NaNoWriMo 18.5 – History of RadiCool Unschooling

If Jean Jacques Rousseau was the WHY and Jean Piaget the HOW, then it was the grandfather of #HomeEd and #UnSchooling John Holt who brought it all together. Holt was a 20th century educator and child’s rights advocate. His books remain best sellers among the #HomeEd community.

And as RadiCool as I am…he was even more so. He stretches my limits and challenges some of my deepest fears…

I shall let Holt’s words tell you his story…

“We ask children to do for most of a day what few adults are able to do for even an hour. How many of us, attending, say, a lecture that doesn’t interest us, can keep our minds from wandering? Hardly any.”

“I have used the words “home schooling” to describe the process by which children grow and learn in the world without going, or going very much, to schools, because those words are familiar and quickly understood. But in one very important sense they are misleading. What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth in the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn’t a school at all. ”

“Of course, a child may not know what he may need to know in ten years (who does?), but he knows, and much better than anyone else, what he wants and needs to know right now, what his mind is ready and hungry for. If we help him, or just allow him, to learn that, he will remember it, use it, build on it. If we try to make him learn something else, that we think is more important, the chances are that he won’t learn it, or will learn very little of it, that he will soon forget most of what he learned, and what is worst of all, will before long lose most of his appetite for learning anything.”

“It is as true now as it was then that no matter what tests show, very little of what is taught in school is learned, very little of what is learned is remembered, and very little of what is remembered is used. The things we learn, remember, and use are the things we seek out or meet in the daily, serious, nonschool parts of our lives.”

If those thoughts on schools, education, and the process of learning itself were not enough wisdom…sink your teeth into these…words I believe that were specifically for our #neurodivergent little humans…

“A child only pours herself into a little funnel or into a little box when she’s afraid of the world—when she’s been defeated. But when a child is doing something she’s passionately interested in, she grows like a tree—in all directions. This is how children learn, how children grow. They send down a taproot like a tree in dry soil. The tree may be stunted, but it sends out these roots, and suddenly one of these little taproots goes down and strikes a source of water. And the whole tree grows.”

“If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him.”

“About reading, children learn something much more difficult than reading without instruction – namely, to speak and understand their native language. I do not think they would or could learn it if they were instructed. I think reading instruction is the enemy of reading. ”

“I can’t help noting that no cultures in the word that I have ever heard of make such a fuss about children’s bedtimes, and no cultures have so many adults who find it so hard either to go to sleep or wake up. Could these social facts be connected? I strongly suspect they are.”

John Holt was a man centuries before his time. His words are still difficult for our society to digest…more often they choke on them. Yet he inspired and pioneered a whole movement that fifty years later is just beginning to bud…and remains far from its first bloom. But he foresaw that as well…

“We who believe that children want to learn about the world, are good at it, and can be trusted to do it with very little adult coercion or interference, are probably no more than one percent of the population, if that. And we are not likely to become the majority in my lifetime. This doesn’t trouble me much anymore, as long as this minority keeps on growing. My work is to help it grow. ”

My portion of that is to awaken and enlighten the parents of our beautifully #neurodivergent little humans. The ones with labels like…

  • Dyslexic
  • Autistic
  • ADHD
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • ODD

And an alphabet soup of others that is not really useful for helping them to grow and mature as individuals as Piaget would have them…in their own time and way.


Published by Tara Cox

Writer of Literary Erotica Real-life, hot sex, deep meaning... In my day job, I am homemaker, home educator, urban farmer, and homesteader at our @HomeCrazzyHome.

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