Friday, January 31, 2014

Pass the Bean Dip, Addiction, Prejudice, Sugar

Laurie Wolfrum did a presentation in November, 2013, on how to handle friends and relatives' disagreements and questions. She has let me host the text of that talk.

Addiction, an argument by Joyce added, upper right:

Prejudices (very new; might have typos or bad links):

Sugar (started a while back, finished to add to the page on prejudice):

Friday, January 17, 2014

Calm; and which is better: Refresh or restore?

New page, with a collection of Just Add Light on being calm:

And here's an older page:
How subtle can language considerations really get!?
Perhaps the most obscure page on my site. (No, it's not really.)

Important message to anyone who opens that page, or any page ever in your life:

If while you're reading you think "That's WORTHLESS!" then close the page, because to you it is worthless.
IF, while reading, you think that it's cool, or interesting, or it had never occurred to you, or you wish it had been longer, click some of the links, or google something up.

Each passageway can be an adventure, or you can turn and do something different.

(Leaving Hebrew poetry behind and zipping ahead a few thousand years,
down at the genius bar, "refresh" and "restore" mean very different things.)

Other obscure pages that mean nothing to some people, and much more to others:

Small-word beauty:

and a small-word problem (problems with "we"):

Monday, January 13, 2014

Etiquette, Barbie, lettuce

Etiquette, Manners, Courtesy (a new page, and a chat)

Barbie is better for children than a mother's negative assessment of her own looks, or a child's.
New writing up top, quoting mothers with long experience with mothers and daughters:

Karen James asked her son what, of everything in the grocery store, he would like her to bring home (just below the box):

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Natural Born Learners (new book I'm in)

I am featured in one of the chapters of a new book,

Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education.

My part is an edited transcript of a radio interview in which the topics were strewing and spirituality. (Here is access to the original sound file, and the chapter will be a longer version of this: "Living Unschooling".)

Book Launch
Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education

January 2014—Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education edited by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko and Carlo Ricci.

We are pleased to announce that our reader is live.

Humans are natural learners. This collection of essays challenges much of mainstream beliefs about how people learn, encouraging the reader to consider deeply the need for learners to be trusted and listened to. Many of the authors in the book begin from a learner-centered, democratic perspective. Divided into three sections, the first part of the book deals with what constitutes a learner-centered approach to education. The second section addresses how some have implemented this approach. In the last section, learners who have lived learner-centred learning share narratives about their experiences.


“For those who want to restore natural learning—whether for themselves, their children, or all of society—this book is a great resource. We can all learn here from contributors who have helped to explain how natural learning works, from those who have helped to make such learning more possible in today’s world, and from those lucky individuals who grew up learning naturally.”

- Peter Gray, Research Professor of Psychology at Boston College and Author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self- Reliant, and Better Students for Life.

“This book explores the roots of self-direction and offers a series of highly insightful and creative ways to help people be open, peaceful, natural learners. The roots of democratic living are fostered by what is said here. School administrators, teachers, parents, students, politicians and virtually all citizens will benefit from reading this. I most highly recommended this unusually fine and stimulating book.”
- Conrad Pritscher, Professor Emeritus, Bowling Green State University


Most of the pieces in this book are derived from interviews aired on the Radio Free School program that ran from 2002 to 2008 on 93.3 fm CFMU in Hamilton. It is divided into three sections:
1. What is unschooling/natural learning/self-determined learning;
2. What does it look like in practice, and;
3. The stories of those who unschooled and are now adults.

Foreword                                                                                                i
Introduction                                                                                            v

Part 1  What is Self-Determined Learning and Unschooling?    1 
Chapter 1    Schooling: A Highly Questionable Practice         2
                    John Taylor Gatto 
Chapter 2     You Don’t Have to go to Grow:    14
                    Growing Without Schooling 
                    Pat Farenga 
Chapter 3     An Education in the Age of Climate Change       31                                         
                    Satish Kumar 
Chapter 4    A Learning System Fit for a Democracy    40
                    Roland Meighan 
Chapter 5    An Interview About a Sense of Self     50
                   Susannah Sheffer 
Chapter 6    Trust, Not Education    71
                   Aaron Falbel 
Chapter 7   A Conversation About the Magical Child    88
                  Joseph Chilton Pearce 
Chapter 8   Hold Onto Your Kids       99
                   Gordon Neufeld 
Chapter 9   The Price of Praise            Naomi Aldort 
Chapter 10 The Words We Use:                      116
                   Living as if School Doesn’t Exist    
                   Wendy Priesnitz 

