The scariest article I read in all my research about homeschooling is about how far parents in Silicon Valley are going to keep their kids off of phones. A Dark Consensus about Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley. The article was from 2018. It was clear to me then that the parents in Silicon Valley knew more than everyone else knew about phones. It was also clear to me that it costs a lot of money to keep kids off phones. Because phones are a sanity tool for parents.

So yeah, the phones are a drug. Of course, that’s why the parents need them so much for raising kids. I gave up one drug, which was school, and replaced it with another, phones. I could tell then that I was going to do nothing about this because I saved the article without any note to myself.

Usually, when there is an important article there is also a note. A tirade. A directive from me to the rest of the world that obviously, this is the truth so just be a grown up and face it.

My kids spent too much of their transition time/break time/waiting time on their phones. I didn’t let them have space to learn how to have space. Look at nothing. Time to think. I have done the same to myself. I rarely am without a screen.

Now, with a little distance I know that the failures I have as a homeschool parent are a reflection of the failures I have as a human. I didn’t need to worry so much about being a homeschooler.

I could have focused more on being the best version of me. The best version of me definitely is not with my head in a screen all the time. But as a homeschooler I know I’m always learning; I think there’s still time for me to learn to be better. That’s true for my kids as well.

When I can’t cope I clean. And if everything is clean, I organize. Once I overheard my younger son giving a tour of the house and he said, “This is our bedroom. My mom makes us put our stuff in her boxes so everything is her colors.”

I thought I was teaching my kids to clean their rooms. But my kids recognized I was teaching them to make their room the way I like it. I started paying attention to what other kids rooms look like. I noticed that if you go to someone’s house and a school-aged kid’s bedroom is really neat and stylish, that says more about the mom than the kid; it looks like the mom cares more about her own needs than the kids. Read more

First of all, go go go Bernie!

My favorite part of the caucuses is the face-to-face part. You have to engage with your community in order to have your vote counted. I know people complain that Iowa shouldn’t have so much weight in the primaries, but I think the act of caucusing should have weight in the primaries. Read more

I have been working with my son on a research about perfect pitch. He was was constantly emailing hundreds of research subjects.

I told him he needs to use special software to keep track of a mailing list that big.

He told me to shut up.

After he lost track of 30 people, I went on strike. No more help until you start using a mass email service.

I thought the hardest part about helping with his research would be that I have very little science education. But I’m starting to love the science (fascinating to me: people with perfect pitch have autism.) And actually the hardest part of helping him has been predicting the reaches and limits of his digital literacy.

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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

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

Search is a skill kids develop on their own

Today’s students memorize fewer facts because they are well aware that everything they’d need to know is online. To get the best of this sea change, your kids actually know how to find things. It’s not as simple as you might think, and kids need a lot of time to explore the Internet unfettered by parental advice.

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Yesterday women all over the US did a walk out to support Kavanaugh’s accusers.There are pictures of men and women getting arrested for protesting in the Capitol.  As women are chanting on the steps of the Capitol they are telling the press they want Christine Blasey Ford to know that if the Senate won’t keep her safe, the women of this country will. We will not let her down.

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JDP did a study of LinkedIn photos to see which profession is making the most mistakes in how they present themselves professionally. Educators were right up at the top. One might say that’s because LinkedIn is not an important way for teachers to get jobs, but then why are they on LinkedIn at all? Read more

I’ve been reading about the correlation between reading fiction and having empathy. The correlation has been established for a long time. And, of course, the correlation between empathy and good health is known as well. Read more