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Free to Learn

Narrated by: Dan Woren
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

Non-member price: $39.71

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Publisher's 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)   

What listeners say about Free to Learn

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powerful and insightful book

every parent teacher amd child care worker must read this book. Its life changing and i cannot wait to start implementing these philosophies into our lives

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A complete rethink of current education

Many people in society are worried about rising rates of mental illness and the fact that many children get high grades but then in the real world they don't understand what was taught to them. Free to Play offers a profound rethinking of the schooling system based on modern science but also a look back at hunter gather tribes.

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some fantastic information.

as an unschooler I found a lot of the topics very interesting and have definitely related to the way it was discussed full stop when we first left school or my son was in grade 2

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  • Alan Timothy Lester
  • 18-09-2018

Tremendous

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

5 people found this helpful

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  • Elan Sun Star
  • 11-04-2020

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
  • 20-01-2020

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
  • 25-04-2019

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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  • Firecracker
  • 12-09-2018

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!

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  • Anna
  • 31-08-2020

A MUST read for anyone working with children.

This book is most helpful with opening the adult mind to understanding why children need freedom. Read it! You won't be sorry that you did.

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  • Juan Z.
  • 03-01-2020

great book!

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

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  • Andrew George
  • 18-08-2020

Mind blown

A must read for anyone with children and anyone who cares about the future of our education system and world. Great history lesson on how our current education system came into existence. And truly insightful on what kids really need and how to provide that for them.

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  • Christina Johnson
  • 10-07-2020

Great Information! Well researched.

I loved the link to actual case and scientific studies. He put together a well rounded book for the everyday person.

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  • S. Neyhart
  • 01-07-2020

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-09-2020

Eye opening and well constructed

Really enjoyed listening to this book. Play is the source of all learning and the importance of providing your children with an environment in which they can play and learn becomes very clear throughout.

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  • japoc
  • 20-01-2020

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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  • Anita Pickavance
  • 24-10-2019

Trust

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

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  • Love.peace
  • 13-10-2019

Amazing

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

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  • Cheila
  • 24-07-2019

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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  • woowoo
  • 14-06-2019

Factual, informative, life changing

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