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marta obiols llistar
18, an unschooling experience

In 2012, after experiencing numerous difficulties and disappointments within the Atlanta school system, Marta Obiols made the bold decision to remove her three children from public school. Intending to home school, the degreed educator eventually embraced “unschooling,” which allows children to direct their own learning at their own pace in a supportive setting that fosters their natural curiosity.
Before long, the woman who never dreamed she’d be a stay-at-home mom, let alone raise her kids without school, was entrenched in a reality she never anticipated, but that provided unequaled rewards. And her children, suddenly free to play and explore a wide variety of passions such as horseback riding and archery, became students of life, absorbing and learning more than any school setting could have provided.
From making tough decisions to the unexpected blessings of co-ops, museums, and extended vacations, 18: An Unschooling Experience explores one family’s journey to finding education—and happiness—outside the public school system.

In this sharply focused memoir, Obiols, a former elementary school teacher, demonstrates what an “unschooling” education looks like for her particular family and its particular needs—and why this unorthodox form of teaching children has, in her experience, proven so fruitful. Unschooling, of course, is a form of curriculum-free home school education tailored to a child’s interests. On the occasion of her oldest child (and student) turning 18, Obiols has penned this inviting account of what she’s learned about guiding her children toward what they most wanted to learn.

“Basically, Konji learned and is still learning when he wants to learn,” Obiols writes of her younger son, whose passions have led him to geography, especially atlases and tall buildings, studies that have led to learning about architecture, government, and other countries. Reading about topics that stir their passions is supplemented with stimulating play and organized activities in the community, such as soccer, track, and free classes at a local arts center. Obiols sees unschooling as a route to letting kids discover what they want and need to know, without bureaucracy or the misery that Obiols and her older kids so often experienced in schools. Whether her kids want to go to college she leaves up to them, though she’s eager to help them either way.

18 addresses the most pressing question that people have when they first learn about the unschooling concept. “But how do you know they’re learning?” Obiols writes, “There is no need for testing. The children passionately tell you all about what they’ve learned.” She has composed this book more as a reflection than as a guide or example for how readers should unschool themselves. Occasionally, more detail might make her case for unschooling more persuasive: how exactly is a scavenger hunt at Costco an educational opportunity? But mostly this inviting memoir makes this unorthodox approach to learning sound natural, humane, and promising.

Takeaway: Readers interested in radically student-focused home schooling will find inspiration in this reflective memoir.

Great for fans of: Peter Gray’s Free to Learn, Rachel Rainbolt’s Sage Home Schooling.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Ashley from Goodreads

Marta Obiols Llistar gives us an inside look at what life in an unschooling family can be like.

"An Unschooling Experience" really sums up this book well since it is more of a memoir and not an explanation, a defense, or a persuasive argument for unschooling. If you are on the fence about homeschool, I think hearing stories like this can be really helpful. I especially enjoyed hearing about how each of her children discovered their passion and how Marta worked hard to make that possible for them. And it was so fun to hear about their adventures in Spain!

Irisjan Pereles

When I was approached by Marta, to read and review her book, I never expected to feel so identified and inspired.

18: An Unschooling Experience recounts the memories of a teacher and mom on her road to homeschool her children. It is both sweet and endearing. I love reading stories that take me on a journey of emotions. That is exactly how I felt!

Being on my own homeschooling adventure, I identified with her struggles, immediately. The book also filled me with joy and hope as she already graduated her eldest.

Readers' Favorite

Reviewed by Daniel D Staats
What do you think of when you hear the word “homeschool”? Prepare to change your thoughts. Marta Obiols Llistar is an unschooling mom and shares her experiences in the book 18: An Unschooling Experience. For anyone considering keeping their child(ren) at home for their education, this book is a must. Many parents desire to homeschool but are afraid. This book will calm their fears and give them a myriad of ideas on making it work. Marta lives in Georgia and explains what it takes to remove your child(ren) from public school and register as a homeschooler. Research shows that homeschooled children tend to excel and do better in socialization. Marta shares the many adventures that she and her children share while homeschooling. This book will help explain to others what homeschooling is, and why it is a viable alternative to the traditional approach to schooling.
Marta Obiols Llistar has written an encouraging and motivating book for those who homeschool or desire to homeschool. In 18: An Unschooling Experience, even those who do not wish to homeschool will find the stories and memories in this book heartwarming. The writing is simple to understand and folksy. Reading this book is like sitting down with the author and learning how she accomplished what seems to many to be an impossible task. Marta gently guides the reader through the minefields of homeschooling. Many fear starting to homeschool, but reading this book will lay your fears to rest. Even though Marta has a degree in education and taught in public school, she does not come across as a teacher giving lectures. Instead, she writes with compassion and understanding.