The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

October 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 37 articles and 16 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!



"Watch your child directly and as clearly as you can, without the filters and overlays you might be used to. If you think any terms other than his name as you're looking, shake those off and think his name." - Sandra Dodd


A Woman's Nation: Reclaim Your Right To Birth Right
by Christiane Northrup, MD

The times have truly changed. According to the newly released The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything, women now make up half the work force for the first time in written history! This means that our voices and skills are impacting all areas of society more than ever before. The Shriver Report also found that for both men and women, health is their number one priority! Since women make the vast majority of healthcare decisions in their families--and have the buying power to do it--we women are in a very powerful position to influence the future of healthcare in America. Nowhere is this more critical than in the area of pregnancy and birth.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Kim Wildner

The truth about sleeping with baby
by Sarah Boseley, The Guardian

Time and time again, mothers are warned of the dangers of sleeping with their infants. But has the science been badly misinterpreted?

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Kindred Magazine

Cosleeping Around The World
by James J. McKenna Ph.D.

For the overwhelming majority of mothers and babies around the globe today, cosleeping is an unquestioned practice. In much of southern Europe, Asia, Africa and Central and South America, mothers and babies routinely share sleep. In many cultures, cosleeping is the norm until children are weaned, and some continue long after weaning.

Read more ...

Breastfeeding in the Land of Ghengis Khan
by Ruth Kamnitzer

What would it be like to nurse in a place where everyone embraced it? A Canadian living in Mongolia finds out.

Read more ...

Breast milk should be drunk at the same time of day that it is expressed

The levels of the components in breast milk change every 24 hours in response to the needs of the baby. A new study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience shows, for example, how this milk could help newborn babies to sleep.

Read more ...

Cry it out (CIO): 10 reasons why it is not for us
by PhD in Parenting

Intuitively and instinctively, the cry it out (CIO) method (also known as sleep training or ferberizing or controlled crying) of getting a baby to sleep is not something I ever felt comfortable with. And as I did research on infant sleep, I learned about what normal infant sleep is and I also learned more about the reasons why the CIO method is harmful. There are numerous scientific and emotional reasons why we have chosen not to let our babies cry it out, which I have summarized below.

Read more ...

Dr. Phil Stay-at-home mom vs. working mom show
by PhD in Parenting

I just finished watching the Dr. Phil show on stay-at-home moms vs. working moms that featured bloggers like Jessica Gottlieb (@jessicagottlieb) and Heather Armstrong (@dooce). Although the show touched on some important issues, I found it rather polarizing and one-dimensional.

Read more ...

How Rewards Can Backfire and Reduce Motivation
by Jeremy Dean

Rewards work under some circumstances but sometimes they backfire. Spectacularly.

Here is a story about preschool children with much to teach all ages about the strange effects that rewards have on our motivation.

Read more ...

Boost Your Kids' Performance with Scents
by Ronit Baras

As a mother of 3 super kids, an educator and a life coach, many people ask me how to raise super kids. After all, if I think all the kids have great potential, how come some of them stand out and others do not?

Read more ...

The Holy Grail of Parenting ... begins with a Blue Elephant
by Janet Allison

Your most powerful parenting tool begins with a blue elephant.


Read more ...

Education of the Founding Fathers of the USA
from the Wild Child Reserve

I read Obama's speech to the schoolchildren - and this line caught my immediate attention.

"It's the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation."

I thought, "Really? The founding fathers sat where our schoolchildren sit today? I highly doubt it."

Read more ...

Schooling: The Hidden Agenda
by Daniel Quinn

A talk given at the Houston Unschoolers Group Family Learning Conference.

Read more ...

Our Social Obligation Toward Children's Education: Opportunities, Not Coercion
by Peter Gray, Psychology Today

Children educate themselves. Children are biologically built for self-education. Their instincts to explore; to observe; to eavesdrop on the conversations of their elders; to ask countless questions; and to play with the artifacts, ideas, and skills of the culture all serve the purpose of education. Regular readers of this blog know that this has been my main thesis, from Post #1 on through this one, Post #38.

Read more ...

Compulsory School Doesn't Have to Be a Prison
by Tammy Takahashi

Peter Gray is a blogger on Psychology Today and he has a bone to pick with public school. Well, he has several, actually.

His most recent post is about how school is a prison, called "'Why Don't Kids Like School?' Well Duuuuh!" This isn't the first time that someone has drawn a parallel between the freedoms we lose in school compared to those we lose in prison. However, this particular post attracted an interesting discussion with valid counterpoints (and some not-so-thoughtful ones as well).

Read more ...

Waldorf-Inspired Public Schools Are on the Rise
by Malaika Costello-Dougherty, Edutopia

Barbara Warren always thought she was meant to be a teacher, but after a decade working in a low-income elementary school in Sacramento, California, she was just about ready to quit.

Right around the same time, however, the school district decided to convert the school to a Waldorf magnet program. So, instead of giving up, she began a three-year teacher-training program at the nearby Rudolf Steiner College. "It was a lifesaver for me," says Warren. "I found the missing element. I didn't just have to teach curriculum anymore; I got to teach children."

Read more ...

The Finnish Education System Rocks! Why?
by Zaid Ali Alsagoff

A couple of weeks back (16th September), I attended a Future Learning Finland one-day seminar & networking session. Finpro had invited a few dozen people from Malaysia for this session. Their goal was basically to share and market their world class Finnish education system and related educational products and services, and also gain more insight into the current and future learning trends and needs in Malaysia. Basically, it was an opportunity to learn, network and explore potential educational business/collaboration opportunities with each other.

