Ã¢â‚¬Å“The words ‘expect’ and ‘expectation’ are on the whole badly misunderstood and misused by most people who write about children. Most people use them as synonyms for ‘demand’ or ‘insist’ or ‘compel.’ When they say we should have higher expectations of children, they mean that we should demand that they do certain things and threaten to punish them if they do not. When I speak of expecting a lot of children, I only mean that we should not in our minds put an upper limit on what they may be able to do. I don’t mean that we should assume that they can, and therefore should, do certain things or be disappointed and worried if they do not Ã¢â‚¬â€œ everyone has his own path and timetable into life.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is important that we try to understand how the idea of help has been so largely corrupted and turned into a destructive exploitation, how the human act of helping is turned more and more into a commodity, an industry, and a monopoly.Ã¢â‚¬Â (P. 79)
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And so the family home, which we often hear described as the place where we are free to be and dare to be nicer and kinder than we can be anywhere else, turn out much of the time to be the place where at least with our children harsher, more cruel, more contemptuous and insulting, than we would anywhere else.Ã¢â‚¬Â (P. 77)
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For many years now, in all kinds of places and circumstances, I have noticed that most adults around children do not act as people do when they are with people they like, but very much the opposite. They are anxious, irritable, impatient, looking for fault and usually find it.Ã¢â‚¬Â (P. 66)
Ã¢â‚¬Å“…it seems to me very unlikely that most of the human beings who have ever lived, doing work they needed to do to get their food, clothing and shelter and to maintain the structures of their community life, thought of this work as being a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœstruggle for survival.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Is a person Ã¢â‚¬ËœstrugglingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ when he raises food which he will eat, or make clothing, or builds or fixes his dwelling? The notion is absurd.Ã¢â‚¬Â (P. 62-63)
“A generation that does not believe it can make a future that it will like, or trust or love any future it can imagine, has nothing to pass onto and hence nothing to say to the young. It might seem a paradox that our society, which perhaps more than any that ever existed is obsessed with the need to control events, nature, people, everything, should feel more than any other that things are out of control.” (P. 57-58)
“Whatever is strong and healthy in families, whatever meets real human needs, enhances and enriches life, cannot and will not be threatened by what I propose here. Any institution that really works is immune to attack, however severe. Reality has its own strength. … Happily married couples who after many years get great strength and joy from each other’s company simply smile and go on with their life when they hear that marriage is nothing but a device for the exploitation of women, or whatever it may be. Their experience tells them better.” (P.
On this subject, I probably have a better sense of the point at which
John Holt is driving at in this chapter than in most other ones. In the prehistory
article, I wrote that I had grown up on a homestead type operation. I
came from a large family and much of the work we did, we did by hand. I
can remember the first tractor arriving, when I was nine. Because I was
the smallest person who was big enough to do so, I can remember driving
it when I was nine.
“We might think of human life as a sort of curve… for every human
being that curve is a single curve, a wholeness.” (P. 25)
This is something that most home educators come to realize somewhere in
their career. But it is easy to understand how parents who send their
children off to school for 12 or more years do not see it.
“We do not, like some insects, suddenly turn from one kind of creature
into another that is very different.” (P. 25)
I’m going to revise my earlier statement regarding a synopsis. In
reality, I will mostly be quoting the sentences or ideas that struck me
at first pass and writing some commentary on the quotes. With most
books when I read them, some things stand out the first time around.
But in many cases, I have reread a book a few times and noticed
different things during each reading.