Beyond Unschooling -The John Holt Legacy: Interview with Pat Farenga


IF“Be the Parent all the time”–Pat Farenga

Did I ever enjoy this magnificently useful discussion with Pat Farenga, THE (surviving) pioneer of Unschooling.  Yes, THE pioneer.  Mr. Farenga worked closely with his friend John Holt on home education advocacy, activism and collaboration from 1977 until 1985 when John Holt died.  Pat continued his work in home education advocacy over the years but has recently been inspired to use his experience, intimate understanding of John Holt’s work, and knowledge  to take his advocacy work to another level.  Pat is working diligently on clearing up vast misconceptions in unchooling and working with other iconic home education pioneers in trying to bridge the divide in all alternative learning factions in order to ultimately advance freedom for children – thus more freedom for humanity.

We talked for quite a while and recorded the whole time.  While this is an unusually long episode,  Mr. Farenga offers such wisdom from his extensive experience, I decided to keep it all intact and offer the entire conversation.

The details of our conversation are not done proper justice in summary, but our talk included but was not limited to:

  • Pat Farenga’s work both with and after John Holt, including a look at John Holt’s work
  • The ways in which Holt’s coined phrase “Unschooling” has been misinterpreted, misrepresented and even used to exploit and bully parents into submission to dogmatic extremes
  • A deeper understanding of what “Trust the Child” means, can mean and does not mean
  • The future freedom of education
  • The significance of Play in learning
  • Respectful communication
  • The importance of family
  • Rebuilding parental self-confidence

… and so much more that simply cannot be captured properly in description.

While this is an unusually long episode I urge you to give it a thorough listen.  Mr. Farenga is among the most knowledgeable, helpful, respectful and downright fun resources in the home ed community at-large and I know you will appreciate his wisdom and insights.

Mentioned in this episode is Mr. Farenga’s website where more information can be found:

I refer to a specific blog post which is here:

Additionally, we mentioned Dr. Peter Gray whose recent interview with UMRadio can be found here
And AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) whose founder, Jerry Mintz was also interviewed by yours truly – available here

Also mentioned with relevance to the topic, were discussions with Wendy PriesnitzLinda Dobson and John Taylor Gatto

Your comments and questions are always welcomed.  Thanks for joining us!

This episode is not sponsored.  We appreciate your contributions and support!

Special Thanks to Cesar Diaz for audio assistance
Due to it’s size, music was omitted from this episode but

Music for Unplugged Mom Radio is usually provided by:
Band: Single Bullet Theory (with drummer Justin Arman)
Record: The Arena (In Stores Summer 2013)

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avatar About the Author: Laurette Lynn is the Unplugged Mom© Founder of and Host and founder of Unplugged Mom Radio© Learn more about Laurette Lynn by clicking here.

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