- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; Reprint edition (January 22, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0201550911
- ISBN-13: 978-0201550917
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Learning All The Time Paperback – January 22, 1990
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If John Holt had his way, today's primers would be replaced with the large-print edition of The New York Times, cursive handwriting would fade into disuse, and talking "cutesy-wootsy" to children would be considered a criminal act. This highly opinionated former teacher and original thinker spent the last half of his life challenging widely accepted classroom practices. The author of 10 books that concentrate on early child development and education, Holt is widely considered the father of the modern-day homeschooling movement because he grew to believe that schools stifle the learning process. In this, his final book--compiled by colleagues from drafts, letters, and magazine essays written by Holt before he died in 1985--he strings together his own observations and philosophies to show how young children can be encouraged to learn everything from reading and math to music and science.
Holt's thoughts carry the power of common sense. One of his pet peeves: the silly, nonsensical rules of phonics drilled into schoolchildren today. One of those adages, found on the walls of many an elementary school classroom, goes, "When two vowels go out walking, the first one does the talking." Holt points out that two pairs of vowels in the sentence violate the rule. This is not only confusing to some children, but simply "dumb," he complains. He dismisses picture books and primers, with their small, simple vocabularies. In their place, Holt urges parents to expose children to the Yellow Pages, warranties, letters, ticket stubs, and newspapers--the print trappings that adults rely upon for everyday life. Holt's call for context amid learning is delivered in a sensible, delightful writing style. He even includes several graphics and number games that can easily be used at home. Anyone who comes in contact with a small child would benefit from--and enjoy--reading these last words from a man who clearly adored and remained mesmerized by children and their inquisitive minds. --Jodi Mailander Farrell
From Publishers Weekly
A leading figure in school reform who died in 1985, the author professed that "children learn from anything and everything they see." According to PW , "Holt's ideas , which have been successfully, though not widely, tested, empower parents and should make them wary of structured early schooling as they make use of this excellent resource."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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We started by reading "How Children Learn," and then moved on to "How Children Fail," at which point we decided to read everything this man has ever written. We're working on it.
"Learning All the Time" is a fascinating book. In it, John Holt, a former schoolteacher and eventual homeschooling advocate, discusses how kids learn and how adults relate to them. Most of us adults don't give kids enough credit for how much they want to learn and how much they CAN learn, at earlier ages than we would have dreamed possible. He challenges everything we've been taught about the allegedly short attention span of very young children, and, since we have the privilege of observing such children in our home on a daily basis, we can see that he is right!
His philosophy involves making interesting learning materials available to kids and avoiding the two extremes of (a) frustrating them by pushing them into areas where they don't have aptitude or interest; and (b) limiting them by underestimating just how much they can learn, and how fast. Basically, he really LIKES children and respects them as human beings.
John Holt was trained as, and worked as, a teacher in the 1950's and 1960's. The more time he spent in the classroom, the more he came to believe that traditional methods of teaching were wasting a lot of children's potential and failing to keep their attention.
He has a tremendous respect for children. He has a lot of insight into the fact that many adults don't understand, respect, or, quite frankly, even like children.
We have applied his philosophy with our own young children, with delightful results. For example, neither of us are fluent in Spanish, but my two-year-old and I are learning it together. I resist the urge to "play teacher" in favor of learning alongside my child, and I am amazed at how much she is able to learn and retain. We have also used his approach towards potty training. When we resisted pushing, our daughter took ownership of the process. Sooner than we would have thought she would, she announced to us that she was a big girl and didn't want to wear diapers. A few weeks later (we expected that it would be many months), she announced that she would not be wearing diapers at night either. She has been true to her word! These are just small examples of how we have asked ourselves, with a little irony but in a mostly serious fashion, "What would John Holt do?" Generally, the answer is to be real with our kids, offer as many learning opportunities as we reasonably can, and pay attention to what they are learning -- and marvel at them.
In the book, he gives concrete examples of kids who could easily have been considered failures in a "cookie cutter" classroom situation. In Holt's opinion, even many kids who are considered learning disabled would do just fine (or at least much better) if they were allowed to reach their potential without an excess of testing and time-wasting "learning" activities.
Holt's writing has influenced us to seriously consider homeschooling our children. Even if we don't, I think that our parenting is being enriched by his approach, and I would recommend this book to any parent or educator.
He gives you a lot of advice on what and how to accomplish this.