Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. Confucius

12 April 2011

Teach Your Own - Book Review

Hi Everyone,

Today I'll review John Holt's classic homeschooling book Teach Your Own . Holt wrote this book originally in the early 1980's when homeschooling was a
very alternative mode of education and his theories were even more radical for this time.

Holt is a person I see as one of the original (modern) proponents for natural learning and the
unschooling of children. His philosophy is clearly one of trusting children to want to learn and facilitating that as a parent wherever you can. This may mean providing music, art, singing, drama lessons for children with a particular creative bent. It may mean trips to art galleries, museums, national parks, whatever will best serve to motivate and inspire your child in their passion for learning.

Holt also cites many examples where he found incidental openings to teach children without making himself separate from or above his pupils. He openly shares where he's made mistakes along the way and how he simply changed what he was doing for a more favourable result. He takes a lot of the pressure off of homeschooling parents to be perfect and simply encourages you to self correct and get on with it and to encourage your children to do the same.

I find Holt's original work fascinating, enlightening and inspiring if a little idealistic for functioning within our current society and education guidelines. For this reason I enjoy the edition of
Teach Your Own updated by Patrick Farenga (2003). Farenga is a homeschooling parent and co-producer of Growing Without Schooling an unschooling magazine founded by Holt 1977- 2001.

In this edition, Farenga updates John Holt's revolutionary works around subjects such as homeschooling and the law, reasons for homeschooling, learning difficulties, how to get started, school response to homeschooling, current learning materials, homeschooling organisations etc.

I strongly recommend this book to any homeschooling families who are interested in getting all the information before deciding which education model they will use. John Holt has a massive amount of practical experience with children which he shares generously and without jargon for the benefit of all, and that alone makes him worth reading in my opinion.

Talk Soon, Cynthia x