of evangelizing the concept. But it's such an intriguing glimpse of a school-free life that I want to go on and read more. As my dad always says, "don't let your schooling get in the way of your education!"

  • Kris
    2018-12-28 02:52

    I adore this book. Like all homeschooling books, I cannot simply follow one philosophy, but it significantly contributed to my personal definition of what "education" and "learning" look like. At our house, learning can take place with a class, a field trip, a project, a book, a workbook, a discussion, a debate, an accident, a movie, a household task, a meditation, a friendship, a visit, or any of the multitude of activities a human completes in a week. Sure, I may advocate for more structure in our family's learning than this book would promote as ideal, but it gave me the lens to recognize learning in the many places that I would see it over our six years of homeschooling, and I am sure throughout Casi's educational career.

  • Stefani
    2019-01-12 08:56

    I tried to keep an open mind as I read this book, but as a Classical homeschooler, there was a lot that I disagreed with. First, while children are naturally curious and desirous to learn, they lack WISDOM to know what might be more or less valuable as adults. Yes, the children will learn a lot that they are interested in, but if they aren't interested, unschooling proponents would let them alone, imagining that they'll either learn x one day or find that x isn't necessary and so will never learn it. Of course, the third option is that kids might not be interested in x and then never find out the wonderful things they missed out by not learning x.I also was annoyed when quotes from unschoolers in the book basically admitted that they "forced" their child to attend concerts, take art lessons, etc. That's not unschooling people! If your child doesn't want to attend the concert, you are supposed to understand that children have an "innate wisdom" (my sarcastic words not the book's) to know what they need to learn and not.But really, I'm not completely against unschooling. In fact, if truth be told, my kids unschool a lot. We have cultivated an atmosphere of learning in our house, so in their free time, away from those "horrible prewritten curricula" (my sarcasm again) my kids read plenty of non-fiction books; they watch YouTube videos about Lego building; they program little games and videos online. And, as a one-income family we cannot afford music lessons, so our piano and piano books are available at any time. My oldest taught herself through a Primer book of piano this summer (with some help from when requested) and is now working through Level 1.I just don't trust unschooling to give a balanced education to little people who lack wisdom. It's my job as a parent to understand my children and not drive them insane doing things that they hate, but to also balance it with pushing them to do things that I believe they DO need to learn.

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-03 10:03

    A fabulous book for the beginning unschooler or anyone who wants to know more about this lifestyle. The only way to learn or understand what unschooling is (how do you understand the absence of something) is to read about other families' experiences while unschooling. A large part of the book is quoted passages but not in a confusing or haphazard way. Nicely organized and touches on the most common questions a new unschooler might have.I found this book positive and encouraging and it is a handbook only in that you will read firsthand experiences and what they do in their lives. By reading these experiences, we are able to form our own ideas of what we want our family to be and what kind of relationship we want for our children. I highly recommend this book.

  • Sally
    2019-01-02 07:17

    Unschooling IS using the world as your child's "classroom," even though classroom is not the best word! If you happen to need some ideas to get you started, this is a good book.

  • Meg
    2019-01-24 10:57

    Even as someone who knows a great deal about unschooling, I got a lot out of reading this book. It's jam-packed with information and personal narratives on the many aspects of unschooling. The author divides the book largely by school subjects, which she acknowledges isn't a perfect fit for the topic of homeschooling, but I think that the format is pretty successful. This is a great resource for those new to homeschooling or those who are curious about unschooling, and provides a lot of inspiration. I have to admit though, that reading so many of the narratives almost gave me the impression that these kids and families are all incredibly special and gifted, and that there's no way I could possibly do as much or as well for my own kids. I think that it's probably my own insecurities and also just a by-product of including so many success stories in one book. I will be keeping this book and probably re-reading it at certain points throughout our homeschooling journey, and at the very least will be referring to it for the many many resources listed at the end of each chapter.

  • J.D. Knutson
    2019-01-11 09:06

    It had a few useful things to offer, especially the models on transcripts. I did not have time to read it back to back before returning it to the library, but might find it beneficial to check it back out in a few years.

