The Immersive World of Outernet

The Immersive World of Outernet London

Now Building, Tottenham Court Road, London
Now Building, Tottenham Court Road, London

Outernet London is an innovative entertainment district using technology to make art, culture, and experiences come alive in breathtaking new ways.

This hub of immersive experiences uses high-tech projectors, spatial sound, haptic floors, interactive sensors, and cutting-edge lighting to blur the lines between the physical and digital.

Experience extraordinary broadcast content, live events, brand launches, product drops, celebrity endorsements, and a world-class program of art exhibitions.
Experience extraordinary broadcast content, live events, brand launches, product drops, celebrity endorsements, and a world-class program of art exhibitions.

Some of their offerings let you walk through art exhibits in 3D space, interact with musical light sculptures, dine with customized visuals and scents, or attend a comedy show performed all around you.

Outernet is pushing creative boundaries, letting people engage with entertainment in new multisensory ways. Their team continually dreams up innovative experiences that offer perspective shifts alongside fun.

Londoners don’t have to travel far to step inside incredibly detailed, interactively responsive worlds. Outernet brings them right to the heart of the city, blending community connection with arts, culture, and memorable moments worth sharing. It’s a glimpse into a future where technology transforms imagination into reality.

Immersive Butterfly Trail Experience

I recently had the chance to explore their butterfly trail – a free immersive experience transporting you into a tropical paradise filled with hundreds of exotic butterflies from around the world. It gave me a taste of what makes Outernet so special.

While some offerings like the butterfly trail are free, most aim to make art and culture vividly immersive through the imaginative use of technology. I will definitely go back, and I will gladly pay for the experience.

This is me at the Butterfly trail, Now Building

Outernet also provides subscription passes giving access to a rotating selection of high-tech experiences starting at £40 per month.

The technology that powers these experiences is multi-faceted

It’s high-resolution projectors and 360-degree screens create detailed visuals that surround you.

Spatial sound systems make you feel like you’re inside the action. Audio seems to come from all directions.

Haptic technology like floor vibrations and tactile surfaces lets you physically experience the events.

Interactive sensors track body motions and gestures, allowing virtual elements to respond in real-time.

Cutting-edge lighting adapts colors and effects to complement the experience.

All that technology aids in the experience. Where you can interact with musical light sculptures and visualizations. High-tech sensors allow the lights to respond to your movement.

Multi-sensory dining experience where your meal interacts with custom visuals and scents. Food tastes differently when all your senses are engaged.

The combination of these technologies allows Outernet to craft deeply immersive worlds that come to life around you.

Last but not least!

Some details on upcoming paid events and experiences

 Immersive Comedy Show (starts at £15 per ticket) – Experience a comedy show in 360 degrees with comedians performing all around you and visual effects enhancing the jokes.

 Music Festival Pop-Up (tickets from £20) – A digital music festival with 3D projected stages and live performances from top artists. Dance with an avatar crowd.

Wonderland: An Immersive Experience (tickets from £27) – Step into a futuristic wonderland filled with illusions, mazes, augmented reality effects, and moments of mystery.

Garden of Earthly Delights (exhibit tickets £18) – An immersive recreation of the surreal artwork by Hieronymus Bosch. His fanciful world comes to life.

Alternate History Experience (tickets from £22) – A “time travel” adventure where you journey to alternate histories and solve challenges. Educational and thrilling.

Upcoming shows and exhibits change frequently. Check out their website here

It’s an opportunity to take a peek into the future of how technology will transform arts, culture, and community.

What do you think?

Cozy and Relaxing PS5 Games to Play with Your Kids

Cozy and relaxing PS5 Games to play with your Kids

Gaming has become a universal form of entertainment in modern society, yet parents often view gaming as an unproductive pastime. However, recent research suggests moderate gaming can actually provide cognitive benefits for kids and adults alike. While historically game consoles conjure images of multiplayer combat titles, the medium has expanded to offer thought-provoking experiences across diverse genres.

Games can improve hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and even spatial awareness. The interactive nature of games engages our minds in ways passive media cannot.

Of course, moderation is key – setting limits on playtime is still important. But with a thoughtful approach, video games can complement a balanced lifestyle. Rather than dismissing them entirely, parents should consider engaging with their kids by embracing family-friendly games. Shared gaming may reveal this pastime is more enriching than we presumed.

Here are some cozy, relaxing, peaceful, unwinding, minimal-effort PS5 games.

Sky: Children of the Light

Social relaxation game where you soar through breathtaking landscapes. No objectives or fail states.

Social adventure game that can be played solo or with others. Explore beautiful landscapes together. The objective is to spread light and hope through realms that have fallen to darkness.

No combat, death, or other traditional gameplay elements. The focus is on exploration. Soar through floating islands, misty forests, ancient ruins, and more stunning environments.

Rated E for Everyone by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).


Experience being various objects and creatures in surreal interactive simulations. Contemplative.

Developed by David OReilly, known for abstract animated films and games. Explore procedural generated environments filled with interactive objects and creatures. You can become anything in the simulation – animals, plants, natural and manmade objects. Play as things ranging from galaxies and horses to pickup trucks and eyeballs.

Over 3,000 things to be. philosopher Alan Watts’ speeches about existence provide narration. Music by Ben Lukas Boysen helps set a meditative, philosophical tone. No set goals or objectives. Wander and experiment at your own pace.

Unfortunately the game Everything does not have an official rated age range


A beautiful underwater exploration game with dreamlike visuals and swimming mechanics. Calming atmosphere, I love this!

Developed by Giant Squid, the small indie studio formed by Matt Nava, art director for Journey. Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of vibrant ocean environments brought to life. Inspired by scuba diving and director Matt Nava’s love of the ocean.

Relaxing swimming controls to gently navigate through reefs, kelp forests, and ruins. Hundreds of realistic marine species to discover, some inspired by real creatures. Interact with sea life like sharks, whales, dolphins, fish, and glowing jellyfish. Soothing ambient score by composer Austin Wintory enhances the underwater tranquility.

Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and up by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).


A serene, wordless journey guiding flower petals on the wind. Soothing ambient soundtrack. This one is my favorite to play with my family.

Developed by Thatgamecompany, creators of poetic games like Journey and ABZU. You play as the wind, guiding flower petals through lush, sun-drenched fields. Simple motion-based controls to steer the petals using the controller. Intuitive for all ages.

No text, dialogue, or clearly defined objectives. Experience is subjective. A peaceful piano soundtrack enhances the tranquil atmosphere. As you spread petals, you restore life and color to the environment.

Explore forests, cityscapes, windmills, and rocky canyons across six dreamlike levels. Designed to provoke positive emotions like joy, peacefulness, and harmony. Supported VR on PS4 expands the calming immersion.

Flower is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. According to their guidelines: E games are suitable for gamers ages 6 and up.


An emotional narrative adventure traversing stunning desert landscapes. Focus on nonverbal storytelling.

Developed by thatgamecompany, creators of thoughtful games like Flower and ABZU. Wordless narrative about a robed figure traveling through ancient ruins to a distant mountaintop. Explore the ruins of a once-thriving civilization now barren but still beautiful.

Ambiguous narrative left open to interpretation about life, death, and transcendence. Can play alone or randomly encounter other players online without communication. Simple controls and no tutorials allow you to immerse yourself completely. Haunting musical score by Austin Wintory creates emotional weight.

Received many Game of the Year awards for its innovative multiplayer and art direction.

Journey is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB, according to their guidelines

Lost Words: Beyond the page

Developed by Sketchbook Games and published by Modus Games Narrative adventure game set between the pages of a young girl’s diary and fantasy land. You play as a girl named Izzy, who is coping with the loss of her grandmother through her writing.

Smoothly transition between writing in Izzy’s diary and interacting in the storybook world. Simple platforming and environmental puzzles to progress Izzy’s tale. Charming storybook aesthetic is brought to life with colorful scenes and imaginative worlds.

