How To Report Unschooling to School Officials

There’s an old story about two men on a train. One of them, seeing some naked-looking sheep in a field, said, “Those sheep have been sheared.” The other looked a moment longer, and then said, “They seem to be—on this side.” It is in such a cautious spirit that we should say whatever we have to say about the working of the mind.

—John Holt, How Children Learn

Writing a report about doing school at home is easier in many ways than writing one about unschooling, since you will have many of the conventional products of schooling to share with school officials, such as tests, worksheets, and commonly used textbooks. Unschooling often doesn’t produce such products, so if your state requires you to submit a periodic evaluation (and not all states require this, so check your local homeschooling laws or regulations) you might need to explain your children’s growth and development in more depth to readers who do not understand unschooling. This book will help you do this . . .

"If you are an unschooling family, or a family thinking about unschooling, and are concerned about how to report to school officials, I recommend Pat Farenga's new booklet on that topic."—Dr. Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn


Praise for The Legacy of John Holt

The Legacy of John Holt Now Available! 16 people who knew Holt present his life and ideas about children and learning as part of their lives, not just educational theory.  Scroll down to read more.

The Legacy of John Holt
Now Available!
16 people who knew Holt present his life and ideas about children and learning as part of their lives, not just educational theory.  Scroll down to read more.

"The Legacy of John Holt is unequivocally provocative and memorable."—The Portland (OR) Book Review, May 24, 2014
"John Holt is rather a hero to the 'unschooling' faction of the homeschooling movement, but his ideas and methods have broad resonance to anyone concerned about our educational system, schools, or children . . .
. . .  The message is abundantly clear from these essays: John Holt was a man to love and be loved. This book is a sensitive and loving tribute, and those who read it will be glad to get to know him through the memories of his friends."—The San Francisco Book Review, May 27, 2014
"So many of the voices that we now need desperately to hear seem to have faded in the media-celebrity din:  Paul Goodman, Ivan Illich, John Holt, to name three who told the raw truth about modern education.  Perhaps their relative obscurity today is because they were not empire-builders, gathering disciples, but old-fashioned prophets, letting the chips fall where they may.  This new collection of testimony from those who knew John Holt well suggests still another explanation.  Here we see how influence grows not by the establishment of reputations, but by inspiration—to pursue one's own truth, bestow one's own gifts.  This is a heartening realization in our dark times."
—Taylor Stoehr, author of Changing Lives: Working with literature in an alternative sentencing program and The Paul Goodman Reader
"John Holt departed altogether too soon. Thank God he left behind Pat Farenga to help lead the effort to make Holt's deep wisdom about children available to a new generation of parents and teachers. The contributors to Pat and Carlo's book bear witness to the currency of Holt's work and provide us with poignant and intimate glimpses of the person behind the ideas. I feel like I know John so much better now."
—Chris Mercogliano, author of Making It Up As We Go Along, the Story of the Albany Free School; Teaching the Restless, One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed; How to Grow a School: Starting and Sustaining Schools That Work; and In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids’ Inner Wildness
"Where the hell would we be without John Holt?
"When I first encountered him a couple of decades ago, like so many others I was immediately thrilled, and quickly read everything he'd ever written. I figured I had a pretty good handle on his thinking and understood why he mattered so much.
"But over and over again through the years he keeps coming back to me. I keep remembering things he has said and keep realizing that I still don't fully grasp the radical depth and scope of his ideas. So often I feel like I have broken a new intellectual trail for myself or like maybe I have a good new idea, and then I realize, naw, John Holt said that better than you, just thirty-years ago. And how great is that?
"What a guy. I look forward to another couple of decades of re-encountering him, realizing how little I really understand of his work, and being thrilled over and over again. This book is one more reminder of that, and a sweet one at that. Thanks toPat and Carlo, to all the contributors, and of course to JH."
—Matt Hern, author of Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth; Everywhere All the Time; and Deschooling Our Lives.
"I have never addressed a group of people—holistic educators or homeschoolers—anywhere in North America, South America, Europe, or Asia who were not well acquainted with and deeply appreciative of John Holt’s work.  To most he is an icon.  Now comes Pat Farenga’s and Carlo Ricci’s book that throws light on John’s personal life and allows us a full picture of the man behind the radical ideas.  I will put it right beside my copy of John’s How Children Fail and it will, no doubt, become just as dog-eared over time."
—Pat Montgomery, Founder of Clonlara School.
One of Holt's most radical and controversial books now in paperback or electronic (Kindle) editions.

One of Holt's most radical and controversial books now in paperback or electronic (Kindle) editions.

 Escape From Childhood is available in print for the first time in over 20 years!

You can read reviews of this new edition as well as articles written by Holt based on this work here. The digital edition has been among the top three sellers in the nonfiction/Child Advocacy section of Amazon Kindle since January 2013.