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John Holt Quotes

John Holt was at one time, a fifth grade teacher who went on to write How Children Fail and How Children Learn. Click the links or the books below to purchase some of John Holts best writing. He eventually quit teaching and became a speaker and supporter of education reform and went on to write several more books. Deciding that schools could not be reformed, he focused his energies on alternatives to conventional schooling....

Rewarding (Bribing) Children To Learn

I’m not a fan of bribing children to learn. Even before I removed my children from school, I hated the message that rewarding them with pizza parties, candy and money (yes, money), was sending to them. These “rewards” were held out in front the students like a dangling carrot, with the promise that it could be theirs if they learned what the school wanted them to learn. The message? I believe it’s...

What to do with your children when school is out

It never fails. This is the time of year posts all over the internet start popping up on forums, blogs and websites. Offline conversations start having a dominant theme. They usually go something like “AAAAHHHH!!! It’s summertime and school is out!!!! What should I do with my kids???” There are also parents who openly complain that they don’t want to be subjected to their children all summer and count...

How the Public School System Crushes Souls

While surfing around the blogospere, I came across a post titled How the Public School System Crushes Souls. With a title like that, you know it has to be good. Steve brings up lots of good points and I encourage anyone who wants to know learn more to visit the library and check out some of the resources in his book list, which is at the end of the...

Socialization Cartoon

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Justifying Bad Educational Practices: pt 1

I came across this article and thought to share it here. Part two follows in the next post because it’s quite long. Getting Hit on the Head LessonsJustifying Bad Educational Practices as Preparation for More of the SameBy Alfie Kohn Suppose you have a negative reaction to a certain educational practice but you’re unable to come up with any good reasons to justify your opposition. All is not lost: You can always play...

Justifying Bad Educational Practices: pt 2

**continued from above** I realize, of course, that many readers regard these practices as desirable in their own right. They may believe that competitive struggle brings out the best in children, that grading students is a constructive form of evaluation, that standardized tests accurately assess the most important aspects of learning, or that, after a full day in school, kids ought to take home more assignments regardless...

Deschooling for parents: pt. 2

I wanted to add this to part one, but it was getting long. This is a discussion from an unschooling e-mail group I belong to. A member asked: How long does deschooling take?? I am trying so hard to be patient but my spirit is restless. I am trying to relax. Anne Ohman replied: What are you waiting for? *Your* spirit doesn’t have to be restless…DO something! Live!! Follow your passions!! See the world anew again...

How not to get into college: part one

Ren Allen shared this article on one of the unschooling e-mail groups I’m on and I thought I would share it here.Part two is in the next post below. How Not to Get Into CollegeThe Preoccupation with Preparation By Alfie Kohn Education…is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.– John Dewey In 1981, while I was teaching at an independent school, this journal published my very first article...

How not to get into college: part two

**Continued from previous post** What else can we dispense with? As Fieldston and other schools have discovered, students get into terrific colleges without Advanced Placement courses, and that provides an opening for us to think about whether we really need them. The fact that a course is difficult does not mean it is worthwhile. (Indeed, the confusion of harder with better helps to explain an awful lot of what is wrong with...