Reflective narrative about childhood, grief, and coping with change and loss. Excellent voice acting conveys the emotion of Izzy’s poignant journey. The relaxing orchestral soundtrack complements the whimsical yet bittersweet tone. Received many awards for its artistic presentation, moving writing, and subtle gameplay.

There is no graphic violence, blood, gore, or profanity. Gameplay involves simple platforming and puzzles in fantasy environments. The narrative deals with emotional topics like grief, loss, and coping. Visuals are artistic and fantastical, with a storybook aesthetic.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and up) according to the ESRB's guidelines.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

A cute and colorful 3D platformer starring the lovable Sackboy. Great for younger kids.

Part of the LittleBigPlanet franchise starring the iconic character Sackboy 3D platforming adventure with fun, cartoony visuals and humor Single player story mode or local co-op for up to 4 players Varied levels ranging from forests, jungles, oceans, mountains and more

There are power-ups and costumes to find throughout levels Simple, responsive controls suitable for younger players Charming music and Sackboy’s expressive sounds add to the lightheartedness Boss battles involve dodging attacks and hitting weak points and additional mini-games and challenges outside the main story

Sackboy: A Big Adventure is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB

Behind the Frame

Another one of my favorite is Behind the Frame. You get to play as Christy, a young aspiring artist who gets a job restoring paintings for a museum.

While working, Christy mysteriously gets transported into the world within the paintings. Touching narrative with themes of passion for art, personal growth and friendship.

Explore paintings ranging from still lifes to landscapes to recreate them. Simple painting mechanics allow you to recreate key elements of each painting. Relaxing experience focused on appreciation of art rather than challenges. Hand-drawn visuals in an art nouveau and art deco style.

Behind the Frame is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB, according to their guidelines

It Takes Two

It Takes Two is a co-op adventure game. Developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts The story follows estranged couple Cody and May who are magically turned into dolls and must work together in co-op to navigate challenges and save their relationship

Seamless drop-in/drop-out co-op, or play locally with a friend Variety of locations like workshop, greenhouse, campsite, and more imaginative contraptions and abilities to traverse obstacles as a team.

Boss fights require cooperating to expose weaknesses Whimsical humor and a heartfelt story about reconciliation Received critical praise for enjoyable co-op gameplay and story

It Takes Two is rated T for Teen by the ESRB due to suggestive themes related to marital conflicts

Don’t mimic existing games. Lead players somewhere they’ve never been.” – Kim Swift, designer of Portal

As I understand this quote, not rehashing familiar content and instead breaking new ground with innovative experiences that are calming, relaxing, and thought-provoking is a better way to go. Hope this cultivates a healthy and mindful gaming relationship for your family too.

Sensory Play: How Nature’s Nurtures Learning

Sensory Play: How Nature Nurtures Learning

As a parent, you can promote your child’s growth and learning by providing opportunities to explore a variety of natural textures. Interacting with materials like pinecones, seashells, and flower petals stimulates your child’s senses and curiosity in many positive ways.

Sensory development

Feeling the coarse grain of bark, smoothness of a pebble, or fluff of a feather engages your child’s sense of touch. This helps build nerve connections between the hand and brain. Varying natural textures also ignites sensory curiosity about differences in the physical world.

Facilitates fine motor skills

Picking up acorns, sorting leaves, and grasping pine needles promote hand-eye coordination and dexterity. scooping and pouring sand encourages palm arches for improved pencil grasp later on.

Exploring the natural and physical world

Exploring natural materials provides concepts about the environment. Noticing detailed textures leads to real-world observations. Discovering the ridges of a seed pod or velvety fuzz of a dandelion acquaints children with plant traits. This builds early science knowledge.

Unstructured play with natural items encourages imagination and creativity. Making texture rubbings of tree bark or arranging a collage of leaves, rocks, and sticks promotes artistic experimentation. There are endless possibilities for open-ended learning.

Developing Artistic Eyes: How Nature Nurtures Visual Expression

Nature can inspire creative development and art in young children: It provides diverse colors, textures, and shapes to observe and replicate – A walk outside exposes children to a vibrant palette to spark visual creativity, from the greens of leaves to the browns of tree bark. The textures of flowers, stones, and grass also offer unique qualities to incorporate into artwork.

It encourages 3D sculptures and transient art – Sticks, stones, flowers, and other natural loose parts lend themselves to building and sculpting. Children can also create patterns, shapes, and images by sorting or arranging items from nature.

Inspires imaginative nature drawings – Seeing animals, plants, and landscapes firsthand provides a wellspring of ideas for creative illustrations and visual storytelling. Kids can invent whimsical creatures and botanical fantasies grounded in real-world observations.

Getting Outside, No Matter the Weather

The changing seasons should not deter outdoor playtime. Children benefit from fresh air and activity year-round, even when fall and winter bring colder temperatures.

Bundling up properly allows for enjoyable outdoor discovery regardless of the weather. The sights, sounds, and sensations of nature provide invaluable stimulation even on crisp, rainy, or snowy days.

Cooler weather offers new terrain to explore and seasonal phenomena to observe. Puddles, frost, mist, and snow invite curiosity, movement, and sensory learning.

Here are some nature items that can be collected on a nature walk/exploration or a scavenger hunt:

Smooth stones



Barks Pieces




Seed pods



Grass blades



Pine needles


Cicada shells



Here are some additional ways that being in nature can benefit young children in their early years:

Improves focus and attention – The slower pace and change of scenery nature provides helps children concentrate.

Reduces stress – Being outdoors lowers cortisol levels and relaxes the mind and body.

Strengthens immune system – Exposure to microbes in nature builds antibodies and resistance.

Increases physical activity – The variability of natural terrain promotes movement and motor skills.

Boosts imagination – Natural loose parts and settings spark creativity and inventive play.

Teaches responsibility – Connecting with plants/animals promotes empathy and caretaking.

Enhances social skills – Unstructured play in nature teaches sharing, cooperation and problem-solving.

Supports risk-taking – Managing outdoor challenges helps develop judgment and confidence.

Inspires wonder – Interacting with wildlife and phenomena like weather promotes curiosity.

Young bodies and minds thrive with regular time spent immersed in the natural world around us. The weather may change, but the developmental benefits of outdoor play remain a constant.

So take your children outside and let them freely interact with nature’s treasures. Grab snacks and a basket for collecting textured treats to examine more closely. Texture play the natural way nurtures development!

Happy exploration!

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

It's Pumpkin season! October brings with it pumpkins and cooler weather. As the days get shorter and the crisp autumn air arrives, there's nothing better than cozying up with a steaming mug of pumpkin spice hot chocolate. Pumpkin spice hot chocolate is the ultimate fall treat. It's creamy, indulgent, and guaranteed to fill you with nostalgia for this wonderful time of year. Curled up under a blanket with your favorite show or book, and a mug of this delicious hot chocolate in hand, you'll feel totally content.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Drinks


  • Medium saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Milk/cream frother or immersion blender (optional, for topping with whipped cream)
  • Mugs or cups
  • Spoon for stirring and serving
  • Mixing bowl (if using a frother or immersion blender)


  • - 2 cups whole milk
  • - 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • - 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • - 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • - 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • - 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • - 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • - Pinch of salt


  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, pumpkin puree, sugar, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt.
  • Heat over medium, whisking frequently, until steaming and hot but not boiling.
  • Remove from heat and pour into mugs.
  • Top with whipped cream, ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks. Enjoy!


For a richer hot chocolate, use 1/2 cup heavy cream instead of 1/4 cup.
- For an extra pumpkin spice kick, add a pinch of ground ginger.
- Customize your spice mix by using cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.

Underrated Matriarchs of Change: Black Women Who Shaped History

Underrated Matriarchs of Change: Black Women Who Shaped History

This year’s Black History Month in the UK has been themed: Celebrating our Sisters, Saluting our Sisters, and Honoring Matriarchs of Movements.

