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The Call of the Wild and Free

Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child's Education

By Ainsley Arment
18-minute read
Audio available
The Call of the Wild and Free by Ainsley Arment

The Call of the Wild and Free (2019) is a practical guide for homeschooling children, brimming with advice and inspiration for parents thinking about an alternative education for their children. In the process, it dispels a few old stereotypes about homeschooling and makes a case for its legitimacy as a model of education today. Frequently going beyond homeschooling to reflect upon the concept of education generally, the author presents both a powerful critique of the school system and a call to arms to educate our children differently.

  • Parents thinking about an alternative education for their children
  • Educators looking for ideas to complement a traditional education
  • Anyone who wants to rekindle their own childhood curiosity and adventurousness

Ainsley Arment is a homeschool mother, founder of the online homeschooling community Wild + Free, and a leader in the burgeoning homeschool movement. She has nine years of experience homeschooling her five children.

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The Call of the Wild and Free

Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child's Education

By Ainsley Arment
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
The Call of the Wild and Free by Ainsley Arment
Synopsis

The Call of the Wild and Free (2019) is a practical guide for homeschooling children, brimming with advice and inspiration for parents thinking about an alternative education for their children. In the process, it dispels a few old stereotypes about homeschooling and makes a case for its legitimacy as a model of education today. Frequently going beyond homeschooling to reflect upon the concept of education generally, the author presents both a powerful critique of the school system and a call to arms to educate our children differently.

Key idea 1 of 11

The author decided on homeschooling to give her son his childhood back.

On his first day of school, the author packed her son Wyatt onto the school bus and watched as it wound its way down the street. Then, she did what any mother would do – she jumped in her car and followed it.

She followed it all the way to school, keeping an eye on Wyatt’s bobbing head through the glass. She watched as her boy walked into the building and out of sight. And then, sitting alone in the car, she began to weep for the conclusion of her son’s swift childhood.

At this point, in the author's mind, school was certainly not a matter to be questioned. Children have to go to school. It’s part and parcel of growing up. Everybody does it. And so the author put up with it. She put up with the distance that was, slowly but surely, burgeoning between them.

She would put up with anything if it was for the good of her son. But, her son was changing. He started to care about what his peers thought about him. He was losing his childish curiosity and playing less. The author would say that it was as if the light in his eyes had been snuffed out.

And she missed her friend.

It was another homeschooling mother who first put the idea onto the author’s radar. Never before had she taken the concept seriously. 

After all, she didn’t want her child to grow up weird. She didn’t want to scuttle his future.

But, faced with the prospect of losing the boy she knew and cherished, the idea of homeschooling hit her like a gust of hope.

So it came to pass that, one afternoon, they sat down together over coffee and her friend ran her through the basics. It turns out that there are many schools of homeschooling –  the Charlotte Mason and Montessori methods are popular ones, and the Regio Emilia approach is also catching on. She was introduced to a lot of names and so many theories about what education should be that she was truly awoken from a stupor of presumption.

Only weeks later, she settled on a home curriculum that she liked and, with great trepidation, pulled her son out of the first grade.

Ultimately, her decision to homeschool Wyatt was born from the responsibility she felt to give her son his childhood back.

Together, they took a plunge that would change their lives, for the better, forever.

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