The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

August 2009

Hi, this is Bob Collier inviting you to 'explore the psychology of happy and successful parenting', connect with bright minds, discover new ideas and sail outside the mainstream for a while without running aground.

All that and more.

In this month's issue of the Parental Intelligence Newsletter there are links to 31 articles and 19 notices and items of news. As always, I trust you will find in my latest collection of parenting, education and personal development ideas and information from around the internet something that will make a positive difference to your life - and, through you, to the lives of your children.

Please scroll down to pick and choose whatever is of interest and useful to you.

Thank you for being here! I appreciate this opportunity to be of help to you in your parenting adventure and wish you all the happiness and success you would wish yourself.

See you next month!



"The true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do." - John Holt


Restaurant Wars and Birth Wars
by Sheridan Ripley

Imagine the year is 2035.  People rarely cook at home anymore for a few different reasons.  They have gotten too busy and because of subsidies from the food industry eating at a restaurant is less expensive.  They actually pay more out of pocket to eat at home.  Many people look back and remember, "People actually prepared meals AT HOME!  It is amazing that they were willing to go through all that time and energy and that so many survived."

There are of course a few "natural" people who still eat at home. There is a renewed interest in examining this practice, when a celebrity makes a movie called the Business of Eating Out, examining the risks of doing so and reminding parents about the option of eating at home.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Laureen Hudson

Handling criticism about breastfeeding
by Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC

Unfortunately, many mothers end up having to deal with criticism about their choice to breastfeed at one point or another. Criticism from strangers happens occasionally, but tends to be easier to deal with since you're unlikely to see those people again. Criticism from family members and others close to you can be much harder to handle.

Read more ...

Babies See Pure Color, but Adults Peer Through Prism of Language
by Brandon Keim

When infant eyes absorb a world of virgin visions, colors are processed purely in a pre-linguistic parts of the brain. As adults, colors are processed in the brain's language centers, refracted by the concepts we have for them.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Dagmara Elminowska

Sensing the Needs of Others (No Matter How They Express Themselves)
by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.

The approach to conflict resolution that I am describing requires not only that we learn to express our needs, but also that we assist others in clarifying their needs. We can train ourselves to hear needs being expressed through the messages of others, regardless of how others are expressing themselves.

I've taught myself to do this because I believe that every message, whatever its form or content, is an expression of a need. If we accept this assumption, we can train ourselves to sense what needs might be at the root of any particular message.

Read more ...

It takes a village to raise a child
by phdinparenting

A lot of parents that practice attachment parenting or natural parenting point to the fact that this is the way children are often raised in traditional societies. This is true, to a great extent, but there is one big exception. In our society we seem to feel that practicing attachment parenting means that the parents alone are raising the child or sometimes even one parent alone (usually the mother) while the other one works long hours, goes off to war, or just runs away.

Read more ...

The Power of a Relationship
by Sarah Newton

Adults who work with teens you really do have a very important job. You hold in your hands the power to change a teenagers life - no really - listen up!

Recently I have realised that when all is said and done, I stand for one thing and one thing only and that is, "The amazing impact a positive and healthy relationship between adults and teenagers can have on the world. I believe that if we all improved our relationships if only by 5% then the world would be a better place."

I feel that this is such a big claim that I need to quantify it slightly.

Read more ...

Ten Signs that You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child
by Jerry Mintz

Many parents do not realize that the education world has changed drastically since they were in school. Back in those days, schools were smaller, class sizes were smaller, dropout rates were lower, violence in school was almost unheard of, teachers were not terrified of showing affection to the children, or of teaching and discussing moral values. Even through rose-colored glasses, we know that school back then was no picnic, was far from perfect, but at least the teachers and usually the principal knew every student by name at a minimum, something which is not necessarily true today.

Read more ...

Unschooling: An Introduction to Self-Directed Learning
by Jan Zeiger

Unschooling, the most relaxed of all homeschool philosophies, is about providing a rich environment in which children can develop and learn naturally. Like other homeschooling parents, an unschooling mother is involved in her children's education, but the role she plays is that of facilitator rather than dictator.

Read more ...

