Posted by: arumchan | October 27, 2011

An excerpt from John Holt — “What you need to teach your own children”

Thanks to a dear friend, I was able to finally get my hands on a homeschooling-how-to book, “The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child” by Linda Dobson. Here in Jakarta & Bogor it’s sooooo hard to get my hands on any homeschooling books, and they’re like 2 or 3x the original price anyways 😦 So, I’ve read through the 1st few chapters, and there’s an excerpt from John Holt about the most important thing you need to teach your own children. Sungguh menohok. But I think it’s what every parent needs, regardless of wether or not they homeschool their child.

“First of all, they have to like them, enjoy their company, their physical presence, their energy, foolishness, and passion. They have to enjoy all their questions, and enjoy equally trying to answer those questions. They have to think of their children as friends, indeed very close friends, have to feel happier when near and miss them when they are away. They have to trust them as people, respect their fragile dignity, treat them with courtesy, take them seriously. They have to feel in their own hearts some of their children’s wonder, curiousity, and excitement about the world. And they have to have enough confidence in themselves, skepticism about experts, and willingness to be different from most people, to take on themselves the responsibility for their children’s learning. But that is about all the parents need. Perhaps only a minority of parents has these qualities. Certainly some have more than others. Many will gain more as they know their children better; most of the people who have been teaching their children at home say that it has made them like them more, not less. In any case, these are not qualities that can be taught or learned in school, or measured with a test, or certified with a piece of paper.”

— John Holt, in “Teach Your Own”; as quoted in “The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child” by Linda Dobson

So IMHO, whatever education you choose for your child, it’s always you as their parents who have the greater responsibility of educating them. Schools are there to help you along the way, but that shouldn’t mean that you can just let go of that responsibility. Whatever your choice, your kids will always be your responsibility, and no parent should ever forget that 😉


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