Free to Learn
The ideas in Free to Learn have revolutionized how I view education. Peter Gray makes a strong case against traditional education models, and vividly portrays an education that is child-led. He easily dispels all the arguments favoring traditional school that we have heard in polite conversation. Without regret, he compares traditional schools to prison systems. At first I thought this comparison harsh, but the parallels he draws between public education and prison systems is difficult to argue against.
While Peter’s first suggestion for implementing child-led learning is unschooling, a strong second option he presents is unschooling in a school setting. A great deal of time is spent painting a picture of what the Sudbury Valley (Massachusetts) education program looks like. Sudbury Valley is one of the first child-led, project based, no curriculum school in the USA. As children interact, learning happens, and children grow together. The environment of the school is there to support the child in any way he finds best to explore and interact with the world on his learning journey.
Free to Learn is a gem of a book, with fast and sound arguments to defend a position that stands so starkly opposing the traditional public education system. It has compelled me to seek a vastly different education experience for my children, something that I knew in my heart was best for them, and now I have a more informed opinion on why the alternative really does encourage a lifelong love of learning that is self motivated.