Beyond School  by Wendy Priesnitz Life Learning Magazine
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Quotes About Unschooling / Life Learning / Homeschooling

"There is no difference between living and learning... it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate.” ~ John Holt

“Life learning is about trusting kids to learn what they need to know and about helping them to learn and grow in their own ways. It is about respecting the everyday experiences that enable children to understand and interact with the world and their culture.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." ~ Leonardo da Vinci

"There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die is a process of learning." ~ J Krishnamurti

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~ Anonymous, although often credited to Albert Einstein

“One of my early memories of school is wondering when they were going to start teaching me the things I didn’t know, rather than what I already knew. Many years later, I began to understand how, insidiously, school had reinforced my inadequacies and had left me with what I now called 'learned incompetency' and a fear of not being able to do things 'right' the first time.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“All I am saying ... can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” ~ John Holt

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” ~ Paulo Freire

"I spent three days a week for ten years educating myself in the public library, finding mirrors for myself in hundreds of books. At the end of ten years, I was completely educated. I had read every goddamn book in the library, and I'd written a thousand stories." ~ Ray Bradbury

“When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself.” ~ Jean Piaget

“Children do not need to be made to learn about the world, or shown how. They want to, and they know how.” ~ John Holt

“If we taught babies to talk as most skills are taught in school, they would memorize lists of sounds in a predetermined order and practice them alone in a closet.” ~ Linda Darling-Hammond

"A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed. Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It's like telling the world there's no Santa Claus." ~ Peter Thiel

"Children who live surrounded by rules, instead of learning about principles, end up becoming adept at getting around rules, finding the loopholes in rules, disguising non-compliance, or deflecting blame for non-compliance (i.e. lying about what they did). These are the skills that they then bring into adult life." ~ Robyn Coburn

“There are only two places in the world where time takes precedence over the job to be done. School and prison.” ~ William Glasser

"The act of placing the power over learning and life into the individual's hands is both empowering and motivating. The 'motivation' people see in unschoolers is really a joy in learning that is seen far less often among the masses in school." ~ Idzie Desmarais

“School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence.” ~ H.L. Mencken

“What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children's growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn't a school at all.” ~ John Holt

“Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college.” ~ Lillian Smith

"The old system where every child was locked away and set into nonstop, daily cut throat competition with every other child for silly prizes called grades is broken beyond repair. If it could be fixed it could have been fixed by now. Good riddance." ~ John Taylor Gatto

“None of the world's problems will have a solution until the world's individuals become thoroughly self-educated.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

“We socialize. It’s fun. Socialization, on the other hand, that’s where someone trains you how to behave in an institutional setting. Not fun.” ~ Sara McGrath

“I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities.” ~ Seymour Papert

“We learn because we want to learn, because it’s important to us, because it’s natural, and because it’s impossible to live in the world and not learn. Then along comes school to mess up a beautiful thing.” ~ Peggy Pirro

"Ask questions to find out something about the world itself, not to find out whether or not someone knows it." ~ John Holt

“As far as I have seen, at school...they aimed at blotting out one's individuality.” ~ Franz Kafka

"Since every effort in our educational life seems to be directed toward making of the child a being foreign to itself, it must of necessity produce individuals foreign to one another, and in everlasting antagonism with each other." ~ Emma Goldman

“Education is hanging around until you’ve caught on.” ~ Robert Frost

“School presents daily exercises in dis-association. It forces unwelcome associations on most of its prisoners. It sets petty, meaningless competitions in motion on a daily basis, pitting potential associates against one another in contests for praise and other worthless prizes.” ~ John Taylor Gatto

"We must demolish the institution of schooling because it impedes learning and enslaves children. Then we need to put both money and creativity into creating opportunities and infrastructures that respect children and help them learn." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“All the time you are in school, you learn through experience how to live in a dictatorship.” ~ Grace Llewellyn

“Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts.” ~ Frank Zappa

“Just as eating against one’s will is injurious to health, so studying without a liking for it spoils the memory, and it retains nothing it takes in.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

“Like jilted and disappointed lovers, some of my students just want to be left alone.” ~ Kirsten Olson

"Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them. If we attempt to control, manipulate, or divert this process...the independent scientist in the child disappears."  ~ John Holt

"Everything I am interested in, from cooking to electronics, is related to math. In real life you don’t have to worry about integrating math into other subjects. In real life, math already is integrated into everything else." ~ Anna Hoffstrom

