And You’d THINK It Would Illuminate Schooling

19 10 2006

Scientific American this week re: our brains

“…we throw more light on a problem not by sliding a dimmer switch, but by flipping a series of toggles that successively activate chunks of the prefrontal cortex from back to front. . .”

“The Intellectual Devotional”

19 10 2006

Watching Chris Matthews on cable news right now as he interviews Noah Oppenheim, co-author of a handy-dandy (sort of unschoolers’?) guide to important ideas and cultural referents in the world-shaping debates of our times. Seven major areas of knowledge are covered, he says, and he named philosophy, music, history, wonder what the others are?

First I’ve heard of it, anyone know more or actually seen a copy?

UPDATE–I just found the wikipedia entry here, seems this Harvard guy was a senior producer at Hardball before the book, gee, wonder how he got the interview with Matthews?? 🙂

Ooh, I Love to Dance the Little Sidestep . . .

19 10 2006

[Governor, singing about the Chicken Ranch Scandal] Ooh, I love to dance the little sidestep / Now they see me, now they don’t / I’ve come and gone / And ooh, I love to sweep around a wide step / Cut a little swath / And lead the people on!

Can’t help the soundtracks in my head, they played unbidden long before IPods. . . 🙂

Best Little House GovernorCAMPAIGN 2006
Crist changes positions on 3 hot issues
Charlie Crist has switched positions on several key issues, and his new stances bring him closer to the views of his opponent in the governor’s race.

A Zogby International poll for The Miami Herald last month showed that 61 percent of voters disagreed with grading and funding schools based on their FCAT scores, and 49 percent said public schools spend too much time preparing students for the test. For months, Crist had defended the tests, saying that ”these record-breaking results indicate that we are headed in the right direction,” when the FCAT results were released in May.

But this week, he said he does not support the FCAT as currently configured.

”Listen, I’m in the campaign season, and F-C-A-T is used as a pejorative,” Crist told Miami Herald editors as he attacked Davis ads that say he doesn’t support changing the FCAT. “And that’s why it’s in my opponent’s ads. It doesn’t mean it reflects my view.”

Dad Engagement in Homeschool Politics

19 10 2006

My latest comments from the ongoing conversation about engaging dads in unschooling— and btw, see NHEN’s Dad Essays collected here.

The Thinker - Rodin sculpture

Thanks for that link, BigNut – it sounds very much like the arc of understanding I traveled as a newbie to homeschool politics 10-15 years ago. I railed against the religious right and sought out secular unschoolers online to join up with, became part of the heady grassroots generation of NHEN and a prolific contributor to their legislative discussion list (Scott too, despite all the abuse he took for it) and later became the moderator of their education news and research forums.

These are read-only now, but they are still the best I’ve seen for what you say you’re seeking. I URGE you to set aside several hours or make several shorter trips as you can, and go unschool yourself at a very high level. (Be prepared to confront your own cognitive dissonance, that’s what they are for!)

As I said there back in April 2003:

“Really not meaning to sound cloying or creepy or anything, but this is the only place I know of that diverse homeschoolers could even be having this conversation at this level.

Research and market analysis and public policy and public relations and Constitutional law — these are not exactly hobbies. It’s some demanding stuff! Participants in the conversation here rise to the level of intellectual engagement the issues require.
It does my heart good to have to look “up” to stay with it, instead of feeling dragged down, and it gives me hope. For homeschooling as an independent learning adventure, and for its future, and for ours. JJ”

Look Scott, I even used the word ENGAGEMENT way back then!
Surely intellectual engagement is part of what you hope to encourage and equip more dads to bring to their homeschooling?

A few of my favorite thoughtful, wide-ranging discussions were:
2004 American Educational Research Association
Family/Marriage Issues as Related to HS Frames”
What’s In A Name? — Not Clarity

But almost all of them are top-flight thinking fodder.
Speaking of which, I read and discuss Sam Harris in the same context you do, BigNut (Scott does too, look back over this very blog!) Notice how Harris writes about all True Believers as dangerous — not what they believe but how absolutely they believe it — so there is a secular brand of Homeschool True Believer you need to watch out for just as skeptically and independently, imo.

Like anything else, when homeschooling becomes a “sacred value” reason goes out the window!

You want deep, can’t get deeper than imo!
“Sacred Value Conflict Resolution – When Reason Leaves the Building”

Sacred education values are not limited to Christians or the extreme right. Teacher unions have all sorts of hallowed ground to protect but so do some “secular” homeschool leaders and so-called “support.” And I learned the hard way that some supposedly secular homeschoolers have staked out some of that ground too.

I think we’ve even met a few of the same “unschool” sacred-value zealots, from what you said earlier about not expecting to ever be good enough for their acceptance. 🙂

Here’s my own independent, speaking-for-myself take on what happened to close down new input at the NHEN forums:

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Best College Prep Is Cocking a Snook!

19 10 2006

Maybe the part of education ripe for dads to engage themselves in, then? 😉

A college professor herself and unschooling parent of three college-level creatives, Pam Sorooshian found this professor’s very “unschool-y” advice. I’m posting it whole because it applies to most discussions here, and nearly every line is quotable. Here’s his set-up:

“. . . many young adults have been cheated by years of excessive schoolwork and teamwork, too many extracurricular activities, and a straitjacketed “just say no to anything risky” upbringing. I am convinced that modern childhood generally does not build enough independence and thirst for knowledge.”

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