A book jumps off a library shelf.
I take it home and read it.
I realize that my own schooling career left quite a bit to be desired.
I recall how much more satisfaction I found when my natural desires led me to learn on my own.
The next question facing me was this: How could I be sure that my daughters would be natural learners? What evidence might I find in their young lives to support the claim that they are instinctively driven to learn?
Well. If my mental recall did not turn up ample evidence, a quick flip through my photo albums answered the question once and for all. In one shot after the next, my daughters can be seen exploring, playing, experimenting and solving problems in their little worlds.
Even in this series of photos, in which each daughter is under the age of two, it's obvious that they are very capable learners. And it's also obvious that even at such tender ages, they needed no one to teach them these things. Who needs to be taught how to play in the sand, rip open the mail, empty an ice cube tray, pull yourself up to a standing position, or help yourself to a yummy snack?
Like every other baby I have ever met, my daughters arrived in this life ready to learn. They required not a teacher, but a few loving adults who could provide a place of safety and love that allowed them to go on about their business of figuring out the world at their own pace. And they were thriving.
So, John Holt, I could only conclude that you were right once again. My daughters were indeed naturally bright, bold, curious learning machines, and the odds were probably pretty good that traditional schooling would blunt rather than enhance their desire to learn.
No more doubts about John Holt's philosophy of allowing children to learn and grow at their own pace, unfettered by adult controls and stifling classroom processes. Now the $500 question was staring me in the face.
What was I going to do about it?