Wendy Priesnitz - writer, editor, changemaker
Wendy Priesnitz
writer, editor, changemaker
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“Life learning is about trusting kids to learn what they need to know and about helping them to learn and grow in their own ways. It is about respecting the everyday experiences that enable children to understand and interact with the world and their culture.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Home-based education is not an experiment. It’s how people learned to function in the world for centuries. And there is no reason to think people today can’t do the same thing. School is the experiment, not the lack of it. And I think that experiment is in trouble.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Learning has been described as an art form. And yes, it might well be that. But we’re born with the necessary talent. To think that a child needs to be taught how to learn is an example of ubiquitous adult arrogance.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“One of my early memories of school is wondering when they were going to start teaching me the things I didn’t know, rather than what I already knew. Many years later, I began to understand how, insidiously, school had reinforced my inadequacies and had left me with ‘learned incompetency’ and a fear of not being able to do things ‘right’ the first time.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“We must demolish the institution of schooling because it impedes learning and enslaves children. Then we need to put both money and creativity into creating opportunities and infrastructures that respect children and help them learn.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Perhaps the most basic assumption our society makes about education is that learning can and should be produced in people. This assumption leads to another one: Learning is the result of treatment by an institution called school.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Public education reflects our society’s paternalistic, hierarchical worldview, which exploits children in the same way it takes the earth’s resources for granted.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Because schools suffocate children’s hunger to learn, learning appears to be difficult and we assume that children must be externally motivated to do it.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“I look forward to the day when the transition from passive learning to active living has ended and we all see the word “school” and its various forms as a strange little artifact of the past. That will be the day when there is no longer a need to label how we live (and inevitably learn) in our families, to devise parameters for those labels, or to judge those who disagree about their definitions.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“As a society, we must own up to the damage we do to our children…in our families and in our schools. We must also be willing to make the sweeping changes in our institutions, public policies and personal lives that are necessary to reverse that harm to our children and to our society.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz, Challenging Assumptions in Education

“The mere fact that most school attendance is compulsory reflects an attitude of mistrust of children and their desire to make sense of the world. In fact, if governments were really serious about their professed goal of developing, nurturing, and enhancing the intellectual and moral autonomy of the young, would they not have to abolish compulsory, externally imposed education?” ~ Wendy Priesnitz, School Free: The Homeschooling Handbook

“Children don’t need to be taught how to learn; they are born learners. They come out of the womb interacting with and exploring their surroundings. Babies are active learners, their burning curiosity motivating them to learn how the world works. And if they are given a safe, supportive environment, they will continue to learn hungrily and naturally – in the manner and at the speed that suits them best.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“The force-feeding process of schooling is so relentless that many students gag on it. They tune out or leave school, and in some cases, become permanently soured on learning.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“I wonder why so many parents still want to keep their children hidden away in schools, when they could be learning in the wonderful, bright, ever-changing, always-stimulating real world.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Our rapidly moving, information-based society badly needs people who know how to find facts rather than memorize them, and who know how to cope with change in creative ways. You don’t learn those things in school.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Our schooling has led us to misunderstand the difference between the power to do something and the force that makes us do something. We were told one too many times to sit in our seats and listen, to put up our hands when we had to go to the bathroom, and to buy what we were offered.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz, Challenging Assumptions in Education

“Personal empowerment begins with realizing the value of our own life experience and potential to affect the world. Our children deserve the opportunity to be part of – and learn from – the daily lives of their families and communities.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“We need to separate our identities as people from our university degree.  That of course, ultimately means letting our names appear naked on our business cards.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz, Challenging Assumptions in Education

“Trusting ourselves as parents is as important – and as difficult – as trusting our children.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“If feminism is the radical notion that women are people, how much more radical is it to extend personhood to children?” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“If we truly are living as if school doesn’t exist, we can stop describing ourselves in school terms. We can de-couple learning – and the life we’re living with our families – from the institution of school. When we use words like ‘unschooling,’ we are reacting to school, rather than leaving it behind as the short-term social experiment it was.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“The adrenaline rush that accompanies fear is addictive and it crowds out reason. That’s why it is used to sell newspapers, wars, prescription drugs, pesticide spraying, weapons in outer space and political candidates. Tell people they are in danger and they will do what you want them to.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“In order to create the profound transformation that is required in our values, culture, and worldview, I believe we need to examine our attitudes toward what may be the last oppressed group in our society: children. We must re-evaluate not only how we educate them, but how we birth them, nurture their ability to think creatively and independently, respect their rights, shape their values, learn from their instinctive kinship with the natural world and with each other.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Bringing a child into this world teaches us – perhaps in a way nothing else can – about the emotional, social, cultural, economic, educational, and environmental responsibilities that are part of being human.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz, It Hasn't Shut Me Up

“…a person who is radical is one who examines the roots of issues. And a radical solution to a problem is one that arises from that examination, addressing what we sometimes call the root cause, rather than the more superficial symptoms.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“In our culture, trusting and respecting children is radical; everything else is details.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz

“Once I understood the difference between power-over and power-to, I began to wonder why otherwise progressively-minded  people who care about issues like self-government, environmental abuse, and overcoming corporatism and patriarchy have a blind spot about how we are treating children in our public education systems.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz, It Hasn't Shut Me Up

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