How Children Learn, 50th Anniversary Edition

By: John Holt
Narrated by: Matthew Kugler
Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (145 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Fifty years ago John Holt woke the dreary world of educational theory by showing that for small children "learning is as natural as breathing". his brilliant observations are as true today as they were then. Over one million copies were sold worldwide in the decades that followed. Today the theorists are still squabbling, and Holt's wisdom is needed more than ever. As a hero of progressive education and homeschoolers, his time has come again.

A new foreword by eminent school reformer Deborah Meier, of the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, reveals the lasting influence of John Holt's ideas and their relevance for the students today.

©2017 HoltGWS LLC (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about How Children Learn, 50th Anniversary Edition

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Really helpful

Such an eye opener listening to this book. This is a book I will listen too again and again as a reminder.

5 people found this helpful

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So many truths and treasures!

This book rocks! Narrator is quite good. I thought he captured the personality of the author well. I was never bored or annoyed at his voice either and I’m pretty picky with narrators.

I was homeschooled all the way up to college. I LOVED school, I loved it so much I covered two grades worth of material in one year, and still couldn’t get enough. I deep dived into many, many subjects that interested me, as well as covering all the other subjects that were set in the curriculum we used. My parents chose to do sort of a hybrid between curriculum based (more structured) homeschooling and unschooling (unbeknownst to them). I couldn’t wait to learn and was really excited to go to college and major in a subject that I was passionate about.
Then something happened when I went to College. I hated it. I couldn’t understand why all the sudden learning was so boring. Even in classes that really interested me, I would get excited about it at first, and then get extremely bored with it after a couple weeks in. It seemed so constrained. Not to mention downright hard to understand.
Then I listened to this audio book and was amazed to finally understand why I was having such a hard time in the traditional education system. The truths in Holt’s book resonated so deeply with me because I have experienced them first hand. I have had the opportunity to homeschool to little boys of my own and see these truths play out time and time again. If you are at all unsure about homeschooling your children in this model, I would not hesitate for another second! Just please please please! Make sure your children have as many quality resources at their disposal as possible! Use the library. Take advantage of the love you live in and explore! Go to the ocean, river, lake or pond, the forest, field or slough. Go to museums, cultural centers, your neighbors house. Ask company’s for a tour of their business! It’s so much fun to watch children, excited and enthusiastic about the world around them. You’ll even catch a little of that curiosity yourself if you’re not careful!
Please consider this way of educating your children. You will find it to be really fun! Hard work, yes. But you and your children will thank your future self later- for the effort, care and love you put into this crucial aspect of their lives, and for helping them love to learn and grow everyday.

10 people found this helpful

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Good insights

Overall I enjoyed this book and I can apply this more in my children’s life as a parent. The beginning was a little slow but it had excellent insights and examples. Definitely would recommend.

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A Must listen!

Amazing book. It has had a profound effect on me as a parent and as a human being. Essential for anyone with little (or not so little) ones in their life.

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Recommended Listening for Parents, Teachers, & Adults around children

Anyone who spends any amount of time with children need this book. It demonstrates the beautiful exchange between the smallest in our population and adults. Presents a logical approach for how to engage with and encourage children to feel safe learning and growing and taking part in our world.

I hope this book continues to positively impact the much needed change in our education system. I hope parents see how simply children learn and feel empowered to play and take active roles in their children’s learning process. I hope anyone who reads this book remains open minded and challenges their own perceptions and opinions. I hope we all shift our teaching styles more towards “how children learn.”

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incredible, glad I read this

Well read, excellent. This was read with such understanding and conviction, I almost thought it was the author himself. The content here is inspiring. A great read as I am new to homeschooling, unschooling, and intentional parenting.

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  • Noonesfield
  • 03-08-19

Children are born to learn

I am so thankful that many years ago I heard of John Holt. I home educated my four children and what a thrill and pleasure to watch them learn in exactly the way that John describes. This book is the perfect insight for people who want to find out how to best facilitate their children's learning and that is stepping back and letting them get on with it, turn off your teacher voice, answer what you are asked and be able to say: "Hmmm! I don't know. I will have to look that up." Show your child by your example that not knowing and finding out is normal.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-07-19

loved every bit of this book.

i will listen to it again. it helped me to become better parent for my children

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-16-20

50+ years of wisdom

This was written over 50 years ago and we are still in this trap of transmitted education.
This is a motivational and valuable book for all teachers/educators to read and reflect on.

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  • David
  • 09-18-19

Could be a lot shorter

Enjoyed the first 1/4 but the remaining 3/4 was long winded and a grind to get through.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-29-19

Brilliant

I didn’t really know much about this book before listening to it, other than that I had a vague memory of possibly hearing it recommended somewhere. At the start of the book I felt a bit apprehensive, wondering if the whole thing was just going to be a recollection of his interactions with children (playing with his typewriter and whatnot), but as I got further in I was blown away by the simplistic, yet revelational, truths of how children learn. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who has involvement in the lives of children (but especially parents). This is definitely the kind of book that I will return to over time to absorb the insights it provides. Thank-you for this wonderful work, Mr. Holt.

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  • Kirsten Cant
  • 04-30-19

Loved this book

It really illustrated to me how much we should follow the child’s lead and have faith that the child will learn in their own way and time, and forcing them to learn in someone else’s time will only stifle their learning and motivation