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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. Order HERE.
 

FREE RANGE KIDS has become a national movement, sparked by the incredible response to Lenore Skenazy's piece about allowing her 9-year-old to ride the subway alone in NYC.

Parent groups argued about it, bloggers, blogged, spouses became uncivil with each other, and the media jumped all over it. A lot of parents today, Skenazy says, see no difference between letting their kids walk to school and letting them walk through a firing range.

Any risk is seen as too much risk. But if you try to prevent every possible danger or difficulty in your child's everyday life, that child never gets a chance to grow up.

We parents have to realize that the greatest risk of all just might be trying to raise a child who never encounters choice or independence.

Order HERE.

Education has become synonymous with schooling, but it doesn’t have to be.

As schooling becomes increasingly standardized and test driven, occupying more of childhood than ever before, parents and educators are questioning the role of schooling in society. 

Many are now exploring and creating alternatives. In a compelling narrative that introduces historical and contemporary research on self-directed education, Unschooled also spotlights how a diverse group of individuals and organizations are evolving an old schooling model of education.

These innovators challenge the myth that children need to be taught in order to learn. They are parents who saw firsthand how schooling can dull children’s natural curiosity and exuberance and others who decided early on to enable their children to learn without school.

Educators who left public school classrooms discuss launching self-directed learning centers to allow young people’s innate learning instincts to flourish, and entrepreneurs explore their disillusionment with the teach-and-test approach of traditional schooling.

Order HERE.

What is self-directed education?

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Prof. Peter Gray's quick primer on the basics of Self-Directed Education (SDE) -- from the Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE)

Ron Davis describes dyslexia as "The Mother of Learning Disabilities." He explains why many other conditions have the same root cause as dyslexia, including ADD/ADHD, Autism, Dyscalculia/Acalculia, Dysgraphia/Agraphia, and Hyperactivity.

He then shows how the learning disability of dyslexia is caused by the successful use of visual thinking skills at an early age. This "gift" works well for recognizing real life objects, but not printed symbols such as alphabet letters and words. Disorientation is turned on by confusion, so the stress and invalidation typically encountered during the early school years compound the problem. 

In part three, Ron Davis explains "the gift" - that multi-dimensional thinking (using all the senses) takes place much faster than verbal thinking. Dyslexics tend to be more curious, creative, and intuitive than average. They tend to be highly aware of the environment, inventive, and good at real world tasks. Their special mode of thought also produces the gift of mastery: once they have learned something experientially, they understand it on such a deep level that they know how to do things intuitively without thinking about how.

The book details two alternative, easily-learned mental exercises that allow dyslexics to reorient themselves and accurately recognize printed symbols. Davis offers a stress-free way for dyslexics to learn the basics of written language by modeling symbols and word concepts in clay--a multi-sensory process that enables them to exercise their creativity.

Podcast: Timeless Principles Of Healthy Traditional Diets (Part 1)

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Plant-based, Paleo, Vegan, Keto, Raw — there are so many health trends and fad diets out there! What advice do you take? What diet actually nourishes us the best? And which has stood the test of time? Sally Fallon Morell, the President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, offers clarity as she focuses on the timeless key principles of healthy traditional diets. Indigenous peoples all over the world have dietary and lifestyle customs that served them well for thousands of years. As Weston A. Price noted in the 1930s and 1940s, these traditions enabled them to maintain vibrant health, something we are desperately seeking today.

Sally kicks things off with a look at the common characteristics of the diets of isolated people groups worldwide—that included nutrient-dense foods, ferments, no refined or denatured foods of any kind. She helps us figure out how we can include more of these foods in our diets today. She goes over which fats are healthiest and discusses the dangerous trend of meat-less meats and avoiding animal products altogether.

Podcast: Timeless Principles Of Healthy Traditional Diets (Part 2)

Click on photo to the left to listen.

For the last few decades, the government has been telling us what to eat and what not to eat. Somehow their advice to eat low-fat, limit cholesterol, avoid red meat, and the like hasn’t done us any favors. We are less healthy as a populace than ever before. These principles have unfortunately led us in the wrong direction. Sally Fallon Morell is the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and the author of “Nourishing Traditions,” “Nourishing Broth,” “Nourishing Diets” and more. Sally understands what it takes to nourish people well. The secret lies in returning to ancestral traditions.

Today, Sally contrasts the government’s guidelines with timeless traditions. Sally debunks the erroneous advice with ancestral wisdom and science to back it up. She reminds us how to maximize nutrients like our ancestors did to return to and maintain excellent health.