Part II   Lights. Camera. Action! (This is How it Works).        121        

Chapter 11      We Don’t Need No Education,
                        We Don’t Need No Thought Control:
                        Reflections on Achieving Musical
                        Literacy and the Importance of Unschooling        122
                        John. L. Vitale. 
Chapter 12      What Does it Mean to be Educated?                138
                        John Taylor Gatto 
Chapter 13      Democratic Schools                         149
                        Jerry Mintz 
Chapter 14      Aware and Alive                                   164
                        David Albert 
Chapter 15      From Albany to Now                                 173
                        Mary Leue 
Chapter 16      Guerrilla Learning                               179
                        Grace Llewellyn 
Chapter 17      Getting Kids on the Streets                      188
                        Matt Hern 
Chapter 18      Improving Unschooling through
                        Strewing and Spirituality     199
                        Sandra Dodd 
Chapter 19       Learning Together by Starting an Educational Co-operative       215
                        Katharine Houk 
Chapter 20       The Everyday Lives of Black Canadian
                        Homeschoolers                   221
                        Monica Wells Kisura 
Chapter 21      The Praxis of SelfDesign as a New Paradigm for
                        Learning      233
                        Brent Cameron 
Chapter 22      Home Education in Quebec                         256
                        Christine Brabant 
Chapter 23       Learning From Within and From All That is
                        Around Us                        264
                        Seema Ahluwalia and Carl Boneshirt 

Part III  They’ve Grown Up              285         

Chapter 24      Life is a Field Trip and You don’t Need a Permission Slip         286
                       Dale Stephens 
Chapter 25      Pioneer Unschooler           292
                       Kate Cayley 
Chapter 26     Growing up Weird               300
                       Kate Fridkis 
Chapter 27      I Love my Life              305
                        Eli Gerzon 
Chapter 28      I’m Educated          314
                       Candra Kennedy 
Chapter 29      Redefining Success               324
                       Jessica Claire Barker             329
                       Peter Kowalke 
Chapter 31     I’m Unschooled and Yes, I Can Write           336
                       Idzie Desmarais 
Chapter 32     The Subtle but Radical Frame of Being a
                       Contributor Versus Being Successful            340
                       Sean Ritchey 
Chapter 33     More Time is More Freedom               348
                       Brenna McBroom 
Chapter 34     Motivation, Method, and Mastery: How I learned                352
                       Music Without Being Taught.                                                                          Andrew Gilpin 
About the Editors 360

Editors Biographies:

Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko is a free-lance writer and blogger. She blogs extensively at Natural Born Learners ( and has founded Personalized Education Hamilton to facilitate self-determined learning in her community. She works for a not-for-profit environmental organization as a project manager and coordinator. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her husband and three children who were all unschooled for a time.
Visit her website to see other writing at

Carlo Ricci is a professor of education and currently teaches in the Graduate Program at the Schulich School of Education, Nipissing University. He edits and founded the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning. He has written and edited a number of books including The Willed Curriculum, Unschooling, and Self-Direction: What Do Love, Trust, Respect, Care, and Compassion Have to Do With Learning; and Turning points: 35 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Stories (AERO, 2010) with Jerry Mintz; and The Legacy of John Holt: A Man Who Genuinely Understood, Trusted, and Respected Children (HoltGWS, 2013) with Patrick Farenga. He has also written numerous articles on unschooling and self-determined learning. He lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife and two children.

Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko
905 529 7408

Dr. Carlo Ricci
(519) 752-1524 ext. 7510

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Personalized Education Hamilton
Natural Born Learners

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Learning, gratitude

New pages:

Pam Sorooshian, ten years ago, refuting a bad characterization of unschooling:

Joanna Wilkinson is through with unschooling! (read the bottom first, if you want, when you're there)