We want to shine a light on some of the remarkable yet underappreciated black women who have helped shape British history and society.

As the theme this year emphasizes, black women have been at the forefront of movements demanding equality, justice, and social change. Their stories deserve to be told.

The Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD) was founded in 1978 by a group of black British women activists including Stella Dadzie, Olive Morris, and Beverley Bryan.

OWAAD campaigned against discrimination and state oppression of black and Asian women in Britain.

In 1985, OWAAD members Suzanne Scafe, Beverley Bryan, and Stella Dadzie published ‘The Heart of the Race‘, a groundbreaking book centering the diverse experiences of black women in the UK.

The Heart Of the Race
The Heart Of the Race

It highlighted the triple oppressions of racism, sexism and classism faced by this marginalized group

Here are some pioneering women of color who worked in education in the UK to promote change

Jenny Douglas (1907-1990) – First black headteacher in the UK. She led Roseneath Primary School in London in the 1960s. She focused on multicultural education and stood up to racist authorities.

Betty Campbell (1934-2017) – Teacher and community activist in Cardiff. She was the first black headteacher in Wales, leading Mount Stuart Primary School in the 1980s. She also chaired the Cardiff Community Relations Council.

Statue of Betty Campbell in Central Square, Cardiff, unveiled September 2021.

Catherine Ross educates the community about African and Caribbean culture through the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, continuing the legacy of work by her late husband Bernie Grant, the UK’s first Black MP.

Educator and writer Maureen Stone was a leading figure in the field of multicultural education and school inclusion efforts in the 1960s-80s.

Diane Abbott – First black woman to be elected to the House of Commons in 1987. Before entering politics, she taught at London schools in the 1970s-80s and criticized discriminatory practices in education.

Diane Abbott

Brenda Woods (1951-2018) – Jamaican-born teacher who became principal at Greenford High School in London in 1996, likely the first black woman secondary headteacher in the UK. She promoted inclusive education.

Catherine Ross (b. 1944) – British educator and activist who founded CLAAS (Community Learning and Active Support) to provide supplementary education for African-Caribbean youth facing disadvantages.

Wilmet Sudler played a pivotal role in preserving Black British history, founding the George Padmore Institute archive which houses indispensable records on community organizing and anti-racist movements.

Sisters in Strength

The stories of these courageous women and so many others are so motivational. They overcame prejudice and injustice to lead change and uplift their communities. Though the scale of their impact varied, their integrity, passion, and perseverance can inspire anyone.

Sisters in strength

During Black History Month, I hope we take time to celebrate the ‘sheroes’ who came before. Their struggle continues today, but they lit the torch and showed us the way forward. As author Mary McLeod Bethune put it: “Have the courage to stand up for justice and truth.” Let us honor these women by exhibiting the same bravery and conviction.

Resilience, self-care, and well-being into modern day social justice

The incredible women we celebrate during Black History Month exemplified resilience in the face of injustice. As we carry their torch in today’s fight for equality, we must also prioritize self-care and well-being. Our reforms will only thrive if we nurture our minds, bodies, and spirits.

Share your feelings with a loved one. Unplug from devices and get grounded in nature. Express your truth through music, poetry, painting, or dance. Take breaks when overwhelmed and be kind to yourself. Protect your peace and happiness, for they are revolutionary acts.

Self care

Our resilience comes not from being unbreakable, but from learning to heal. We honor the women before us by embracing our full humanity. Our power lies in sisterhood, community, and radical self-love.

Take time to care for the precious girl within you. Find power in joy, laughter, and moments of stillness. Together we will sustain one another, and be the heroines of our own stories.

Here are some events happening in the UK, especially London, for Black History Month in October

Black History Month at the National Archives (October 1-31, London) – Exhibits, workshops, and tours related to Black history in the UK archives.

Black History Month River Boat Cruise (October 2, London) – Boat cruise along the Thames celebrating Black music, food and culture.

Making History: Uncovering Black British History (October 5, London) – Panel discussion on overlooked Black British history at the National Archives.

Black Writers Festival (October 7-9, London) – Literary festival highlighting Black British writers through talks, workshops, etc.

Hackney Knees Up (October 8, London) – Celebration of Black music, food and culture in Hackney.

Black History Month Walking Tour (Various dates in October, London) – Guided tour of sites related to Black history in London.

BCA Heritage Month (October, Birmingham) – Exhibits, performances, and film screenings about Black history and culture.

Some great events happening this October for children to celebrate and learn about Black History Month in the UK

Hackney Knees Up (October 8, London) – This family-friendly event with music, food, arts & crafts in Hackney.

Black History Tours for Families at Hackney Museum (Saturdays in October, London) – Interactive tours suitable for kids aged 7-11 and their families. £10 per child.

BCA Youth Takeover (October 20, Birmingham) – Event organized by and for young people to explore Black history and heritage. Free.

Black History Month Family Day at the V&A Museum (October 15, London) – Arts & crafts, music, and storytelling for kids inspired by the V&A’s collections. Free.

Half-term Black History Month Family Workshop (October 26, Manchester) – Arts activities for families inspired by Walter Tull, a Black British WW1 hero. £5 per child.

Black History Month Storytelling & Music (October 30, Leeds) – Interactive stories and music for kids. Free.

Engaging kids with Black history and culture through interactive and creative activities can really foster an appreciation and respect for diversity from an early age.

Rethinking Freud’s Absolutist Theories In The Modern Age

Sigmund Freud's Monumental Contribution to Psychology

Sigmund Freud looms large in the history of psychology. The founding father of psychoanalysis, Freud revolutionized our understanding of the human mind through his models of the psyche, the unconscious, psychosexual development, and more.

Sigmund Freud, by Max Halberstadt
Sigmund Freud, by Max Halberstadt

In the early 20th century, Freud’s ideas about the unconscious, drives, and psychosexual development contradicted the prevailing views of human nature and the mind. They were seen as shocking and subversive at the time.

The mainstream scientific community was skeptical of Freud’s unproven theories and clinical methods. They viewed his ideas as too speculative. Cultural pessimisim Freud’s dark view of human nature at the mercy of primal drives clashed with the Victorian/Edwardian optimism of the era. It was found to be overly pessimistic. Sexual taboos like his emphasis on psychosexuality crossed moral boundaries of the early 1900s. His ideas were seen as scandalous.

His work utterly transformed psychology and psychotherapy. Yet today, many of Freud’s once-radical theories seem antiquated, absolutist, and at odds with modern psychology. In this post, we’ll explore Freud’s invaluable contributions but also the reasons we must view his work critically in the contemporary era.

Here are some of Freud's significant accomplishments :

Freud developed psychoanalysis. He pioneered the clinical method of psychoanalysis for investigating the unconscious mind and treating psychopathology through dialogue between patient and analyst. This became highly influential.

Dialogue between patient and analyst

He mapped the unconscious. Freud’s model of the psyche containing powerful drives operating in the unconscious mind was groundbreaking. It greatly expanded our understanding of the depth and complexity of the human mind.

Freud's ice-burg of mapping the unconscious

Identified defense mechanisms, Freud analyzed common psychological defenses like repression, denial, sublimation, and displacement that protect the conscious mind from threatening unconscious impulses and memories.

He emphasized childhood development,  He highlighted the decisive influence of early childhood experiences, relationships, and psychosexual development on adult personality. This remains influential.

Freud interpreted dreams, he wrote extensively about the symbolic meaning of dreams as a window into the unconscious desires and feelings of the dreamer. His work opened up new avenues of dream interpretation.

"Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious." Sigmund Freud

He influenced arts and culture – Freud’s ideas permeated into literature, visual arts, films, and popular culture. He inspired surrealism, psychoanalytic literary criticism, and themes of the subconscious in culture.