Unschooling - Brilliant Education Philosophy or Lazy Parenting?
by Carrie Lauth

When I first heard about the notion of unschooling, I agreed with much of it in principle. I knew that my kids learned an awful lot of stuff without any help from me. Babies learn to crawl, toddlers learn to walk and potty train and talk. These are things you can't really teach a child how to do. I also knew how much kids loved to learn, especially if they aren't hamstrung from fear of performing. They learn for the joy of it and to satisfy their own curiosity and craving to understand the world.

At the same time, I worried that by unschooling I was being a lazy parent. Is that true?

Read more ...

Unschooling: You'll Know it When You see It
by Linn Kelly

Following years of sporadic reports by people who claimed they had tried unschooling but it hadn't worked for them, I started tracking their similarities and, as usual, I learned something new. And, as usual, I thought I should share it so others might not have to wonder for ten years.

Read more ...

Adventures in Unschooling: Interview with Blake Boles
by Jamie Littlefield

Unschooling advocate Blake Boles is dedicated to helping teens learn on their own. He's worked at Grace Llywellyn's famed Not-Back-to-School camp, cycled through the Argentinian countryside with a group of unschoolers, and planned unconventional adventures for young people who choose to learn on their own.

Read more ...

Fabulous Post on Educational Philosophy and Unschooling
by Laughing Stars

I can only speak for myself, but having been publicly schooled in the '70s, and having grown up immersed in our society's present way of thinking, I often find it difficult to step outside the bubble and really SEE it. Our present way of breaking education into discrete chunks, with an emphasis on rewards and punishments, is not the way it's always been. Nor has it always been the norm for children to receive most of their education in brick and mortar schools, for that matter.

Read more ...

Thoughts on radical unschooling
by Véronique

for the past three days, i have hardly slept, so enthralled am i by the concept of a radical unschooling lifestyle; i have read hundreds of pages, talked myself dry many a time, and my mind has been constantly churning, arranging and rearranging bits of the world, so that it all falls together in the most amazing rainbow i have seen since i began on this homeschooling journey two years ago.

Read more ...

Is College for Unschoolers even Possible?
by Vicki

Oh, how I've come to love saying 'Unschooling' and even better then the sound of the word, is the actual living of a Radical Unschooling life! I've come to love the shock effect when people ask me which school my son attends and I reply, "Oh, he doesn't go to school. We unschool."

I've grown so used to the blank stare, the confused expressions, the need to translate the term 'unschooling' into something that they can wrap their head around.

Read more ...

Too often, a college education is purely academic
by Steve Salerno

You may have heard about Trina Thompson. Unable to find work, the young woman is suing her alma mater, the Bronx's Monroe College, to recover the $70,000 she paid in tuition. The story inspired me to write an opinion piece, which ran in the New York Daily News this past Thursday.

Mindful of the Thompson case, and the preparations underway on campuses nationwide to receive a new crop of not-so-bright-eyed freshmen, I thought I'd provide some further thoughts here.

Read more ...

Understanding Life Learning
by Wendy Priesnitz

Life learning (sometimes called unschooling or self-directed learning) is one of those concepts that is almost easier to define by saying what it isn't, than what it is. And that's probably because our own schooled backgrounds have convinced us that learning happens only in a dedicated building on certain days, between certain hours, and managed by a specially trained professional.

Read more ...

Difference and Diversity in Autonomous Education
by Amy Palko

First off, I have to say that I really dislike the term 'unschooling'. In the UK, the terms 'unschool' and 'homeschool' are shunned in favour of 'autonomous education' and 'home education'. To some, this quibble over terminology may seem petty, but it is actually of importance. The way in which my children are educated has nothing to do with the school system; in fact, it is actively anti-establishment through its rebellion against conformity. The term 'autonomous education' is a far better descriptor for what we do, and I believe that it's a more positive approach to identify with who we are and what we do, rather than what we are not and what we don't do.

Read more ...

Autonomous Education: Pseudo-Science or Cult?
by Simon Webb

I have remarked elsewhere that some of the proponents of autonomous education give the impression of belonging to a religion rather than following an educational method. I wish to explore this idea in a little depth. It might be worthwhile in the first place to ask ourselves what are the distinguishing signs of cults and systems of pseudo-science?

Read more ...

