GWS :: forty-seven

fire ciderI think that being really smart is the ability to live well–that is in harmony with one’s own needs and the needs of the rest of the world.  Really smart is the ability to solve problems.

I would never tell the school board this, but my goal for my own and my children’s education here at home is to get better and better at solving problems, and at meeting needs.

That is our curriculum here; those are the “basics.”  Math and reading and such are the frills.


–Andrea Kelly-Rosenberg in Growing Without Schooling Issue #45

Find more reading goodness at Wednesday With Words!

GWS :: forty-six

Reading begins in the home.

Children acquire knowledge before coming to school that lays the foundation for reading.

The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for reading is reading aloud to children.

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–from the 1985 National Academy of Education Commision on Reading

in Growing Without Schooling Issue 45, archived here.

Our new reader (pictured above 5 years ago!) is enjoying listening to books on tape and reading along with the text in hand.  She has been doing this with D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths and Anne of Avonlea.

You can find more read aloud inspiration and ideas on Sarah’s podcast called

Read Aloud Revival.

More good quotes can be found over at Wednesday With Words at Dawn’s place.


Posted in GWS

GWS :: forty-five

Miquon Set of all 6 Student Workbooks | Main photo (Cover)

What Lore Rasmussen found, to her great interest and mine, was that even after doing a particular worksheet completely correctly, a child might do that same worksheet half a dozen times or more before moving on to something else.

Apparently the children got much pleasure and satisfaction from doing something they had struggled to do the first time more easily and confidently each time.

Only when it became so easy that it was boring did they decide that they had enough–and they were the best judges of this.

–John Holt in Growing Without Schooling 

Issue 14 archived here.

GWS :: forty-three

IMG_2127The kinds of standardized tests we have are not much good.  They tell us very little about what the student knows, and they don’t tell us anything at all about what we should do about it.  The kinds of tests we need, and hope to have in our schools by the year 2000 (!!!), are the kinds of tests that will do exactly what almost all homeschooling parents are doing right now.

Tests tailored to the individual.  Tests growing out of what students are actually learning.  Tests that enable the students to express all they know.  Tests that will give teachers useful information.

In short, exactly the kind of information that homeschooling parents get from their children everyday.

–John Holt in Growing Without Schooling

Issue 44 archived here

Posted in GWS

GWS :: forty

august 09 108

Instead of beginning with a tiny idea, the sound of a letter, she began with a big and important one, that books belong to people and could belong to her.

In time she filled this big idea with smaller but still large ideas: that books have stories locked in them; that they have written words in them,

and that the stories are somehow contained in the words,

so that somehow figuring out the words is the key to unlocking and taking possession of the stories, and that these stories can be shared with, given to other people.

–John Holt in Growing Without Schooling

Issue #40 archived here.

GWS :: thirty-nine

sept 12 035

Whenever the kids are working at something that requires my presence to answer an occasional question or simply to provide moral support, I have to have something to keep MY hands busy so I stay out of their work except when they need or want me.  Sometimes this can be accomplished while I am doing kitchen work, if the project lends itself to the kitchen floor or table.  But I must be doing something that tolerates frequent interruptions or I will end up getting more frustrated instead of less.

–Madalene Murphy writing in Growing Without Schooling

Issue #40 archived here.

GWS :: thirty-eight

IMG_1898I think here of Schumacher’s lovely story about the old shepherd’s advice to the young shepherd.  “Don’t count the sheep,” he said, “or else they won’t thrive.”

By this he meant that if you counted the sheep you would turn each real, live, unique animal into an abstraction or a symbol for a sheep, every one like every other,

sheep = sheep = sheep,

and so would begin to lose sight of them as individual sheep, and fail to notice whether they were remaining healthy, energetic, their best sheep selves.

–John Holt in Growing Without Schooling

issue #38 archived here

GWS :: thirty-seven

nov 12 002The ten in Nielsen’s family lived in two small rooms and a kitchen in half of a cottage that he describes, without rancor, as “a mere hovel.”  Yet in this tiny house were several musical instruments; when Nielson was six and in bed with the measles, his mother took from the wall a three-quarter sized violin and showed him how to play it.

–John Holt reviewing My Childhood by Carl Nielsen in Growing Without Schooling

issue 34 archived here.