Late Night Dreams, 1923- Salvador Dali- Cubism
Late Night Dreams, 1923- Salvador Dali- Cubism

The surrealist painter Dali was fascinated by Freud's theories on dreams and the unconscious mind. Many of Dalí's dreamlike paintings explore surreal imagery and Freudian symbols.

Here are some more artists influenced by Freud’s unconscious culture.

Max Ernst, another surrealist painter.

Jackson Pollock utilized Freudian free association and surrealist automatic painting techniques to tap into his unconscious.

Paul Klee the Swiss painter incorporated dream states, childhood memories, and absurdity in his work related to Freudian themes.

David Lynch the filmmaker’s surreal movies like Mulholland Drive employ dream logic and Freudian symbolism.

So many more who Freud’s view of hidden desires, dreams, and the power of the unconscious left a lasting impression on. Surrealist and modernist artists seek to depict the workings of the subconscious mind in symbolic ways.

Freud normalized psychotherapy, he helped remove the social stigma around mental healthcare by scientifically studying the psyche. He made psychotherapy more acceptable and accessible.

Sigmund Freud’s theories, have always been quite controversial yet influential. They have also captured the public imagination and incrementally gained support, especially among the cultural elites. His ideas were seen as shocking yet irresistibly novel and self-reflective for the early 20th century. The controversies led both to resistance and growing intrigue towards his radical vision of human psychology.

Support from progressives. Most Progressive intellectuals found Freud’s model of the mind refreshing compared to the rigidity of 19th-century moralism. They saw promise in his ideas.

Doctors and psychiatrists slowly started adopting Freud’s methods in the treatment of hysteria, neurosis and other disorders. His approaches gained clinical relevance.

Visual representation of Freud's id, ego, and super-ego and the level of consciousness
Visual representation of Freud's id, ego, and super-ego and the level of consciousness

Concepts like the ego, superego, Oedipus complex, and more derive from his groundbreaking, if flawed, theories. For his time, Freud’s ideas were startlingly innovative.

Unlearning Sigmund Freud and Keeping the Beneficial

The Limits of Freud's Absolutist Approach

Modern psychology has moved well beyond Freud in many ways. The limitations of his absolutist theories and dated views are apparent today.

His biological emphasis on innate drives downplays social, cultural, and cognitive factors.

He minimized the effects of socialization, family dynamics, peer relationships, and other social factors that shape personality. Modern psychology sees these as crucial.

Freud universalized theories based on a limited sample of patients. Today we know cultural norms, values, and diversity profoundly impact psychology.

Freud’s methods and ethics have also come under criticism, such as his reliance on a small number of privileged Viennese patients, lack of controlled studies, and potential shaping of patients’ memories through leading questions. So the “evidence” for some of his theories was limited.

Cognitive factors. Freud focused on drives over rational thought, problem-solving, and conscious decision-making. Cognitive psychology studies the huge role of cognitive processes.

Freud traced most behavior to childhood. However, research shows trauma and life events throughout adulthood also reshape personalities in major ways.

His views on female sexuality and psychology seem profoundly sexist now

The biggest facet I would like individuals to unlearn is his misogynistic outlook. Freud described male development as active while female development is passive.

He portrayed women as subordinate, weaker, and less morally developed than men.

He ignored social and cultural factors. Freud attributed gender differences to biology while dismissing the enormous role of patriarchal social norms in shaping gender identities and relations at that time.

He overemphasized sexual motivations. Freud reduced many women’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotions to their sexual reproductive role. Not a holistic view of women.

He generalized from the limited sample. He based many theories about “normal femininity” on a small sample of Victorian upper-class women only. He wrongly universalized their experiences.

Normalized sexual abuse. Freud considered stories of childhood sexual abuse to often be fantasies or unconscious desires. This normalized abuse and discredited women’s experiences.

Overall, Freud held many essentialist, biologically deterministic views about female nature, motivations and development that propagated harmful gender stereotypes. His absolutist claims lacked scientific rigor and served to reinforce patriarchal beliefs about women’s inferiority and subordinate role in society. His theories were undoubtedly steeped in the sexism of the time.

Freud rejected behavioral theories, but learning theory and habit formation are now known to strongly influence how we think, feel, and act.

Neuroscience. Freud lacked a modern understanding of brain biology, neurotransmitters, and neural pathways that determine much of mental functioning.

Human agency. Freud’s determinism downplayed people’s capacity and the power they have within them for self-awareness, growth, and conscious choice in shaping their lives.

In essence, by fixating on early biological drives, Freud discounted the many interconnected influences that make human psychology incredibly complex, flexible, and open to conscious intervention. His highly absolutist, reductive view does not match the nuanced understanding of the multitude of biological, social, and intrapersonal factors impacting human development.

Appreciating but Contextualizing Freud's Legacy

Sigmund Freud must be appreciated for his lasting contributions that created psychology as we know it today. Yet we must also view his ideas in their historical context, test them against modern research, and retain a critical, flexible mindset.

Freud’s genius inspired psychology’s foundation, but absolutist adherence to all his theories limits the field’s growth. By incorporating his insights while moving beyond outdated assumptions, we can envision a psychology both enriched by Freud and far more sophisticated than was possible in his era.

Publications that compare/contrast Freud's view with modern psychology

So a variety of scholarly books, academic journal articles, and reference materials directly compare Freud’s original theories to more recent developments in psychoanalysis, psychology, neuroscience, and related fields here are some of them.

Freud Versus the Neo-Freudians” – Academic journal article by Douglas Kirsner critically analyzing Freud alongside more recent psychoanalytic theories.

Freud and Modern Psychology: The Emotional Basis of Mental Illness” – Book by Glenn Alexander Meredith comparing Freud’s theories to cognitive, behavioral, and neuroscience approaches.

Freud’s Legacy in Question” – Book by Jerome Neu discusses criticisms and limitations of Freud from modern perspectives.

The Freud Encyclopedia: Theory, Therapy, and Culture” – Reference work by Edward Erwin reviewing Freud alongside modern developments in psychoanalysis and psychology.

Freud Evaluated: The Completed Arc” – Book by Malcolm Macmillan analyzes which of Freud’s ideas have held up, and which have been discredited or modified.

Freud and the 20th Century” – Academic journal issue from Psychologist magazine with several authors exploring Freud’s legacy and relevance.

Whose Freud?: The Place of Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture” – Scholarly book with essays reexamining Freud’s cultural and scientific contributions.

Freud: Creator of the Modern Mind” – Biography by Paul Mattick Jr. places Freud in a historical context and examines his theories against current knowledge.

Freud should be appreciated for creating psychoanalysis and making great strides in destigmatizing mental healthcare. However, modern psychology has moved well beyond the absolutist, deterministic limitations of his early 20th-century theories.

Today, we recognize personality and development as the complex result of biological, social, cultural, cognitive, and psychological factors interacting, not just innate biological drives. Freud’s ideas inspired psychology but should not dogmatically define it.

By incorporating nuanced, evidence-based models of the mind, we can build positively on Freud’s foundations. We should neither dismiss nor uncritically accept all his speculations. With an attitude of qualified, flexible reexamination, Freud’s legacy remains an enormously influential springboard for advances in human understanding.

Artists Who Painted there Emotions

Artists Who Painted Their Emotions

Expressing the Inexpressible: How Painters Harness Art to Externalize

Artists throughout history have harnessed their craft to express a wide amount of human emotion. On one end of the spectrum, you have buoyant, upbeat painters like Henri Matisse, who conveyed joyful feelings of excitement and optimism through bright, lively works like his fauvist Dance paintings. Matisse described his artistic goal as creating “an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter.”

On the other hand with anguished artists like Vincent van Gogh, whose work reflected his lifelong struggles with mental illness. Paintings like The Starry Night and many self-portraits externalized his inner demons, sorrow, and anxiety through thick, agitated brushstrokes and tormented imagery. “I put my heart and my soul into my work,” he said, “and have lost my mind in the process.”

