"No use to shout at them to pay attention.
If the situations, the materials,
the problems before the child do not interest him,
his attention will slip off to what does interest him,
and no amount of exhortation of threats will bring it back."
John Holt
(1923-1985) American author and educator, proponent of homeschooling, and pioneer in youth rights theory
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Reader comments about this quote:
An excellent and frequently ignored observation. The truth is that 'adult' can be substituted for 'child' here with equal relevance.
 -- Byron, Fort Collins, CO     
  • 1
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx      
    Very true. I can remember the slappings and whuppings my folks gave me trying to force me over into what interested them.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
  • 1
    Shouting will get attention. But most likely will not direct the attention to the desired place. And a competition of shouting may develope.
     -- wayne, naples     
  • 1
    Owning a school for a while and home schooling my children has proven out the quote.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    This has been my experience, too. As a homeschooling parent I am often amazed to find my children 'studying' without my having to suggest it. They come to me and say, "Hey, Dad, did you know that [such and such]?" about something new they read about. And I have heard Waffler say in a previous post ridiculing home-schooled kids as being oppressed by their parents -- let me just say that that is not the case in our home at all. My children are very aware of my thoughts and opinions about the world, and they do not automatically accept them -- that is more than fine by me. Let them come to their own opinions and view things from their own experience. They are young, and they do not need to inherit my own jaded views -- they are still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and eager to live life to the fullest -- more power to them!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
     -- Tookie Walthall, San Antonio, TX      
    So true!!!
     -- Steve Hambling, Aylmer, Quebec     
     -- Ronw13, OR      
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