Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better

(Dutton, 1976, Sentient, 2003).

To read Patrick Farenga's introduction to this edition of Instead of Education, click here.

“John Holt was a prophetic voice in the educational wilderness who vividly explained why our system of schooling often frustrates genuine learning. He made this case quite clearly indeed in his groundbreaking work Instead of Education. It is as radically relevant to the educational challenges of our generation as it was to his.” —Ron Miller, Ph.D. Author of Free Schools, Free People: Education and Democracy After the 1960s

“Be clear about this: Instead of Education, although less widely known than his more famous titles, is John Holt at the top of his game. If you are one of the millions of walking wounded still staggering from your own encounter with forced institutional schooling, and trying to spare your own kids from its damage, this book will be your guide and a good friend.” —John Taylor Gatto Former New York State Teacher of the Year, Author of Dumbing Us Down and The Underground History of American Education

“This book turned my thinking upside down and changed the course of my life--it inspired me to let go of my career as a frustrated schoolteacher in favor of exploring and then advocating self-directed learning. As the homeschooling/unschooling population mushrooms, many fine books and other resources become available, but none replaces John Holt's visionary, revolutionary, attentive, and specific work, as radical now as it was 30 years ago. If you haven't read him, good chance you don't fully understand the depth or possibility of our movement. In Instead of Education, Holt addresses a huge question--how can people live and work more purposefully? In doing so, he tackles many medium-sized and smaller questions--What do schools really teach? What could libraries lend, in addition to books? Why do children seem happy in a particular school in Denmark? Throughout, his writing is--as usual--simultaneously reverent and scientific.” —Grace Llewellyn, author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook

“Reading this book again, like reading Maria Montessori, fills me with a certain sadness that such clear vision, brilliant insight and profound understanding of the needs of children should have been offered time and again, for so many years, to be so largely ignored. With our schooling situation growing ever more deplorable, the plight of our educationally abused children worsening day by day, Holt’s work is more critically needed than ever. He spells out the problem and its solution with such clarity and simplicity that any parent can read him and every parent should. We ignore his prophetic vision at our peril.” –Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Magical Child