HENRI MATISSE The Blue Window Still Life Expressionist Painting
HENRI MATISSE The Blue Window Still Life Expressionist Painting
The Starry Night- Vincent Van Gogh. It depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint Remy de Province.
The Starry Night-Vincent Van Gogh. It depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint Remy de Province.

Both approaches offer truth. We contain multitudes – light and dark, agony and ecstasy. Expressing only one aspect would be inauthentic for most of us. As full human beings, we ebb and flow between troubles and joys, boredom and bliss. Yet exploring the extremes helps us understand ourselves. As Frida Kahlo mused, “I paint flowers so they will not die.” Art preserves our experiences across the emotional spectrum.

Magnolias 1945 - Frida Kahlo
Magnolias 1945 - Frida Kahlo

Artistes Depicting Their Inner Storms Through Paintings

Throughout history, painters have channeled their anxieties, grief, melancholia, and other difficult-to-grasp emotions onto the canvas.

Their turbulence transformed into masterpieces that resonate through time. Far from glamorizing darkness, these brave souls illuminate the universality of human turmoil.

Vincent Van Gogh was notorious for depicting his mental anguish in profound ways, swirling paintings like The Starry Night. The moody, abstract landscape seems to mirror his inner storminess. Frida Kahlo unpacked her physical and psychic pain in intimate self-portraits loaded with surreal symbolism, such as her graphicly ravaged heart depicted in The Broken Column.

Vincent Van Gogh- Self portrait
Vincent Van Gogh- Self portrait
Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo

Many of Van Gogh’s paintings use color, brushwork, and composition to vividly convey emotional states and inner turmoil.

His symbolic imagery allows viewers to intensely feel and perceive the emotions he experienced and conveyed on canvas. His raw self-expression connects authentically with audiences across time.

Sorrowing Man - Vincent Van Gogh

The Sorrowing Old Man (1890) - Heavy brushstrokes and an anguished face externalize his inner grief and distress.

"I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream." -Vincent Van Gogh

Mark Rothko – Moody fields of color in paintings like ‘No. 5/No.22’ were meant to stir specific emotions in viewers through color alone. His brooding colors, such as those in No.61, envelop viewers, evoking a melancholic sublime.

"I paint to evoke a changing language of symbols." - Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko- Painting No. 5/No.22- 1949-1950
Mark Rothko- Painting No. 5/No.22- 1949-1950

Rothko carefully chose hues to establish a brooding, melancholic, or meditative mood. Dark browns and deep reds create gravity and solemnity.

He wanted viewers to experience a kind of awe or transcendence before the colored voids, like at a religious ceremony. The colors evoke the metaphysical. His monumental canvases immerse viewers physically, making them feel small before the pulsing color fields. This intensifies the emotional effect.

Untitled, 1968- Mark Rothko-Abstract

"Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take risks." Mark Rothko

Jean-Michel Basquiat – Raw, scribbled paintings like ‘Riding with Death’ exuded his inner life.

His paintings have an intense, frenetic energy conveyed through scribbled lines, chaotic compositions, and bold marks. His works seem to exude strong emotions like anger, anxiety, loneliness, or euphoria. The loose style captures a kind of frenzied feeling flowing directly from his psyche.

Jean Basquiat- Skull Neo-Expressionism 1981
Jean Basquiat- Skull Neo-Expressionism 1981

"I don't listen to what art critics say. I don't know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is." Jean Michel Basquiat

Riding With Death -Jean Michel Basquiat-1988 Neo-Expressionism, street art
Riding With Death -Jean Michel Basquiat-1988 Neo-Expressionism, street art

He painted gritty street scenes, words, symbols, and figures that spoke to his urban upbringing in New York City. The rawness of his style thus grew from emotional connections to his environment.

Self-portrait, 1982 - Jean Basquiat- Neo- Expressionism
Self-portrait, 1982 - Jean Basquiat- Neo- Expressionism

"I don't think about art when I am working I think about life."

 Jackson Pollocks drip painting technique is highly gestural, suggesting the artist was directly channeling his unconscious onto the canvas. The splattered paint embodies a raw, unmediated creative process.

However, Pollock resisted being neatly categorized by critics and theorists eager to label him. In 1956, when speaking with art historian Selden Rodman, Pollock rejected terms like “abstract expressionism,” “non-objective,” and “nonrepresentational” being applied to his work. He asserted that at times he was very representational, and a little representational overall. Pollock thus challenged assumptions and simplifications about his creative motivations and content.

Number 8-1949- Jackson Pollock. Drip Period
Number 8-1949- Jackson Pollock. Drip Period

"The modern artist is expressing an inner world - the energy, motion, and inner forces." - Jackson Pollock

Portrait and a Dream 1953- Jackson Pollock Abstract Expressionism
Portrait and a Dream 1953- Jackson Pollock Abstract Expressionism

"I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them. Techniques are just a means of arriving at a statement." - Jackson Pollock

 Marc Chagall created fantastical, dream-like paintings that evoked a complex range of emotions and moods related to his life and Jewish heritage.

Memories from his small village in Russia permeate his work. Scenes of village festivals, wedding celebrations, and fiddlers on rooftops convey deep nostalgia and sentimentality. 

I and the Village 1911- Marc Chagall

Amidst the wonder, Chagall’s work also reflects moments of sadness and loss. Solitary figures or more somber colors occasionally suggest loneliness or grief. Despite his works being emotion-invoking not all were melancholic.  

Old Women with a Ball of Yarn 1906- Marc Chagall
Old Women with a Ball of Yarn 1906- Marc Chagall

"If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing." - Marc Chagall

The Birthday 1915- Marc Chagall
The Birthday 1915- Marc Chagall

Chagall painted many affectionate representations of his wife Bella. His love imbues these vibrant, poetic portraits and flying couples with warmth.

 Edvard Munch famous work ‘The Scream’ depicted the anxiety and dread he felt in a moment of intense anguish. Other paintings like ‘The Sick Child’ expressed his grief.

The Scream 1893- Edvard Munch
The Scream 1893- Edvard Munch

Despite radical simplification, the landscape in the picture is recognizable as the Kristiania Fjord seen from Ekeberg, with a broad view over the fjord, the town, and the hills beyond. In the background to the left, at the end of the path with the balustrade that cuts diagonally across the picture, we see two strolling figures, often regarded as two friends whom Munch mentions in notes relating to the picture.

But the figure in the front is the first to capture the viewer’s attention. The figure is unclear and it is hard to say whether it is a man or a woman, young or old – or even if it is human at all.

"From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity." Edvard Munch

Anxiety, 1894- Edvard Munch
Anxiety, 1894- Edvard Munch

Figures are often isolated, turned away, or positioned to convey psychological states like loneliness, grief, or alienation. Munch incorporated atmospheric elements like menacing clouds or waves to mirror internal emotions externally. His Stream-of-Consciousness Style like loose, gestural application of paint evokes a spontaneity that immediately transfers emotion to canvas.

Looking on the Bright Side: Artists Who Capture Joy

In a world that often feels bleak, art has the power to uplift. Though many renowned works depict suffering and darkness, some artists consciously harnessed their brushes to explore cheerier emotions like bliss, love, delight, and optimism.

French artist Henri Matisse pushed boundaries with his lively Fauvist works like Dance I and The Joy of Life. Vibrant colors and energetic brushwork convey freedom and jubilation. Matisse sought to share the euphoric state he achieved while painting.

The joy of life, 1905- Henri Matisse -Fauvism

"I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have a light joyousness of springtime, which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost me. " -Henri Matisse

The Little Gate of the Old Mill 1898- Henry Matisse
The Little Gate of the Old Mill 1898- Henry Matisse

There is so much to say about Matisse. In his later life, Matisse, who was partially reliant on a wheelchair, continued his artistic endeavors by creating cut-paper collages and working as a graphic artist.

