The Call of the Wild and Free by Ainsley Arment [Book Summary]


Any parent who’s has thought of homeschooling their children has had to react surprisingly once or twice. Homeschooling definitely isn’t for everyone– it actually needs a specific change in lifestyle. A lot of parents understand homeschooling as meaning more duty and a loss of freedom. They mention things such as “it must be tiring,” or “when would I create time for myself?” or “ I’m not skilled to teach everything.”

These are real issues. However, if this is what’s preventing you from homeschooling, then you have to see these book chapters reassuring. They’ll mention that if you’re tired, you’re definitely not giving your child adequate freedom. They’ll mention that the time used with your children is the time used with yourself. Also, they’ll mention that the fact you’re not skilled to teach everything is an edge, not a weakness.

Along the line, you’ll also be motivated to recover your own childlike abilities of curiosity and wonder, become really playful and creative, and release your wild part.


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Chapter 1 – The author chose to homeschool to offer her son his childhood back.


During his first day at school, the author took Wyatt her son to the school bus and observed as it wound its way down the street. Later, she did what all mother would do – she got in her car and went after the bus.

She went after it to the school, watching Wyatt’s bobbing head from the glass. She observed as her son got into the school and out of sight. And then, sitting all by herself in the car, she started to cry for the conclusion of her son’s fast childhood.

At that moment, in the author’s mind, the school was definitely not a subject to be questioned. Children need to go to school. It’s aspect and parcel of growing up. Everyone does it. And therefore, the author endured. She endured the distance that was, gradually but definitely, growing between them.

She would endure anything as long as it was for the good of her son. However, her son was beginning changing. He began to care about what his friends thought about him. He was losing his childish curiosity and playing less. The author would mention that it was like the light in his eyes had been put out.

Also, she missed her friend.

It was a different homeschooling mother who first talked about the concept with the author. She has never taken the idea seriously. 

Nevertheless, she didn’t wish for her child to grow up weird. She didn’t want to destroy his future.



However, confronted with the possibility of losing the boy she recognized and loved, the concept of homeschooling hit her like a blast of optimism.

Therefore, it happened that, one afternoon, they sat down together having coffee and her friend explained the fundamentals to her. It turns out that there are a lot of schools of homeschooling – the common ones are the Charlotte Mason and Montessori methods, and the Regio Emilia method is also catching on. She was told many names and a lot of theories about what education should be that she was really awoken from a trance of assumption.

After just weeks, she decided on a home curriculum that she liked and, with great anxiety, took her son out of the first grade.

Eventually, her choice to homeschool Wyatt was originated from the duty she felt to provide her son his childhood back.

Together, they took a risk that would change both of their lives forever, for the better.


Chapter 2 – Homeschooling is increasing.


What comes to your mind when you hear a homeschool family?

Perhaps you consider those ultra-conservative religious societies that decide to separate their children from what they view as present society’s corrupt morals.

Or, maybe, your mind thinks about the other aspect of the spectrum, to communal living. Maybe you think of big families hopping into the back of a VW camper van.

Although homeschooling families come in every stripe, the present average homeschooling family seems somewhat ordinary. They’re families that have no aim of separating themselves from society, neither do they wish to brainwash their children with a belief. The majority of homeschool families will teach the basics subjects taught in any school curriculum, and a lot completely aim to get their children ready to go to college.

Homeschooling is not seen as a fringe of culture anymore. As a matter of fact, It’s becoming popular– in the US and everywhere in the world.

Think about this, in a report that was done in 2016, the US Department of Education mentioned that there were 1.69 million students presently in homeschool education across the US. This signifies 3.3% of every school-age child. Other astounding statistics come from the United Kingdom, where the BBC stated a 40% increase in the number of children being homeschooled in just the previous three years.



It would appear that parents are beginning to question if the school system is the ideal choice for their children. Meaning, the school system is starting to lose its spot as the default choice.

How how did traditional schools get their status as the go-to choice for education? Well, the story of the Christmas ham might explain it. The story goes thus, for several years, a child watched his mother curiously as she cuts off the end of the Christmas ham and gets rid of it. Eventually, the child questioned her mother the reason she did it, and the mother answered: “I was taught how to make a ham by my mother like that.” Not pleased, the child looks for his grandmother and asks her the exact and she answered by saying: “that’s how I was taught to make it by my mother.”

