Living & Learning

Is there a better way to learn about REAL LIFE than by living it? Life is too short to spend nearly a quarter of our lives being schooled how to live.

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." ~ Oscar Wilde

“When you get down to it, unschooling is really just a fancy term for ‘life’ or ‘growing up uninstitutionalized’.” ~ Grace Llewellyn

“You only have one life to live. Make sure it’s yours.” ~ Eleanor Brown

"It’s not how long you live, but how well you live" ~ Martin Luther King

"The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it." ~ Richard L Evans

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Childhood is just as important a part of life as adulthood. It is not a waiting room to someday start life from. It is life. It may even be the best part of life. Let’s not stifle it, dismiss it, or undermine it. Let children live to the fullest their childhood days; they can never get them back.” ~ L. E. Mastilock

"Experience is the only teacher we have. We may talk and reason all our lives, but we shall not understand a word of truth until we experience it ourselves." ~ Swami Vivekananda

“I mean that they (students) should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics.” ~ Henry David Thoreau [Walden]

"I’m sure the reason such young nitwits are produced in our schools is because they have no contact with anything of any use in everyday life." ~ Petronius (d. circa 66 CE) [The Satyricon]

"Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else." ~ Epictetus

“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you CHOSE your life, you didn’t SETTLE for it.” ~ Mandy Hale

"You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it." ~ Albert Camus

“95% of what a child learns is through direct experience.” ~ M. Mendizza [The Imagination Tree]

“Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action.” ~ Jim Rohn

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” ~ Clarence Budington Kelland, American writer (1881-1964), about his father

"Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior." ~ Marshall McLuhan

“School typically doesn’t prepare young people for real life – unless their lives are spent following instructions and pleasing others. In my opinion, that’s why so many students who succeed in school fail in life.” ~ Ray Dalio [American Billionaire Investor]

"It’s not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living" ~ Eckhart Tolle

"Man is the only animal that must be encouraged to live." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

"Don’t let the tame ones tell you how to live." ~ Jonny Ox

"The most instructive experiences are those of everyday life." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” ~ Randy Komisar

“Children live what they learn & learn what they live.” ~ Amish Proverb

“It’s not about making learning happen; it’s about letting it happen.” ~ Sugata Mitra

“Experience is the thing of supreme value.” ~ Henry Ford

“View life as a continuous learning experience.” ~ Denis Waitley

"Children are like grown people; the experience of others is never of any use to them." ~ Alphonse Daudet

“No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

”A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

“Some lack the fickleness to live as they wish and just live as they have begun.” ~ Seneca

“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow, and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately. ~ Seneca

"Life is either daring adventure or nothing." ~ Helen Keller

“I learned that every mortal will taste death, But only some will taste life.” ~ Rumi

"It shouldn’t matter how slowly a child learns as long as we are encouraging them not to stop." ~ Robert John Meehan

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~ Confucius

“Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.” ~ Jess Lair

"Repetition doesn’t create memories. New experiences do." ~ Brian Chesky

"The greatest form of mind control is repetition."
The Most Basic Form of Mind Control is Repetition (Short 2010) - IMDb

"To believe in something and not to live it, is dishonest." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

"Time didn’t stop. Your life doesn’t stop and wait until you get ready to start living it." ~ Wendell Berry [“Hannah Coulter” (2004)]

"I think the biggest design project anyone can have is their own life." ~ Jessi Arrington

“Education must not simply teach work – it must teach Life.” ~ W. E. B. Du Bois

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” ~ Albert Einstein

"We can go through our whole lives worrying about our future happiness, and totally miss where true peace lives-right here, right now." ~ Peter Russell

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” ~ Maria Montessori

“Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college.” ~ Lillian Smith

“Real luxury is not working like a maniac to take an expensive vacation–it is living a life you enjoy every day.” ~ Kathy Gottberg, [Rightsizing: a Smart Living 365 Guide to Reinventing Retirement]

"Real, natural learning is in the living. It’s in the observing, the questioning, the examining, the pondering, the analyzing, the watching, the reading, the DO-ing, the living, the breathing, the loving, the JOY. It’s in the joy." ~ Anne Ohman

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” ~ Alfred D. Souza

“Life is learning, learning is life. Unschoolers simply do not think there are times for learning and times for not learning. They don’t divide life into school time or lesson time versus play time or recreation time. There is no such thing as “extracurricular” to an unschooler – all of life, every minute of every day, counts as learning time, and there is no separate time set aside for “education.” ~ Pam Sorooshian

"Kids who are in school just visit life sometimes, and then they have to stop to do homework or go to sleep early or get to school on time. They’re constantly reminded they are preparing ‘for real life,’ while being isolated from it." ~ Sandra Dodd

“Children are living beings - more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore [Child of the Redwoods]

“We’ve built a way of life that depends on people doing what they are told because they don’t know how to tell themselves what to do.” ~ John Taylor Gatto, [Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling]

"I homeschool my children, not to prepare them for tests, but to prepare them for life." ~ Tamara L. Chilver

