HN Books @HNBooksMonth

The best books of Hacker News.

Hacker News Comments on
The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

Grace Llewellyn · 3 HN comments
HN Books has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention "The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education" by Grace Llewellyn.
View on Amazon [↗]
HN Books may receive an affiliate commission when you make purchases on sites after clicking through links on this page.
Amazon Summary
An estimated 700,000 American children are now taught at home. This book tells teens how to take control of their lives and get a "real life." Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program. Grace Llewellyn explains the entire process, from making the decision to quit school, to discovering the learning opportunities available.
HN Books Rankings

Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this book.
I grew up in a small town, and after school many days I'd go read books at an alternative bookstore. I was able to give myself an autodidactic education in everything from feminism to anarchism to labour politics and more.

One day I decided to sample from the "education" section, an area which I'd been avoiding. As fate would have it, I started with The Teenage Liberation Handbook.

It was written by a disgruntled former English teacher and explained that the education system robbed children of their creativity to turn out a constant stream of factory workers that wouldn't talk or waste time. School was to keep kids out of gangs.

What really got me, however, was the idea that 75% of what we were doing was in fact "make work". We were in a glorified day care. The only reason they cared about truancy was because the school gets paid based on the number of classes we attend.

I was furious; basically I became a walking Rage Against The Machine song for about two years.

There are pictures.

I'm 35 now, and my only regret about dropping out of high school is that I didn't do it 2 years earlier. All of the people who told me that I was throwing my life away now come to me for life advice. I have started several companies and to date have never woken up in a ditch. I am not plagued with a sense of wonder about what I could have accomplished had I just written those last few exams.

I told my principle and the other students that I did not want the school to take credit for my future success. I was a bit of a shit, sure. But I wasn't entirely wrong, either.

These days, seeing kids like this gives me hope for the future:

On the flipside I grew up and decided I was a bit too smart for school, dropped out and tried on my own. After spending a few years doing pointless, manual, hard work I decided I should go back to school.

After graduating my life has turned around. I have a great job with a great pay, and I have massive opertunities to further my knowledge.

Dropping out works for some people. But it certainly did not for me :P

I loved that book! It really managed to give a voice to the frustrations that I felt with my school, and how I was being taught. The on thing that I would like to emphasize though is that the book isn't advocating just dropping out of highschool, it is talking about replacing the school system's stifling attempts at education with teaching yourself what you want to learn. Make no mistake, you won't be getting out of work by dropping out, but you will be actually spending your time and effort on learning something important and helpful instead of wasting it on recieving a 'standardized' education that only exists to make sure that all the grunts have at least a base level of knowledge about 'stuff'. While it is much easier to just sit in school and be spoonfed information, it is ultimately a waste of your time. Your time would be better spent going out and learning about the stuff that interests you.
Aug 12, 2009 · arundelo on Let's Abolish High School
See also Grace Llewellyn's Teenage Liberation Handbook:

I recommend taking a look at a book called The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn. (

The assumption of school is that you don't want to learn and so you need to be forced to. For all I know this may in fact be true for most kids, and so school is necessary for them. However if you are self-motivated to learn then school is massively inefficient.

There is no need for you to waste the next two years. You can, if you wish, undertake a self-learning program (home school yourself). While it is true that there are things that will get by staying in school, it does not mean that you cannot also get these things outside of school, especially with a little planning. You will still get into a good college, have friends, develop your social skills, keep your future options open, and so on. The book I mentioned explains how.

HN Books is an independent project and is not operated by Y Combinator or
~ [email protected]
;laksdfhjdhksalkfj more things ~ Privacy Policy ~
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.