The key thing is that the majority of us don’t challenge traditional school systems, not because they’re the ideal system of education; however, because we went through the same thing, and what our parents before us went through. However, in the interest of not disregarding our education, let’s look at some of the issues with traditional schooling systems.


Chapter 3 – The traditional type of education isn’t functioning.


The school system doesn’t treat children for what they are – children. 

Anybody that has a child understands that they’re naturally susceptible to wandering about and exploring; still, schools insist on twisting their bodies to the shape of a chair as if already getting them ready for office life.

They allow them to do paperwork, they allow them to abide by schedules, and they allow them to sit gently and pay attention to presentations –seems familiar?

We treat our children as adults and it’s making them have stress. In one revealing study that was done by the American Psychological Association, children stated experiencing higher levels of stress on average across the school year more than adults. Couple this with research that demonstrates that children don’t learn as well under stressful circumstances, and this system begins to look ridiculous.

One of the major factors to our children’s stress is the dominance of testing and grading as a measure of a child’s skill. Grades have become really essential to a child’s future success that schools now concentrate more on teaching the children to succeed in exams and have better grades than on assisting them to really know the course material.

This concentration on exams and grades has been to the harm of real learning since it encourages a really diminished idea of what learning is. 

Although exams are good at testing how much a person can recall under a time-limit, they are very bad indicators of the real extent of a child’s intelligence. They’re basically not equipped to measure non-academic kinds of intelligence –such as emotional and creative intelligence.



When we measure our children against the same narrow standard and use a grade to them, we belittle children who grow slower and children who do well in non-academic aspects. These children are usually seen as abnormal, or as developmentally deficient.

It is a system that does not treat children as unique people, with different abilities. This is a system that cherishes the curriculum more than the child.

Generally speaking, what we possess is assembly-line education. It is a kind of education that nurtures all children the same curriculum and assumes them to grow at the same speed. It disregards our children’s uniqueness from the start and it creates uniform products by the end.

In the following chapter, we’ll explore how the homeschool form of education can release children from the assembly-line form of education.


Chapter 4 – The homeschool model encourages an idea of education concentrated on improving a child’s unique skills and passions.


Certainly, homeschooling is unconventional.

However, didn’t anyone ever say to you that unconventional is good?

That is not to discredit every one of the great educators working in conventional education; however, no teacher can manage to provide the exact type of love and attention to a specific child that a parent can. Irrespective of the teacher-child ratio at school, you can’t beat one to one. 

Also, let’s be realistic, schools don’t teach a consistent curriculum since it’s the best approach to make sure the thriving of all children. They teach it out of sheer requirement since there are a lot of children to give them a personalized education for each and every one of them.

But, homeschoolers, do have the opportunity of providing a child’s unique requirements and interests. Homeschools are positioned to form a really child-centered education.

This signifies that parents have the liberty to select what and how they teach their child, according to their interests and skills their child shows. Also when children start to show a passion or a talent in a specific aspect, parents have the liberty to privilege this over other aspects of the study. It’s a model that’s not intended to enforce children to learn what the parents believe is essential; however, it enables the child’s potential interests to decide its own course of study.

That entails that if your daughter expresses an interest in piano, allow her to play the piano. If she takes a camera and discovers she likes taking photos of birds, then create time to take her to parks and reserves. If your son displays an interest in making stop-motion animations with clay models, then provide more clay for him and give him a day.

One might object: You can’t only teach what your child desires; there’ll be differences in their education!



However, this type of objection misinterprets the purpose of actual education. Although, traditional schooling outshines in pumping children full of a lot of details as possible; unfortunately, it doesn’t instill what really essential– a love for learning.

The homeschool model works on the premise that children flourish when they are encouraged to explore, observe, and question for the absolute joy of it. Homeschooling represents the belief that soft skills such as initiative, creativity, and inventiveness cannot be learned; however, they emerge as a result when children follow what they love.

Real learning is similar to cultivating a garden than filling a filing cabinet.


Chapter 5 – Homeschooling is not only about copying classroom scenery.


