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Free to Learn

Narrated by: Dan Woren
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
5 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Summary

Our children spend their days being passively instructed and made to sit still and take tests, —often against their will. We call this imprisonment schooling yet wonder why kids become bored and misbehave. Even outside of school children today seldom play and explore without adult supervision and are afforded few opportunities to control their own lives. The result: anxious, unfocused children who see schooling —and life— as a series of hoops to struggle through.

In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education. Yet we have squelched such instincts in a school model originally developed to indoctrinate, not to promote intellectual growth.

To foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, Gray demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. This capacity to learn through play evolved long ago, in hunter-gatherer bands where children acquired the skills of the culture through their own initiatives. And these instincts still operate remarkably well today, as studies at alternative, democratically administered schools show. When children are in charge of their own education, they learn better —and at lower cost than the traditional model of coercive schooling.

A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children and start asking what's wrong with the system. It shows how we can act —both as parents and as members of society —to improve children's lives and promote their happiness and learning.

©2013 Peter Gray (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"“All kids love learning. Most don't love school. That's a disconnect we've avoided discussing—until this lightning bolt of a book. If you've ever wondered why your curious kid is turning into a sullen slug at school, Peter Gray's Free to Learn has the answer. He also has the antidote." (Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids)

"“[A] well written, well organized and beautifully stated piece of work…. I emphatically recommend this book for any parent as well as any educator or anyone interested in improving education for our society." (Laurette Lynn, UnpluggedMom.com)

"“[E]nergetic… Gray powerfully argues that schools inhibit learning…. [Gray's] vivid illustrations of the ‘power of play to shape an individual are bound to provoke a renewed conversation about turning the tide in an educational system that fosters conformity and inhibits creative thinking." (Publishers Weekly)   

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Brilliant book!

This is a must for every parent to read! It reminds me of my childhood when I can do almost anything with freedom!

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Trust

Has changed my view on education & allowing my son to learn. How to be a trusting parent.

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Amazing

A must read for all. We must start respecting our children. They are the future.

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Mind blowing

I already knew there's plenty of problems with the regular school system, but this book really convinced me that homeschooling is the best. If I can find a community of like-minded people with children in the new few years I would love to join this wonderful movement!

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    5 out of 5 stars

Factual, informative, life changing

As a mindful parent considering homeschooling this gave me the confidence that it's right choice.

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  • Alan Timothy Lester
  • 18-09-18

Tremendous

life changing information for parents. It's on my list of the 10 most amazing books I've read.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Firecracker
  • 12-09-18

This is a great book!

Great book!
A lot of information including the history of schools!
Explains the natural ways kids learn. I am so grateful for unschool. All children deserve to be happy with no anxiety.

Kids are being medicated with a sedative just to be able to go to school (this isn't in the book)! This is unacceptable. Some children have Pathological Demand Avoidance and unschool is the way they thrive. There are many other children that could thrive from this as well! It promotes free thinking. We need more free thinkers for outside the box thinking. The medical field in particular REALLY needs this!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Elan Sun Star
  • 11-04-20

incredibly rich -informative and inspiring

I really love this book. I admire the comprehensive nature of Peter Gray's experience and informative and informative style style.. Of all the books I've read Of all the books I've read on on on schooling on schooling and on liberal methods of free classrooms everything from Waldorf school to Montessori to free schools and to nature schools, this book stands apart in its spectrum of illustration of principles and success stories. The concept of freedom in Learning and curiosity and commitment both demands and deserves to be put in Front and center Front and center when we as students as students as adults as adults as teachers and instructors begin to comprehend the importance only allowing students to determine only allowing students to determine a Certain amount a Certain amount of freedom of freedom in their decisions about what to learn we're learned how to learn we're learned how to learn and how to be responsible when given and that sort of freedom and liberty when given and that sort of freedom and liberty....

Thank you Peter gray...we so appreciate you're insights and lifetime of Study and teaching in passing on in passing on these stories which illustrate the success of this style of learning.

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  • Lindsay Izzo
  • 20-01-20

first ever audible, excellent!

We are in the process of switching to homeschooling. I am so incredibly grateful to Peter for writing this book. It was full of great insight into the world of education. I truly enjoyed the history he went into and how the book was laid out. the narrator was absolutely fantastic and I found myself not wanting to turn the audible book off.

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  • jesi28
  • 25-04-19

School teacher thoughts

As a public school teacher, now considering unschooling my child, I found this very helpful. It had tons of evidence based stories and research. I’m going to recommend teachers read it.

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  • S. Neyhart
  • 01-07-20

Peter Nails it!

Loved the book, listened straight through. I did rewind a couple times to take notes and paused to meditate. I was aware some things he discussed in this book but was more inspired and enlightened reading this book. I highly recommend!

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  • Juan Z.
  • 03-01-20

great book!

very informative and helpful. sudberry valley looks amazing. anyone looking to homeschool should check it out #wellnessrising

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  • Kelly E Workman
  • 21-12-19

Powerful must-read for parents!

Enjoyed it from beginning to end. Eye-opening and powerful. Will be adopting what I learned into my every day life with my 5 kids. A+

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  • luke ohalloran
  • 26-10-19

Communist hypocrite

This guy is very biased and anti-God. He says he’s a Darwinian in the beginning, but then becomes very unbalanced. He doesn’t know his history. The Catholic Church is responsible for many issues-Martin Luther and the reformation set men free to think, believe, learn, worship and live as they saw fit. It created personal responsibility and created a platform for capitalism-which lifted the world out of poverty. Look at the statistics people-compare the poverty level of 150 years ago to modern times. You ought to be thankful you live now. I digress, he acts like “the church” and capitalism ruined the world. I’m all for more freedom with my kids-that’s why my wife and I homeschool and allow them to pursue their interests. His approach is very unbalanced and he obviously has a big problem with a God he doesn’t believe lol. Very contradictory. He acts like the puritans were awful for introducing personal responsibility. And yet wants us to let our children do whatever they want and teach themselves... very frustrating book. He mixes politics (he’s communist/socialist) and anti-religion with how to raise our children.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jandeck
  • 18-10-19

World changing ideas!

I love this. As an unschooling family, this book has helped give me the confidence to be proud of my choice and not shy away from the decision to tell others. Excellent science based data with storytelling to keep it fresh and entertaining. Read it.