Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

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A leading expert in childhood development makes the case for why self-directed learning -- "unschooling" -- is the best way to get kids to learn. In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children, and start asking what's wrong with the system. It shows how we can act -- both as parents and as members of society -- to improve children's lives and to promote their happiness and learning.
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About the author

Peter Gray is a research professor in the Department of Psychology at Boston College. The author of Psychology, a highly regarded college textbook, he writes a popular blog called Freedom to Learn for Psychology Today. He lives in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Basic Books
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Published on
Mar 5, 2013
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780465037919
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Learning Styles
Education / Non-Formal Education
Education / Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects
Family & Relationships / Education
Psychology / Developmental / Child
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Based on groundbreaking research that has the power to change the lives of countless children--and the adults who love them."
--Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts.

A book that offers hope and a pathway to success for parents, teachers, psychologists, and child development experts coping with difficult children.

     In Tom Boyce's extraordinary new book, he explores the "dandelion" child (hardy, resilient, healthy), able to survive and flourish under most circumstances, and the "orchid" child (sensitive, susceptible, fragile), who, given the right support, can thrive as much as, if not more than, other children.
     Boyce writes of his pathfinding research as a developmental pediatrician working with troubled children in child-development research for almost four decades, and explores his major discovery that reveals how genetic make-up and environment shape behavior. He writes that certain variant genes can increase a person's susceptibility to depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and antisocial, sociopathic, or violent behaviors. But rather than seeing this "risk" gene as a liability, Boyce, through his daring research, has recast the way we think of human frailty, and has shown that while these "bad" genes can create problems, they can also, in the right setting and the right environment, result in producing children who not only do better than before but far exceed their peers. Orchid children, Boyce makes clear, are not failed dandelions; they are a different category of child, with special sensitivities and strengths, and need to be nurtured and taught in special ways. And in The Orchid and the Dandelion, Boyce shows us how to understand these children for their unique sensibilities, their considerable challenges, their remarkable gifts.
This book explores research on processes that influence family-school partnerships in support of student learning and education. It highlights research related to culture, contexts, and development as families and schools work together to promote smooth transitions and academic achievement. The volume discusses research related to family and community engagement with schools, and describes the various mechanisms by which partnerships may support students’ long-term developmental outcomes and success beyond school. Each chapter sets forth a forward-thinking research agenda aimed at further understanding and implementing the processes by which family-school partnerships promote children’s healthy adjustment.

In addition to examining critical and emerging issues, this unique book also provides robust strategies, data, and rationales across the following areas:

Cultural processes and the connections among home, school, and community.Family-school relationships during adolescence.Achievement mediators of family engagement in children’s education.Continuities and consistencies across home and school systems.Uncovering processes and pathways in family-school research.Strengthening networks and attachments to promote child development.

Processes and Pathways of Family-School Partnerships Across Development is a must-have resource for researchers, scientist-practitioners, and graduate students in child and school psychology, educational policy and politics, family studies, developmental psychology, sociology of education, and other interrelated disciplines.

Throw off the shackles of formal schooling and embark upon a rich journey of self-directed, life-long learning

After over 100 years of mandatory schooling in the U.S., literacy rates have dropped, families are fragmented, learning "disabilities" are skyrocketing, and children and youth are increasingly disaffected. Thirty years of teaching in the public school system led John Taylor Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling is to blame, accomplishing little but to teach young people to follow orders like cogs in an industrial machine.

He became a fierce advocate of families and young people taking back education and learning, arguing that "genius is as common as dirt," but that conventional schooling is driving out the natural curiosity and problem-solving skills we're born with, replacing it with rule-following, fragmented time, and disillusionment.

Gatto's radical treatise on public education, a New Society Publishers bestseller for 25 years, continues to bang the drum for an unshackling of children and learning from formal schooling. Now, in an ever-more-rapidly changing world with an explosion of alternative routes to learning, it's poised to continue to shake the world of institutional education for many more years.

Featuring a new foreword from Zachary Slayback, an Ivy League dropout and cofounder of tech start-up career foundry Praxis, this 25th anniversary edition will inspire new generations of parents and students to take control of learning and kickstart an empowered society of self-directed lifetime-learners.

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