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Learning by Living

Like Attachment Parenting,learning by living, also known as unschooling, is a re-discovery. There was a time when learning was seamlessly integrated into life. Then, for awhile, it seemed a good idea to separate the two. Now, the most recent learning research and the gut-feelings of most children (and a growing number of adults) are in agreement that learning works and feels best when it's really living.


Physics 1501 - Modern Technology - - Notes on Physics byRandy Kobe, of the University of Winnepeg, Canada.


101 Activities to do with your Toddler - - A great list of simple, creative ways to have fun together. Here's another. And here's 20 Nifty, Nutritious Snacks for Kids.

A Conversation with John Holt - - Widely recognized as the father of the growing "unschooling" movement. Holt puts it all in a few well-chosen words in this interview. Informative and inspiring. [22k]

BJ Pinchbeck's Homework Helper - - We don't usually link to other hotlink sites, but this but this one is worth the extra clicks!- over 400 entries divided into traditional academic areas (science, Math, etc.) and many of them are annotated. A great one-stop starting point for learning. It began as a father-son collaboration when BJ was 9 years old. Now, he's 24 and graduated from college.

Bootie Zimmer's Choice - - An informative look at the historical underpinnings of compulsory schooling- how it came about and what it was intended to accomplish. This is the text of the keynote Speech given by John Taylor Gatto. By the way, the date in the first line of the speech should be 1852, not 1952. [44k]

Democratic Schools - - How odd that in countries with democracatic government, schools that actually practice democracy are virtually non-existent. Yet there are a few. This is one of the first in the U.S., and it's been so successful there are now almost 30 of them around the world.

Deschooling Society - - This classic work, by Ivan Illich, had a powerful influence on John Holt's thinking. When you're immersed in something, it can be difficult to see it clearly. Illich was able to step out of our institutionalized society and see it in a different light. It's not an easy read, but stick with it and you may find yourself with a whole new perspective- not just on education, but on other institutions ( medicine social welfare, etc.) as well. The whole book is online.

ERIC - - A personalized Internet-based service providing education information to teachers, librarians, counselors, administrators, parents, and anyone interested in education throughout the United States and the world.

Growing Without Schooling- - - the newsletter created by John Holt, has been a primary source of inspiration and support for the unschooling movement throughout its history. Check out their site!

Homemade Toys Why nothing can beat a paper pinwheel - - Some valuable insights on the value of child-made toys. [14k]

Homeschooling 101 - Why We Do It - - Three families describe why they do it and how it has affected their lives. [28k]

Homeschooling FAQ's - - Some answers to commonly asked questions about homeschooling/unschooling.

Horizon Solutions Site for Kids - - Like the Horizon Solutions site, the idea is that a solution to an environmental dilemma that works in one place, might also work in other places around the world. site is set up so that kids of all ages from around the world can communicate with each other, share ideas and stories, discuss problems, and work together to help solve them. The site includes discussion groups, a chat room with scheduled meeting times, and special project groups. Fun (puzzles, games, etc.) is integral, but serious topics aren't avoided or trivialized.

Some examples of case studies: Empowering Women Through Karite, Fish-Farming to Protect the Rain Forest, Spiders Help Farmers Grow Safer Crops, Have a baby? I think I'll Think It Over, Saving Otters, Saving the Environment.

How Families Homeschool their Teens - - This article, from Mothering Magazine, looks at three homeschooling families, describing how each has created a viable, rewarding learning situation.

NOAA Student Connection - - is a website that enables students with an interest in ocean science to track the operations of a Hawaiian based NOAA fisheries research ship. Students can contact and interact with ship's officers and scientists while the ship is at sea conducting research on Hawaiian monk seals, coral reef fish, seabirds, lobsters, yellowfin tuna, swordfish and oceanography. The site is geared toward high school students, but is open to all ages. (We found postings from Grade 2 up to adult.)

Physics 1501 - Modern Technology - - Notes on Physics byRandy Kobe, of the University of Winnepeg, Canada.

Read a Story - - A diverse collection of children's stories on the internet, from young children to young adult

The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998 - - 20,760 student achievement test scores and their family demographics make this the largest study of home education to date! Results demonstrate that home schooled students are doing exceptionally well and provide an informative portrait of America's modern home education movement. Conducted by Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner, Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation for the Home School Legal Defense Association.

School Is Dead, Learn in Freedom! - - institualized education, including its negative effects on socialization, motivation, creativity, success, and democracy.. Lots of quotes by famous people; lots of resources for independent learners.

The Unschooling Homeschooler - - NOTE: OFFLINE - The Bedford Family's unschooling links. Another excellent hot-link site. It's well organized, with carefully selected links, a fine jumping-off place for unschooling- learning about it or doing it.

Unschooling Undefined - - An essay that describes how school separates life from learning to the detriment of learning (and other things). It explains why "school reform" is not the answer and shows how "unschoolers" are creating ways to bring life and learning back together. Part of the excellent Jon's Homeschool Resource Page.

What NOT to do to encourage your child's creativity - - This article by Alfie Kohn, Author of Punished by Rewards, looks at some startling research. It shows how seemingly commonsense strategies for motivating ourselves and others can backfire.