  • Afton
    2019-01-01 03:15

    The beginning of this book started out with some good testimonials and experiences from unschoolers, but it also started out with too many complicated words and ideas that made me re-read a number of passages to grasp their meaning. That got annoying really fast. In that way this book is a little too textbook-like. The stories state an idea and the author restates it. It may be because I just finished "How Children Learn", and loved it, but a lot of the content of this book seemed intuitive and ordinary. There was nothing inspiring or eye-opening about any of it.About 1/3 of the way through I started to get bored, and I realized that instead of being inspired by unschooling the idea was suddenly losing its appeal. I'm passionate about what I'm deciding and discovering about unschooling and all it entails, so this was disappointing. I'm pretty sure this book was written to SUPPORT unschooling. :) So, I skimmed for awhile and then flipped pages to read section headings to see what the topics were and closed the book.Not very impressed. I'm moving on to more inspiring literature!

  • W.
    2019-01-01 07:13

    ได้ทั้งคอนเซ็ปต์และรูปธรรมในหลายเรื่อง แต่อย่างไรก็คงต้องพิจารณาร่วมกับสังคมของเรา ในแง่สถานภาพทางเศรษฐกิจ กฎหมาย โครงสร้างสาธารณะ เช่นห้องสมุดสาธารณะที่มีบทบาทสำคัญมาก และความร่วมมือของชุมชน น่าจะมีหนังสือของไทยที่รวมรวบแบบไทยๆไว้เยอะ อยากเห็นบทสัมภาษณ์เด็กเพิ่มเติมจนถึงวัยผู้ใหญ่และการส่งต่อความรู้ผ่านการเรียนแบบนี้ รวมทั้ง น่าจะมีภาพของประวัติศาสตร์ของพ่อแม่ในการศึกษาก่อนที่จะมาให้ลูกเรียน เพราะเพื่อจะได้เห็นความแตกต่างเฉพาะ เนื่องจากว่าทั้งหมดแล้วการศึกษาแบบ Unschooling นั้นเป็นเรื่องเฉพาะ จากหนังสือเล่มนี้เป็นเล่มหนึ่งที่น่าสนใจสำหรับบางครอบครัว แต่ในอีกหลายครอบครัวจำเป็นอย่างยิ่งที่จะต้องศึกษาเพื่อเติม เล่มนี้เป็นเพียงเล่มเปิดทางที่ดีเล่มหนึ่งเกือบลืมที่จะบอกว่า หลายแนวคิดในเล่มนี้น่าสนใจตั้งแต่ การกระตุ้นเร้าให้ออกจกวิถีคิดแบบขนบการปฏิเสธการเรียนรู้ตามเวลาแบบเส้นตรงที่ส่งทอดกันตามประวัติศาสตร์ และไม่ได้สอนให้จำแต่สอนให้คิดรู้กว้างในเรื่องที่ควรรู้ และรู้ลึกในเรื่องที่จำเป็น อย่างไรก็ตามมีกรณีศึกษาของพ่อแม่ที่ส่งเสริมให้ลูกเรียนหรือมีแนวทางในสายมนุษย์และสังคมค่อนข้างมาก จำนวนพ่อแม่และลูกในสายวิทยาศาสตร์มีตัวอย่างน้อย ซึ่งน่าสนใจในการขบคิด

  • Nicole
    2018-12-31 11:20

    Overall, I did not agree with the message of this book. I think "Have Kids Will Travel" sends a better message to homeschooling parents, and I think you can adopt the message of learning about your own community as well. The overall message that I attained from the book is that less is more and just let your kids do what they want. I think that message is a little scary and can prove to be disasterous. One page (I returned the book to the library) had a calendar of what they did for the month for school and it only had 3-4 items on it. My kids do more and they are in school. I liked the resources at the end of each chapter. The rest of the book was narratives or examples from her own family or other families.I think kids need more guidance and help along the educational road.

  • Cheryl
    2019-01-09 05:13

    I think this is a great barebones book for beginning unschoolers - of all early stages. At the time I read it, I felt it was too bare bones, but as time goes by and I forget all I know, I am glad that this book is here to remind me of what I've forgotten. Maybe "barebones" is the wrong word? It's probably the way she keeps things "simple" in this book that makes it work for me.

