Author: Grace Llewellyn
Publisher: Published in 1997 by Element Books Limited
Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/36HXuso (This is an affiliate link)
Date Started: Sometime in 2019
Date Finished: A few days later.
Why I read this book: I was listening to a podcast while working in my backyard. One of the podcasters mentioned this book almost as an aside.
Immediately, I turned the podcast off, and ordered the book.
I read the book the day it arrived. It’s a fairly easy book to read. I remember reading it in a few days.
What I liked: Almost everything about it.
What I didn’t like:
The book is actually written to teenagers. It sometimes comes off as a bit juvenile. Also, the author is not a Christian, and sometimes makes suggestions I would not suggest to kids. It’s been over twenty years since she wrote the book, though. The kids are doing lots of things I wouldn’t suggest these days. So, maybe her few comments aren’t the big deal I think they are.
Also, some of her suggestions for alternative education are out of date now. But, that doesn’t really reflect on her, it reflects more on us. We now have faster, better, incredible tools at our disposal. We could easily help kids get out of school. And, yet, in my town of Franklin, Tennessee, the city can’t build multi-million dollar schools fast enough.
Would I recommend it?
Yes. We all need to read this book. It will make us, probably all of us, uncomfortable on some level. But, we need this. We must understand what school does to us. We must understand what Horace Mann did to us when he brought this thought-control system over from Prussia.
Would I read it again? Already have. Several times.
The usual adult person in America thinks it’s terribly hard to teach yourself something, and if you want to learn something, you’ve got to find somebody to teach it to you. This leads to the idea that kids are dumb unless taught or unless they go to school.
– Introduction, page 15
… schools do the opposite of what they say they do. They prevent learning and they destroy one’s love of learning.
– Introduction, page 16
How strange and self-defeating that supposedly free countries should train their young for life in totalitarianism.
– Chapter one, page 31
The most overwhelming reality of school is control.
– Chapter one, page 32
All the time you are in school, you learn through experience how to live in a dictatorship.
– Chapter one, page 34
… (schools) cannot encourage you to follow joyfully your own intellectual mysteries, except in your spare time after your homework. (emphasis mine)
– Chapter one, page 43
The emphasis schools put on grades prevents healthy learning.
– Chapter one, page 46
School asks you to wear yourself out attaining mediocrity in six or so subjects rather than be amazing at one or two you love.
– Chapter one, page 49
Not only does your actual time in school block out learning, but it also prevents you from learning outside school. It drains your time and energy.
– Chapter one, page 49
And, on and on it goes.
I started teaching in 1997. I wish someone had handed me this book before I had decided to do that.