Stop Saying “Be Careful”, and Some Ideas of What to Say Instead bm=1#.VkNfp7iyvlE.facebook

“Be Careful: and “Pay Attention” are statements that become redundant statements akin to “good job” or “well done” as far as children are concerned. They need specifics, and more importantly, they need to learn how to make progress without outside judgement.

Try expressing yourself in these ways towards toward your children instead, and see how their confidence and independence grows as a result.

John Dewey on the Purpose of Education

John Dewey on the True Purpose of Education and How to Harness the Power of Our Natural Curiosity

Children are naturally curious. Our job as teachers is to keep their love for learning alive.

“His task is rather to keep alive the sacred spark of wonder and to fan the flame that already glows. His problem is to protect the spirit of inquiry, to keep it from becoming blasé from overexcitement, wooden from routine, fossilized through dogmatic instruction, or dissipated by random exercise upon trivial things.”

Your Child Doesn’t Listen to You?

Be assured. Your child is listening to you. I know how it doesn’t seem so, much of the time, but look at the examples of how your child is listening to you (and watching you) – by the way he imitates you. At least as a toddler, he is not capable of turning that on/off. Cherish the times he shows you the behaviors you want to see, and have patience to weather the storms of the testing/(“defiant”) behaviors.

Let Them Play With Legos

Isaac Morehouse tells us a little about his unschooling experience, and why he feels playing with Legos is more valuable than learning algebra. A reminder to us to not underestimate the value of play, and not overestimate the value of “book” learning.

Benefits of an Old-Fashioned Summer

A great read about just taking things easy and enjoying time with your kids. Or at least letting them enjoy their time doing what interests them the most. Don’t worry so much about creating fun things for them to do – their innate curiosity will lead them towards plenty of creative projects, which are in themselves highly intellectually, socially, emotionally rich with opportunities to learn and grow.

Public School Teacher Quits; Says Job Is Now “Impossible”

Has anyone else noticed the number of stories like these that have become news recently? It is no longer a secret that great teachers are leaving the profession due to the increase in non-teaching responsibilities that fill up their schedules so full that getting through the day is impossible. The state of public schools is deteriorating rapidly, and has been for some time. You might be lucky enough to get a great teacher now and again if you decide to ship your children off to public school, but great teachers are disappearing fast. Further, although public school seems like a great option for “free” education, it comes at a high cost to your child’s overall well-being.

The decision-makers regarding school and educational policies say and maybe even also think they are doing right by children. But more often than not, new programs that become implemented under the guise of improving education, are actually making teachers’ jobs impossible, and as a result, quickly turning great educators away, teachers who love their jobs even when they were difficult. This leaves public-schooled children with increasing numbers of inexperienced teachers at best, and at worst, disgruntled teachers who stick around but grudgingly get themselves through the day in order to continue to accept their monthly paychecks. Teachers don’t make a great salary, it’s true, but those who leave public school positions are making a tough decision and making a huge financial sacrifice if they decide to continue in the education profession. Most other non-public school positions come with lower salaries and often no benefits.

This in itself says a lot about the teaching profession and the state of public school education. It’s time to make great changes in the education world for the sake of our children.

Embrace Unschooling

The kind of freedom described in this article illustrates the beauty of living life without arbitrary constraints. Adults today, particularly those who went through the traditional schooling regimen, may have a tendency to focus on what a child may be missing out on by not having “school”. But in today’s world there is no lack of resources for information, nor for human connections and interactions of all varieties. Why leave it up to chance the teachers your child will be “instructed” by? Yes, there are wonderful, inspiring teachers in public schools, and your child may or may not be lucky enough to have one, most likely for just a short period of time. Instead of having to obtain certain arbitrary credits, and spend time with arbitrarily assigned teachers who give out arbitrarily determined grades, now the whole world has opened up and can be accessible to your child! What could he be missing out on?


School Sucks

Dear Readers,

I started listening to this podcast several years ago when I was a public school teacher and struggling with my emotions about whether I wanted to continue being a teacher and not able to put my finger on the root of my distaste for it. I mean, I was an instrumental music teacher, teaching kids to play violin, viola, cello or bass. I had an elective class, so I didn’t even have to teach “the masses”. I was teaching children who chose to be in my class. What is there to complain about? I loved teaching music!

I came to realize that what I hated about my job was but the administrative part of it, and ultimately, the philosophy and structure of it. Brett Veinotte’s podcast helped me come to this realization, and helped me come to terms with my struggle and get me to where I am now. If you haven’t listened to this podcast, I urge you to start from the very first one and follow his outline from the beginning. If you are already a follower of mine, you may already be convinced that avoiding public schooling is the way to go. But, if you encounter neighbors, friends or family that are entrenched in the public school mindset but may be open to seeking alternatives, I can truly recommend this podcast series. It’s easy to follow and understand. You have to be prepared for absolute bluntness, but in the end, it’s exactly what people need to hear. It’s real thoughts, real experience, and a real foundation for change in our current education tradition. Help spread the message!