  • K
    2019-01-04 07:17

    A few of the sections written by the author had interesting ideas, but I think I rather of heard more of the stories of the people who responded to her survey in a more detailed, less disjointed fashion than the way this book was organized. I think it'd have been more useful. I love the resources, though, given at the end of each chapter.

  • Angela Wade
    2019-01-12 09:20

    I think by this point I've read so many books on homeschooling in general and unschooling in particular that this book really didn't grab my interest. I did a lot of skimming and can't say I learned anything new. Maybe better as a reference throughout the years ahead?

  • Stephen
    2019-01-06 04:02

    What does it mean to educate a child? In the United States, schooling is dominated by standards, by regular exams that force educators to teach the test. But is forced memorization a means of teaching our children well? Mary Griffith thinks not. A practitioner and advocate of "Unschooling", she believes children ought to be free to learn the way adults do: autonomously, pursuing their own interests with the support of their family. In The Unschooling Handbook, she explains the unschooling philosophy, elaborates on how children can pursue understanding of reading, math, science, art, and even history by themselves, and offers parents who are considering the prospect resources to make the leap. Intriguing and smartly organized, it's a welcome perspective in reflecting on education.What happens to destroy the natural curiosity of children, corroding kids who delight in learning about anything into reluctant attendees who look on the schoolroom as if a drilling dentist were waiting for them there? The answer is the decidedly unnatural approach of compulsory education, making children to rise early and spend all day under the authority of adults they neither know nor trust, and forcing them memorize a variety of facts about a series of subjects that may not interest them. If a subject does not hold a child's interest, Griffith writes, why do we expect them to retain any knowledge at all? The information may be held long enough for the test, and then promptly dumped. The children are not improved by having been forced to memorize it, and the public is not better off for having used resources to make them do it. That Griffith is concerned with the quality of her child's education is something of a relief: other criticisms of the public schooling systems I've encountered all had ideological roots, with the parents being paranoid about the prospect of Other People influencing their children, zealously guarding their progeny's craniums like Gollum guarding the Ring. Griffith doesn't complain about the Government trying to turn her child into a socialist minion, or a docile sheep for the new world order. Her philosophy does run counter to the state's approach to education, though, and borders on libertarianism: she does not believe in making her child learn anything. She instead trusts that children will eagerly want to learn about a wide variety of subjects, if provided with the right tools. The parents' job is to guide kids through the world, showing it off, and then helping them investigate whatever catches their interest. It may be Anglo-Saxon mythology or geology; it may be Candy Crush. The potential for abuse is a notable limitation of the unschooling approach, for children are not known for being moderate souls. What is to keep a child becoming obsessed with one subject, and learning nothing at all about mathematics? Griffith's permissive streak seems a vulnerability in a world full of addictive, ever-accessible smartphone games: her technological references stop at 1998, which limits the section on the uses of television and the Internet in education for modern readers. (YouTube is a fantastic resource for learning, but it's also a fantastic way to waste time perusing funny kitten videos.) The author's answer is that children will, in time, grow bored even in these indulgences. Trust them. It's a nice thought, but I'd rather err on the side of discipline. The permissive-parenting argument is a separate argument from that concerning unschooling, though, and that I rather like. I like it because I have learned more reading popular science texts on my own than I ever learned in school, and because the comprehensive variety of information I absorb through my own studying is infinitely more useful than memorizing a few rote facts that pass into oblivion. The greatest weakness of unschooling is that parents' lifestyles may not allow for it: when living costs such that both parents have to work to support families, who can stay home to attend to the children? Reflection is warranted: perhaps a superior education for children, and a closer relationship between parents and children as a result of more time spent together, and less fighting with them to conform to school's regimented schedule and curriculum, would justify a family deciding to downshift so it could afford to run on only one salary.The unschooling approach demonstrated here makes learning a family experience. Education is not something children endure while mom and dad go to their jobs in the 'real' world; instead, education is part of exploring that real world. The core of The Unschooling Handbook is its section illustrating how kids and parents can learn together about the world. Some subjects, like art, music, and science, are naturally entertaining, and those which require more discipline aren't too difficult to pursue, either: children will gravitate to learning to read if they see their parents reading, and if they are read to. This kind of education requires care on the parents' part, as they are the cultivators of their children's minds. Although all children find the natural world awe-inspiring and fascinating, many adults find science dull, probably because their experience with it has involved more the memorization of facts and less hands-on experience that seduces them into learning more about the subject, and eventually to adopting the tools of science to learn even more. A child can be taught botany from a garden and chemistry from the kitchen. What parents can do is help guide learning from the reactive 'wow' to the 'Eureka!' that follows dogged research. A key seems to be relevance: children may squirm if made to memorize the dates and names of English kings (unless they find the recent birth of the latest prince interesting, as so many Americans inexplicably do), but if history is used to awe children with the fact that the places they see around them, and their family, have a greater story than what is presently seen, it may take root. This approach hearkens to our species' ancient practice of oral traditions: being engaged by history is in our blood.The Unschooling Handbook is both thought-provoking and useful, if dated. I will assuredly be reading more about this subject -- for I believe learning ought to a result of our enthusiastic attempt to understand the world, and not a forced exercise in training.Related:The Beginner's Guide to Unschooling, from Zenhabits. (Possibly what introduced me to the concept..) School Sucks Podcast Unplugged Mom podcast

