Well, I did it. I finally finished a book by John Holt, one of the pioneers of the "unschooling" movement.
I pretty much knew what to expect going in. While engaged in my eager research of home schooling it's been next to impossible not to get a crash course on the theory of unschooling and its general tenets.
What I did not expect was to be moved or convinced.
The revised edition of How Children Learn ends thusly:
Gears, twigs, leaves, little children love the world. That is why they are so good at learning about it. For it is love, not tricks or techniques of thought, that lies at the heart of all true learning.
How can I disagree with a that premise that rings so true? Looking back over my lifetime and thinking about all the times I felt I was really learning something they all were subjects that interested me, that I was passionate about and, besides a few things in school that I can pinpoint, most happened outside of school and were propelled by nothing more than my own interest in learning more about them.
There's no way to fit everything in the book into one measly blog post and, frankly, I wouldn't want to because I fear I could do Holt little justice, nor did I agree with everything he said.
It's impossible for me, at this point, to fully comprehend how this book, along with The Well-Trained Mind, could both have such an impact on me when the ideas presented in both seem, on the surface, to conflict with one another. Yet, to me, somehow there seem to be a lot of truths in both and possibly our home schooling will lead us to some sort of hybrid of the two.
If I could recommend just two books to people interested in how a child thinks, learns and is taught (or should be taught) out of the numerous books I've devoured on home schooling and education this past year, at this point I would recommend this one and The Well-Trained Mind. Fascinating reading, both.