“GO TO HELL.”
Peter Gray’s book starts with a bang – Peter’s son curses his parents and educators. Peter and his wife are crying: “This time I felt, maybe, I really would go to hell.” What would send him there? The book explores the dire consequences of forcefully educating children.
(Click the images to enlarge them.)
How can we stop being complicit? The book offers several answers to this question, including modeling one’s education after hunter-gatherers tribes. Kids can find the resources to live freer lives within modern tribes, such as techie start-ups, unschooler circles, and maker communities.
Peter Gray presents a five-part definition of play strikingly similar to math. It is useful for those into game design, experience design, curriculum design, and parenting.
There is a math club activity where students make “star diagrams” out of lists of what is important to them. Here is such a diagram explaining Peter Gray’s five types of play as they relate to math.
“Free to Learn” explores two venues of open education. First, democratic learning communities in freeschools such as Sudbury Valley or Reggio Emilia. Second, a style of trustful parenting and homeschooling called “unschooling” where individual families walk their own paths. Both provide the benefits of open education presented in the diagrams above.
Reading Peter Gray’s analysis of the two methods, the drawbacks are clear. In freeschools, resident teachers do not pursue their professions so that they can help children full-time. This leads to a situation where kids are rarely exposed to the projects of adults. Unschooling families can provide exposure to grown-up work. However, it is harder for individual families to maintain ongoing daily contact with a large multi-age group of kids.
Why not the benefits of both paths without the drawbacks? We need something beyond freeschools, and beyond unschooling. Let’s get to work!