School isolates kids from knowledge of power structures

My in box is full of links people send me when they have nowhere else to turn in frustration. Some days I think the failings of school are so predictable that I can't believe people even bother to write about it anymore.

Kids search for meaning just like adults do

In college I studied the history of political thought, and I found that by the end of four years, the only thing I knew for sure is that people come together because it's human nature to come together. And people like to feel they are contributing to the good of the group.

Should you give kids money to start a company?

I remember the first time I read in the Wall St. Journal that it's becoming common for parents to buy their kid a franchise so they don't have to go through the trauma of looking for a  job.  And, for that matter, the kids don't have to go through the trauma of entrepreneurship either.

What's the best way to teach art history?

If you start with the premise that self-directed learning is best, then we have to assume you have a kid who is interested in looking at new things.

So you get excited, and want to show your kid Starry Night, probably, because every school across America is having grade schoolers reproduce Starry Night (with something that does not resemble the heavy oil paints that make the masterpiece what it is.)

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My son buys new clothes almost every week. He is happy at the Gap or at the thrift shop. He just likes trying on new things. I would never wear yellow pants—I hate shopping. He is neither of those things. So I started thinking that I had created a monster: Materialistic! Shallow! Questionable taste!

Then I learned about his type—ESFP—and I read over and over again that it's the nature of that type to want lots of outfits to choose from because clothing is an essential form of expression for this type. And it made sense to me that I wouldn't understand him more instinctively because my type (ENTJ) is largely uninterested in the daily rituals of clothing. ENTJs focus on visionary, long-term thinking.

After I started learning about my son's type in relation to my own type, I was shocked that we don't learn this sooner so we can all be better parents.

Essential skill: recognizing real authority

In school the teachers get authority because they tell you they have authority. If the teacher tells you what to read, you read it. If the teacher tells you which sources are acceptable for your term paper, you use those sources. There is no room to question authority in the classroom because it would lead to chaos. And the number-one job of a teacher is to prevent the classroom from deteriorating into thirty kids overtaking one teacher.

Sitting is the new smoking

A veteran teacher shadowed two students for two days and then wrote about her experience. She has a lot of good observations but her overwhelming takeaway is that sitting all day is exhausting. Even as a teacher for decades in classrooms, she never realized how much kids sit and how physically and emotionally painful that experience is.


The best questions don’t succumb to a school’s grading system

This is a guest post by Lehla Eldridge. Her blog is Unschooling the Kids, and that’s a photo of her three kids. They live in Italy.

Sugatra Mitra believes that children learn best when they are asked the big questions, like “Why does hair grow and not stop growing?’ or “Does a frog know it is a frog?” or “Why is the sky blue?”

How do I know if I'm a good parent?

Thi, my connection to the world of high schoolers, told me that she did not get a high enough score on her SAT. So her mom took away her phone. Thi's score was 2180 which is the 98th percentile, but the score was not good enough for her mom.

Later Thi said she thinks her mom wants her to go to an Ivy League school. But only for bragging rights.

5-Step plan for taking your child to work

This is a guest post by Karelys Beltran. She works as an office manager for a small company. She has a toddler son, and just this month Karelys had a baby girl!

My child comes to work with me. I am not so much of a hot shot that I can dictate that my workplace revolves around my wants, and especially not around my children. But I made a way to take my child to work because my priority is to be close to my son. It became a priority once I realized that for my sanity, I had to work outside the home.