An Autonomous Educational Philosophy
by Jan Fortune-Wood

This educational philosophy is rooted in the epistemology or Karl Popper, who proposed a new view of learning, no longer based on the inductive view of learning, but on the premise that true instruction comes from within.

Read more ...

Self-Education: A Manifesto
by Ryan McCarl

Self-education is at once a mindset, a lifestyle, and an action. It is both something that can be engaged in unconsciously and a habit that can be cultivated.

Read more ...

The Ultimate Self-Education Reading List
by Jamie Littlefield

If you want to know more about self-education, your best bet is to start reading. Over the years, I've kept a list of the best self-education books and blogs. Now I'm sharing them in the hopes that you'll find something new and maybe add a suggestion or two of your own. Use these resources to evaluate your education, find the tools and resources you need, and learn effectively on your own.

Read more ...

More Learning Strategies
by Race Bannon

What's the best way to learn something? The answer is that it's the way that works best for you. And that is the foundation upon which intelligent and successful self education is built. Learning must be tailored to your learning style and other personal preferences.

Read more ...

The Future of Learning in a New Free World and how to Build a World Wide Learning Web
by Gordon Dryden

The Learning Revolution, by Gordon Dryden and Jeannette Vos, has sold 10,261,000 books in its mainland China edition. A completely new updated edition, The New Learning Revolution, is now available for downloading at Our book argues strongly that the world needs a learning revolution to match the revolution in communications and interactive technology.That communications revolution continues to soar.

We now know how to store all the world's most important information and make it available almost instantly, in almost any form, to almost anyone on earth - and certainly to every classroom. Better still, we can do that virtually free. The Internet now stores at least 500 billion documents. Internet surfers do about 500 million searches a day.

Read more ...

I Tried To Learn Nothing Yesterday
by Piscesgrrl

Yesterday was Learn Nothing Day, a holiday created by Sandra and Holly Dodd to poke a little fun at those folks who ask us questions like, "But if you don't go to school, how do you learn?"

We've gotten that comment, mostly from kids. The adults are a bit more discerning in their questioning, asking if we worry about college or how we learn about physics or what our days look like because they could never "stand to be home with their kids" every day. It's ok, it's normal to misunderstand something that's out of your realm of experience, but to unschoolers, who operate on the belief that learning happens all the time - ALL*THE*TIME - it does, truthfully, get a little tiresome after a while.

Read more ...

Video games: Play and learn
from The Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Write a school report about the latest Wii sensation? One Minneapolis teacher is using video games to teach middle schoolers a variety of skills. And other educators want in on the fun.

Read more ...

Raising a healthy gamer: seven tips for parents
by Ben Kuchera

If you're a parent, or a soon-to-be parent, the noise about gaming and children can be deafening. Video games turn kids into killers. Video games are addictive. Video games get in the way of learning. There is nothing good to be gained from playing games.

If you don't play games yourself, it can be an intimidating thing to have a child who is into video games. You don't understand the hardware. The controller looks complicated. You don't get the games. At the same time, isn't it a little drastic to simply not allow video games in the house?

Read more ...

The Wonderful World of Television
by Schuyler Waynforth

The transcript of a talk Schuyler Waynforth gave at the London Unschooling Conference, July 2009.

Read more ...

5 Minds for the Future: Cultivating Thinking Skills
by Jamie Littlefield

Cultivating your mind is more important than anything else you can do to prepare for personal and professional success. Why? Because the modern world is unpredictable. The whirlwind of technology changes our lives so quickly that there's no way to anticipate how the future will look. Your industry, your job, and even your day-to-day life may be very different 10, 20, or 30 years from now. The only way to get ready for what comes next is to create the mental infrastructure to thrive in any environment.

Read more ...

Online Youth Need Critical Thinking Skills
by Larry Magid

I both envy and worry about young people who are growing up in the age of the Internet.

I envy them for their lifelong access to a media that's diversified enough to bring them news, information, and opinion from an enormous number of sources. ...

But, as I look back at the career of Walter Cronkite, who died last Friday, I also worry that young people are finding it harder to come by trusted sources for news and information.

Read more ...

