Children who grow up in a literate and numerate environment do not need to be taught how to read or how to use numbers to calculate. They pick these skills up in the course of their everyday living. In this collection of essays, developmental psychologist Peter Gray presents the evidence that this is so. He also presents evidence that teaching-especially when it is forced and comes too early-can interfere with children's learning to read and calculate. In addition, in one essay he describes the difference between Self-Directed Education and progressive education, and in another he presents evidence refuting the claim that children lose academic skills during summer vacation from school (the so-called "summer slide"). This book is especially valuable for parents who are thinking of opting out of standard schooling for their children but are concerned about their children's acquisition of academic skills. It is also valuable for educators who are interested in stretching their understanding of how children naturally learn the kinds of skills that schools try to teach.
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