  • Cathy
    2019-01-02 03:19

    Many of the specific resources are outdated, but the overall gist of the book is still excellent today. As a homeschooling mom, this was a great book to get general ideas for how to adapt our practices to more 'life as education' and less 'school at home'.

  • Aimee Ortega
    2019-01-12 07:09

    Good book on unschooling. It really filled in some major blanks that I had on whether this was a good fit for our family. I'm still looking to do something a bit more structured and not child-led. But there were some very good points in here for families new to homeschooling like us.

  • Shanna
    2018-12-24 08:08

    Great, inspiring overview of unschooling. The talk around the internet and computers is outdated, but doesn't change the relevance of the discussion; it just sounds funny.

  • Elaine
    2019-01-23 04:51

    What an interesting idea-unschooling! I hadn't really heard of it, until I started researching homeschooling. This book basically explains what it is, and some practical ideas of how to do it, and what it might look like (although the whole point of it, is that there's no 'standard', since you're learning is at your children's pace and according to their interests). I love the idea of it, learning at your own level, in your own interest, at your own pace. Kids are born naturally wanting to learn, but so often, when faced with a specified timeline, with topics that don't interest them, and being contained in classrooms for 7 hours a day, that love of learning dissipates, and it just becomes memorizing facts, trying to make it to the end of the day, trying to get good grades(if they care at all about grades), counting the minutes to the end of each period. (I remember doing the same!)The idea of unschooling is that kids learn by exploring, not by textbooks or lectures, but reading what you're interested in, going places, talking to people who have knowledge in the area. I think coming from a background of being traditionally schooled, and being fairly successful with it, I think I couldn't completely embrace this idea-seems a little too loosy-goosy for my taste, I think it has the potential of missing out on a lot of areas of education (then again, did I really need to know calculus?) I like that unschooling teaches kids to explore and evaluate on their own, not just read and parrot back what is given in text books and by teachers. It encourages deeper thinking and gives kids self-esteem as they aren't compared to how other kids are doing, and they aren't working toward an evaluation of their abilities (grades), but working toward discovery of the world around them. T is so bored at school, because he's not interested, and he tells me how LOOOONNG the 40 minutes of each period feels, and how he spaces out because he can't focus. I really don't want him to lose his love of learning, because he is such a curious kid who loves to learn about all kinds of new things. What I take away from this book is that there's many ways to learn outside the classroom setting, and I think my parenting philosophy already reflects many of the unschooling principles-whenever the kids are curious about things, I find resources to answer their questions and help them to learn it, even if it's not something they'll cover in school for years to come. We go to the library and get books on whatever they're interested in at the moment, and I dig up atlases and internet sites to show them places they ask about. We take trips and learn stuff about science, biology, history, art, nature. We read historical fiction and learn about life long ago, not dates of when things happened, but what it was like to live back then, what challenges they faced, etc. So I guess I'm supplementing the kids' regular school with unschooling at home, but the problem I find is we often don't have enough time to fully explore these other areas, because they're at school 7 hours a day, plus a couple hours of homework.This book has a lot of ideas for how kids can learn different subjects (like reading, writing, science, history), and alot of firsthand accounts from kids and parents who have been 'unschooled'. The majority of the text is anecdotes, ideas, and reflections from actual people, rather than a 'how-to' book(which goes along with their philosophy-you learn by engaging with real life experiences, not by reading a textbook). I found these parts interesting, but at the same time, I didn't read every one of them, because there were SO many.