La Gerbe 1953- Henri Matisse - Abstract Expressionism
La Gerbe 1953- Henri Matisse - Abstract Expressionism

American artist Grandma Moses(Anna Mary Robertson Moses) began painting in her 70s, depicting nostalgic, idyllic scenes from her rural childhood like Catching the Thanksgiving Turkey. Her charming, folk art compositions radiate comfort and wholesome happiness.

Joy Ride- Grandma Mosses 1953- Naïve Art (Primitivism)
Joy Ride- Grandma Mosses 1953- Naïve Art (Primitivism)

"Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be." Grandma Moses

Her work is cited as an example of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age. Her works have been shown and sold in the United States and abroad and have been marketed on greeting cards and other merchandise.

The Rainbow 1961 Naïve Art (Primitivism) - Grandma Moses
The Rainbow 1961 Naïve Art (Primitivism) - Grandma Moses

Many Impressionists, like Claude Monet with his delightful Water Lilies series, aimed to share the joy they felt illuminating nature’s beauty. Light-filled landscapes elicit a sense of wonder and contentment.

Water Lily Pond, 1917- Claude Monet -Impressionism
Water Lily Pond, 1917- Claude Monet -Impressionism

He expertly captured the pleasure and emotional lift he found immersing himself in nature. In some ways his works convey uplifting emotions. His loose, broken brushstrokes and visible thick paint convey the motion and vitality of scenes, like shimmering water or rustling leaves. This energetic style elicits excitement.

Road to the Saint-Simeon Farm, 1864-Claude Monet- Impressionism
Road to the Saint-Simeon Farm, 1864-Claude Monet- Impressionism

"Eventually, my eyes were opened, and I really understood nature. I learned to love at the same time."

By painting outdoors, Monet aimed to recreate the euphoria he felt in nature. That uplifting emotion translates into the work.

In multiple works like Haystacks or Rouen Cathedral, Monet captured different light/weather, showing nature’s ability to uplift in any setting.

Adolphe Monet Reading in the Garden, 1866 - Claude Monet- Impressionism
Adolphe Monet Reading in the Garden, 1866 - Claude Monet- Impressionism

"I perhaps owe having to become a painter to flowers." Claude Monet

Wassily Kandinsky was deeply interested in expressing emotions and spiritual meanings through abstract art. Here are some ways his paintings reveal his focus on inner feelings.

Kandinsky associated certain colors with specific emotions or mystical values. Blue symbolized spirituality, yellow cheerful emotions, and red for aggression.

Murnau Garden, 1910- Wassily Kandinsky- Expressionism
Murnau Garden, 1910- Wassily Kandinsky- Expressionism

The placement and interaction of shapes was meant to evoke tension, excitement, stillness, etc.

Diagonals conveyed motion and dynamism. He let spontaneous brushstrokes directly capture his inner state, without planning. This revealed his unconscious feelings.

Black Frame, 1922- Wassily Kandinsky- Abstract
Black Frame, 1922- Wassily Kandinsky- Abstract

"Everything starts from a dot." Wassily Kandinsky

One of his techniques, I especially like, is his association of music with color, he tried to visually capture melodies, instruments, and rhythms in energetic compositions. I remember teaching my class of four-year-old’s, a little about Kandinsky. We used his method as inspiration to paint canvases with music. They turned out pretty beautifully.

Composition VII,1913- Wassily Kandinsky - Abstract
Composition VII,1913- Wassily Kandinsky - Abstract

"Color is the power that directly influences the soul." Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VII considered his most complex visualization of music in painting, full of clashing dissonances.

Music was a critical inspiration for the evolution of Kandinsky’s groundbreaking abstract paintings. In particular, the innovative works of Viennese composer Arnold Schönberg significantly influenced Kandinsky.

Kandinsky’s theories on art’s potential to evoke psychological, physical, and emotional responses.

Kandinsky was also synesthetic, which means, he associated specific colors with particular instruments and musical notes. This shaped his approach of conveying melodies, harmonies, and rhythms directly on the canvas through visual means.

"Each color lives by mysterious life." Wassily Kandinsky

Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925 - Wassily Kandinsky-Abstract
Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925 - Wassily Kandinsky-Abstract

Yellow-Red-Blue has a rhythmic, melodic quality with its sequence of forms and colors. Kandinsky described it as a "symphony."

In dark times, we need the light. For centuries, artists have explored happiness, delight, love, and optimism as worthy subjects. Their vibrant works remind us beauty persists. As Monet said, “Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.” May the dazzling hues of creative spirits brighten your day!

Exploring how different artists throughout history have used painting to express the full range of human emotion is fascinating.

What messages of positivity and hope can we find in art, if we take time to look? What do you see?

Discloser- All images on this blog post were sourced from and Wikimedia Commons which are public domains. The links are down below.

John Holt: Pioneering Education Through Freedom and Curiosity

John Holt: Pioneering Education Through Freedom and Curiosity

In the world of education, there are trailblazers who challenge the status quo and redefine how we think about learning. John Caldwell Holt, an American author and educator, was undeniably one of these visionaries. His ideas and insights have had a profound impact on the way we approach education, paving the way for alternative methods like unschooling and homeschooling. In this blog post, we’ll explore a little into the life and philosophies of John Holt, exploring how his thoughts on education continue to inspire parents, educators, and learners alike. Check out my post about A Beginner’s Guide To Free-Range /Unschooling on TOP CURRICULUMS FOR HOMESCHOOLERS

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

John Holt Educator

Growing up my learning Journey as a student started in a Montessori Kindergarten, we were encouraged to explore our interests and learn at our own pace, which aligns closely with John Holt’s philosophy of self-directed learning. This early exposure to a more independent and exploratory style of education may have had a lasting impact on my approach to learning.

I started Primary school in a traditional setting. Teachers well-intentioned though they were, often viewed me through a lens that didn’t quite capture my uniqueness. They perceived my enthusiasm for play as a lack of dedication to learning. In their eyes, sitting still, absorbing information, and completing assignments were the markers of a “good” student. My caregivers were told and I quote “She plays too much” What child doesn’t like to play? It wasn’t until I started teaching as an adult and through my Mentor that I discovered the power of playful learning.

A Brief Overview of John Holt

Born on April 14, 1923, John Holt began his career as a teacher but soon became a vocal critic of the traditional schooling system. His groundbreaking books, including “How Children Fail” (1964) and “How Children Learn” (1967), challenged conventional wisdom about education. Here are some key insights from his work.

1. Nurturing Natural Curiosity:
Holt firmly believed that children are naturally curious and eager to learn about the world around them. However, he saw traditional schooling as an obstacle to this curiosity. In his view, structured curricula and standardized testing often stifled a child’s innate desire to explore and discover.

2. The Concept of Unschooling:
One of Holt’s most significant contributions to education was the concept of unschooling. He advocated for a more flexible and child-centered approach to learning. Instead of adhering to a rigid curriculum, Holt proposed that children should be given the freedom to explore their interests and learn at their own pace, with parents or adults serving as guides rather than instructors.

3. Rejecting Standardized Testing:
Holt was a vocal critic of standardized testing, viewing it as an inadequate measure of a child’s true abilities. He argued that these tests often focused on rote memorization and regurgitation of facts, neglecting the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

4. Embracing Intrinsic Motivation:
Central to Holt’s philosophy was the idea that true learning occurs when individuals are intrinsically motivated. In other words, people learn because they are genuinely interested in a subject, not merely to earn grades or please authority figures. He believed that fostering this internal drive was key to lifelong learning.

