The Voluntary Life: Unschooling Part 1: Instead of Education

26 February 2011

Unschooling Part 1: Instead of Education

Part one of a series of podcasts on Unschooling. This episode is a discussion of one of the most influential books about unschooling: Instead of Education by John Holt. Special guests are Brett Veinotte, host of School Sucks Podcast and Stefan Molyneux, host of Freedomain Radio.

"Education... now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and 'fans,' driven more and more, in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve 'education' but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves."    John Holt 1976

Podcast Episode


  1. Great podcast Jake! You ask your guests great questions. It is truly a shame that Holt's work ran up against a wall with the hard-headed, hard-to-kill traditional education system.

    It is my hope (although I am a bit disillusioned at the moment) that his works will eventually experience a "rebirth" as people become more upset with the abysmal state of our educational system.

  2. Thanks very much for your feedback Kelleigh! :)

  3. I'm really enjoying your podcast! I wanted to clear things up and share some resources...

    John Holt did eventually become a libertarian:

    He also did understand how much parenting messed kids up. In his book Escape from Childhood (which I highly recommend), he says:

    "For a very long time, ever since men formed societies in which some people bossed
    others, children have fulfilled this very important function. Every adult parent, however
    lowly or powerless, had at least someone that he could command, threaten and punish.
    No man was so poor, even a slave, that he could not have these few slaves of his own.
    Today, when most ‘free’ men feel like slaves, having their own home-grown slaves is
    very satisfying. Many could not do without them."

    And there's a really great podcast (posts very rarely) about unschooling and unparenting:
    They even have an one or two episodes about unjobbing/traveling while making a living.
    I hope those are interesting to you.

    Also, I don't know if its' just a bunch of friends you have on or what, but I'd love to read a book and discuss it with people. My youtube is here if you're interested to see what I do:

    Beautiful day!

  4. Thank you so much Amelia for your thoughtful feedback! The Holt quote is awesome and I will look up the podcast you recommended too. You are very welcome to join in on upcoming discussions. They are organised via a book club on Facebook: At the moment the only one planned is here: I look forward to watching some of your videos too and if you have suggestions for the show I'd love to hear them. Thanks again! :)


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