  • Mandi
    2019-01-07 10:20

    Okay - so after finishing this book and doing a lot of thinking about what I read, I needed to write a new review. ( : So here it is:I find some definite merrit to the idea of unschooling, to a degree. While it is in agreement with the Biblical principle of individuality, it is off track, Biblically, when we give complete responsibility of their education over to our kiddos before they are ready. There are too many things that God tells us to teach our children; things I don't believe that they would seek to learn on there own. So, I think, in many cases of extreme 'unschooling', the idea of discipleship and parental responsibilty is being missed. There is definitely a balance to be found between a child-centered education (anarchy) and a parent/teacher-centered education (tyranny). The balance is a Spirit-led education (consenting to be God-governed). I teach AS the Spirit leads me to and WHAT the Spirit leads me to, with the ultimate goal being that my children would take on their own self-government(consent to be God-governed)and self-education. My kids follow the Spirit as they follow/learn about their God-given likes, interests, and desires at their own unique pace, with the ultimate goal of using these gifts/interest/abilities for God's glory.The reason I started reading this book is because the cover said it would show how to use the world as your child's classroom - in other words, letting your child learn things naturally in the natural course of life. Call it 'unschooling' or 'natural learning' or whatever you want to call it, the fact is, this has been the most successful method I have found thus far. I have delayed my two youngest boys formal math and they have learned it anyways, in fact, they do far superior than my older two, who had formal daily lessons. Another example, I have yet to do much in the form of grammar/vocabulary/language with my kids - we have done a little here and there, but nothing we ever stuck with, yet they have still advanced in their knowledge of these subjects, in fact, they test VERY high in these areas. I have also found that the lessons I put so much time and effort into putting together for my kids are quickly forgotten, yet the areas that they researched on their own accord, for their own use, and as it was useful to them to know, are things they still know years later. I find all this begs the question, is the idea of sitting down to 'do school' every day man's idea or God's?

  • Avonlea Rose
    2019-01-22 11:10

    This book focuses on the strong points of unschooling, making it less a handbook than a plea for acceptance of unschooling to its skeptics and an encouragement to try out its ideas. Indeed, the author not only assumes the reader is not yet an unschooler, she often writes with the assumption that the reader is very doubtful about it and in need of reassurance. "Sounds impossible, doesn't it? [...] Surely there must be more to the idea than that. Listen to a few more parents [...]", pg. 3.So much of the book reads like this, it becomes tedious. I liked the look and feel of the book for the most part; however it was a bit textbook-like, despite the author's apparent dislike for textbooks. I liked that it included commentary by unschooling parents; but the book does it to its detriment. I liked that it provided numerous resources to parents considering unschooling as well; but some of these seem to be outdated and some of them didn't seem helpful for what they were intended for. Some she even repeated multiple times.I felt like there was a lot of needless rambling. I felt that the author fairly glossed over the challenges of single parents and low income families. She even excludes these unschoolers at times, carrying on at length for example about the *need* for expensive art supplies and how awful cheap ones are and how useless it is when people gift cheap crayons.I was expecting this book to have a lot of great ideas. Instead, I found long, winding paragraphs reassuring the reader that unschooling won't damage their child, and that their child will indeed learn, all fluffed out by endless quotations from parents (almost exclusively from women). Some of this book was interesting, but not much. For me it just missed the mark entirely.

