Adventures in Unschooling

My bookshelf.

Posted on: February 20, 2009

I have had more time to read s1nce 1 was without the distraction of the internet this week.

Right now I am reading Teach Your Own by John Holt. I have just started it and I don’t have much to say about it other than I am so far enjoying it and that the tone is completely different from the last book I just finished reading on Education.


<-This book, has a vastly different tone and point of view than I have encountered in other books. He views the school system as broken and in need of reform. But what he really means 1s that 1t 1s in need of reforming back to its original system.

He claims that the reason that so many graduates are illiterate and that Canada and the US score so poorly on international tests is because the school boards have become so mired in bureaucracy and intent on adopt1ng every fad (like “reading for meaning”) that they have forgotten how to teach children. He believes that the school system is worth salvaging and his solution is to go back to the old days when kids learned but a few subjects (English is one of them) 1n great depth and parents worried about the real life experiences.

He states that parents have expected schools to raise their children but the schools haven’t been able to establish a real standard of morality. That in our culture of political correctness and relativity we have been unable to really establish a sense of right and wrong.  He sounds like a religious conservative to me but I do see merit in a standard set of ethics. 1 d1sagree that schools should teach moral1ty though. That sounds l1ke the parent’s job to me.

He claimed that the schools hoped on board of liberal ideologies like child led learning. He didn’t have anything positive to say about this. But I think he is absolutely right. The school system is not set up in a way that would allow child led learning to actually work. The home and the world would likely be a much more fruitful place for child led learning to be effect1ve.

So while he bashed child led learning I didn’t take offense because his book was meant to address public school reform. It was irrelevant for a home/unschooler.

Another interesting thing he sa1d was that Canada spends more tax dollars on education than any other country and yet our educational standards are constantly being dumbed down to make the average student feel accomplished while we fail miserably on an international scale.


<- Th1s book, was full of 1mpract1cal adv1ce and not worth the $1.5o 1 pa1d for 1t at the second hand store.

1t may not 1nclude yell1ng or spank1ng  but 1t has no shortage of hum1l1at1ng, coerc1ve techn1ques. For example: 1t recommends that when a ch1ld has reccur1ng to1let acc1dents that you should make them go from play to to1let TEN t1mes 1n a row to re1nforce that TH1S 1s where they are supposed to pee. 

1 also read th1s book-> The No-cry D1sc1pl1ne Solut1on. 1 suppose 1f you had never ever read a parent1ng book you m1ght enjoy th1s one. But th1s one seems l1ke a rehash of every other book 1 have ever read. Very l1ttle w1sdom to be gleaned from here.

1 am sorry about the 1’s but my loaner keyboard won’t work all of a sudden w1th that letter anymore so 1 can’t 1tal1c1ze book t1tles e1ther. Annoy1ng!!! 1 am able to change a few us1ng the spell check but 1t won’t work for all of them.

dsc041271 realze 1 have already talked about Playful Parent1ng but 1 wanted to say a b1t more. 1 was surpr1sed to find that h1s philosophy on parent1ng was very close to my new one. The whole 1dea of respect1ng the ch1ld but also expect1ng them to help pull the load at home was encouraged 1n h1s book. He says that 1t g1ves k1ds a sense of belong1ng and self-esteem to be a part of the fam1ly un1t 1n the fo1ls and 1n the fun.

1 really enjoyed th1s book. 1t has really encouraged me to be more 1nvolved 1n my k1ds’ playt1me. 1t has also been a good tools for encourag1ng cooperat1on from them.

When we need to reconnect 1 f1nd that they become less cooperat1ve. The other day Joel really needed a d1aper change but he refused to let me change h1m. So 1 tackled h1m and wrestled w1th h1m unt1l we were both laughed and worn out. Then he gladly got up and walked to h1s room for h1s d1aper change.  

Th1s may seem coerc1ve to some but to me 1t allows me to have fun and st1ll get th1ngs accompl1shed. 1 love how 1t changes everyone’s mood for the better.

And f1nally, some l1ght read1ng: dsc04251

Creative Play for your Toddler 1s a cute book w1th craft 1deas for Waldorf type toys. 1 used a couple of 1deas and have enr1ched the ch1ldren’s playroom a tad.

Bend the Rules Sew1ng was fun too. 1 know that 1 w1ll enjoy mak1ng some of these fun l1ttle projects.

Gorsh! 1 love my publ1c l1brary. 1 get to read/look at books and determ1ne 1f they are worth spend1ng the dough to add them to my own l1brary.

When I get Teach Your Own done I am going to start reading Hold on to Your K1ds.


1 Response to "My bookshelf."

I really liked Hold On To Your Kids. Thanks for the great book reviews.

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  • withoutloveweallperish: 50 books for $10!! As a book lover, that sounds like Christmas come early! Lovely library set up, need to set up one of those for myself!
  • theworldismysoyster: Sure. Just none of my kids. :)
  • goobrobinson: Hi! I'd like to seek your permission if I can reuse one of your pictures for my next post? Specifically the second picture.


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