Monday, March 29, 2010

Just Holt It!

I've recently completed a trifecta of "reading" from the John Holt library.  Despite the text-heavy books, they were quick reads....mostly due to the speed reading and scanning I did of each. 

I gave "Teach Your Own" an honest try and made it through about half before I speed read the remainder.  Holt was an educator, himself, and later a researcher into the learning of young children.  I classify his educational view as one which is in support of a more Montessori type approach to teaching.  Without putting words of my own into his mouth, his viewpoint stems from the premise that babies come out of the womb interested and excited to learn and that adults often get in the way.  (Must be mentioned... I couldn't find a photo for the original "Teach Your Own", and I might, yet, give this one pictured above specifically for homeschooling a try.)

The second book I read titled, "How Children Learn" is an extremely detailed book of some of the many kids with whom Holt worked.  He was a careful observer of children, and was able to write a book describing instances in which he actually saw kids learn on their own (and even how adults sometimes interfered with this process). 

Finally, I completed "Learning All the Time".  This book, in my view, had the most practical information for a young homeschooling Mom on the move.  Though I consider myself a careful observer of my own children, Holt's reminders in "Learning" to be a gentle teacher around children already motivated to learn rang true in my ears.  Especially as children age, I strive to be the teacher and guide who provides them with the groundwork for pursuing their short term goals and dreams.

Overall, I found Holt's writing, while informative, to lack inspiration in the day to day of homeschooling.  I recommend reading one of his books (over a break, maybe, when more time allows) just for frame of reference in other writings or discussions which might reference this well known child researcher.

(As a side, Holt's writing does come across as negative toward public schooling and formal schooling in general.  Though maybe he presents his theories in such a manner as a cautionary tale of "over teaching" and not necessarily anti-formal education...but that's for you to read and determine!)

Discuss amongst yourselves!

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