Deschooling Our Lives


150 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 1-55092-283-1
DDC 370'.1




Edited by Matt Hern
Reviewed by Bob Forsey

Bob Forsey is the education officer at the Newfoundland Museum in St.


The central theme of this collection of 22 essays by 25 writers is that
schools must be based on democratic principles if students are to
achieve their potential as self-reliant individuals. In these essays,
contributors advocate an end to compulsory schooling in favor of home
schools, which are more conducive to child-centred education.

The book has five sections with such topics as the roots of deschooling
and home schooling options. One section consists of a reading and
resource list.

A common theme is the negative impact that control has on learning.
John Taylor Gotto, in “The Public School Nightmare,” discusses how
compulsory schools were established in Prussia in 1819 to produce
obedient soldiers, clerks, and workers for the army, public service, and
business. He seeks an end to the state’s educational monopoly, and
advocates turning over decision-making powers to parents. Other
contributors advocate a home learning model based on the Afri-can
proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.”

The book examines Summerhill School in England, Albany Free School in
the United States, and Windsor House in British Columbia. Windsor House,
which offers students a noncompulsory education based on freedom of
choice and participation in decision making, is unique because public
funding supports it.

The highly competitive international markets of today’s global
village demand creative entrepreneurs. Deschooling Our Lives describes
the kind of self-initiated learning that can make edu-cation for
self-reliance a reality.


“Deschooling Our Lives,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,