Friday, August 7, 2015

The Optimal Context for Self-Education

Today was the first day of the HSC homeschooling conference, here in California, and this year Peter Gray is the keynote speaker. Tomorrow morning is his big keynote talk on learning through play, but today he gave two other talks. One of them was on the biology of education-- looking back at anthropological research on human evolution, and combining that with modern studies on learning and current research on unstructured child-led learning in democratic schools and unschooling families. He came up with a list of six key elements that provide an optimal context for self-education:

  1. The social expectation (and reality) that education is children's responsibility.
  2. Unlimited freedom to play, explore, and pursue own interests.
  3. Opportunity to play with the tools of the culture.
  4. Access to a variety of caring adults, who are helpers, not judges.
  5. Free age mixing among children and adolescents.
  6. Immersion in a stable, moral, democratic environment. 

There's more to be said about these, but I just wanted to quickly post them here as one place to remember them.

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