“Teach Your Own, The John Holt Book of Home Schooling” written by John Holt & Pat Farenga

Let me begin with a brief history of John Holt, which I found on his website http://www.johnholtgws.com/.
“John Holt, a teacher and writer who advocated more humane classrooms and then, when he sensed such school reform was not really wanted by most people, became one of the founders of the homeschooling movement, which Holt originally called “unschooling.”
Unschooling—learning that doesn’t look like school nor has to happen at home—is an effective way to work with, not on, young children and teenagers to help them learn.”

If John Holt were alive today, I could see my mom and I having the most interesting conversations with him. Through extensive research I have found that John Holt was a man full of knowledge, from both books and real life learning. I have also found that he had the most beautiful mind.

In “Teach Your Own” he explains what Unschooling really is…”learning and teaching which does not in any way resemble school and which does not necessarily have to take place in one’s home.”

He gives examples of parents teaching their children using real life; in museums, libraries, cultural centers, community centers, etc. I find this way of homeschooling fascinating!

What kid wouldn’t love to learn math by building something real, like a house? What kid wouldn’t want to learn science by going to a hands-on science museum or going on a nature hike? What kid wouldn’t want to learn history by taking numerous field trips to various historical sites or traveling the world? I know I would, and I’m an adult!

One of the parts I love, love, loved about this book was when John Holt talks about treating kids with respect, the same respect we give adults. I have totally changed the way I interact with my own little munchkins since I read this book and it has made my life so much easier.

I could go on and on about all the wonderful things I learned from this amazing book, but I don’t want to spoil the awesome surprises for all of y’all who have not read it. Let me just say one more thing…if you are considering homeschooling/unschooling, then you most definitely need to read this book. It is so helpful, insightful and a wonderful tool to help you get started.

“Holt became disillusioned with the school system after several years of working within it; he became convinced that reform of the school system was impossible because it was fundamentally flawed, and began to advocate homeschooling. He believed that “children who were provided with a rich and stimulating learning environment would learn what they are ready to learn, when they are ready to learn it”. Holt believed that children did not need to be coerced into learning; they would do so naturally if given the freedom to follow their own interests and a rich assortment of resources. This line of thought came to be called unschooling.”


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