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Learning All the Time by John Holt

Learning All the Time (edition 1990)

by John Holt

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Title:Learning All the Time
Authors:John Holt
Info:Addison Wesley Publishing Company (1990), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:homeschooling, non-fiction, unschooling

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Learning All The Time by John Holt


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I read and re-read this book when I was in college, and it was instrumental in my becoming a classroom teacher. That was in the late 1970's, when many of us were deeply suspicious of the Establishment. We were looking for ways to be more genuine as people, and to make the world a better place for people of all genders, cultures, races, and religions. Holt's deep compassion for the inner lives of children was inspirational for me. Now that I've seen "the system" in action in various school districts, I find that while I share Holt's frustration with it, I also think he is barking up the wrong tree. Sure, we should listen to kids more and test them less. We should teach the whole child not just pour facts into a hole we drill into the top of their heads. BUT in fact, many kids benefit from direct instruction. I can't tell you how difficult it was for me to fit into the real world of age-segregated classrooms, detentions and grade-level standards. It turns out, though, that you can teach effectively within that framework. It's not ideal but it's reality. ( )
  JuliaMira | Feb 22, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0201550911, Paperback)

If John Holt had his way, today's primers would be replaced with the large-print edition of The New York Times, cursive handwriting would fade into disuse, and talking "cutesy-wootsy" to children would be considered a criminal act. This highly opinionated former teacher and original thinker spent the last half of his life challenging widely accepted classroom practices. The author of 10 books that concentrate on early child development and education, Holt is widely considered the father of the modern-day homeschooling movement because he grew to believe that schools stifle the learning process. In this, his final book--compiled by colleagues from drafts, letters, and magazine essays written by Holt before he died in 1985--he strings together his own observations and philosophies to show how young children can be encouraged to learn everything from reading and math to music and science.

Holt's thoughts carry the power of common sense. One of his pet peeves: the silly, nonsensical rules of phonics drilled into schoolchildren today. One of those adages, found on the walls of many an elementary school classroom, goes, "When two vowels go out walking, the first one does the talking." Holt points out that two pairs of vowels in the sentence violate the rule. This is not only confusing to some children, but simply "dumb," he complains. He dismisses picture books and primers, with their small, simple vocabularies. In their place, Holt urges parents to expose children to the Yellow Pages, warranties, letters, ticket stubs, and newspapers--the print trappings that adults rely upon for everyday life. Holt's call for context amid learning is delivered in a sensible, delightful writing style. He even includes several graphics and number games that can easily be used at home. Anyone who comes in contact with a small child would benefit from--and enjoy--reading these last words from a man who clearly adored and remained mesmerized by children and their inquisitive minds. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:57 -0400)

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