NPR: Do Your Kids Need More of You, or Less?

13 09 2007

(They should’ve also interviewed that NYT blogger mom about her idea to cancel parent involvement unless there’s enough for the whole class . . .)

But on a happier and unschooly note — most parents didn’t hear this in the middle of a weekday, with their wonderful children as close by yet completely into their own pursuits, as mine were. What a luxury — and one less thing to worry about! 🙂

Do Your Kids Need More of You, or Less?
Talk of the Nation, One common worry for parents is whether they are paying too much, or too little, attention to their children. “Ask Amy” columnist Amy Dickinson gives advice on how parents can create the right balance in the relationship between parent and child.

Amy Dickinson, syndicated “Ask Amy” columnist for the Chicago Tribune

Laurence Steinberg, professor of psychology at Temple University and author of the book The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting

 

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Black Swan-Ugly Duckling School Software Found In Florida

13 09 2007

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

“Now in this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know, about what we don’t know. . .”

Here’s a Black Swan (Ugly Duckling?) learning story from Florida school districts and USF, so surprising that it’s now being studied by MIT and Harvard — a karaoke-style singing game kids like to play, that dramatically boosts reading skills as a side effect.

The worst young singers the company could find were testing the singing software’s effectiveness prior to release, when they began to show spectacular reading improvement, on average more than a full year’s grade level in one 9-week grading period

Researchers at the College of Education at USF call it off-the-charts revolutionary. Dr. Susan Homan was on my university radio news this morning explaining how the singing game improves vocal “fluency” and that when kids get into the game, they insist on reading through the upcoming lyrics several times first, wanting to improve their singing game score. It seems this exercises short-term memory (or RAM cache?) for what they are reading, which translates to improved general reading.

Final reason? It’s fun, and currently cool because of American Idol. So now “Tune Into Reading” is in use in school districts around my state.

Remember that recent documentary about dancing at school as real education, Mad Hot Ballroom?

That was still very structured though, school-prescribed and controlled. The radical unschooler in me prefers “Strictly Ballroom” in which the best pupil’s best lesson is learning NOT to perfectly follow the lesson plan and the standardized steps, much less the career mapped out by his elders.

strictly-ballroom-cover.jpg

And he learns that winning in terms of his own real performance, may mean LOSING the regulated, judged, scored competition set up and controlled by his teachers and parents.

Real reading isn’t necessarily school reading. For all our own schooling, we really don’t know much about dosing kids with specific treatments to make them learn specific skills, and apparently we do better at real education when we learn THAT first! 🙂