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Books on Learning and Deschooling

"Wendy said that, even today, when an Aboriginal mother notices the first stirring of speech in her child, she lets it handle the 'things' of that particular country: leaves, fruit, insects and so forth. The child at its mother's breast, will toy with the 'thing', talk to it, test its teeth on it, learn its name, repeat its name—and finally chuck it aside.

'We give our children guns and computer games,' Wendy said. 'They gave their children the land.' " — from The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin.

Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto

The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher's Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling by John Taylor Gatto

The Geography of Childhood by Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble, Beacon Press, 1995, Paperback, $16.00
The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost
Jean Liedloff, Addison Wesley, 1986, Paperback, 172 pages, $16.50
Attributes the mental, emotional and physical vitality of the Yequana of the Amazon jungle to their child rearing practices.
Deschooling Society
Illich, Ivan, Marion Boyars Publishers, 1999, Paperback, $12.95
Ivan Illich was one of the most visionary political and social thinkers of the twentieth century. Deschooling Society is his most radical and profound book.
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
by John Taylor Gatto, 2008
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Education
Gatto, John Taylor, New Society Publishers, 2005, Hardcover, $23.95
Concludes that compulsory government schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders like cogs in a machine. New hardcover edition celebrates 100,000 copies in print. The author, John Gatto was a teacher in New York City's public schools for over 30 years and is a recipient of the New York State Teacher of the Year award.
Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect
David W. Orr, Island Press, Paperback, 2004. 224pp., $19.95
10th anniversary edition. Much of what has gone wrong with the world, Orr argues, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who they are; overemphasizes success and careers; separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical and deadens the sense of wonder for the created world.
The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood
Edith Cobb, Introduction by Margaret Mead, Spring Publications, 2004, Paperback, $20.00
Is genius shaped by the imagination of childhood? Cobb's collection of autobiographies and biographies of creative people, as well as her observations of children's play, suggests so. She sees the child to be innately connected with the natural world. Inner powers alone do not further the imagination. Her book is an important philosophical meditation on the importance of children's deep experience of nature to their adult cognition and psychological well-being.
Education as a Force for Social Change
Steiner, Rudolf, Steiner Books, 1997, Paperback, $16.95
Education: Assumptions Versus History: Collected Papers
Sowell, Thomas, Hoover Institution Press, 1986, Paperback, $12.95
The Exhausted School: Bending the Bars of Traditional Education
Gatto, John Taylor, Berkeley Hills Books, 2002, Paperback, $15.00
These 13 essays illustrate how education reform actually works. Written by award-winning teachers and their students, these essays present successful teaching methods.
Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense
Guterson, David, Harvest Books, 1993, Paperback, $14.00
In an honest, perceptive discussion of children and education by the bestselling author of "Snow Falling on Cedars", Guterson answers questions about homeschooling but also reflects on broader issues, such as family life, individual fulfillment, and community.
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
Mander, Jerry, Perennial, 1978, Paperback, $13.95
"The case against TV has never been made more effectively. It should be read by all addicts and anyone contemplating participationin the desertification of the mind to which TV leads."--Ashley Montagu. "Remarkable, terrifying. . . Mander's arguments completely undercut the usual debates and raise issues nobody can avoid . . . Mander could turn out to be the David who slew the unbeatable media Goliath."--Ernest Callenbach
The Geography of Childhood
Nabhan, Gary Paul, and Trimble, Stephen, Beacon Press, 1995, Paperback, $16.00
Two naturalists ask what may happen now that so many more children are denied exposure to wildness than at any other time in human history.
Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education with or Without School
Llewellyn, Grace and Silver, Amy, John Wiley & Sons, 2001, Paperback, $15.95
How Children Fail
Holt, John Caldwell, Perseus Publishing, 1995, Paperback, $15.95
Since its first publication in 1964, this book has helped two generations of parents and teachers understand what actually happens in the classroom. Holt's astute observation of children, his clear simple style, and his lifelong conviction that we can do better by our children make How Children Fail an enduring classic.
How Children Learn
Holt, John Caldwell, Perseus Publishing, 1995, Paperback, $16.00
"Children do not need to be made to learn", Holt maintains, because each is born with what Einstein called "the holy curiosity of inquiry". For them, learning is as natural as breathing. First published in 1967.
"I Won't Learn from You": And Other Thoughts on Creative Maladjustment
Kohl, Herbert R, New Press, 1995, Paperback, $14.95
Inside American Education: The Decline, the Deception, the Dogmas
Sowell, Thomas, Free Press, 1992, Hardcover, $32.00
Learning All the Time
Holt, John Caldwell, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1990, Paperback, $15.00
John Holt, in this his last book, clearly demonstrates how children begin to read, write, count, and investigate the world without being taught. Learning cannot be coerced, he maintains; indeed, it is "as natural as breathing". "A capstone to his ten books on education".-- New York Times Book Review.
Let Them Eat Data: How Computers Affect Education, Cultural Diversity, and the Prospects of Ecological Sustainability
Bowers, C A, University of Georgia Press, 2000, Paperback, $18.95
