Once my unschooling son announced he wants to get a Ph.D. in biology I decided I had to get serious about making sure he can get into college. I had been hard-core about not teaching the kids to read (kids can teach themselves, really). And I read over and over again that there is no reason to start teaching kids math until sixth grade, so we didn’t do math either. Read more
I read to our daughters till they were eleven. I sat up at night, read books, tantalized them with stories. There was always that nagging feeling, that school-like gremlin of mine that would tap me on the shoulder and say ‘Ha, they are a little old for you to be reading to them don’t you think?’ I would push it away. Like the fear witch this gremlin knows me well… Read more
Kids need to think in pictures because that’s the way of the future. YouTube is quickly overtaking Google as the search engine of choice, but not for people who grew up in the age of text. (Like, probably, all of us). So I mean mostly the people who are growing up today, on the verge of a post-text era: Generation Z. Read more
This is a guest post by Ira Chaleff, author of the book Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You’re Told To Do Is Wrong.
The project of the book, Intelligent Disobedience, began when I found that guide dogs for the blind are first taught all commands they need to know, and then are sent for higher level training to learn to resist and disobey commands which, if executed, would cause harm. I immediately recognized the power of this metaphor for human development. Read more
I don’t have a daughter, but I did have Melissa living with me for long time. That made me feel a little bit like she was my daughter, and when she left, she made herself a page on my site, which I love to look at when I’m feeling nostalgic. Read more
I learned about breaking rules from William Safire. He wrote On Language, a column for the New York Times. I felt really grown up reading the New York Times in college, but the truth is all I read was that and the Book Review. Read more
We all believe in freedom. That’s why we take our kids out of school. We take them out because we want the freedom to raise our kids the way we think is best.
Many of us also want our kids to have freedom to learn in a self-directed way. After all, the data is nearly universal that self-directed learning is the most effective way to educate kids. But of course that’s only feasible in a home environment, so the data never drives a discussion in a world that insists on sending kids to school. Read more
I stopped to check on my son’s computer because responsible parents know vaguely what their kids are doing online. But also, most of the time when I look at what kids are doing online, I learn something shocking. Read more
I am leery of people saying that kids need teachers. But here are three instances where I sort of like the idea.
1. Train kids for jobs that don’t exist.
Sixty-five percent of today’s kids will have jobs that don’t exist today. So there is little point in training them to do the jobs we can already do—after all, there will be an entire Gen-Y, aging workforce to take those jobs. It makes more sense to me to train for jobs that don’t exist, and the best path to those jobs would be today’s teen tastemakers, since they will be the future high-spending (or not) consumers and ladder-climbing (or not) middle managers of their time. Read more