The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
By Grace Llewellyn
The Teenage Liberation Handbook is an early classic of the “unschooling” movement, an “irreverent and thought-provoking guide” to venturing outside the schoolhouse and into the wider world of learning.
As the subtitle indicates, Llewellyn “demonstrates brilliantly that school and education are two very different things”, and that a resourceful teen may want to explore his or her extra-classroom options!
The book starts with an extended parable, then a “note to parents” that makes clear this book is written for teenagers, not for them! I might describe it as zine in style; manifesto in tone; handbook in structure.
Topics include: notes on school and what it’s for; a section of “Unassignments”; parental, legal, and social issues; and The Tailor-Made Educational Extravaganza — an extended curricular outline on cultural resources, the merits of generalism, and specific advice when it comes to various subjects like science, math, English, foreign languages, and the arts, as well as sections on “world schooling”, the world of work, and “The Lives of Unschoolers”.
The main theme is simple: school is not the only way to an education, and it’s not only possible, but more rewarding, to take charge of your own learning path. I think this is a tremendously important perspective, and I admire how this text was among the first to make the case for unschooling as a viable, and vital, possibility.