Self-Directed Education and Late Bloomers

It seems that every discussion about education assumes the primary goal of lower educational institutions is to get people into higher educational institutions. But there are better ways of thinking of one’s learning besides as a means to get a checkbox ticked on an application—after all, learning never stops, it ebbs and flows in intensity over your life . . .

New Fiction Inspired by John Holt's Writing about Learning

Books about homeschooling tend to be nonfiction and educational in tone, so it is a pleasure to see an increase in novels written by homeschoolers that add fresh perspectives and stories about homeschooling and family life. I want to call out these two novels because they share a common inspiration—John Holt’s writing.

Freedom and Beyond

Holt's most political book, Freedom and Beyond is also a very practical and useful book for parents and anyone who works with children because it explores in detail many of the tensions caused by giving freedom. Partners who argue over the value of self-directed learning, who worry about discipline, and so on will find that Holt presents both sides of these tensions and notes they will never go away . . .

John Holt on What Are a Deschooled Society and Alternatives to Schooling?

From Freedom and Beyond: "In sum, a deschooled society would be a society in which everyone shall have the widest and freest possible choice to learn whatever he wants to learn, whether in school or in some altogether different way . . . . It would be a society in which there were many paths to learning and advancement, instead of one school path as we have now . . . a path far too narrow for everyone, and one too easily and too often blocked off from the poor."

Our School Choice Is None

Now, there’s no doubt that homeschooling is a choice, but for me and other homeschoolers I know, it was not a choice of schools, it was a choice for our family to avoid the rat race of school: its busy work and pressure for labels, grades, class status, and homework. Our choice was not to go to school and to not turn our home into a school—and that’s a choice I never read about in the school choice literature . . .

Being and Becoming

The movie’s exploration of how children and adults learn and grow together without following conventional school and child-rearing practices is vivid. Indeed, its celebration of childbirth and parenthood at the start of the film sets a beautiful tone for why parents might want to continue this type of holistic family life as opposed to conventional, fractured work/school/family schedules.

Why I Support the Alliance for Self-Directed Education

We want ASDE to be a self-sustaining and steady voice in support of self-directed education in this time of intense technological and bureaucratic surveillance and control of our lives and learning. We want self-directed education to be seen as normative, rather than alternative, in the public discourse about education . . .

Unschooling, Anthologized

John Young, a twelfth-grade English teacher, recently contacted me about The Norton Reader, which he uses in his classes and that first introduced John Holt’s thoughts about education to him years earlier. Mr. Young mentioned that Norton was no longer using Holt’s article and he was disappointed in this development . . .