Where you can find resources on parenting and education to broaden your knowledge
A list of great resources that have helped us shape our parenting and educational philosophies, divided into a handful of categories. Check out our most recent resource reviews here. This page (especially in the infancy of this website) is most certainly a work in progress, so check back often as new resources are added!
Documenting the problem:
Ken Robinson’s Talk on Changing the Educational Paradigm – the original video that set our series of inquiries into why schooling seemed so bad, and why adults seem unable to interact with children peacefully. Also great is Ken Robinson’s seminal work on the subject of changing educational models, Out of Our Minds.
The Born to Learn Videos Series, and Overschooled and Undereducated, by John Abbott. An invaluable resource that uses modern brain research to get to the heart of many issues surrounding why our children, and adolescents in particular, need something different than what they are currently getting. It does a magnificent job of demonstrating how the adolescent brain has made huge contributions to society.
John Holt wrote a number of books outlining the problem with compulsory schooling, but also outlining solutions. In particular, his works stress child-led education, and he is credited with inspiring the unschooling movement.
John Taylor Gatto is a retired New York public school teacher, who began to cry out about the ills of compulsory schooling after winning the teacher of the year award. His numerous works paint a pretty bleak picture of what the real motivations behind compulsory schooling are.
Part of the Solution:
Stefan Molyneux has an amazing series, called Philosophical Parenting, where he begins to elaborate on how he and his wife hope to interact with their child. Molyneux is perhaps the most well-known champion of the non-aggression principle, and his ideas on this subject are a great first step to understanding the principles that we strive to live by as well.
Can’t imagine restructuring your life to take personal control over the education of your children? See if there is a Sudbury School in your area. We’ve worked directly with kids from the Hudson Valley Sudbury School, and we were amazed at so many things about them. Read James’ testimonial on their webpage, here.
The Khan Academy is a website with series of videos and remarkable assessment software developed by ex-hedge fund analyst Salman Khan. Bill Gates described these videos and the corresponding software as the “future of education.” Aside from being able to pause, rewind, and fast-forward through lectures, the true value of the Khan Academy software appears to be that people with real technical skills in computers and statistical analysis have taken a look at educational assessment. This makes the “school at home” model of homeschooling doable for pretty much anyone.
Astra Taylor, an unschooled film maker, gave an insightful talk called the “Unschooled Life,” where she talks about her experience as an unschooled child, and how it shaped her views on education and art. She discussed the nutrient rich environment that we talked about in our unschooling post
Dale J. Stephens, a 20 year old unschooled man, went to college and started to feel unfulfilled. He thought maybe it was his school, until he reached out to other unschooled friends. They found a common thread – their college experiences seemed a little arbitrary and extremely overpriced. Dale launched into researching the opportunity cost of college – that is, what it REALLY costs to go to college beyond just the debt accrued. His response to his research was to start the UnCollege movement, which is essentially helping people take the reins on their on education and not settle for learning things that other people force on them.
Joyfully Rejoycing is a group of articles, essays, and answers to inquiries about what unschooling is, how it works, and challenges that parents can face when attempting to unschool. For those unsure as to what unschooling looks like, there are countless stories of the trials and triumphs of different unschooling parents.
Research that informs us:
Psychology Today’s Child Development Section is filled with articles that draw conclusions from modern research as far as what is working with children, and what isn’t. While we don’t agree with the conclusions drawn from every article, we have found this compilation of accessible research invaluable in forming our own parenting and education strategies.
In particular, Peter Gray’s blog, Freedom to Learn, does an amazing job of demonstrating how dealing with our children peacefully and giving them freedom is not only moral, but practical for their development.
The book Mindset by Carol Dweck really influenced the ways that we talk to and engage Oliver. You can get the basics from this page, though he doesn’t totally get into the depths of how to use the ideas put forward. There will certainly be an essay forthcoming on the importance of Growth Mindset Language.
John Medina’s book, Brain Rules for Baby, draws conclusions from what he considers to be conclusive research on how to help your baby’s brain develop and lead him towards becoming a happy and intelligent adult. We found this work very useful, even if we didn’t agree with every single conclusion.
Blogs that give great parenting advice, or tell great stories:
SouleMama.com is a delightful blog written by Amanda Blake Soule and her husband, Steve. They were a big inspiration to us, as they also moved from the suburbs into a more rural place to raise and unschool their children. Mostly written by Amanda, the blog is multi-faceted and rarely explicitly addresses their parenting and schooling choices. However, through their stories and posts, they present a parenting approach designed to keep creativity alive in their children while dealing with them as peacefully and as lovingly as possible. They’ve also written a handful of books that Taylor plans to review at some point.