John Holt: Advocate of at Home Schooling

In this 1980 interview, the late educator John Holt discussed his views on human learning and education policy and how they evolved over his years to the point where he became an at-home schooling activist.


| July/August 1980



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John Holt sitting for an interview.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

A little over ten years ago, the movement which aimed to make America's schools relevant, enjoyable, and truly useful for their students was at its peak. John Holt was one of the leaders of that drive to make educational institutions more child centered rather than teacher centered. In fact, his books How Children Fail and How Children Learn practically sparked off the education reform movement all by themselves!  

But that was ten years ago. Today, the attempt to establish "alternative," "open," or "free" schooling is all but dead. And, to tell the truth, most people have pretty much forgotten about that movement's emissary, John Holt.  

MOTHER EARTH NEWS, however, is still very much aware of Mr. Holt for two reasons. For one thing, the irrepressible New Englander won't let us forget him! John's a dedicated reader of this magazine, and he frequently writes us with suggestions, praise, and candid criticism.  

More important, though, the one-time schoolteacher has not abandoned his efforts to help children learn and grow. Instead, John has taken a new approach, one that he sees as being the only logical response to the appallingly poor quality of public education and its innate resistance to change.  

Namely, John Holt now devotes his energies to assisting people who want to help their youngsters learn at home ... after pulling the children out of school altogether!He now champions at-home schooling.

Why did a man who was at one time a conservative, traditional schoolteacher come to advocate keeping one's children out of school? How can parents successfully remove their youngsters from public school in the first place? And why does Mr. Holt think that readers of THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS should be especially interested in his ideas?  





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