E11 - The Legacy of John Holt: A Conversation with Pat Farenga about the unschooling movements beginning.

Self Directed - patrick farenga

🗓️ Recorded January 24th, 2023. 📍Casa Nina, Sampieri, Sicily, Italy

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About this Episode  

Patrick Farenga is a writer and education activist who worked closely with the late author and teacher John Holt and continues his work today as the president of HoltGWS LLC. After Holt died, Farenga published Growing Without Schooling magazine (GWS) from 1985 until 2001.

We first met Pat Farenga when he interviewed us for the John Holt Growing Without Schooling website in 2018. Since then, we have become friends, and now it is our pleasure to introduce you to this wonderful man who has done so much for spreading the knowledge of unschooling and for John Holt’s work in particular.

Pat Farenga met John Holt in the 1970s and became a close collaborator and friend. Together, they worked on several projects aimed at promoting unschooling and helping parents navigate the challenges of homeschooling. Pat was an integral part of John Holt's organization, Growing Without Schooling, which provided resources and support for parents interested in unschooling.

After John Holt passed away in 1985, Pat Farenga continued publishing the Growing Without Schooling magazine. A magazine he today is re-editing into books, so the many great stories of how you can live a life without school are available for even more people.

Thank you, Pat, for all the work you are doing to help families live their lives - free from school and free to learn.

Clips from this episode  

Schooling and education are not the same thing. Do you know the origin of the word "education"?

"Did you know that the word 'education' comes from the Latin 'educara', which means to draw forth? Specifically, it refers to the act of drawing forth mother's milk - a nurturing, nourishing act that's all about supporting growth and development. But in our modern schooling system, we've lost sight of this original meaning. Instead of drawing forth the natural curiosity and creativity of young learners, we push them to conform to a fixed curriculum and schedule. That's why unschooling and self-directed learning are so powerful - they prioritize the individual needs and interests of each learner, and give them the freedom to explore and grow in their own way. 

Have you ever wondered if homeschooling or unschooling could be a good fit for your family?

One way to get a better sense of what it's really like is to meet some homeschoolers and their kids. This is the #1 piece of advice Pat Farenga gives when he meets people who are curious about Unschooling:

“Go look for someone who homeschools or unschools - And try to meet their children. What got me convinced that homeschooling works was my conversations with the kids. It was very interesting to talk to them …  and all of a sudden it's like, wow. “

We highly recommend talking to some families who are already doing it. And don't just talk to the parents - try to meet their kids too! Unschooling isn't just an alternative to traditional schooling - it's a vibrant community of families committed to nurturing their children's curiosity and helping them thrive.

So if you're interested in learning more, reach out to some homeschoolers or unschoolers in your area. You might be surprised by what you discover!

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With love


Jesper Conrad 

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