On reading

by Lilia Efimova on 29 May 2015

You recognise an unschooling house by its space and materials… This time I pick up How children learn from a shelf and start reading on reading. Between other things Jonh Holt writes about the complexity of a language that children learn by themselves and how reading compares to it:

Allover the world children acquire this extraordinary amount of information, most of it by the time they are six, and most of it, as I have described, by themselves, without anything that we could call formal instruction. Compered with this task, the task of learning to read even English is very, very small. To be sure, it can’t be done overnight; but it certainly doesn’t deserve all the worry and agony that we put into it. All we accomplish, by our worrying, simplifying, and teaching, is to make reading a hundred times harder for children than it need be. p.158

That, of course, brings me to a bigger question – how much of a school program is essential? How much is there because of our assumptions that certain theoretical constructs aid learning particular concepts or skills? How much is legacy or being politically correct? How much of the content is “just something” that was good enough to help a growing mind developing in a right direction?

And talking about the language acquisition – during our stay in Delft we have found that Alexander picked up enough English by osmosis to start using it :)

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