Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Great Unschooling Book Rec!

Well, I've done it again - I've finished another great unschooling book. This one I stumbled upon in the library - I had never heard of it before. It's called Child's Work: Taking Children's Choices Seriously by Nancy Wallace, who was a close personal friend of John Holt's. It is basically a beautifully written account of one family's experience with unschooling two very talented children. But besides that it is chock full of great insights for the general public! Here are some choice quotes (I copied about 50 of them out of the book, but here are some of my faves):

. . . any time we decide to teach our children the things we are sure they can't learn from experience in the real world, we not only remove them from the very world they are trying so hard to understand, by creating artificial learning situations for them, but we imply that they are incompetent learners and need to rely on our greater expertise and knowledge in order to learn properly.


By reading within whole contexts, [my children] guessed at strange words in order to make sense of phrases and sentences. I know a nine-year-old girl who can read books like Stuart Little fluently, but still can't read random lists of words out of context with any degree of accuracy. (Hence, the school considers her unable to read because she does so poorly on their reading placement test, which is exactly that: random lists of words.)


Children who, as John Holt put it, "observe, wonder, find, or make and then test the answers to the questions they ask themselves" have no conscious sense of "wrong" because like scientists, they are involved in a continual process of moving closer towards what is right - of defining and redefining their views of the world.


Children lose interest in us as teachers as soon as we make ourselves mere passive conveyors of knowledge, like most teachers in school, who try not to reveal their own personal biases and passions for fear of unduly influencing their students and preventing them from learning to think objectively. But children want us to reveal ourselves to them. Just as important, they want and need to be able to reveal their own feelings, ideas, and personal biases to us.

1 comment:

  1. I can't find the book on Amazon, or in the HC/Mpls lib or St. paul systems. What am I missing?