The Essential School Sucks, #17 of 50
Theme Two: Leaving Institutional Schooling and Finding Educational Alternatives
Pat Farenga is a leading unschooling advocate, and the father of three adult unschooled children. He worked closely with unschooling pioneer John Holt on the Growing Without Schooling Magazine, and in the mid-1980s he took over as publisher of GWS and the president of Holt Associates. Today Pat runs the website JohnHoltGWS.com, which archives all the issues of the magazine, plus a variety of unschooling books and resources. He joins me to discuss the history of unschooling (the idea and the movement), his experiences as an unschooling parent, his relationship with John Holt and the language we use to convey our ideas.
Pat's Personal History of Unschooling
He and his wife raised three girls, and while embracing the unschooling philosophy, they left the door into and out school open for them. The embrace was a very gradual process, from idealism about teaching to John Holt's impact on his ideas about learning. The importance of avoiding the creation of an adversarial relationship with school in the minds of children.
A Mindset For Unschooling
- slowing down, living consciously
- The Legend of Zelda teaches reading
- appreciation of choice
- trying school
The Language of Unschooling
- We discuss the words we use in relation to branding and outreach.
- My discomforting revelation about the low volume of searches for unschooling and deschooling.
- John Holt's issue with the words "education" and "educator"
- The interesting etymology of the word "Education" and how the meaning was changed
The Professional Rejection of John Holt's Ideas
- Holt: learning is not the result of teaching; it's the result of the activity of the learners; teaching can be helpful, but the prerequisite is the intrinsic motivation of the learner
- Gatto: "professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard"
- Escape From Childhood (1974)- advocacy needs and rights of children and the ephebiphobic (fear of young people) response
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