"My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself." ~ George Bernard Shaw

“Education itself is a putting off, a postponement; we are told to work hard to get good results. Why? So we can get a good job. What is a good job? One that pays well. Oh. And that’s it? All this suffering, merely so that we can earn a lot of money, which, even if we manage it, will not solve our problems anyway? It’s a tragically limited idea of what life is all about.” ~ Tom Hodgkinson

"We don't yet know, above all, what the world might be like if children were to grow up without being subjected to humiliation, if parents would respect them and take them seriously as people." ~ Alice Miller

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” ~ Pablo Picasso

"For better or worse, we learn every day, wherever we are, whatever we're doing, whoever we're with. We learn good things, useful things, handy things - and we learn bad things, destructive things, things we might someday wish we hadn't learned. Life's like that. On the whole, though, learning serves us quite well, and we're constantly arranging and rearranging our learning so it's more useful to us."  ~ Helen Hegener

"School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is." ~ Ivan Illich

“I recognize June by the flowers, now. I used to know it by review tests, and restlessness.” ~ Lisa Asher, unschooled teen

“Nobody grew taller by being measured.” ~ Roland Meighan

"It's not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It's a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life." ~ John Holt

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” ~ Rachel Carson

“How could youth better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Perhaps the most basic assumption our society makes about education is that learning can and should be produced in people. This assumption leads to another one: Learning is the result of treatment by an institution called school.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

"Learning from programmed information always hides reality behind a screen." ~ Ivan Illich

“Your life, time, and brain should belong to you, not to an institution.” ~ Grace Llewellyn

"It was never factually true that young people learn to read or do arithmetic primarily by being taught these things. These things are learned, but not really taught at all. Over-teaching interferes with learning, although the few who survive it may well come to imagine it was by an act of teaching." ~ John Taylor Gatto

"It is among the commonplaces of education that we often first cut off the living root and then try to replace its natural functions by artificial means. Thus we suppress the child's curiosity and then when he lacks a natural interest in learning he is offered special coaching for his scholastic difficulties." ~ Alice Duer Miller

“If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could be better changed in ourselves.” ~ C.G. Jung

"Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners." ~ John Holt

“Public education reflects our society's paternalistic, hierarchical worldview, which exploits children in the same way it takes the earth's resources for granted.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

"The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on – because they're dysfunctional to the institutions." ~ Noam Chomsky

“School prepares for the alienating institutionalization of life by teaching the need to be taught.” ~ Ivan Illich

“Where is the wisdom lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge lost in information?” ~ T. S. Eliot

“Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.” ~ Earl Stevens

“We have a cultural notion that if children were not engineered, if we did not manipulate them, they would grow up as beasts in the field. This is the wildest fallacy in the world.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

“When I look back at all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.” ~ Paul Simon

“Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.” ~ John Dewey

“Because schools suffocate children’s hunger to learn, learning appears to be difficult and we assume that children must be externally motivated to do it.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” ~ Bertrand Russell

"A 'school-at-home' approach to homeschooling is just decorating the electric chair in different colors." ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

“School is not for learning.” ~ Grace Llewellyn

"Incidental education, taking part in the on-going activities of society, must again be made the chief means of learning and teaching." ~ Paul Goodman

"Schools have not necessarily much to do with education...they are mainly institutions of control where certain basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school." ~ Winston Churchill

"Growing up, I couldn’t understand the confusion. Wasn’t it obvious that I could learn math and physics if I wanted to? Couldn’t my uncle see that I had no use for chemistry but that if I did, I’d learn it? Why did anyone care, anyway? And why did people ask me if I knew math and English but they didn’t ask whether I knew about good nutrition or how to shingle a roof?" ~ Sarabeth Matilsky

"It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated." Alec Bourne

“If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.” ~ Carl Rogers

“Birds don’t go to flight school.” ~ Linda Dobson

“If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying.” ~ Coleman Hawkins

“As a society, we must own up to the damage we do to our children...in our families and in our schools. We must also be willing to make the sweeping changes in our institutions, public policies and personal lives that are necessary to reverse that harm to our children and to our society.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” ~ Isaac Asimov

"Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them. If we attempt to control, manipulate, or divert this process, the independent scientist in the child disappears." ~ John Holt

“Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater.” ~ Albert Einstein

“College isn't the place to go for ideas.” ~ Helen Keller

“Creative work and critical thought, which produces new knowledge, can’t be conditioned; indeed, conditioning prevents these things from ever happening.” ~ John Taylor Gatto

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” ~ Albert Einstein

"The mere fact that most school attendance is compulsory reflects an attitude of mistrust of children and their desire to make sense of the world. In fact, if governments were really serious about their professed goal of developing, nurturing, and enhancing the intellectual and moral autonomy of the young, would they not have to abolish compulsory, externally imposed education?" ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“The parent knows that the child cannot be artificially motivated to learn; they know that he is already motivated by the strongest driving force on earth: his inner intent.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

"Teaching does not make learning…organized education operates on the assumption that children learn only when and only what and only because we teach them. This is not true. It is very close to 100% false. Learners make learning.” ~ John Holt

"Children don’t need to be taught how to learn; they are born learners. They come out of the womb interacting with and exploring their surroundings. Babies are active learners, their burning curiosity motivating them to learn how the world works. And if they are given a safe, supportive environment, they will continue to learn hungrily and naturally – in the manner and at the speed that suits them best." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.” ~ Bertrand Russell

“Think of reading like riding a bicycle: One doesn’t consciously name the muscles involved or the particular actions required of each, or the parts of the bicycle, or Newton’s laws of motion, or the physics of gears, or the changes in brain chemistry associated with balance. One gets up on the seat and starts to pedal.” ~ David Albert

“I was fortunate enough to extricate myself before insensibility set in.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore, on quitting school at 13

“Schooling was influenced by the idea that self-directed learning created ‘dangerous,’ free-thinking, intelligent people who would make sure the government never became more powerful than the people.” Laurie A. Couture

“What is the difference between genius and stupidity? Genius has limits.” ~ Albert Einstein

“My grandmother wanted me to get a good education, so she kept me as far away from schools as possible.” ~ Margaret Mead

“Some of us are just less damaged than others.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

“Those who have most at stake in the old culture, or are most rigid in their beliefs, try to summon people back to the old ideas.'” ~ Marilyn Ferguson

“My ideal educational system would be a society in which knowledge was widely free and widely and freely shared, and children were everywhere trusted, respected, safe, valued, and welcomed.” ~ John Holt

“The most potent force for change... is the growing recognition of millions of adults that their own impoverished expectations and frustrations came, in large measure, from their schooling.” ~ Marilyn Ferguson

“Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The force-feeding process of schooling is so relentless that many students gag on it. They tune out or leave school, and in some cases, become permanently soured on learning.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one's mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal.” ~ R.D. Laing

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” ~ Mark Twain

“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays, and have things arranged for them, that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.”  ~ Agatha Christie

“Most of us are tactful enough with other adults not to point out their errors but not many of us are ready to extend this courtesy to children.” ~ John Holt

“Life-long learners start their education at home.” Beverley Paine

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.”  ~ Albert Einstein

“Some people can't leave school because they're carrying it around like a snail and his shell. They live there, still. School became an ingrown, hard part of them. They still define themselves by their school failures and successes.” ~ Sandra Dodd

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  ~ William Butler Yeats

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.” ~ Beatrix Potter

“Four years was enough of Harvard. I still had a lot to learn, but had been given the liberating notion that now I could teach myself.” ~ John Updike

“The idea that people should study for about 12 years and then start living is more deeply seated in our culture than many people realize.” ~ Larry and Susan Kaseman

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.”  ~ H. L. Mencken

"I wonder why so many parents still want to keep their children hidden away in schools, when they could be learning in the wonderful, bright, ever-changing, always-stimulating real world." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” ~ Alvin Toffler

“It is a miracle that curiosity survives a formal education.” ~ Albert Einstein

“When you see a car hurtling toward your child, you push him out of the way before you engage in conversation about Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. We must stop harming the children presently in our care. Right now. Today.” ~ Susan Ohanian

“What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch out of a free, meandering brook.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Artificial learning takes what is simple and natural and turns it into a complex array of objectives, goals, measurements, administrators, supervisors, counselors, and transportation experts. Natural education requires only a guide providing direction, and a learner ready to discover and create goals and values that are personally meaningful.” ~ Linda Dobson

"[People] should be able to meet around a problem chosen and defined by their own initiative. Creative, exploratory learning requires peers currently puzzled about the same terms or problems.... The most radical alternative to school would be a network or service which gave each man the same opportunity to share his current concern with others motivated by the same concern" ~ Ivan Illich