  • Meghan
    2019-01-02 07:53

    Note: now that we have some homeschooling experience under our belt, I will reread this one and come back to update. It is highly possible (probably even likely) that this review will change at that point.I first bought this book when my son was just a baby. I was struggling with a lot of 'cultural norms' at the time- from cry-it-out to vaccines- and this book was another attempt for me to put it all in context. At the time, I did not know anything about homeschooling at all- and this was the first book I read on the subject.Can I confess this book scared the pants off me? It wasn't the base information that struck the chord of terror, it was the parent stories. I understand better now- the speed of learning in our homeschool is directly dependent on my children's capabilities. But, when I read this, I just felt like the parents described were dropping the ball (and I'll give a vague example: one parent mentioned that her child was older- maybe 12?- and hadn't learned any math yet). I'll leave my review there for now, since it has been awhile since I read this. My ultimate word is this: if you are just considering homeschooling, are new to it, or are just curious, DO NOT start with this book (or, at the very least, read this book in conjunction with something else). Home schooling is as individual as the families who do it, and there is no 'right way'. It looks different for every family. There is a spectrum- from people who are very classical to radical unschoolers. The important thing is to find the balance for YOUR family.

  • NoBeatenPath
    2019-01-16 03:16

    An interesting book that seeks to explain the concept of unschooling and how it is actually practiced, by using the anecdotes of families who are, or have, homeschooled. As well as interviews with parents, there are also excerpts from children who are being unschooled.While I liked the positive 'vibe' of this book, and the fact it discussed how families actually go about unschooling, I found that there was very little information to support the fact that unschooling works (a short chapter, which included references to the 'multiple intelligences' theory which actually has little basis in data and study, was about it for data and research support) so I find it is all very nice but am not sure it really works in most situations. I understand that unschooling is a relatively new concept, at least for the modern Western era, but I thought the author could have at least looked at some serious child development studies or learning research rather than just relying on a philosophy that says kids will learn what they need when they feel like it.Don't buy the Kindle version - the formatting is terrible. If 'full price' is going to be charged for an e-book, the least the people who produce it can do it check it for errors and make sure that it is in a format that is tailored to e-readers, rather than just shoving an old (1998 from what I can tell) file into an e-book

  • AnandaTashie
    2018-12-24 11:08

    Read 88 pages fully, then skimmed and read bits & pieces of the rest. My family doesn't unschool, but I do have quite a bit of knowledge on the topic. For someone new to unschooling, this book will be quite an informative (though obviously bias) overview that primarily looks into how individuals approach the method and each school subject. For someone already experienced, much will be redundant, other parts perhaps encouraging or sparking something. For me, someone who enjoys learning more about other views, but doesn't want to lunge into this particular label / path more deeply on a personal level? Some parts were interesting, others just a bit dull, but not a whole lot was new. I didn't find all the assertions accurate / supported (for example, that unschoolers often do better on certain tests), but I do think people sharing their personal experiences can help on a practical level. Oh, also - this book focuses on the academic side of unschooling. Many unschoolers end up voyaging into "radical unschooling" which is more far-reaching. It wasn't directly addressed in this book, perhaps just hinted at, but anyone deciding to try unschooling will definitely encounter it when meeting unschooling families. Whether that's good or bad completely depends on you. :D

  • Appel Aja
    2019-01-13 04:56

    One of the bloggers I follow () recently posted about her method of educating her children, called "unschooling" ( The way she described unschooling was fascinating to me because it sounded like a similar philosophy to my teaching philosophy. The philosophy basically entails throwing scripted curriculum (a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching) out the window, and instead follows student interests. I had never heard of unschooling so I decided to read this book. The Unschooling Handbook was compelling and easy-to-read. I especially loved how the book discussed using children's natural curiosity about the world to facilitate their learning. While I don't envision myself officially homeschooling or unschooling my own children, I will use a similar approach in the way I interact with my own children and my students. A trip to the beach where we explore tide pools and have animated discussions is more powerful than a worksheet on tide pools. Students do not need to be bombarded with facts and worksheets. They need a chance to explore the world and learn through hands-on activities and conversations. I would recommend this book to any parent or educator.