Life-Enriching Education: Nonviolent Communication Helps Schools Improve Performance, Reduce Conflict, and Enhance Relationships
Rosenberg, Marshall B, PuddleDancer Press, 2003, Paperback, $12.95
Provides a new approach to education that serves the lives of everyone in the learning community. By implementing the communication skills outlined, educators can promote cooperation and understanding and address many of the complex problems faced in the classroom. Teachers are given strategies for cultivating emotional intelligence, respect, authenticity, and empathy and are empowered to resolve conflict and prevent or defuse violence.
Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas
Papert, Seymour A, Sculley, John (Designed by), Basic Books, 1999, Paperback, $19.50
The bible of thousands of teachers who have sought creative ways to use computers in schools, this book tells the story of the invention of LOGO, the first child-friendly computer programming language.
A Modern Art of Education
Steiner, Rudolf, Steiner Books, 2003, Paperback, $20.00
Based ona series of lectures given in 1924, Steiner provides one of the most comprehensive introductions to his pedagogical philosophy, psychology, and practice. Describes the union of science, art, religion and morality, which underlies his concept of education. Discusses how different subjects should be presented so that individuals can grow and flourish inwardly.
Never Too Late: My Musical Life Story
Holt, John Caldwell, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1991, Paperback, $16.00
No More Prisons: Urban Life, Homeschooling, Hip-Hop Leadership, the Cool Rich Kids Movement, a Hitchhiker's Guide to Community Organizing
Wimsatt, William Upski, Subway & Elevator Press, 1999, Paperback, $12.00
F ollow-up to the underground best-seller Bomb the Suburbs.
Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, As, Praise, and Other Bribes
Kohn, Alfie, Mariner Books, 1999, Paperback, $15.00
Attacks the strategy of dangling incentives in front of people to affect their behavior.
Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools
Kozol, Jonathan, HarperPerennial, 1992, Paperback, $14.00
National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol presents his shocking account of the American educational system in this New York Times bestseller.
Soul Economy: Body, Soul, and Spirit in Waldorf Education
Steiner, Rudolf, Steiner Books, 2003, Paperback, $25.00
Today's schools fill children's heads with information instead of helping them develop their natural human faculties and capacities. They place too much stress on memory, leading to inner exhaustion instead of real learning for a healthy, fulfilling life. Steiner shows how Waldorf education emphasizes the efficient use of children's inner energies, a method he calls "soul economy,."
The Spiritual Ground of Education
Steiner, Rudolf, Steiner Books, 2003, Paperback, $20.00
Given during a conference on spiritual values in education and life, Steiner's Oxford lectures present the principles of Waldorf education. The Manchester Guardian reported: "Steiner's lectures...brought to us in a very vivid way an ideal of humanity in education. He spoke to us about teachers who, freely and unitedly, unrestricted by external prescription, develop their educational methods exclusively out of a thorough knowledge of human nature."
Summerhill School: A New View of Childhood
Neill, A S, and Neill, Alexander S, Griffin, 1995, Paperback, $13.95
Originally published in 1960, Summerhill became an instant bestseller. This expanded and revised edition explains the revolutionary "free school" founded by A.S. Neill.
Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling
Holt, John, Perseus Publishing, 2003, Paperback, $18.95
Conveys Holt's wise and passionate belief in every child's ability to learn from the world.
Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-School Years
Hainstock, Elizabeth G, and Havis, Lee, Plume Books, 1997, Paperback, $11.95
Author Elizabeth G. Hainstock is recognized as one of the most influential proponents of the Montessori method, . This edition includes a new Introduction by Lee Havis, Executive Director of the International Montessori Society and updated appendixes on materials, services, and extra reading. Illustrated.
Teaching the Commons: Place, Pride, and the Renewal of Local Schooling
Theobald, Paul, Westview Press, 1997, Paperback, $29.95
Calls for restoring community and instilling a sense of belonging for ourselves and especially for our children. Chronicles how historical developments such as the advent of a consumer culture have undermined the forging of community and bolstered our culture's infatuation with the individual.
Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom
Hooks, Bell, Routledge, 1994, Paperback, $22.95
Widely admired as a leading black intellectual, Hooks is also an inspired teacher. Here, she offers her ideas about teaching that fundamentally rethink democratic participation. These essays face squarely the problems of today's classrooms, including racism and sexism. Hooks sees the gift of freedom--the freedom to think critically--as a teacher's most important goal.
36 Children
Kohl, Herbert R, Plume Books, 1988, Paperback, $14.00
Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out
Petrash, Jack, Foreword by Gatto, John Taylor, Gryphon House, 2002, Paperback, $19.95
Written by a teacher with more than 25 years of experience, this book offers a jargon-free view of Waldorf schools with their philosophy of the importance of a three-dimensional education. Through learning experiences that involve all of the senses, children use a variety of intelligences to develop thought, feeling, and intentional, purposeful activity.
The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School
Fitzenreiter, Valerie, Unbounded Publications, 2003, Paperback, $14.95
The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your Child's Classroom
Griffith, Mary, Three Rivers Press, 1998, Paperback, $16.95
What Is Waldorf Education?
Steiner, Rudolf, Steiner Books, 2003, Paperback, $12.00
Three lectures by Rudolf Steiner on Waldorf education with a thought-provoking introduction by a Waldorf teacher and longtime student of Steiner's pedagogy.

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