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” ~ Eartha Kitt

“One of the first things a family tries to teach its children is the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. One of the first things our schools do is destroy that distinction.” ~ John Taylor Gatto

"Our rapidly moving, information-based society badly needs people who know how to find facts rather than memorize them, and who know how to cope with change in creative ways. You don't learn those things in school." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live. ~ Mortimer Adler

“My job is not to teach at all, but to find the opportunities for my kids to learn. NOT knowing something can be an advantage, as it reminds me of the wealth of resources out there in the community and world, if only we are willing to go look for them.” ~ David Albert

“Children are not our own art products to be turned out well, but their own life work in continual process.” ~ Jan Fortune Wood

“We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There are so many children in our world who need love, and food and shelter, and acceptance, and support, and trust. No one needs schooling!” ~ Idzie Desmarais 

“Education: free and compulsory – what a way to learn logic!” ~ Frank van Dun

“My teachers could have easily ridden with Jesse James for all the time they stole from me.” ~ Richard Brautigan

"It is absurd and anti-life to be a part of a system that compels you to listen to a stranger reading poetry when you want to learn to construct buildings, or to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when you want to read poetry." ~ John Taylor Gatto

"Our schooling has led us to misunderstand the difference between the power to do something and the force that makes us do something. We were told one too many times to sit in our seats and listen, to put up our hands when we had to go to the bathroom, and to buy what we were offered." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Any child who can spend an hour or two a day, or more if he wants, with adults that he likes, who are interested in the world and like to talk about it, will on most days learn far more from their talk than he would learn in a week of school.” ~ John Holt

“Forced association is not socialization.” ~ Adele Carroll

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.” ~ H. L. Mencken

Unschooling and natural learning unfold from the centre - our centers. Our kids’ centers. Our families’ centers. The question we need to ask each day is what is central to our needs, as individuals within a family, within a community, within a society, within the family of humanity.” ~ Beverley Paine

“Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.” ~ Arthur Koestler

“Raising children with an emphasis on intrinsic rewards is not a technique, a method or a trick to get them to do what the parent wants them to by subtler means, but a way of life, a way of living with children with real respect for their intelligence and for their being.” ~ Mary Van Doren

“In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ~ Eric Hoffer

“In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: forget about it. Think only about whatever you love. Follow it, do it, dream about it. One day, you will glance up at your collection of Japanese literature, or trip over the solar oven you built, and it will hit you: learning was there all the time, happening by itself.” ~ Grace Llewellyn

“Education is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.” ~ John Dewey

"At the end of the assembly line, there is no guarantee that the diploma signifies competence, knowledge or maturity." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

"Homeschooling is an act of liberation and an act of passion. It is an occasion to walk away from institutional images of life and to embrace a vision that is filled with personal meaning and unmistakable truths for our families. The quality of awareness that comes from the heart is more dependable... Homeschooling... is about helping make it possible for children to reach maturity with healthy, curious, fully conscious minds." ~ Earl Gary Stevens

“Skill to do comes of doing.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Many grownups are afraid of children. They experience fear and agitation in response to children's social vulnerability and innate personal strength.” ~ Kelly Hogaboom

“I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.” ~ John Taylor Gatto

“The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.” ~ Simone Weil

“If I had to make a general rule for living and working with children, it might be this: be wary of saying or doing anything to a child that you would not do to another adult, whose good opinion and affection you valued.” ~ John Holt

"Personal empowerment begins with realizing the value of our own life experience and potential to affect the world. Our children deserve the opportunity to be part of – and learn from – the daily lives of their families and communities." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Whenever I had second thoughts about the socialization my children may have been missing by homeschooling, I'd take them to a G-rated matinee movie. One look around the theater at the running, screaming, popcorn-throwing little socialites was enough to overcome my doubts.” ~ Mario Pagnoni

"Life is learning, learning is life. Unschoolers simply do not think there are times for learning and times for not learning. They don't divide life into school time or lesson time versus play time or recreation time. There is no such thing as 'extracurricular' to an unschooler - all of life, every minute of every day, counts as learning time, and there is no separate time set aside for 'education'." ~ Pam Sorooshian

“I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.” ~ Pablo Picasso

“If our earth is to survive, we need to take responsibility for what we do. Taking control of our own education is the first step.” ~ Heidi Priesnitz