Forget the Kids: It's the Adults Online Who Need Critical Thinking Skills
by Michelle Martin

Stephen Downes points to a column by Larry Magid on the need for today's young people to develop critical thinking skills that will help them better evaluate what they read online. In it, Magid talks about the fact that in the old days" of mass media we had "trusted" news sources that we could generally rely on for the "truth." With the proliferation of media in the Internet age, this has changed. ...

I find articles like this to be pompous in the extreme. They are condescending to kids and dangerous for adults.

Read more ...

Teaching happiness: the classes in wellbeing that are helping our children
by Jules Evans, Times Online

In a classroom in South Tyneside, a small group of 11-year-olds is considering the finer points of Stoic philosophy. The teacher, Mrs Carrahar, points helpfully at the blackboard. "Come on now, kids, remember your ABC: Adversity, Belief, Consequence. Sometimes how we feel about things depends on ... what? It begins with P ... Yes, Darren?" "Perspective, miss!" says a small child. "Very good, Darren!"

The class is the latest experiment in a new movement called "positive psychology", which is slowly but surely revolutionising the way that education is approached in the English-speaking world.

Read more ...


Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Liberating Parents

A new and different parenting book from Australian NLP Consultant and Life Coach Keith Gilbert.

"... this is what Liberating Parents is all about.  It is training for parents so that you can learn the essential processes for creating, maintaining and enjoying mental and emotional health and wellbeing. And when you have these skills and use them on a daily basis then you become a model for your children of a balanced, creative and free individual… which is exactly what you want for your children!"

My favourite parenting book ever.

Visit Keith Gilbert's Neuro Linguistic Parents website for more information

Join the Liberating Parents group at Facebook

How I Parent

A short and hopefully useful instantly downloadable FREE ebook about how I've parented my own children.

Read more about that here 

Guiding Stars of the New Parenting Movement

Be sure to download your FREE copy of my Guiding Stars of the New Parenting Movement ebooks while you're here if you haven't done so already.

These ebooks are FREE with my compliments and are packed with valuable insights and useful ideas to help you in your parenting adventure.

Volume 1 - an introduction to the work of Michael Mendizza, Robin Grille, Laura Ramirez, Jan Hunt, Pam Leo, Pat and Larry Downing, Alfie Kohn, Marc Prensky, Kali Wendorf and Jan Fortune-Wood:

Download it from here  

Volume 2 - an introduction to the work of Aletha Solter, Kim Wildner, Naomi Aldort, John Travis and Meryn Callander, John Breeding, Scott Noelle, Beverley Paine and Alan Wilson

Download it from here

Kindred Magazine

"Kindred magazine is created to support and give voice to the embryonic but powerfully essential movement towards conscious parenting and conscious living happening all around the world. It is in honour of that revolutionary movement everywhere, be it large or small, public or personal, that Kindred addresses issues ahead of mainstream media. It brings cutting edge research and information from pioneers in all fields relating to the well being of our human family and the world we live in.

Courageously exploring social, political, spiritual, global and environmental issues, it is the first and only such magazine in Australia and one of only a few in the world."

For the full story, please visit the Kindred Magazine website 

Connection Parenting

Connection Parenting by Pam Leo is an outstanding parenting book endorsed by the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children (aTLC).

Here's a review of  Connection Parenting from Vanessa Van Petten of Radical

BOOK REVIEW: Connection Parenting by Pam Leo

Dr. Nathalie Fiset

"Dr. Fiset has been a family doctor in Montreal, Canada since 1990. From a broad family practice, she had to narrow it down to the follow-up of pregnancies and attending births. Her path came across hypnosis in 2001. She immediately developed an interest for hypnotherapy, feeling like she had found the missing link in her medical practice and in her personal life. After all, it's not everyday you find a 100% natural method, proven safe and efficient for bringing about better mental, physical and spiritual health and well-being. She completed her hypnotherapy certification in 2004 with Omni Hypnosis Training Center and in 2005 received a second certification with the American Alliance of Hypnotists, and she has done extensive research on the many applications of hypnosis for childbirth."

Read more about Dr. Fiset and hypnosis at

Thank you for that item to Eric K. Carr

Nappy Debate: Disposable vs. Washable Nappies

Way back in 1985, when I became a parent, it took about six weeks for my wife and I to get fed up with constantly washing and drying cloth nappies (diapers) and make the switch to disposables. Ten years later when our second child was born, we used disposables from the beginning.

