The book is based firmly in theories of learning that are already widely accepted as valid by those involved in both education and psychology. While the focus is on home-based education, the philosophies are equally applicable to some future where education ceases to be a business/economic tool, and moves forward to focus on learning.
Initially the author sets out three popular learning theories in an accessible way, explaining how they effect both the school learning models and their relevance to autonomous learning. We then move into a more indepth view of three possible approaches to autonomy, until the author settles on what she considers to be the best model for true autonomy. The Taking Children Seriously model is then the main,but not exclusive, view for exploring the term education or learning.
The book is an excellent starting point for anyone considering 'freedom' in learning and explores, in an accessible way, how this might be applied to individuals and families who do not opt in to the systematic approach of education institutions. It also contains challenges to those who believe they are working autonomously, in order to deepen their thinking and broaden their defintion of learning.
The reason I could not bring myslef to give this book five stars was the section concerning TV, gaming and junk foods. I felt the arguments brought from the TCS approach to be weak and, unlike the rest of the book, without basis in research or sound psychological or learning theories. It must be said that the book is ten years old and the explosion of technology and cyber worlds since its publishing may have cause for the author to broaden her arguments. It did however give me a different perspective and cause me to challenge my own assumptions about this area in relation to my own children's behaviour.
Essentially I believe the book to be well worth reading for anyone whose mind that is not closed, whether you are a home educator, parent, teacher, lecturer, psychologist or a person who is wanting to explore the meaning of education for your own development.