A powerful memoir of a life led respecting and trusting children, from the naturalness of home birth and breastfeeding on demand, through learning by living and working together on a small farm and in a natural food store. The author's passionate ruminations about his strongly-held philosophies of attachment parenting and self-directed education are woven throughout a series of journal entries describing the daily life of a family of three unschooled teens. The result is a wonderfully warm, sometimes funny, always wise potpourri of advice and inspiration about natural parenting and unschooling / life learning from a father who writes, "I believe I have broken free from my complicity with other adults. I have chosen to remove myself from this adult world to side with children." This book provides both rationale for and proof of the wisdom of choosing a path that is so little trod upon in our world...the path of freedom, of respect for our children, of trust in them and belief in their ability to regulate and educate themselves.
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"You are about to encounter the amazing tale of Léandre Bergeron and his three born-at-home daughters as they educated themselves on the family farm. If you attend sharply while you read, you will discern under its quiet style a profoundly revolutionary narrative which, if imitated widely, would turn the North American education world (or any other) upside down, with incalculable effects...Bergeron’s commitment to full human rights for the young is so unstinting it challenges many child-rearing conventions that most of the rest of us take for granted. In that very surprising commitment resides much of this book’s power. It inspires reflection, causing the reader to ask as he or she might have done on their own account long ago: 'Why are we doing this?' 'What do we hope to gain?' Bergeron’s text compels such introspection." ~ from the foreword by John Taylor Gatto - Author, Dumbing Us Down, Weapons of Mass Instruction
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"When I accepted an article entitled 'For the Children’s Sake' by Léandre Bergeron for publication in Natural Life magazine in 1995, I found his writing compelling and his ideas about children and education fully in synch with my own writings and with the way my family had been living since the early 1970s – respecting our daughters as equals, accepting them as full participants in our daily activities and our business, trusting them to make their own decisions about life and about learning. At the time, I didn’t know the details of Léandre’s life that had turned him into a self-described “rebel,” including a parallel experience to mine attempting to earn a living teaching young people who weren’t interested in being taught. We both escaped the schooling battlefield very much wiser about the damages it inflicts, and went on to protect our own children from the institutional mindset…and to inspire and support others to allow children to be born, to live and to learn naturally. I have translator Pamela Levac to thank for reintroducing me to Léandre and his work, as she lovingly translated the French version of this book Comme des invitées de marque, published in 2002 by Éditions Trois-Pistoles. And we all have Léandre Bergeron to thank for this sometimes witty, always wise potpourri of inspiration and advice about respectful parenting sprinkled with a lively description of life on a bucolic small homestead. Enjoy...for the sake of our children." ~ from the preface by Wendy Priesnitz - Editor, Natural Life Magazine and Life Learning Magazine; author, Challenging Assumptions in Education
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About the Author: Léandre Bergeron is a well-known author and activist who was born in Manitoba. He studied in France and taught literature at Concordia University in Montreal before moving to the Quebec countryside in the 1970s with his wife Francine to live a life of voluntary simplicity. His many works range from a guide to home birth to the well-known Dictionnaire de la langue québecoise and the best-seller, Petit Manuel d'histoire du Québec, which has recently been updated and re-released. He is a tireless champion for the underdog and has long advocated for educational, political and social reform. Parents from all over Quebec seek his advice about homeschooling their own children. In 2008, Canada's National Film Board produced a documentary film about his life, entitled Léandre Bergeron – With Hopeless Conviction.
About the Translator: Pamela Levac has a Master’s degree in Linguistics from Georgetown University and has been translating in to French and English for over twenty years. Her work includes web sites, product packaging, press releases and numerous other publications. This is her second translated book. Pamela is also a writer and has been published in several Canadian and American magazines and academic journals. Her passion for education and learning has been a constant throughout the years, expressed through teaching, tutoring and developing curriculum. She is the mother of two children who learned at home for eight happy years.
About the Cover Designer: Madeleine Levac has a wide range of interests that includes graphic design, environmental and social justice issues, philosophy, music and literature. She learned at home for eight years and is currently in high school.
Natural Life Books specializes in adult non-fiction about ways that families and individuals can live and learn on Planet Earth in a healthy, socially responsible, environmentally sound, self-reliant manner. We are the retail division of The Alternate Press, an imprint of Life Media, an independent, family-owned book and magazine publishing house established in 1976. We are proud to publish some of the most progressive books and other information products about homeschooling and life learning (also known as unschooling) in the world.