Theory is one thing; empirical evidence is another. Is it true that children can educate themselves well, without coercion or coaxing, when provided with a supportive environment and plenty of opportunity to play, explore, observe, and socialize? In this collection of essays, developmental psychologist Peter Gray presents evidence from a variety of sources that this indeed is true. One essay points out the amazing amount that little children learn before anyone attempts to teach them in any formal way. Another presents evidence from anthropological research that children in hunter-gatherer cultures educated themselves well, for life in their culture, with no formal instruction. This is followed by an essay summarizing the results of research showing that graduates of the Sudbury Valley School-a school designed for Self-Directed Education-have succeeded very well in higher education, jobs, and life in general. The final seven essays all deal with the results of research, conducted by Peter Gray and Gina Riley, into unschooling families and the lives of adults who grew up unschooled. "Unschooling" here is defined as the variety of homeschooling in which children are not subjected to an imposed curriculum but are allowed to follow their own interests and thereby educate themselves.
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