Nature Exploration
Nature Exploration

John Holt identified several fundamental problems in the American school system, and he articulated these issues in great detail throughout his writings. Here are some the key problems he saw:

Suppression of Natural Curiosity: Holt believed that the traditional American school system often suppressed children’s innate curiosity and love of learning. He argued that young children are naturally curious and eager to explore the world around them, but the structured and authoritarian nature of schools could stifle this curiosity.

Rote Learning: He criticized the emphasis on rote learning and memorization in schools. Holt argued that such an approach focused on superficial knowledge rather than promoting deep understanding and critical thinking. He felt that students were often encouraged to memorize facts for tests without truly comprehending the subject matter.

Standardization: Holt was critical of the standardization in education, including standardized testing. He believed that these one-size-fits-all approaches ignored the fact that every child is unique and learns at their own pace. Standardized tests, in his view, could pressure students, lead to anxiety, and encourage surface-level learning.

Lack of Autonomy: Holt saw a lack of autonomy for students within the school system. He argued that students were rarely given choices in what they studied or how they learned. This lack of agency, in his opinion, reduced motivation and hindered the development of problem-solving skills.

Age-Based Grouping: Holt questioned the practice of grouping students solely by age. He believed that this artificial grouping did not account for the diversity in students’ abilities and interests. It could lead to situations where students who were ready to move ahead were held back or, conversely, where struggling students were pushed too quickly.

Fear of Failure: Holt observed that many students developed a fear of failure due to the constant evaluation and grading in schools. This fear, he argued, could lead to a focus on getting good grades rather than genuine learning. It also discouraged students from taking risks or pursuing their passions.

Lack of Individualized Learning: Holt advocated for more individualized learning experiences. He believed that each child had unique interests and strengths, and the school system should adapt to accommodate these differences rather than imposing a uniform curriculum.

Teacher-Centered Approach: Holt criticized the traditional teacher-centered approach to education. He believed that teachers should act as facilitators and guides, helping students explore their interests and learn in a self-directed manner, rather than being the sole source of knowledge.

In essence, John Holt’s critique of the American school system revolved around the idea that traditional schooling often hindered rather than nurtured children’s natural love of learning. He advocated for more child-centered, flexible, and experiential approaches to education, such as unschooling, to address these issues and promote genuine, lifelong learning.

His ideas continue to resonate with parents, educators, and learners who seek a more natural and child-centric approach to education. His advocacy for curiosity, freedom, and intrinsic motivation has left an indelible mark on the world of teaching and learning. As we reflect on his wisdom, let us remember that education should inspire a lifelong love of learning, just as John Holt envisioned.

How Children Fail

In his book ‘How Children Fail’ he explores the idea that when students struggle or fail in traditional educational settings, they are often blamed or punished for their perceived inadequacies. He argues that this approach is not conducive to effective learning and can be detrimental to a child’s self-esteem and motivation.

"After all, if they won't blame you or punish you for not being able to do what you have been told to do, then they can't get you to do it, and you won't do it, and they will have lost some of their power over you." -John Holt in 'How Children Fail'

Loss of Motivation: When students are blamed or punished for their difficulties, it can lead to a loss of motivation. Instead of feeling encouraged to try again or seek help, they may become demoralized and disengaged from learning.

Negative Impact on Self-Esteem: Blame and punishment can negatively impact a student’s self-esteem. They may internalize the idea that they are not capable or intelligent, which can be damaging in the long term.

Inhibiting Learning: The focus on blame and punishment can shift the focus away from the actual process of learning. Instead of addressing the underlying challenges and providing support, the emphasis is on compliance and performance.

Holt’s broader argument in “How Children Fail” is that the traditional schooling system often fails to recognize and address the individual needs and learning styles of students. He advocates for a more compassionate and flexible approach that acknowledges that students may struggle for various reasons and that these struggles should be met with understanding and support rather than blame and punishment.

how children fail by John Holt

Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling

“Teach Your Own” is a classic work that explores the principles and practicalities of homeschooling. John Holt and Pat Farenga offer a detailed and insightful perspective on how parents can take control of their children’s education and provide a more personalized and meaningful learning experience. Here are some key points of the book. 

 Philosophy of Homeschooling: The book delves into the philosophical underpinnings of homeschooling, emphasizing the importance of trust in children’s natural ability to learn when provided with the right environment and resources.

Practical Advice: “Teach Your Own” provides practical advice on how to get started with homeschooling, including setting up a homeschooling routine, choosing materials, and creating a supportive learning environment.

 Learning Through Life: Holt and Farenga stress that learning is not limited to a classroom or a set curriculum. They encourage parents to embrace real-life experiences, curiosity-driven exploration, and self-directed learning as integral parts of a child’s education.

Teach Your Own fully revised and updated for today's new generation of homeschooling parents.

Respect for Individuality: The book emphasizes the importance of recognizing and respecting each child’s unique interests, abilities, and pace of learning, which is a core principle of homeschooling.

 Autonomy and Trust: Holt and Farenga advocate for giving children more autonomy in their education and trusting them to take ownership of their learning journey.

Community and Support: While homeschooling is often done independently, the book also discusses the value of forming homeschooling communities and seeking support from like-minded parents.

 Challenges and Criticisms: The authors address common challenges and criticisms that homeschooling families may face and provide insights on how to address them.

“Teach Your Own” has been a source of inspiration for countless homeschooling families, helping them navigate the complexities of homeschooling and providing a philosophical foundation for this educational approach. It’s a valuable resource for anyone interested in homeschooling or alternative education methods.

Even if the book was published in 1981, many of its principles and ideas remain relevant today, the practical aspects of homeschooling may have evolved due to advances in technology and changes in educational regulations. Nonetheless, it remains a significant and influential work in the homeschooling literature. And revisited and updated versions are available for purchase

Other than my favorite two I talk about, here are some other John Holt Books.

How Children Learn” – This book explores how children naturally learn and how traditional schooling may hinder their innate curiosity and creativity.

"Children do not need to be made to learn about the world, or shown how. They want to, and they know how."
-John Holt

Freedom and Beyond” – In this collection of essays, Holt delves into the concept of freedom in education and the importance of trusting children to take charge of their own learning.

"The true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do." -John Holt

Instead of Education: Ways to Help People do Things Better” – Holt challenges conventional schooling and offers alternative ideas for fostering meaningful learning experiences.

"Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners."
-John Holt

Never Too Late: My Musical Life Story” – While not directly related to education, this autobiography gives you a deeper understanding of John Holt’s life, including his musical pursuits and how they influenced his educational philosophy.

"I always feel, when I hear a great piece of music, that the composer was telling me something—something he wanted me to know, something he couldn't say any other way, and that I can't forget."

John Holt passed away on September 14, 1985. His work continues to influence the field of education and homeschooling to this day and legacy lives on.

15 Most Profound Brene Brown’s Quotes

15 Most Profound Brene Brown's Quotes

Brene Brown is a renowned researcher, storyteller, and author, who has become a beacon of wisdom in the realms of vulnerability and courage. Her work has illuminated the path to embracing our imperfections, fostering connection, and daring greatly. With her thought-provoking insights and heartfelt words, she has inspired countless individuals on their journey toward self-acceptance and genuine human connection. For me, her work resonates deeply with the themes of child development, parenting, and education. These words offer a guiding light for those seeking to navigate the beautiful complexities of life and relationships.

Brene Brown Quotes

 Brene Brown is not just an author and speaker; she’s also a distinguished researcher. Her TED Talk on vulnerability is one of the most-watched TED Talks of all time.

In addition to her research, Brene Brown has authored several bestselling books, including “Daring Greatly,” “The Gifts of Imperfection,” and “Braving the Wilderness.” These books have resonated with readers worldwide and continue to inspire positive change.

Brene Brown Quotes
Brown holds a Ph.D. in Social Work and is a research professor at the University of Houston. She is a passionate advocate for embracing vulnerability as a source of strength. She encourages individuals to be open, honest, and authentic in their lives, relationships, and endeavors. Brown’s message reached an even broader audience when she appeared in a Netflix special titled “Brene Brown: The Call to Courage.” In this special, she delves into her research and personal experiences, further cementing her status as a thought leader on vulnerability and courage. You can visit her website here.