"Our life is our school. This is our education. It didn’t begin with Kindergarten and doesn’t end with a piece of paper that declares us ready for a job. Our learning isn’t confined to certain months of the year, or a specific building, or books that dissect and divide life into segments within chapters within subjects. We don’t have notebooks dedicated to separating science from history from art from fun. There are words we can’t spell. There are equations we can’t solve. We answer our questions with more questions. We aren’t concerned with earning points or impressing folks. We’re not caught up in some great competition that pits children against children, adults against children, adults against adults. We’re not rushing to complete some kind of bizarre race against the end of time. There is no end…not for us. We don’t need a winter break, a spring break, a summer break from learning. Learning is our life." ~ Unschool Unleashed

"Maybe the key ingredient to an unschooling education is time, for parents and children alike; time to explore, think, and make one’s own decisions. In our time-starved society, where everyone is rushing from one responsibility or activity to another, time becomes an important commodity. For unschoolers, how to spend time is the biggest question of each day, and learning to make that choice in satisfying ways may be the biggest lesson learned." ~ Peter Gray & Gina Riley

"Schools try to teach children skills and knowledge that may benefit them at some unknown time in the future. But children are interested in now, not the future. They want to do real things now. By doing what they want to do they also prepare themselves wonderfully for the future, but that is a side effect." ~ Peter Gray, PhD

"We expect kids to sit for hours and do what they are told to do, and if they can’t do it, nobody kindly says, “I see you’re restless, get up and play.” They say, “You better go get tested for ADHD so we can put you on drugs…”" ~ Peter Gray, PhD

“Children who are allowed to make their own choices, in an environment where they have real choices and where those choices pertain to real life, learn far more, far more efficiently, than children who are forced to follow a curriculum that seems irrelevant to them.” ~ Peter Gray, PhD

“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.” ~ John Steinbeck, [East of Eden]

"Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don’t always know what it is." ~ John Holt

"‘Education is a training for life,’ I said. 'It is too wide a subject to be confined within the four walls of a classroom." ~ Joy Baker, [Children in Chancery, 1964]

"Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent, and original manner possible." ~ Richard Feynman

“The object of our attention becomes the reality of our world.” ~ Gregg Braden

"What we learn with pleasure we never forget." ~ Alfred Mercier

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.” ~ Alfie Kohn, [Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason]

"Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.” ~ Rita Mae Brown

“The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.” ~ Thornton Wilder

"A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion." ~ Grantland Rice

"Some of the best lessons are the ones a child learns through his own efforts, thought processes, and trial and error." ~ Jane Claire Lambert

"There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Consciously, intentionally, and consistently living out how we want our children to turn out is the most powerful and effective character training there is.” ~ L.R. Knost

“It is time for a return to childhood, to simplicity, to running and climbing and laughing in the sunshine, to experiencing happiness instead of being trained for a lifetime of pursuing happiness. It is time to let children be children again.” ~ L.R.Knost

“Many believe that parenting is about controlling children’s behavior and training them to act like adults. I believe that parenting is about controlling my own behavior and acting like an adult myself. Children learn what they live and live what they learn.” ~ L.R. Knost

"Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. It is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child. Earlier is not better." ~ Magda Gerber

"We learned that the ultimate learning environment is life itself, no didactic trappings required." ~ Milva McDonald

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“In the end, just three things matter:
How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go” ~ Jack Kornfield

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." ~ John Dewey

“My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” ~ Jim Carrey

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day’s work absorb your entire energies, and satisfy your widest ambition.” ~ Sir William Osler

“I feel ashamed that so many of us cannot imagine a better way to do things than locking children up all day in cells instead of letting them grow up knowing their families, mingling with the world, assuming real obligations, striving to be independent and self-reliant and free.” ~ John Taylor Gatto

“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.” ~ Rudolf Steiner

"If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse." ~ Jen Sincero

"The best education in the world is that got by struggling to get a living." ~ Wendell Phillips

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, teachers.” ~ Richard Bach

"The reality is that children learn not because we tell them, but from how we relate to them. It’s the difference between “doing to” versus “doing with.” ~ Dr. Shefali Tsabary

"If we’re not forced to conform to standard timetables for success, we can—and will—bloom on our own schedules. And we can do it with a deeper sense of mission and a greater feeling of contentment." ~ Rich Karlgaard

"Your children will see what you’re all about by what you live rather than what you say." ~ Wayne Dyer

"The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four - of secondary importance is to prepare for being five." ~ Jim Trelease

"At every step the child should be allowed to meet the real experience of life; the thorns should never be plucked from his roses." ~ Ellen Key

“Cease conceiving of education as mere preparation for later life, and make it the full meaning of the present life.” ~ John Dewey

“Learning and education are a normal part of everyday life and do not need a vast expensive bureaucracy to force them to happen.” ~ Kytka Hilmar-Jezek, [99 Question and Answers About Unschooling: The World Is Your Child’s Classroom]

"Children do learn what they live. Then they grow up to live what they’ve learned." ~ Dorothy Nolte

