Apr 24, 2008

What I learned from John Holt

For all the homeschooling parents out there who have ever wondered about the origins of the homeschool movement,
you must read Teach Your Own, by John Holt.

John Holt (1923-1985) was a private school teacher and author who became a critic of public education and a strong supporter of the homeschool movement that was taking place in this country during the seventies.

In his words a selection by John Holt:

...I have used the words "homeschooling" to describe the process by which children grow and learn in the world without going, or going very much, to schools, because those words are familiar and quickly understood. But in one very important sense they are misleading. What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children's growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn't a school at all. It is not an artificial place, set up to make "learning" happen and in which nothing except "learning" ever happens. It is a natural, organic, central, fundamental human institution, one might easily and rightly say the foundation of all other institutions. We can imagine and indeed we have had human societies without schools, without factories, without libraries, museums, hospitals, roads, legislatures, courts, or any of the institutions which seem so indispensable and permanent a part of modern life. We might someday even choose, or be obliged, to live once again without some or all of these. But we cannot even imagine a society without homes, even if these should be no more than tents, or mud huts, or holes in the ground. What I am trying to say, in short, is that our chief educational problem is not to find a way to make homes more like schools. If anything, it is to make schools less like schools.

I think you will find it both enlightening and rewarding.
Visit HoltGWS.com for more information on his work.


BabyLyons said...

I love that. Great words. I'm hoping to be able to homeschool my kids :)

Victoria said...

I agree. When my girls were little I was very interested in homeschooling, and did so for a short while. But throughout all of their lives, we have always tried to stay in tune with them, and there natural interests. Baking, crafting, gardening, building, play acting, story reading, going for walks... the normal everyday activities of home life... all of it offered a place to learn naturally, with none of the imposed rigidity or dumbing down that todays schools unfortunately can impose.

Kilkennycat said...

I've been thinking about homeschooling my children, 8 and 4. I'm just not sure where to start. The thought of my children in today's middle and high schools is frightening and upsetting.

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