  • Teji
    2019-01-18 07:18

    Presents a philosophy of learning that structures learning opportunities around a particular child's passions and intersts.Quotes:"The categories of knowledge are simply artificial; they exist for reasons that have nothing to do with learning, nor with the advancements of knowledge. Chemistry blends seamlessly into physics and math and biology and sociology…rather than create artificial boundaries, it's fun to see where something leads". Pg15, Patrick"Institutional learning's set curricula were designed to accommodate the challenges and limitation of a system that puts a large number of children of the same age in one room for five or six o=hours a day, five days a week. There is nothing magic about the subjects that have been chosen for a particular age level that makes it essential to learn them at that time. There is also nothing sacred about the chosen subjects themselves". Pg 15, Terry"But mathematics is so much more: pattern recognition, sorting, measurement, logic, problem-solving, probability, statistics, topology, and much more. If we let ourselves begin to look at it all, its hard to avoid seeing math everywhere…" pg 98Resources: A History of US, by Joy Hakim

  • Katie
    2019-01-23 10:15

    I am so glad the local library had this book! My oldest child is just entering pre-school age, and I had heard that there was something called "unschooling" from several friends, but wasn't quite sure what it entailed. This book explained it, explained why it is indeed the ideal way for children to learn, and gave stories about how families implement the practice in their own lives.It is not a step-by-step guide, of course, because unschooling is different for everyone; it is specific to the child who is learning.The only problem I had with this book was that it is outdated. There is talk of the future possibilities of the internet, but when this was written in 1998, the internet was very limited. I wondered why the author kept referring to AOL mailing lists....then I checked the publication date. The internet has really exploded in the sixteen years since, and I would like to have seen updated resources.That being said, it is still an excellent introduction to unschooling. It gave me confidence in my decision to unschool, and convinced my husband and in-laws that we had made the right choice.

  • Nicole
    2018-12-30 10:13

    A bit outdated with copyright of 1998: AOL, not having internet in the home, etc. Still provided insights into unschooling. Makes me sad I am just hearing about such a thing as unschooling when it has been around long enough to have a book about it published in '98!Mostly responses of unschooling families to questions asked by the author. I felt the highlighted small grey boxes of text to be redundant.Similar themes to Free to Learn, but not as enjoyable to read.

  • Beth
    2019-01-18 02:57

    I really loved reading this book about unschoolers. I made the decision a few years ago that I was going to homeschool my kids, but I had no idea where to start, what my options were, etc. I also had no idea that there were so many different " types" of homeschooling that you could do/be. I have been doing research and trying to educate myself on all of these types so that I can determine what will work best for my family.I am so intrigued by unschoolers, and really just wanted to get a basic overview of what their philosophy is. This book was so helpful. Not only did the author break down all aspects of the unschooler lifestyle, she also included interviews with actual unschooling parents, asking their opinions about these aspects and also having them share a sneak peek into their everyday lives. I would recommend this book to anyone who is contemplating homeschool, or is just starting out with homeschooling, or really anyone interested in homeschooling at all. It is very insightful.

  • Carrie
    2019-01-01 09:16

    Maybe this book would be helpful to someone who:feels clueless about how to use resources in their community in their homeschooling.oris looking for more proof that kids can learn without textbooks.I lost interest almost immediately. I'm not sure if that's because of the book or because my university program drummed into my skull the fact that children can be trusted to learn, but need a rich environment.Also, I think the sub-title, "How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom" is a misnomer. I thought this book would be a how-to book for unschooling. But it was mostly a defense of "unschooling," in a testimonial sort of way. (For a more substantial defense of "unschooling," look to John Holt, or even Piaget.) I don't consider our family to be unschoolers, so I'm probably not the person to listen to about this book, but I thought it was pretty fluffy.

  • Cass
    2019-01-04 04:52

    I raced through this book, taking feverish notes and annoying the hell out of everyone by talking about my revelations too loudly and frequently. The resource lists and anecdotes from real unschooling families made this an invaluable read for me.If I thought I was done with the public school system before, this book made it less of an angry "but what else is there?!" feeling and turned it into a joyful embrace of a more child-led education.Took off one star because, to quote another reviewer, the technology portions were "excruciatingly outdated", and a lot of the more helpful-sounding resources are now defunct. I guess it isn't the book's fault but the stars are a little arbitrary (like public school standards!), so there you go.