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Dumbing Us Down
By John Taylor Gatto
John Taylor Gatto is one of the premier educational reformers. After 30 years teaching in the public schools, Gatto 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.
By Dan Pink
Anything by Dan Pink is great reading! But this book goes hand in hand with Punished By Rewards. Pink's assertions strongly match what we see in children and adults; carrot and stick motivation just doesn't work long term. Grades can motivate for short term learning, but the learning doesn't stick. Why not? Because reward systems don't tie into the human motivation system unless they are doing piecemeal work. Try what Pink suggests and see the amazing results!
Sparks of Genius
By Robert S. Root-Bernstein & Michelle Root-Bernstein
This is one of my all time favorite books! The authors interviewed the worlds most creative people and analyzed what made them so successful. They found 13 different tools that they used. From geometric visualization, pattern creation and recognition and many others, it helps us all to remember that success does not come from a standard education. Spending time on developing the Thinking Tools in this book will help all students become more creative!
The Unschooled Mind
By Howard Garner
Amongst other observations, Gardner laments that schools have so many constraints in testing and teaching basic skills that the institution is not set up for deeper, or genuine, learning. Another wonderful author, Gardner brings the scientific studies of how the brain learns best into stark contrast with how schools are constructed, and calls for a grand reinvention. It's a great read on how the brain learns.
The Well Trained Mind
By Susan Wise Bauer & Jessie Bauer
This book outlines the Classical Philosophy of Education, and gives practical guidance on how to pursue this type of education.
What Does It Mean To Be Well Educated?
By Alfie Kohn
Alfie Kohn has written a number of essays asking all of us to define what education is for, and how we can get there. This is required reading for anyone that cares about education.
Punished By Rewards
By Alfie Kohn
Another wonderful book by Alfie Kohn that helps us to understand the true nature of motivation and how rewards can kill a love of learning.
By John Holt
Like Alfie Kohn, John Holt is an education reformer. He has written several books, but this is my favorite! Children fail when they are bored and their education controlled. Reading this book, especially as a new homeschooler, enables parents to start to let go of the belief that public schools are the best places for learning.
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