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Thursday February 2nd 2023

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To Allow and Help People to Shape Themselves

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To Allow and Help People to Shape Themselves

By Linda Dobson

JohnHolt HomeschoolingThis week many members of the homeschooling community took time to remember the life of John Holt on the anniversary of his death. John Holt was a school teacher and author who grew disillusioned with trying to change the system from within. He subsequently championed by-passing the system all together, and the modern homeschooling movement grew…and grew…and is still growing strong.

Many marked the remembrance day by sharing quotes from many of John’s “right on the money” books about how children learn. I, too, shared my favorite: “All I am saying in this book can be summed up in two words – Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple – or more difficult. Difficult, because to trust children we must trust ourselves – and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.”

Maybe This Is Why So Many Are Homeschooling

However, a phrase that became the title for this post jumped out at me as part of another quote: “To allow and help people to shape themselves.”

See also “‘Til School Do Us Part

Horror stories from the beginning of a new public school year are already surfacing. So far I’ve seen mention of lice, test prep already started, children who “line up” by kneeling on concrete and putting their hands behind their heads, and an “A” student put back in her former grade because there wasn’t enough room for everyone in the current grade classrooms. Throw into the mix a report from FairTest organization titled “Large 2011 SAT Score Decline Shows No Child Left Behind Failure,”  and homeschooling advocate John Holt’s phrase is worthy of consideration by parents of all school-aged children.

At the Heart of Homeschooling

What more could we wish for our children than “to allow and help (them) shape themselves? This has never been nor will it ever be possible in a schooling system set up in such a way that children spend time in direct opposition to their natural inclinations and the way in which humans best learn. The thinking behind the system is so focused on “equality” there is no room for “unique individuals.” Yet isn’t that what children are? Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if instead of processing children through a system that uses the same mold for all we, instead, honor individuals and help them discover and hone that which is inside them, their own unique passions, gifts and desires?

Homeschooling presents families the opportunity to do just this, heeding John Holt’s wisdom. “To allow and help people to shape themselves” is at the heart of the homeschooling experience.

Despite the words of critics, you do not need to be rich to be a homeschooling family. You can easily start homeschooling at any time by following the laws or regulations of your state. You can begin to realize that you are trustworthy so you may realize your children are, too.

You could choose do it today. Your family’s incredible lifestyle begins here – with homeschooling.

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