Legos and Play Young-at-Heart, Young-at-Smart

5 08 2011

If you haven’t seen this yet and don’t realize what it is, go do your homework! And let your kids both little and big, help.

And when that gets you in the mood to think more about Legos and how we love them, you can go do reading for extra credit here and here.

Oh, and here and here too, geez, JJ is long-winded on the most esoteric topic! 😀

p.s. Young Son says this will confuse alien life about our nature . . .

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Unschooling Lion in Winter: Deb Lewis Is Classic

14 01 2011

Chilly cock of the snook to one of the two unschooling yahoolists I still actively enjoy, where I was reminded of Sandra Dodd dot com having EVERYTHING. It’s been so cold even in Florida this winter, that I thought it was a good time to highlight this.

(I don’t know how old the list, is but if I were updating it now I personally would add something new to us this winter, something fun for which I’m thanking the FSM while the light is thin and it’s stuck at freezing outside: Netflix!)

Deb Lewis’s List of Things to Do in the Winter:

I have found so many interesting things to do around our little town just by talking with people and asking questions. . .

The man who runs the local green house lets us help transplant seedlings. He grows worms too, and lets Dylan dig around in the worm beds.

The guy who works at the newspaper speaks Chinese and draws cartoons. He’s given Dylan lots of pointers about where to get good paper and story boards, etc.

The old guy at the antique shop was a college professor and is a huge Montana History buff; whenever Read the rest of this entry »





2010 TED Talk Video: The Child-Driven Education

10 09 2010

Just posted tonight: The Child-Driven Education featuring Sugata Mitra





What Adults Can Learn From Kids: TED Talk

24 04 2010

Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.





“Psychology Today” Wants Unschooled Learning Stories

7 01 2010

for Peter Gray’s Freedom to Learn blog. Talk about power of story! 🙂

Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College who has conducted and published research in comparative, evolutionary, developmental, and educational psychology. He has published articles on innovative teaching methods and alternative approaches to education. He is currently working on a book about the lifelong nature and functions of human play, tentatively titled Born to Play.

He wants whatever you’re sharing within the next two or three weeks and notes that overcoming problems as well as “success” stories are welcome. Just reading through the kinds of learning he finds most interesting made all sorts of stories pop into my head. For young parents and teachers whose stories haven’t been written yet, his thumbnail categories make a good case for unschooling I think, for learning at any age based on relationships and trust rather than carrots, sticks and other imposed controls (remind me to connect this with Dan Pink’s new book as we discuss):

Here are some topics that particularly interest me, about which I especially invite you to write:

Learning to read without schooling. I am interested in how children learn to read in situations where they have no or little formal instruction in reading. I know that this occurs within a wide range of ages for children at Sudbury schools and in unschooling environments. . .

Learning math without schooling. Some young self-educators learn math because they love it. Others learn it because they want to go to college and have to take the math SAT, or because they need to know it to pursue some other interest that intrigues them. . .

From play to careers: How interests developed in play become career paths. Many lucky people find that their play, done at first purely for fun, evolves into a joyful way of making a living. I’m especially interested in cases where children or adolescents developed passionate interests through their play and then, as they grew older, found ways to make a living by pursuing those interests.

Becoming an expert through one’s own initiative. This topic overlaps with the previous one, but includes cases where the area of expertise is not necessarily a career path. How do people on their own initiative become extraordinarily skilled at some endeavor or extraordinarily knowledgeable about some subject? What seems to motivate them and how do they learn? Read the rest of this entry »





How Our Unschooling is Like Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method

12 10 2009

A new home-educating mom (okay, it’s Beta, hi Beta!) has been doing lots of reading and thinking about education methods, as our older-in-educating-herself-on education friend, the New Unschooler (hi Colleen!) did last year.

I just added this comment to Beta’s mix:

I was reading a little about Charlotte Mason homeschooling and I see much that reflects our unschooled education methods (real books, no lectures, etc) but I was never a big Nature Girl — more inside the library or kitchen or theatre type — so it hadn’t appealed to me years ago for that reason and I’d forgotten about it.

Then here in the US, Ken Burns’ new documentary series for PBS started airing, called National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

Young Son (age 14) and I got absorbed in it, recording and watching in the afternoons before his own natural most active time (evening) and about halfway through the series, he got his dad watching with him for a couple of weekend afternoons. We all know a lot more about Nature now than we did! It’s historically riveting but also gorgeous and serene and it moves at a naturalist’s graceful, outdoor-majestic pace — just wonderful Power of Story all around.

Without having to actually go outside. 😉

So it reminded me that we too are eclectic in many good ways. The biggest difference between what we do and the CM method is that what we do is no method, with (what personally is found to be) nasty bits included like it or not . . .

Obviously we unschoolers despite eschewing curriculum and training of children’s habits, nevertheless NATURALLY integrate the philosophical cornerstones of “education as life” and “education as the science of relation” while one bit from wikipedia on Charlotte Mason’s teaching philosophy even sounds Obama-inspired, hmmm, and didn’t his mother teach him at home in the early mornings, wonder if she was a secret CM disciple and he its able pupil . . . Read the rest of this entry »





Universal Truth as Home Education Power of Story

17 08 2009

As the Christian versus secular curriculum comparison discussion goes on (see recent posts for more) I dredged up from drafts today this May 2006 “BS” (Before Snook!) essay, which seems right on point for our current competing power of story and its many tangents:

Teaching My Own “Faith” to My Kids

Religion is Story and so is everything else the human mind can conceive or believe. Amen.

We’re not much for church or school, but we live for Story (doesn’t everybody somehow or another?) Musical theatre, libraries, bookshops and movies are our personal venues of worship, the wellsprings of story through which my family lives and learns and engages ideas and cultures.

The more perspective that comes with age and experience, the more I understand that for me at least, schooling was all-day entertainment and power of story, which is why I loved it so.

And I don’t mean just story time, English lit, newspaper staff and the occasional A/V film projector rolled into the back of the room — to me history was indeed hi-story, math was clever symbolism used to tell the most complex and compelling stories, science was real-world commandments as miraculous story, and later came college law, economics, communications, management and social sciences, even what was being called “cybernetics” — all very human power of story to me.

(That required cybernetics course and its tedious punch card practice in the basement of Weil Hall put me deliciously in mind of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in Desk Set!)

I still remember the wonder when I first learned about color, and probability theory, and geometric proofs. Magic! Miracle! Revelation! I’m no scientist or mathematician but I was forever transformed just by the power of the struggle to understand. I was seduced not by Read the rest of this entry »