Homeschooling is somewhat of a poor description because homeschool education is neither restricted to the home nor restricted to the school model.

As a matter of fact, a homeschool would be extremely limiting itself if it tried to copy the school classroom in the home. Honestly, a homeschool wouldn’t compete if it attempted to out-work the local public school at its own game. 

The feature of the homeschool model is that it’s free to surpass the classroom’s boundaries.

Homeschools are neither limited to the four walls of a home nor to the restrictions of a stern schedule, and this frees families to use more time together in nature, participate in community activities, or travel full-time if that’s what they decide on.

The outside world forms a lot more chances to have encounters that motivate learning in a more organic, off-the-cuff manner. For instance, taking your children out to plant a tree is a perfect method to introduce them to the different aspects of the plant and how they work.

Another common misinterpretation of homeschooling is that would-be homeschool parents have to be skilled teachers. However, parents are really much more than teachers for their children. They’re friends, they’re directors, and they’re companions on life’s path.

Parents don’t need to know all things, since they can learn together with their children, and doing that, they can teach their children how to learn as well.



What percentage of school educators can claim to grow up together with their students? As a matter of fact, nobody is more an expert on a child than the parents of a child. They understand more than anyone what makes them tick better than. They understand what they love, and what inspires them.

The homeschool parent has to be what Anne Sullivan what was to Helen Keller. Helen was born both deaf and blind and was paired with Anne at a tender age. Anne, who trained Helen how to read braille and how to make use of multiplication tables, would stay with her for the following thirteen years of her life. When Helen registered at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Anne went with her and interpreted each lecture with her finger into Helen’s hand. When  Helen graduated, Anne had got an education all by herself. Anne was more than Helen’s teacher – she was a friend and a companion in learning.

Homeschooling is not only essentially about getting educated together. It’s basically about

doing life together.


Chapter 6 – Homeschooling revives the experience of motherhood and improves family life.


Nowadays, it’s become more and more difficult for families to create time to spend with one another. With their children at school and with the rising requirement for both parents to be breadwinners, tight schedules are intruding on everyone’s spare time. A study evaluated that the average US family uses just 36 minutes together daily. 

For some families, homeschooling gives a chance to revive the family experience. It signifies a return to a time when child-parent mentoring was the standard, and families were more closely joined. 

Although it’s hard for us nowadays to imagine a time before mandatory schooling, this is a pretty new innovation. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the US first states started enacting mandatory public education for all children. 

Education is an addition of parenting that we occur to jointly outsource nowadays, the same manner we outsource house-building, and crop-growing. When you think that a lot of people decide to make their own house or grow their own food, not because it’s simpler; however, because it’s worthwhile, personal, and usually creates better quality products, the impression of doing education at home doesn’t look really outrageous. 

So, homeschooling is a means for parents to regain the complete dimension of parenthood, by regaining time with their children and revitalizing their duty as educators.

At this moment, you might be wondering: “The school system saved parents lots of time and work, why would we wish to take that duty back?”

Well, don’t see homeschooling as the addition of more duties. Consider it more like a whole lifestyle change for the family, one that toughens family connections and improves the family experience.

Homeschooling usually brings out the best in parents. The existence of young learners in the house makes everybody young. Parents learn to be creative and curious again as they learn together with their children. Also, research demonstrates that homeschool parents use more time outside and more time involved in community events than parents of traditionally educated children.



Homeschooling is a lifestyle that places the family front and center. Doing homeschool the appropriate manner signifies that the time you use teaching is not the time you wish you were using elsewhere; however the time with your family that you enjoy and value.

Now that we’ve explored some of the features of the homeschool model generally, in the following few chapters, we will discover some of the principles of the Wild + Free philosophy of homeschooling.


Chapter 7 – Children gain extremely from a close relationship with nature.


While there’s not just a single formula for a successful homeschool experience, we will explore the five key principles recognized by the Wild + Free community that are made to enhance any education. The school of nature is the first principle, which is essentially about assisting children re-establish a close relationship with nature.

It’s not a secret that we, as a society, are getting disconnected with nature more and more. And our children as well are not insusceptible to these changes. We’ve systematically swapped natural surrounding s for artificial ones across the board: We’ve changed grass for artificial turf, swapped nature parks for theme parks, and left outdoor games for video games.