“We can think of ourselves not as teachers but as gardeners. A gardener does not grow flowers; he tries to give them what he thinks they need and they grow by themselves.” ~ John Holt

“I can’t give you a brain, but I can give you a diploma.” ~ L. Frank Baum

“How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it.” Alexandre Dumas

"We need to separate our identities as people from our university degrees. That of course, ultimately means letting our names appear naked on our business cards." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” ~ Winston Churchill

“When I was young, I was put in a school for retarded kids for two years before they realized I actually had a hearing loss and they called me slow!” ~ Kathy Buckley

“Nothing enrages me more than when people criticize my criticism of school by telling me that schools are not just places to learn maths and spelling, they are places where children learn a vaguely defined thing called socialization…I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities.” ~ Seymour Papert

“It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Trusting ourselves as parents is as important – and as difficult – as trusting our children.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“I loved learning, it was school I hated. I used to cut school to go learn something.” ~ Eric Jensen

"People will always try to stop you from doing the right thing if it is unconventional." ~ Warren Buffett

"There were no sex classes. No friendship classes. No classes on how to navigate a bureaucracy, build an organization, raise money, create a database, buy a house, love a child, spot a scam, talk someone out of suicide, or figure out what was important to me. Not knowing how to do these things is what messes people up in life, not whether they know algebra or can analyze literature." ~ William Upski Wimsatt

"Children learn how to speak by listening to others speak. They learn how to converse by watching and listening to others converse. They learn how to hold books by watching other people hold books." ~ Becca Challman

“Children learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions.” ~ Alfie Kohn

"If feminism is the radical notion that women are people, how much more radical is it to extend personhood to children?" ~ Wendy Priesnitz

"A person's freedom of learning is part of his freedom of thought, even more basic than his freedom of speech. If we take from someone his right to decide what he will be curious about, we destroy his freedom of thought. We say, in effect, you must think not about what interests and concerns you, but about what interests and concerns us." ~ John Holt

“The founding fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called education. School is where you go between when your parents can't take you and industry can't take you.” ~ John Updike

“Sadly, children’s passion for thinking often ends when they encounter a world that seeks to educate them for conformity and obedience only.” ~ bell hooks

"School is about learning to wait your turn, however long it takes to come, if ever. And how to submit with a show of enthusiasm to the judgment of strangers, even if they are wrong, even if your enthusiasm is phony." ~ John Taylor Gatto

"It is hard not to feel that there must be something very wrong with much of what we do in school, if we feel the need to worry so much about what many people call 'motivation'. A child has no stronger desire than to make sense of the world, to move freely in it, to do the things that he sees bigger people doing." ~ John Holt

"I don’t know what’s more disturbing to me – the fact grownups think children are less-than-people so don’t feel, think, or notice the same stuff grownups do; or the fact some grownups recognize the personhood of children on some level but think it is their right to tromp all over them anyway." ~ Kelly Hogaboom

"When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That's if you want to teach them to think." ~ Bertrand Russell

"We all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls." ~ Robert R. McCammon, author

"If we truly are living as if school doesn’t exist, we can stop describing ourselves in school terms. We can de-couple learning – and the life we’re living with our families – from the institution of school. When we use words like 'unschooling,' we are reacting to school, rather than leaving it behind as the short-term social experiment it was." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

‎"Today for Show and Tell, I've brought a tiny marvel of nature: a single snowflake. I think we might all learn a lesson from how this utterly unique and exquisite crystal turns into an ordinary, boring molecule of water, just like every other one, when you bring it in the classroom. And now, while the analogy sinks in, I'll be leaving you drips and going outside." ~ Calvin, from Calvin & Hobbes comic

The anxiety children feel at constantly being tested, their fear of failure, punishment, and disgrace, severely reduces their ability both to perceive and to remember, and drives them away from the material being studied into strategies for fooling teachers into thinking they know what they really don’t know.” ~ John Holt

"I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think." ~ Anne Sullivan

"Real wisdom is not the knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of which things in life are necessary, which are less necessary, and which are completely unnecessary to know." ~ Leo Tolstoy

"It was at home I learned the little I know. Schools always appeared to me like a prison, and never could I make up my mind to stay there, not even for four hours a day, when the sunshine was inviting, the sea smooth, and when it was joy to run about the cliffs in the free air, or to paddle in the water." ~ Claude Monet