Understanding Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Understanding Neuro-Linguistic Programming: How it relates to child development

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a field of psychology and communication that focuses on understanding and improving the way individuals think, communicate, and behave. It was initially developed in the 1970s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who aimed to model the behaviors and thought processes of successful people.

NLP is based on several key principles:

Neurological: This aspect refers to the idea that our thoughts and experiences are encoded in our nervous system. NLP seeks to understand how individuals perceive the world through their senses, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

Linguistic: Language plays a crucial role in how we communicate and understand the world. NLP examines the language patterns people use and how these patterns affect their thinking and behavior.

Programming: This aspect involves the idea that individuals can change their thought patterns and behaviors through a process of “reprogramming.” NLP provides techniques and strategies for modifying unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors to achieve personal and professional goals.

NLP techniques are widely used in various fields, including therapy, coaching, sales, and self-improvement. Some common NLP techniques include:

Anchoring: Creating associations between a specific stimulus (like a touch or a word) and a particular emotional state to trigger that state later.

Reframing: Changing the way an individual perceives a situation by altering the language or context used to describe it.

Mirroring and Matching: Mimicking a person’s behavior, such as their body language and speech patterns, to build rapport and establish a connection.

Swish Pattern: A technique used to replace an unwanted behavior or thought pattern with a more desirable one.

Meta-Model: A set of language patterns and questions designed to clarify and challenge unhelpful or limiting beliefs and statements.

NLP has been both praised and criticized. Some people find it to be a valuable tool for personal development and communication, while others view it as pseudoscience lacking empirical evidence.

If you are in a child development, parenting, and/or education niche, you might find NLP techniques relevant for improving communication skills and understanding how language can impact child development.

However, it’s essential to approach NLP with an open mindset and research and discover what works and doesn’t for you.

Understanding Neuro-Linguistic Programming: How it relates to child development

A Brief History of NLP

 Richard Bandler and John Grinder are the co-founders of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Richard Bandler was born on February 24, 1950, in New Jersey, USA. He is a psychologist, author, and educator.

Bandler is best known for his work in developing NLP. In the early 1970s, he collaborated with John Grinder to model the communication and behavior patterns of successful therapists, including Fritz Perls (Gestalt therapy) and Virginia Satir (family therapy).

Together with Grinder, Bandler wrote the seminal book “The Structure of Magic” (1975), which laid the foundation for NLP by analyzing the language and communication techniques used by effective therapists.

Bandler has conducted NLP seminars and workshops worldwide and has authored or co-authored numerous books on the subject, including “Frogs into Princes” and “Using Your Brain for a Change.”

Optimism that is healthy in its application, will inevitably result in better physical and emotional health

 John Grinder was born on January 10, 1940, in Oklahoma, USA. He is a linguist, author, and educator.

Grinder is renowned for his contributions to NLP, particularly in the area of linguistics. He brought his expertise in transformational grammar and language patterns to the development of NLP.

Alongside Bandler, Grinder co-authored key NLP texts, including “The Structure of Magic” and “Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D.” (1975). These works helped establish NLP as a distinct field.

Beyond NLP, Grinder has been involved in various linguistic and educational projects. He has also collaborated with other thinkers and researchers in areas related to human behavior and communication.

Together, Bandler and Grinder’s collaboration in the early 1970s led to the birth of NLP. They aimed to model and understand the underlying patterns of success in various fields, including therapy, education, and communication.

While NLP has generated both enthusiasm and skepticism, their work laid the foundation for a diverse range of techniques and approaches used in fields such as psychology, coaching, education, and personal development.

freedom is everything and love is all the rest

How does NLP relate to Child development?

Applied to children, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) can have both potential benefits and limitations. Here’s how it can be applied in child development, parenting, and education contexts:

Effective Communication: NLP techniques can help parents and educators communicate more effectively with children. For example, understanding and utilizing a child’s preferred sensory mode (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) can aid in clearer communication. This can be especially useful when explaining concepts or giving instructions.

 Behavior Management: NLP offers strategies for behavior management. Techniques like anchoring and reframing can be adapted to help children modify undesirable behaviors and develop more positive ones. For instance, using anchoring, you can associate a particular gesture or word with calmness to help a child manage their emotions.

Building Confidence and Self-Esteem: NLP can be used to boost a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Techniques such as positive affirmations and visualization can help children visualize success and build self-belief.

 Learning Styles: NLP recognizes that people have different learning styles. By identifying a child’s preferred learning style (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic), educators and parents can tailor their teaching methods to better match the child’s learning needs.

Enhancing Creativity: NLP techniques can stimulate a child’s creativity. Activities like metaphor exploration and storytelling can encourage imaginative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Effective Parenting: Parents can use NLP to improve their parenting skills. For example, mirroring and matching techniques can help parents build rapport with their children, making it easier to connect and communicate.

However, it's important to note that NLP is not without its limitations:

Scientific Validity: NLP is often criticized for lacking empirical scientific evidence to support its claims. Some aspects of NLP are considered pseudoscientific by mainstream psychology.

Ethical Considerations: While NLP can be used positively, some critics argue that it has been misused in manipulative or unethical ways. It’s essential to use NLP techniques responsibly and ethically, especially when working with children.

Individual Variability: Not all NLP techniques may work for every child. Children are unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. It’s important to adapt NLP techniques to each child’s specific needs and preferences.

 Parental Training: Applying NLP effectively with children may require parents and educators to undergo training in NLP techniques. Without proper training, it can be challenging to use NLP effectively and ethically.

The following are some sources, case studies, and books related to NLP in child development, parenting, and education.

It’s important to focus on reputable publications and research.

NLP and Education: The Impact on Teaching and Learning” by Peter Barnes and Tony Cresswell.

This book explores the application of NLP in education and provides insights into how NLP techniques can enhance teaching and learning.

 “NLP for Teachers: How to Be a Highly Effective Teacher” by David Hodgson

This resource specifically targets teachers and discusses how NLP techniques can improve classroom management, communication with students, and overall teaching effectiveness.

NLP in Early Childhood” by Jackie O’Keeffe

This book delves into using NLP in early childhood education and offers practical strategies for teachers and parents.

” The NLP Coach: A Comprehensive Guide to Personal Well-Being and Professional Success” by Ian McDermott and Wendy Jago

While not focused solely on children, this book provides valuable insights into NLP coaching techniques that can be adapted for parenting and working with children.

Ericksonian Approaches to Hypnosis and Psychotherapy” by Jeffrey K. Zeig

This book includes case studies and examples of Ericksonian techniques, which are often integrated into NLP practices.

Research Studies and Journals: Look for academic journals in psychology, education, and child development that may feature studies related to NLP techniques. Some examples include the “Journal of Applied Psychology” and “Child Development.”

Educational Institutions and NLP Practitioner Training Organizations: Organizations that offer NLP practitioner training often provide case studies and research on the effectiveness of NLP techniques in various contexts, including education and parenting. Examples include the International NLP Trainers Association (INLPTA) and the International Association for NLP (IANLP).

Online NLP Communities and Forums: Websites and forums dedicated to NLP often have discussions, case studies, and success stories shared by practitioners and educators. Websites like NLP World and NLP Comprehensive are good places to start.

 Online NLP Communities and Forums: Websites and forums dedicated to NLP often have discussions, case studies, and success stories shared by practitioners and educators. Websites like NLP World and NLP Comprehensive are good places to start.

In summary, NLP can offer tools and techniques that may be beneficial in child development, parenting, and education.

Professionals working with children should be well-informed and trained in its application. Additionally, it’s essential to combine NLP with evidence-based practices and consider the unique needs and preferences of each child.

Until next time