I recently finished a classic in child development: How Children Learn by John Holt. It reminded me a lot of Richard Feynman's writing, like Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!, because it was written as a collection of observations, stories, and lessons learned in very straightforward language. I loved the references to typewriters (which sound like really good objects for kids to explore) and other somewhat dated/classic items.
It seems like he was one of the first proponents of the natural abilities and curiosities of kids and giving them the opportunity to lead their own educational explorations. I can see how a lot of other more recent parenting authors have built upon his foundations.
My full notes on the book are below.
A while ago, I had read a newspaper article about parenting books inspired by different foreign countries. One of the books mentioned was There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids by Linda Akeson McGurk. I recently read it and enjoyed it, though it has a lot of overlap with other parenting books I had read before, such as Einstein Never Used Flashcards, Bringing up Bebe, and How to Raise an Adult. The main title of this book also reminds me of similar lessons about always playing outside despite any weather in The Art of Learning.
What I most enjoyed in the book were the various actual stories and details about schools and outdoor activities in Sweden, such as forest schools and various traditional games and groups that meet and enjoy the outdoors. I felt that most of the book could be summarized very succinctly and went on too long about pretty simple points (spend more time outside, less screen time, free range parenting, etc.). Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read, even though I learned fewer new things from it that I hadn't heard of before.
My notes on the book are below.
I just finished reading How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid by Julie Lythcott-Haims, and it was amazing. It's like it was written personally for me. I suffer from so many of the neuroses and overparenting tendencies the author outlines in the book (as did she), and I feel like I'm now on the first step towards my recovery after reading it.
Julie was my freshman dean at Stanford, and I'll always remember how she unified our class in our now-infamous "OHHHHH-SIX" (i.e., class of 2006) chant. It's interesting for me to see the journey that she's been in on since being dean at Stanford to where she is now as a parent and educator.
This book reminded me a lot of The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey, which I had read previously and also really enjoyed. That one focused a lot on academics and chores and was also really eye-opening.
The first half of the book talks about the problems and pitfalls of the overparenting tendency and the psychological harm to kids and parents. It sets a really persuasive stage on which the second half of the book responds with more practical solutions (down the words to use) to solve each part of the problem.
I really liked the sample scripts in this book for responding to kids and to fellow parents in difficult situations. I also really liked the lists of skills/abilities/chores/tasks that are appropriate for each approximate age as well as how to speak with kids and "continually question" in different ways as kids get older. There were also very good references in the book, both of other thought-leaders to follow online as well as other books to read. It's clear the author really did her homework and worked to build on top of a lot that has been written before on similar topics.
Now I'm really excited to see how I can put a lot of these ideas into practice and am trying to find and connect with other like-minded recovering "overparents."
My full notes and takeaways on the book are below.