It was proof to our children’s changing surroundings when, in 2009, Oxford University Press removed nature-related words from its Oxford Junior Dictionary. Words like a magpie, acorn, and blackberry were taken out and, instead, technology-related words like blog, voicemail, and broadband were added.

We’ve disregarded nature and, in doing that, we’ve made our children underprivileged to a lot of important, formative experiences.

Natural surroundings assist children to improve their emotional and moral disposition. By facing other people and seeing how human activity has affected the natural world, children learn to feel sympathy and responsibility. In nature, we see the seedbed for an ethics of care.



The author told a  story about finding a dead baby bird on the way in her yard. She had the opportunity to save her young daughters the painful experience of looking for the hatchling themselves; however, she chose to allow them to look for it. The following hours after were filled with a lot of cries, and a burial plan was made for the bird. To have saved her daughters the pain of finding the dead bird would have stripped them of the experience of deep empathy and thinking about the great mystery that is life.

Natural surroundings are also useful for our children’s mental and physical well-being. Restricting children within cloistered, artificial surroundings add to behavioral and neurological disorders. Experts have noticed progress in children that have depression, autism, ADHD, and other neurological problems who spend time in nature. Nature imparts in children a sense of peace, calms and revitalizes the mind, and enhances concentration.

Staying connected with nature is extremely significant for the well-being of our children. Children usually require some persuading to go outside. Therefore, why not try to make exploring nature more fun by making a nature journal. In this journal, children can write down and explain what they notice, draw pictures, and even add in dried flowers and other things.


Chapter 8 – The story is a strong means of learning.


Storytelling is side-lined in the traditional school system. It’s seen as less significant than “harder” subjects such as math and science. And, it’s usually taught as something that’s just done for the sake of “fun.” 

However, this outlook illustrates storytelling as distinct from other fields of learning. In contrast, storytelling is a strong learning device that can improve the study of any kind of subject. This is the reason why the second principle of the Wild + Free philosophy is to use the power of the story.

Stories can function as a means whereby abstract ideas are introduced. For instance, there are a lot of children’s books available made to introduce mathematical concepts such as addition and subtraction, units of measurement, and shapes and symmetry.

As a matter of fact, research reveals that children are very likely to recall information when it’s shown to them in a story. Stories contextualize information and make it significant. 

However, stories also move our children in an extremely emotional and imaginative manner that only laying out a list of details and facts never could. If you need a child to care about the environs, it would be very effective to make them read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss than telling them the recent carbon emission facts.

One of the features of homeschooling is that it frees parents to focus on a child’s education around living books instead of textbooks.



The difference between living books and textbooks is a difference between excellent works of literature that have left their imprint on society and second-hand guide-books that select notions from great works. Living books are cultural pieces that keep on affecting people on a deep intellectual and experiential level. Textbooks are contemporary inventions that enable schools to pass information efficiently.

Textbooks are more appropriate to the examination ideal of education where learning facts is important. Although they may talk about all the subjects, textbooks miss the key aspect of reading – the pleasure of it.

One of the purposes of education should be to motivate a desire for reading. Research demonstrates that children who love reading recreationally enjoy more academic achievement overall. Reading assists to develop their literacy skills, obviously; however, the process of reading opens children to an extensive range of ideas and themes that give time for thinking.

Also, audiobooks are a good substitute for children who aren’t naturally motivated to select a book. Also, one can inspire a love of books by taking children on book-related cultural outings, by going to book shops and fairs, becoming part of reading clubs, or even going to theatre dramatizations of their beloved stories.


Chapter 9 – Play and learning are not enemies.


The view that the school system has toward play is that it’s accepted as long as children do their work. They even created lots of time to “playtime.” However, by doing this, schools teach our children that play is something more to learning, and learning just occurs when we’re not having fun.

Due to some reason, we’ve had it in our heads that genuine education needs to be hard, boring, and painful.

