Introducing Teens to Unschooling Liberation with Grace Llewellyn

Brave Writer Podcast

This week on the podcast, we connect with Grace Llewellyn, a staple of the unschooling community who shaped my own homeschooling approach. 

She taught for three years before leaving the profession to write a classic in the unschooling world: The Teenage Liberation Handbook. The book was published in 1991, when she was only 26 years old, and has been thoroughly updated and re-released for it’s 30th anniversary in 2021. In 1996, Grace founded Not Back to School Camp to bring together unschooled teenagers and it’s still bringing joy around the world, today.

Grace Llewellyn

After her time in the traditional school system – at a wonderful private school in Colorado – she came to the point where she felt she had seen and experienced too much to ethically continue teaching. She discovered the world of unschooling and quickly realized that it was unfair to rely on parents to introduce their kids to the methodology. She knew what she had to do.

We talk about:

  • the expectations that come with unschooling,
  • addressing fears parents may have,
  • and the joys of dabbling.

Show Notes

Unschooling can lead to lofty expectations. While the principles suggest that kids will be naturally guided to learn what they are most interested in, as parents, the approach can lead us to worry about a well-rounded education, or seeing what others are doing and feeling jealous of their progress. That’s a hard feeling to disauge, but it’s important to remember that kids don’t need to have a passion. Kids can be dabblers. Adults can be dabblers! There’s no one vision of success, which is the exact reason unschooling rejects the traditional school system.

For parents that have hesitations about unschooling – about getting a job or going to college – there are decades worth of data showing that this is not an issue for most children. The other common worry is built on failure. But, failure is a part of being human, and part of unschooling is finding a way to learn lessons from failures by making sense of them.

In the newly released 30th Anniversary edition of The Teenage Liberation Handbook, Grace worked with a past guest of the podcast, Blake Boles, to create a version of the book that holds up even stronger today. What started as a quick, streamlined version quickly became a project requiring hundreds of hours of research. It’s a wonderful resource for anyone interested in easing their teen into unschooling, or for parents who want a different perspective on homeschooling.


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Brave Writer Podcast

Friday Freewrite: Migration

Friday Freewrite

Two birds are chatting after migrating south for the winter and one says, “You will not believe the trip I had!” What happened?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Stress: The Invisible Thief

Stress: The Invisible Thief

Whenever you feel that whoosh of peace in your home.
Pause to notice. Inhale. Then… Exhale and smile.


The invisible thief.
The batterer of nervous systems.

Worry, fear, too much to do, pressure, cruelty, failing to meet our own ideals, tragedy, loss… Stress is inevitable. I am not great at getting rid of it when it’s raging so no advice here.

What I do know: sometimes after stress rolls in like high tide in a storm, it rushes out to sea just as quickly. A tiny pivot, a shift, and whoosh! It’s gone.

It’s happened to me. A small kindness, a changed perspective, a little space away from the source of the stress and just as quickly as I had been flooded with unwelcome adrenaline, I was back to calm (with a little left over tingle and tenderness).

Whoosh! Peace. It magically appears. Notice. Breathe:

  • inhale,
  • exhale,
  • smile.

And maybe add: Sleep.

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!

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Friday Freewrite: New

Friday Freewrite

See how many of these synonyms for the word “new” you can use in a story: 

  • Fresh
  • Inexperienced
  • Latest
  • Modern
  • Newfangled
  • Pioneering
  • Trailblazing
  • Unfamiliar
  • Untried
  • Young

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

3 Tips to Fix a Rough Morning

Brave Writer

Three tips to fix a rough morning:

1. Feed your child a turkey or almond butter sandwich.

Protein goes a long way toward improving a mood.

2. Move the lesson to the floor.

Create an egalitarian environment where you are both at the same level—the ground.

3. Include the pet (or a favorite toy).

Cuddle the cat, pet the dog, snuggle a baby doll, admire the assembled LEGO kit. Everyone needs a support companion on a rough morning.

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!

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