"What we call education and culture is for the most part nothing but the substitution of reading for experience, of literature for life, of the obsolete fictitious for the contemporary real." ~ George Bernard Shaw

"Home-based education is not an experiment. It’s how people learned to function in the world for centuries. And there is no reason to think people today can’t do the same thing. School is the experiment, not the lack of it. And I think that experiment is in trouble." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“It’s exciting to see how fast your kids learn and grow. I’m not too worried about them, particularly the ones who like to break rules and don’t follow instructions; those are the ones that will do just fine because they know what’s important to them.” ~ Michael Dell

"I exclusively attended public school... And I can honestly say that on the day of my graduation, if you had given me a pop quiz on history, science, or math, I would have in no way been able to pass it – despite the fact that I completely understood it at the time that it had been 'taught' to me, and had even made a good 'grade' on it." ~ Jessica Bowman

"Education now seems the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and 'fans,' driven in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve 'education' but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves." ~ John Holt

“Although I wasn’t able to articulate it at the time, it annoyed me that many people seemed to think that they knew what I should know better than I did.” ~ Sarabeth Matilsky

“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges. It should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.” ~ John Taylor Gatto

"I look forward to the day when the transition from passive learning to active living has ended and we all see the word "school" and its various forms as a strange little artifact of the past. That will be the day when there is no longer a need to label how we live (and inevitably learn) in our families, to devise parameters for those labels, or to judge those who disagree about their definitions." ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.” ~ Stanley Kubrik

"Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement, but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought." ~ Ludwig von Mises

"We destroy the love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards, gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A's on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean's lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys...in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else." ~ John Holt

"The pupil is ... 'schooled' to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new." ~ Ivan Illich

“It is as true now as it was then that no matter what tests show, very little of what is taught in school is learned, very little of what is learned is remembered, and very little of what is remembered is used. The things we learn, remember, and use are the things we seek out or meet in the daily, serious, nonschool parts of our lives.” ~ John Holt

“Our job is obvious: we need to get out of the way, shine a light, and empower a new generation to teach itself and to go further and faster than any generation ever has.” ~ Seth Godin

"The philosopher wants to empower us while the expert wants to stand over us and make us dependent on him." ~ John Holt

"In our culture, trusting and respecting children is radical; everything else is details.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” ~ Paulo Freire

"If you like to make things out of wood, or sew, or dance, or style people's hair, or dream up stories and act them out, or play the trumpet, or jump rope, or whatever you really love to do, and you love that in front of your children, that's going to be a far more important gift than anything you could ever give them wrapped up in a box with ribbons." ~ Fred M. Rogers

"The freedom to make mistakes provides the best environment for creativity. Education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't." ~ Anatole France

"Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature." ~ Charlotte Mason

"Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants." ~ John W. Gardner

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”  ~ Paulo Freire

"You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself." ~ Galileo

Life learning is about...by Wendy Priesnitz, Editor of Life Learning Magazine
quote by John Holt about children's motivation to learn
Every child is an artist by Pablo Picasso
School is the experiment - Wendy Priesnitz
It is a miracle...Albert Einstein
quote by Chris Mercogliano from Life Learning Magazine
learning in the real world by Wendy Priesnitz
No one needs schooling...by Idzie Desmarais
Wendy Priesnitz - quote about trusting kids
trusting ourselves as parents...by Wendy Priesnitz, editor of Life Learning Magazine
John Holt taking about trust
quote by Jean Piaget about learning vs teaching
children are not products  to be processed on an assembly line
quote by John Taylor Gatto
I am learning all the time: Eartha Kitt
quote about genius by John Taylor Gatto
George Bernard Shaw quote about learning by himself
Ivan Illich quote
quote by John Holt
socialization and unschooling
quote about learning to talk
magic
Buckminster Fuller quote about self-directed learning
Grace Llewellyn quote about school being a dictatorship
when the word school becomes an artifact of the past by Wendy Priesnitz
unschooling quote by Wendy Priesnitz
kids don't need to be taught to learn
quote about learning at home by Claude Monet
John Taylor Gatto quote
quote about learning by Simone Weil
quote about learning by Wendy Priesnitz
Roland Meighan quote about unschooling
John Holt quote
quote by Grace Llewellyn
quote by Einstein about creativity
the joy of learning by Simone Weil
quote by Thoreau

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