Paths to Learning


We value education highly, but one size doesn’t fit all.

We love our unique, highly individual, creative children very much (just like any loving parents).

We simply wish for our children to be happy in this rapidly changing world.

We also hope they grow to be flexible and adaptable, to love learning for life, to run with their imaginations, be creative and makes changes, when needed, to forge ahead.

In the past we’ve taken different paths to learning, with each of our children respectively, at different times, depending on their needs at any given time. We are open, communicative and flexible.

Finally, an extract from ‘On the Wildness of Children’ – by Carol Black,

When we first take children from the world and put them in an institution, they cry.  It used to be on the first day of kindergarten, but now it’s at an ever earlier age, sometimes when they are only a few weeks old.  “Don’t worry,” the nice teacher says sweetly, “As soon as you’re gone she’ll be fine.  It won’t take more than a few days.  She’ll adjust.” And she does.  She adjusts to an indoor world of cinderblock and plastic, of fluorescent light and half-closed blinds (never mind that studies show that children don’t grow as well in fluorescent light as they do in sunlight; did we really need to be told that?)  Some children grieve longer than others, gazing through the slats of the blinds at the bright world outside; some resist longer than others, tuning out the nice teacher, thwarting her when they can, refusing to sit still when she tells them to (this resistance, we are told, is a “disorder.”)  But gradually, over the many years of confinement, they adjust.  The cinderblock world becomes their world.  They don’t know the names of the trees outside the classroom window. They don’t know the names of the birds in the trees.  They don’t know if the moon is waxing or waning, if that berry is edible or poisonous, if that song is for mating or warning.

It is in this context that today’s utopian crusader proposes to teach “eco-literacy.”

A free child outdoors will learn the flat stones the crayfish hide under, the still shady pools where the big trout rest, the rocky slopes where the wild berries grow.  They will learn the patterns in the waves, which tree branches will bear their weight, which twigs will catch fire, which plants have thorns.  A child in school must learn what a “biome” is, and how to use logarithms to calculate biodiversity.   Most of them don’t learn it, of course; most of them have no interest in learning it, and most of those who do forget it the day after the test.  Our “standards” proclaim that children will understand the intricate workings of ecosystems, the principles of evolution and adaptation, but one in four will leave school not knowing the earth revolves around the sun.

A child who knows where to find wild berries will never forget this information.  An “uneducated” person in the highlands of Papua New Guinea can recognize seventy species of birds by their songs.   An “illiterate” shaman in the Amazon can identify hundreds of medicinal plants.  An Aboriginal person from Australia carries in his memory a map of the land encoded in song that extends for a thousand miles.  Our minds are evolved to contain vast amounts of information about the world that gave us birth, and to pass this information on easily from one generation to the next.

But to know the world, you have to live in the world.

Interesting to watch and read:

My Deschooling Journey | Learning for life

RSA ANIMATE: Changing Education Paradigms – YouTube


I love this post from ‘Ross Mountney’s Notebook’ – Stories from a homeschool life – and particularly her answer to ‘Should we Home Educate?’

I found this article immensely interesting and helpful -‘The emotional needs of the gifted child‘ by Annemarie Roeper.

Research finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

Understanding Children & Stress: Moving Smart

Skipping School: Lua Martin Wells at TEDxCharleston

Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley | TED Talk | TED.com

Quotes that have left an impression:

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

We’re not trying to do “School at Home.” We’re trying to do homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions. We’re not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom. Rather we’re trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime 7 days each week. The “formal” portion of each teaching day is just the tip of the iceburg. – Steve and Jane Lambert ( Five In A Row )

School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is. – Ivan Illich in “Deschooling Society” 1970

I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. – Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world – Albert Einstein

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be rather a sort of amusement; this will better enable you to find out the natural bent of the child. – Plato

What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child. – George Bernard Shaw

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world – Albert Einstein

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be rather a sort of amusement; this will better enable you to find out the natural bent of the child. – Plato

What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child. – George Bernard Shaw

I have come to believe that a person’s schooling is as much a part of his private business as his politics or religion, and that no one should be required to answer questions about it. May I say instead that most of what I know I did not learn in school, or even in what most people would call learning situations. ~John Holt

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

I still say the only education worth anything is self-education. ~Robert Frost