Think of this, for decades, parents have been making use of hydrogen peroxide as an antiseptic for their children’s injuries. When hydrogen peroxide is put on an open injury, it has a tendency to hurt. While a lot of other antiseptics have been made that are totally painless, they only don’t sell as well. People abide by the old thing since it’s painful. The pain guarantees them that it means it is effective.

Well, we make use of the exact same bizarre reason when we talk about our children’s education. Because they’re not enjoying the work guarantees us that it must be useful. And when children don’t want to work, we assign it to children’s natural hatred for hard work.

However, it basically isn’t true that children are opposed to hard work. What children are opposed to is pointless rotework – and they’re no different from adults in that aspect.

Children are eager to dedicate much of hard work when that work is purposeful, playful and fun. Purposeful play is a great motivator and assists children to develop all types of skills. The third principle of the Wild + Free principle is the pedagogy of play, which targets to make the most of play as a motivational drive for learning.



For instance, Cody the author’s youngest son once thought that he would create a life-size, wearable bear suit out using cardboard. Not wanting to hinder this newfound creative determination, the author could just watch, dazed, as her son used each hour of the day for a week cutting, gluing, and painting this contraption. He might have set aside his academic work for a period; however, he was learning really essential skills such as initiative, persistence, problem solving and inventiveness. 

In a study that was conducted in Germany, 50 play-oriented preschools were compared with 50 early learning preschools. They established that children who went to play-based preschools did well in academic skills such as literacy and math, and were believed to be better emotionally and socially adjusted than their early-learning peers.

A childhood full of fun and play produces a happy child and a successful academic future; therefore, let’s permit our children to be children.


Chapter 10 – The basis of every creation is curiosity and wonder.


Adults do not regard children well. Certainly, we adults usually treat children as ignorant, and their interests as playful. We behave as if we have not a single thing to learn from them, and they have everything to learn from us.

However, in a lot of respects, children are more hardworking and more scientific than adults are. Children are more tending to scrutinize, examine, question, and experiment than adults are. Certainly, it’s we who have to learn from them.

Since our children are such diligent scientists and inventors, it’s significant to offer them a plethora of rich resources for them to play and experiment with to completely attain their skills. This is the significance of the last two approaches of the Wild + Free philosophy, the prospectus of curiosity and the magic of wonder. These set curiosity and wonder at the core of what real education should be.

One method homeschool parents can do this is to make use of the twentieth-century artist Simon Nicholson’s “theory of loose parts.” This theory states that the ideal surrounding for improving a child’s creativity is one that makes the most of the number of “loose parts” spread around it. “Loose parts” can be anything such as musical instruments and gadgets, crafting materials and tools, natural objects gathered from trips, or curiosities recovered from second-hand stores. By making the most of the number of loose parts, we exploit the possible number of spontaneous connections and findings that a child creates between them. 



The author used an illustration of filling her house with all kinds of loose parts. She was astonished by how each of her children appeared to gravitate toward different objects and activities. Her oldest daughter taught herself how to draw unicorns with a digital writing pad. Her oldest son took a video camera one day and began making films around the house. Her youngest son discovered an old sewing machine in the cupboard and started trying out with it. 

You can’t tell where a child’s curiosity will lead him too. 

Curiosity and wonder are not abilities they can learn. They are abilities natural in all children. Our duty as parents and educators is to form a surrounding that will offer the best circumstances for our children to thrive on their own accord.

The essence of the Wild + Free approach is to enable curiosity, wonder and a love of learning.

If you wish your children to succeed, allow them to be Wild + Free.


The Call of the Wild and Free: Schooling That Reclaims the Wonder of Childhood by Ainsley Arment Book Review


Homeschooling is becoming popular as a substitute form of education to the traditional school system. For a lot of parents, homeschooling signifies the liberty to provide their children with a more personalized educational experience. According to the Wild + Free approach, the aim of education is not to teach per se; however, to motivate children to learn on their own – which can be done by having the children in a close relationship with nature, filling their lives with stories, making time for imaginative play, and facilitating new innovations.


Find out what homeschool alumni have gone on to accomplish.

Still not persuaded that homeschooling is a good choice for your child? Use some time on the internet searching for what homeschool-educated people have gone on to accomplish. You’ll be astonished by the number of well-known and accomplished people who were educated at home.


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Savaş Ateş

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