Parents who love to learn never talk about love of learning. Parents assume their kids have it.  So the first thing I notice about Creative Conversations is the slogan on their homepage: Over 125,000 students worldwide are cultivating a love of learning with us. Here are other things I noticed. Read more

Every time I read an article about public school, I assume I’ll run into research from people who have a conflict of interest. Here are three studies that made me nuts this week. Read more

This is a guest post from a long-time reader. It stems from an email exchange we had about her kids going to a top private school for high school. I learned so much from her that I edited the emails—with her permission—into a post.

I am a single mom—very single with two sperm-donor kids—and I didn’t know anything about the world of private schools until my older son ended up in one. Except: I was hugely mistrustful of the elite environment. Read more

Before we can even talk about the merits of Classical Curriculum we need to talk about the mob-like business of creating confusion to generate profit.

There are laws governing trademarks so that people don’t trademark names that cause confusion. For example, people constantly grab Penelope Trunk when there is a new social platform, and they think I will buy the account from them. But I can just write an email to the owners of the platform and they will give me my name because giving anyone else my name will be purposely causing confusion for the consumer. Read more

The case against Harvard that’s going through the court system right now is fascinating. Rejected candidates are suing Harvard for systematic discrimination, and in order to defend itself, Harvard had to reveal salacious details of its arcane system for ranking applicants. Read more

If you are a woman who gets along better with men than women, you know who you are.

Girls became weirder and weirder to you. Until you found your spot with the intellectuals. The logical thinkers. The people who did math and science, perhaps. Or the people who memorized stuff. The groups that—science explains—are mostly boys. Read more

 

Did you always dream of playing video games with your kids all day long? Then homeschooling is your dream come true! The whole family can learn together!

But for everyone else, homeschooling turns out to be each family member learning on their own, because if you want to learn what someone else wants you to learn, you can just go to school.

It took me a while to admit that my kids are not interested in any of the things I thought we’d be learning together. In my dream of homeschooling utopia, my kids and I would study intricate artworks hour after hour. But once I faced the truth, I noticed that complexity annoys the kids, and low-brow innovation intrigues them. So here are some ways I got my teenage sons to pay attention to art.

Crappy art auctions

Super 8 Hotel revamped their rooms and sold off their terrible art in an auction. The idea of treating the terrible art like regular art begs the question of what is art. I asked my kids if they liked the art in the picture. Then I told them it was a crappy art exhibit and they were impressed with their intuitive ability to know good art from bad even if they don’t have the words.

Forgery experts

It’s way more fun to find out why a picture is a forgery than why a picture is historically important. But in order to spot a forgery, you really do need to know art history. The boys were happy to watch this video about how to spot a forgery. (I love all the art videos on that PBS channel.)

Architecture failures

I tried getting the kids interested in architecture when we went to Chicago every week. I had this idea we’d do the tour of International style in the city and Victorian homes in the north suburbs. Mostly our trips entailed eating pizza in architecturally insignificant buildings and playing video games in the car. But then I taught the kids about McMansion Hell, and now they pay attention to architecture if only to catch grown-ups indulging in terrible design.

If all else fails, act like you don’t care.

My kids associate photography with memes on Reddit and self-aggrandizement on Instagram. So teaching them the history of photography was a no-go. I tried the journalism route and bought a collection of postcards of famous Magnum photographs. I mailed them to the boys. After three my son said, “Can you just send me a text? Reading mail is like listening to voicemail. Only old people do it.”

But my next attempt worked. Lewis Hine’s photos tell the story of kids being tortured working long days in deadly factories. I put some photos on the fridge without saying anything. You know how little kids like hearing fairy tales because the dichotomy of good and evil is intoxicating? For my kids, child labor struck the same chord. They asked questions about the photos all day long. 

 


Hey, wait! Read this ad for my new course. Which is a very Asperger-y way to sell something, but maybe you have an affinity for literal and transparent.

Do you wonder if your child has Aspergers? Did you know that 80% of adults who were diagnosed later in life say that they would have had a much better childhood if they had known they had Aspergers? A lot of kids can camouflage Aspergers by being extra smart and extra careful. But it’s incredibly exhausting to live this way. 

I’ve created a course to help you understand how to tell who has Aspergers. You’ll also understand why people with Aspergers feel so relieved once they know they have it. I’ve learned so much from talking with other adults who have Aspergers. Now I’m sharing what I’ve learned in my new course, Asperger Hacks. 

Sign up for the course!

It runs Oct. 22 – 25 from 9-10 pm Eastern. There will be video, online chat, and emails full of information and tactical trinkets. You can join the course in real time or watch the videos afterward. Either way, I know you’ll be shocked and surprised and inspired. 

This post is about a new course I’m doing. Oct 22.

But first, I have stuff to say. I recently wrote about the breakfast table effect, which explains why kids who have great science projects before college have parents who are scientists: they talk about science over breakfast because that’s what the parents like to talk about. Read more

I didn’t teach my kids handwriting. I assumed they would learn to write when they had things they wanted to say on paper. I assumed that would come soon. I have 50 volumes of handwritten diaries going back to preschool, and writing was my lifeline from drowning in a dangerous family. Read more