“It’s a most serious mistake to think that learning is an activity separate from the rest of life, that people do it best when they are not doing anything else and best of all in places where nothing else is done." ~ John Holt

"It is a serious mistake to say that, in order to learn, children must first be able to “delay gratification,” i.e., must be willing to learn useless and meaningless things on the faint chance that later they may be able to make use of some of them. It is their desire and determination to do real things, not in the future but right now, that gives children the curiosity, energy, determination, and patience to learn all they learn." ~ John Holt

"Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them. If we attempt to control, manipulate, or divert this process, the independent scientist in the child disappears." ~ John Holt

"When my children are grown, they will not need to spend their adult years healing from the first two decades of their lives." ~ Dayna Martin

"An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life." ~ Unknown**

“Beware of Destination Addiction: a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is someplace else, it will never be where you are.”

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. ~ Eric Hoffer, [1902-1983, American writer & philosopher]

“The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living – hands on, exploring, in active relationship with life.” ~ Vince Gowmon

"All of life is education and everybody is a teacher and everybody is forever a pupil." ~ Abraham Maslow

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

"To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while." ~ Josh Billings

"With even a little intuitive wisdom we will be able to see clearly the ways of the world. We will come to understand that everything in the world is our teacher." ~ Ajahn Chah

“Grow up,” we say. “Stop crying,” we plead. “Be quiet,” we scream. “Do as you’re told,” we demand. And then we wonder why there are so many adults who can’t find the courage to speak, feel, or create. Maybe there are so many wild souls in cages because we put them there." ~ Brooke Hampton

Work while they sleep.
Learn while they party.
Save while they spend.
Then live like they dream.

"If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less. I’d do less correcting, and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I would care to know less, and know to care more. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I’d run through more fields, and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging, and less tugging. I would be firm less often, and affirm much more. I’d build self esteem first, and the house later. I’d teach less about the love of power, and more about the power of love." ~ Diana Loomans

"Homeschooled children have greater potential to work outside the box because they are educated outside the box." ~ Thomas Purifoy

"What we learn to do, we learn by doing." ~ Thomas Jefferson

“Children live what they learn & learn what they live.” ~ Amish Proverb

"We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything." ~ Viola Spolin

"Experience precedes understanding." ~ Jean Piaget

"Experience is a truer guide than the words of others." ~ Leonardo da Vinci

“Experience, travel - these are an education in themselves.” ~ Euripedes

"The great aim of education is not knowledge but action." ~ Herbert Spencer

"In life lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action." ~ Tony Robbins

"Life is a beautiful collection of temporary experiences. Treasure your unique collection, and enjoy sharing it with others." ~ Matthew Kahn

“What we call education and culture is for the most part nothing but the substitution of reading for experience, of literature for life, of the obsolete fictitious for the contemporary real.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

“Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas:—How comes it to be furnished? … To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE." ~ John Locke, [An Essay Concerning Human Understanding]

"To the young child, all life is a great adventure - when did we grow so dull and brittle." ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie

“The best education you will ever get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.” ~ Mark Patterson

“Travel is like an endless university. You never stop learning.” ~ Harvey Lloyd

"To learn a thing in life and through doing is much more developing, cultivating, and strengthening than to learn it merely through the verbal communication of ideas." ~ Friedrich Froebel

"Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge." ~ Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947, [British philosopher & Mathematician]

“Our whole theory of education is based on the absurd notion that we must learn to swim on land before tackling the water.” ~ Henry Miller

"The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced." ~ Aart Van Der Leeuw

“The only thing we don’t have is the experience that there is nothing we don’t have.” ~ Werner Erhard

“The quality of life is determined by its activities.” ~ Aristotle

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." ~ Aristotle, 384-322 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

“All experience is an arch to build upon.” ~ Henry B. Adams

“We are raised in a culture that values expertise over exploration.” ~ Nina Wise

"Parents should not insulate their children from difficult experiences if they want to facilitate their growth and resilience." ~ Manfred Kets de Vries

"Children understand and remember concepts best when they learn from direct personal experiences." ~ Joseph Campbell

"A moving child is a learning child." ~ Gill Connel and Cheryl McCarthy

"There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge available to us: observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation." ~ Denis Diderot

"Without continuous hands-on experience, it is impossible for children to acquire a deep intuitive understanding of the natural world that is the foundation of sustainable development." ~ Robin C. Moore and Herb H. Wong

School teaches people how to memorize dots, Unschooling connects the dots:

"Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience. You need experience to gain wisdom." ~ Albert Einstein

“Education is not about degree and diploma, it is all about knowledge and wisdom.” ~ Nitin Namdeo

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." ~ Albert Einstein

"Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice." ~ Anton Chekhov

"Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness." ~ Sacha Guitry, 1885-1957, French writer]

"Knowledge is power but only wisdom is liberty." ~ Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher]

"Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962, Wife of the 32nd USA president]

"Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it." ~ Albert Einstein

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” ~ Albert Einstein

“If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man’s future.” ~ Maria Montessori