Whatever They Want

The one thing that has really taken my relationship with my children to a more peaceful and prosperous level, is the commitment I’ve made to giving them what is theirs by virtue of their humanity, the right to do whatever they want, albeit with a few caveats. Let me explain.…

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Encouragement as Bad as Discouragement

There is an absolutely horrible idea that is extremely popular in raising, teaching and generally working with children … encouragement. I know it sounds kind of shocking, but roll with me for a minute. Kids are exploring who they are, what they are good at, what interests them, and a…

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School is Bad for Children

Almost every child, on the first day he sets foot in a school building, is smarter, more curious, less afraid of what he doesn’t know, better at finding and figuring things out, and more confident, resourceful, persistent and independent than he will ever be again in his schooling – or,…

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An Open Letter to My Baby

Dear Baby Collins, Having just entered life and found myself as your father, you’re probably thinking, “Great, who’s this schlub?” I know, I know, I’m not all that impressive on first glance, but before you decide to pack your things and leave – which is entirely your right – allow…

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Risky Play: Why Children Love and Need It

Originally published on PsychologyToday.com at my blog, “Freedom to Learn“. Fear, you would think, is a negative experience to be avoided whenever possible. Yet, as everyone who has a child or once was one knows, children love to play in risky ways—ways that combine the joy of freedom with just the right measure…

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The Right to Control One’s Learning

Young people should have the right to control and direct their own learning; that is, to decide what they want to learn, and when, where, how, how much, how fast, and with what help they want to learn it. To be still more specific, I want them to have the…

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Unschooled Kids Will Be Different

A concern I’ve heard regarding unschooled kids is that “they’ll be different”. What is meant by this is that they won’t have the same education, the same experiences, the same memories, the same cultural influences, yadda, yadda, yadda, as their “peers”. In my opinion, that’s just dandy. Yes, they will…

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Biological Foundations for Self-Directed Education

Originally published on PsychologyToday.com at my blog, “Freedom to Learn“. In many previous posts I have contended that children come into the world biologically designed to educate themselves. The evidence comes from observing the amazing learning capacities of children before they start school (here), the ways that children and adolescents in…

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Yes, and … A Parenting Idea

In most live shows (improv, radio, skit shows, etc), they teach you that the main rule is “yes, and”. What this means is that when working with other people you work off of each other, build off what the other person does, never contradict the other person (some exceptions are…

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The Socialization of Children

From time to time when asked, I tell someone who doesn’t already know, usually extended family or new acquaintances, that we are keeping our kids home from school. They look puzzled until I use the word “homeschooling”. Like clockwork, sooner or later, they mention the social aspect of schooling and…

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