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  2. "It is so terribly silly what our culture demands from kids and, thus, their carers. While it seems obvious enough to me, it is clear many do not realize that it is not developmentally appropriate for infants to comply with adult standards of behavior – including sitting down and being quiet."
     

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  5. Text reads: “The apathy of the schoolchild is a natural response—even a noble response—to the ordeal of the classroom. But then that apathy too becomes a habit, and we float through life maintaining a cynical distance from the world, unwilling to commit fully to anything or anyone. We become indifferent or rebellious.” -Charles Eisenstein, in The Deschooling Convivium

     

  6. Yet it is what Fin and Rye are not expected to know that is so fascinating to me. To identify every tree in our woodlot. To butcher a hog. To wield a splitting maul and use a chop saw. To make a fire. To know when a windrow of hay is dry enough for baling. To build a cabin. To sew and knit and carve. To disappear into the woods below our home and return an hour later with a bag full of chanterelle and hedgehog mushrooms. To operate Melvin’s bale wrapper, so they can help him during the crush of summer. These skills feel important to me because they are the skills of a particular place, having arisen from their connection to this land and community. And they feel important because they are true life skills. They are instilling in my boys a degree of hands-on resourcefulness that is rapidly being lost in a society where many people do not even know how to change a tire, or hold an ax. Finally, I see how the skills and the knowledge they embody are the direct result of my sons’ innate curiosity and love of learning. To be sure, their exposure to the particulars of this place has played a role in defining the subjects their love of learning has landed upon. Such a thing is unavoidable.

    But none of it has been forced. None of it has come attached to reward or acclaim beyond the quiet satisfaction inherent in the process of learning and the completion of a task. Penny and I believe in presence, not praise. We are here to support and facilitate, but not to cajole and manipulate, through either threat or incentive. The boys’ unhampered curiosity is incentive enough. The learning is its own reward.

     
  7. Text reads: “Play builds the kind of free-and-easy, try-it-out, do-it-yourself character that our future needs.” -James L. Hymes Jr. (Read more at www.NaturalChildMagazine.com)

     
  8. Text reads: “In our culture, trusting and respecting children is radical; everything else is details.” -Wendy Priesnitz, editor, Life Learning Magazine (www.LifeLearningMagazine.com)

     

  9. I’m going to be blogging for the new Home School Life magazine!

     

  10. "Life learning is all about authenticity, because nothing is constructed or designed in an attempt at engineering specific outcomes or learning. Instead, everything is an experience to be learned from, and at the same time, everything is just living. The world ceases to be broken down into what’s educational or not, what can be learned from and what can’t. Unschoolers seek to recognize that learning is always happening, no engineering needed, and instead just try to build rich lives, full of resources and fun, interesting people and activities, and trust that that’s all you need for equally rich learning to occur."