Free to Learn

Free to Learn

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Our children spend their days being passively instructed, and made to sit still and take testsuoften against their will. We call this imprisonment schooling, yet wonder why kids become bored and misbehave. Even outside of school children today seldom play and explore without adult supervision, and are afforded few opportunities to control their own lives. The result: anxious, unfocused children who see schoolinguand lifeuas a series of hoops to struggle through. In qFree to Learn, q developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education. Yet we have squelched such instincts in a school model originally developed to indoctrinate, not to promote intellectual growth. To foster children who will thrive in todayOCOs constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, Gray demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. This capacity to learn through play evolved long ago, in hunter-gatherer bands where children acquired the skills of the culture through their own initiatives. And these instincts still operate remarkably well today, as studies at alternative, democratically administered schools show. When children are in charge of their own education, they learn betteruand at lower cost than the traditional model of coercive schooling. A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, qFree to Learnq suggests that itOCOs time to stop asking whatOCOs wrong with our children, and start asking whatOCOs wrong with the system. It shows how we can actuboth as parents and as members of societyuto improve childrenOCOs lives and promote their happiness and learning.qIn terms of numbers, homeschooling is the largest truly alternative schooling movement in theUnited States. Thenumber of ... Both they and theirkids typically find theplanned curriculum tobe boring, sothey beginto domore interesting things, usuallyinitiated by the kids. ... The term was coined in the1970s bythe educational theorist and former teacher John Holt, in his magazine Growing Without Schooling.

Title:Free to Learn
Author: Peter Gray
Publisher:Basic Books - 2013

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