Why Unschooling Is Literally the Pro-Life Choice

7 12 2010

A study of choral singers done by [UC Irvine] illustrates just how powerful putting it all out there can be. When the singers in the Pacific Chorale did rehearsals, researchers Robert Beck and Thomas Cesario found that a protein essential to fighting disease, immunoglobulin A, increased 150 percent.

So the act of singing itself had a powerful effect on well-being. But it gets better: The protein soared 240 percent during live performances.

Benefits rise in direct proportion to how much passion you put into the singing. Hum along in self-consciousness or boredom and you don’t get the benefit the comes when you let it fly. This is such a great metaphor for the role passion plays in unleashing an extraordinary life.

. . .The life intelligence skill that overcomes time urgency and bottom-line mentality is the pursuit of competence, a drive for internal mastery, learning — not to show anyone else — that allows you to build enough facility to turn activities into passions and optimal experiences.

. . .You’re the entertainment director. If you don’t direct the show, somebody else will, and that’s not going to cut it with your core psychological needs.

Advertisements




Bah, Humbug!

1 12 2010

Here’s what Young Son and I have been busy with, for him too busy to finish Dracula so he can start on Julius Caesar and for me, too busy to blog much lately.

(At least it’s Christmasy!)

Scrooge: the Musical at Quincy Music Theatre





Celebrating Power of Story in Books & Movies

25 10 2010

I was just poking around the PBS site because of the new Sherlock Holmes series that started airing last night.

Young Son is a huge fan of everything Holmesian and he’s put together a Sherlock Holmes costume for this Halloween (last year he was Inspector Javert from Les Miserables but that was more about the singing than the detecting, I think) — point being, they are both book characters. As I always say, our unschooling is mostly “power of story” and seeing the same characters and story in different interpretations is an important part of the learning and fun.

The website has a short video of the new young Holmes, who said it was on record that Holmes is the single most often re-interpreted literary character.

The exhibition items have not changed since they were first installed, and are now complemented by an interesting and nostalgic collection of television and film stills, featuring the famous actors who have played the Great Detective and his trusty sidekick, Watson, down the years.

I can’t vouch for Holmes holding the record, but it was interesting and while I was waiting for Young Son to wake up so I could show him, I was thinking we sort of have our own book club mentality around here, not formalized of course, but that’s what we talk about and how we have fun.

Anyway, all that led me to this and I thought I’d share — Read the rest of this entry »





Banned Books Week: Think for Yourself, Let Others Do the Same

1 09 2010

Thinking Parents know how enthusiastically we celebrate Banned Books Week here at Snook, every September. Last year’s theme was “Ideas Are Incombustible” and imo still fits the social inferno some folks are stoking with spittle-soaked frenzy.

This year’s official theme features a robot unplugging his head from the Borg download, happily reading a real book instead. (No technology required, not even a Kindle.)

You can tell the robot is happy from its glowing eyes and smile of satisfaction. If you follow the sequence of robot art through the whole list of books known to have been challenged during the past year, you can see the free-to-read robot’s power of story play out — thinking for yourself and letting others do the same turns into real liberty (and eyes aglow from books) for all.

Who could be against that? Well, this parent for one:

Lee, Harper
To Kill a Mockingbird

Removed from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary
School classrooms in Brampton, Ontario, Canada
(2009) because a parent objected to language used
in the novel, including the word “nigger.”
Source: Nov2009, pp. 203–4.

And this guy — who sounds like he should cut way back on the caffeine and might keep deadly firearms at home but perversely fixates on the threat of library books in his child’s backpack instead. We loved this book when FavD was a kid, read it aloud together and then went on to read several more Read the rest of this entry »





We Need to Sing Our Epics or Lose Them

20 08 2010

For any nation in any age including here and now, the ultimate war is over competing narratives, conflicting power of story.

Snook, as faithful readers can attest, is all about narratives and the power of story — in education, relationships, science, politics, work and play, war and peace, in the meaning of life itself. Search this blog using the phrase “power of story” to stay busy reading and thinking for many hours. Add music/musical theatre and “thinking and feeling” to your search, and plan on making this your new homepage indefinitely. 😉

We’ve animated Snook with epic discussions of the Great Derangement of Matt Taibbi, the language stories and Political Mind of George Lakoff, the political right-speak realism of Frank Schaeffer, the situational ethics of Philip Zimbardo and his Lucifer Effect, Harvard’s Howard Gardner on educating kids to love truth and America instead of fighting over it, Don Beck and Ken Wilber’s memes, Richard Florida and his “creative class” plus meaningful movies from Milk and Mindwalk to Hairspray and Madagascar, not to mention Harry Potter and Stanley Fish, plus the leading science lights of edge dot org.

(More Mindwalk and Harry Potter. More Stanley Fishing for meaning of life memes. And the beat goes on . . .)

But nobody tells the story of story better than this new offering from another expert, one with a name that sings a story too, Read the rest of this entry »





The Grim Reader: Power of Story Matters Life and Death

18 06 2010

Not everything has to be political and religious in education. It’s really possible to study power of story and have fun outside of that wearying rubric. For example, ever hear of this?

“Death is only half the story. Obit is about life. . .” Obit-Mag dot com provides comprehensive coverage on how the loss of a person, a place, an object or an idea presents an opportunity for examination and discussion.
Obit is not solely about death. It asks the question, “What defines an
important life?”
It is a forum for ideas and opinions about life, death, and transition written by some of the most respected journalists in the American media.

A current example from the Grim Reader:

JIMMY DEAN Read the rest of this entry »





Why Educate Our Kids? Part Three: Their Enemy Is Us

11 06 2010

Teach your parents well,
Their father’s hell will slowly go by.
You who are on the road,
Must have a code that you can live by. . .
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye.

UPDATE:
[C]ults – whether they are political, religious, psychotherapeutic, commercial, or educational – seek to make people dependent and obedient.

. . .When we get serious about thwarting cult recruiters we will expose those techniques of persuasion and prepare our young people with the tools to combat cultism. . . take it upon ourselves, in our homes, schools and even places of worship, to address and expose cultism and give our children, parents and teachers the tools to combat it.
*************

“Despite what opponents of this legislation say, this bill does not hinder a woman’s ability to have an abortion,” [GOP lt. governor Jeff] Kottkamp wrote. “However, it most certainly provides the opportunity to change their hearts — and open their eyes.”

A Thinking Student might use analogies to help analyze whether this is actually an argument for free education or authoritarian exploitation, of individually sovereign girls and women.

For examples, we’re all about education freedom here, and we’ve been debating vaccine freedom as a civil rights issue. Both education choice and antivax arguments assert the individual family’s ultimate right to be left alone by society, to have nothing forced on it physically or mentally.

An educated student might notice the overlap is extensive in arguments for individual rights up to and including homeschool mom brinksmanship about public education standards as not merely “an opportunity . . .to change their hearts and open their eyes” — until we come to anti-abortion activists, making Kottkamp’s argument that government should intrude right into the examining room and force an emotionally exploitative mandate by government fiat upon the individual, expressly designed as public interference with the individual’s right to make her private decision regardless of the rest of society.

Would Kottkamp support a similar bill to mandate that at any well-baby checkup involving a vaccine delayer/refuser, the child would be held by a social worker in another room while the mom was forced to view (and PAY FOR!) sophisticated video simulations of her own child suffering all manner of ravage from childhood diseases, ending with an image of the mom herself weeping over a grave . . .?

The antivax/antiabortion argument about individual rights is wrong to demand for moms the right to be left alone by government in one case, but not the other.