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Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling Format Kindle
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A good book for every parent who would like to try alternatives to school and what to respond to people sharing another point of view.
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Now I know better having read John Holt, a sweet, caring man and a wonderful writer. He's radical, but he never rants. He persuades, gently, eloquently. He learns through years of careful, loving observation and by trial and error and he shares that with you in a way that makes it seem as though he's one of your oldest, most comfortable friends. He reminds you of what you went through in school. He makes sense. He's fun to read. And you know he's right as you read him, because we have all gone to school.
I didn't like the 'new' version. I bought this to learn from Holt, not read someone's 'commentary." I grew frustrated that instead of letting me read what Holt wrote, there was a ton of the new author stating "Holt said in Teach your own...."
Also, I didn't like that Farenga cut out big chunks of the book. ie he decided that we didn't 'need' to know about the histories of court rulings, and in one instance took the parent testimonials that Holt had used in one section the original book and added 'more modern
I got so frustrated that I bought a used copy of the original from Amazon. I got it yesterday and have read almost all of it. The original is really great.
The 'new' version reads as if was written by someone who really doesn't like unschooling.
I would recomend the 'classic' version!
They don't trust him. First of all, he doesn't have a great deal of respect for established curricula, schedules, standardized tests and the other trappings of classroom education. A real teacher looks at each kid is an individual challenge, and does the best with every one of them. Administrators hate that. It is said that in France, a Minister of Education boasted that one any given November 5 he could walk into any eighth grade history classroom in France and know what was being taught. It seems that all pedagogues like that kind of control, and hate the maverick who would challenge it.
Teachers generally belong to unions. Unions demand equal pay for everybody, which they justify with the assumption that all workers are interchangeable. A teacher who is visibly effective and loved by his students is a threat to that comfortable assumption, and hence to the whole system. Only a few schools, mostly private or charter, can tolerate such personalities, and even then only up to a degree. I say this wryly; I taught private school after I retired, and only one headmaster out of ten was able to deal with the fact that I did it because I enjoyed it, and what he paid me did not give him control over my life. Thanks, David Schapiro.
Holt's book is dated. He devotes a great deal of it to strategies on how to beat the system, how to get your kids out from under compulsory education. In the second decade of the 21st century these battles have more or less been won. The failure of the public schools is so palpable, so widely recognized, that the school system will not put up a terrible struggle if you want to do it yourself. Also, the reasons which he so effectively advances for teaching your own kids are more generally agreed. Most of the concerns about homeschooling, such as the adequacy of the curriculum or the socialization of the children, have also pretty much been laid to rest. At least one generation of homeschoolers have gone through college now, and admissions officers generally like to see them. Still, I think you will find it worth having access to the chapter entitled "Common Objections To Homeschooling" to focus your own thoughts and to make your arguments to the grandparents, who may not understand.
The quarter-century since Holt's death has seen some major transformations in our society. Computers, and especially the Internet, have changed the way that everybody learns. Holt saw a bit of benefit in television. My personal judgment would be that the medium wasn't great even when he wrote, and it is worse now. I would attempt to keep kids away from television to the extent possible. And, in this day and age, I would add to that video games, mindless Internet surfing, Facebook, downloadable videos, music TV, and the thousands of other electronic distractions. In structuring a curriculum, I would recommend that parents read books on this electronic invasion, most particularly "The Shallows," which I also review. Read "The Dumbest Generation" for a litany of horrors of what is happening across the millennial generation, giving you all the more incentive to take control of your kids' education. And lastly, I would recommend the most persuasive book on taking control of your children's education, "An Underground History Of American Education" by John Gatto.
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