Thanks to Beverley Paine of Homeschool Australia, I've discovered that cloth nappies have come a long way since I last folded one almost a quarter of a century ago.

Here are some Australian "Modern Cloth Nappies" as an example of what they can be like today, at Green Kids. Amazing!

As for the debate about whether disposable or washable is best, here's what seems to be a reasonable overview from Families Online at

Project HappyChild

Project HappyChild is the magnificent achievement of Penny Midas Rollo, "a single parent with three sons whose interests include writing poetry, classic rock music and rollerblading."

It's non-profit and is, says Penny, "here to offer free educational resources, link up children and schools across the world, and also highlight the needs of less fortunate kids."

When I first discovered this website about six years ago it was already huge with more than 2,500 pages. It now has more than 20,000 pages and has had over 80 million visitors since its beginning in March 1998.

Always worth a visit and tons of free stuff for homeschoolers.

Challenging Assumptions in Education

A book by Wendy Priesnitz.

"A fresh and exciting personal approach to the inevitable and urgently needed revolution in education, which demolishes the one-size-fits-all, industrialized model of processing and warehousing students and creates a community-based, individualized learning society accommodating learners of all ages, interests, abilities and styles.

New edition now available."

School is Not Compulsory

"Not everyone is aware that it is education that is compulsory, not school. This video explains how home education is an alternative to school that is growing in popularity and explains away some of the common myths and misconceptions."

Watch the video on YouTube (9 mins 37 secs)

Informal Learning: An Interview With Dr Alan Thomas MSc, PhD, FBPsS

"This is the second in the series of videos commissioned by Education Otherwise.

Dr Thomas is a developmental psychologist, author and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education. Interviewed at HESFES, Dr Thomas explains about his research into how children learn and his investigation into autonomous, or informal learning."

Watch the video on YouTube (6 mins)

Unschooling: The Movie

"Unschooling : The Movie is a fun and informative documentary about a radical idea - that the best education for kids can come without any formal education at all. The film features extensive interviews with unschooling parents and children with a special emphasis on the groundbreaking work and ideas of unschooling advocate Sandra Dodd."

"... this isn't the typical 'let's present both sides' presentation that you might be used to from TV.

It's by unschoolers and for unschoolers or anyone interested in pursuing this parenting philosophy. It's not all sugarcoated; we try and cover some of the real problems that parents and kids can face...and help solve them."

Coming soon.

You'll find more information about Unschooling: The Movie here

Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling

Also coming soon. I've seen the "Contents" list - I think this book will cover just about everything.

Find out more about the book at Sandra Dodd's website

Origin of the term "Unschooling"

The term "unschooling" was coined in the 1970s by American educator John Holt to describe the concept of taking children out of school and allowing them to learn naturally. There's an interesting story behind why he chose that particular word.

You can read about it here

Joyfully Rejoycing

The website of "unschooling" legend Joyce Fetteroll. And a treasure trove of parenting wisdom.

Unschooling America

The website of Dayna Martin, author of the book Radical Unschooling: The Revolution Has Begun.

"This is not about homeschooling for religious reasons or having "gifted" children. This is about whether or not school should be the center of a child's life."

Unschooling on Wikipedia

Here's the "Unschooling" page

And here's the "Radical Unschooling" page

$peed Up and $it $till

"The Story of ADHD in Australia"

"Martin Whitely, a West Australian (WA) politician and former school teacher, has had unprecedented success tackling the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Industry. When he was elected to the WA Parliament in 2001 Perth's ADHD prescribing rates were amongst the highest in the world.  His advocacy slashed WA child ADHD stimulant prescribing numbers from an estimated high of 18,000 in 2000 to just over 6,000 in 2007 and in the process slashed WA teenage amphetamine abuse rates."

This is his website:

And finally ...

What's in a Flu Shot?

"Funny clip regarding the ingredients in a flu shot. This is a serious issue though."

Watch the video on YouTube (2 mins 49 secs)

Thank you for that item to Kim Wildner

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 14 September 2009

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Copyright © Bob Collier, except where indicated otherwise

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

Email: bobcollier[at]parental-intelligence[dot]com 

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