Read more ...

Take Back Your Education
by John Taylor Gatto

More and more people across America are waking up to the mismatch between what is taught in schools and what common sense tells us we need to know. What can you do about it?

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Denise Deeves

Too cool for school
by Caroline Scott, Times Online

Across Britain, thousands of children are skipping the classroom altogether. They study whatever they like, they only take exams if they feel like it - and they have the full blessing of their parents and the law. When the school system fails, is home education the answer?

Read more ....

Thank you for that item to AEUK

Confessions of a home-schooler
by Andrew O'Hehir

Call us crackpots, but our kids spend their days at beaches and museums, not in school.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Peter Logue

Will longer school days help students catch up to homeschoolers?
by Sara McGrath

President Obama's proposal to increase school hours for public school children may surprise some folks in light of the 37 percentile lead in test scores by homeschoolers who notoriously spend less time in formal study than their public school peers.

Read more ...

Different Names for Kinds of Homeschooling
by Sarah Tennant

The names "homeschooling", "unschooling" and "home education" are not interchangeable, but reflect different educational philosophies and methods of learning.

Read more ...

What Is So Radical About Radical Unschooling?
by Anne Ohman

Here's what I think. First of all, it's sad to me that honoring, respecting and celebrating our children's lives is considered to be radical. I envision and I walk toward the vision of creating a world where this is common.

Read more ...

I'm Radical, But Definitely NOT a Radical Unschooler; I'm Not Even an Unschooler
by Tammy Takahashi

"I'm not an unschooler." God, I feel so free saying that, like invisible shackles have been removed from my wrists, and I can throw my arms above my head again.

I might look like an unschooler in some ways, I say things similar to what self-proclaimed unschoolers might say, and I even may agree with John Holt and John Taylor Gatto on several things. But I am not an unschooler. I am free.

Read more ...

Schooling or education; a personal rant
by Simon Webb

I simply had to talk about this. A friend of my daughter who has just finished his AS level in English Literature studied the Tom Stoppard play "Arcadia". He wants my daughter to go to London and see it with him next week. But get this, his parents are really irritated with him and say that he is wasting his time because he has already sat the examination on this play. What on Earth is the point in his going to see it now?

For me, nothing could encapsulate more neatly the difference between modern schooling and education.

Read more ...

Why many children are much better off in school than at home
by Simon Webb

Yesterday I mentioned briefly some of the children who started school at the same time as my daughter. Many of these children did not appear to have been raised in a modern industrial society. To be blunt, some of them looked as though they were hardly used to standing upright, never mind learning to read and write.

Read more ...

The Myth of "Natural" Learning
by Simon Webb

At the heart of much home education in this country lies a horribly faulty piece of logic. It is this; that because children will do some things naturally, of their own accord, then they are likely to do other, different, things similarly under their own steam. It would really be proper to talk of a faulty analogy. In it's simplest form, the idea is that just as children "learn" to walk and talk without the need for any formal instruction, so they will learn to read and carry out mathematical operations in the same "natural" way. It is a neat, easily understood and attractive idea and, as is so often the case with neat, easily understood and attractive ideas, it is quite wrong.

Read more ...

Self Initiated Learning
by Teri J. Vinson Read

I have been at Sego Lily a lot these past few fact, I have been subbing every day. I am constantly amazed by the kids, their creativity and the real life learning going on. I have also had many a conversation about this "self initiated learning" with the adults and have watched the process of these skeptics come into the school in complete denial that it works and leave with this shocking realization that what they believed to be "education" has been a lie all along.

Read more ...

Self-education and language learning
by Ryan McCarl

For most Americans seriously attempting to learn a second or third language, adopting the mentality of a self-educator or self-directed learner is mandatory, even if it is unconscious: most school districts and colleges do not insist that their students become genuinely proficient in a world language, so students themselves must take the initiative to enroll in classes, study abroad, and otherwise create their own opportunities for language study. Language study is not for everybody. But it is much more fun, interesting, and feasible than most people think.

Read more ...

"Educational": A Label Worth Ignoring
by Robyn Coburn

Just because something is labeled educational doesn't make it a better product for the child than one not so labeled. Children's interests should be supported by whatever product best meets the need without regard to the educational veneer.

Read more ...

Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning
by Zaid Ali Alsagoff

You might die from boredom reading this report from the US Department of Education. Please get Steve Jobs involved for the next report. I suppose it could have been simplified and presented in a more creative, visual, and mind (or eye) stimulating way.

Luckily, Donald Clark has swooshed out some of the juice, which is replicated right here...

Read more ...

The Education Solution
by Sramana Mitra

It may be hard to believe in this era of social networking and telepresence video conferencing, but there is still a stigma attached to online education. Elite institutions do not want to dilute their brands by expanding the reach of their methodology using online channels.

This is a mistake, a humongous lost opportunity, and one that needs to be revisited because an astoundingly large number of people in America need retraining and career makeovers right now.

Read more ...

How Web-Savvy Edupunks Are Transforming American Higher Education
by Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company

Free online courses, Wiki universities, Facebook-style tutoring networks -- American higher education is changing.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Zaid Ali Asagoff

Is the revolution justified?
by Martin Weller

This isn't a net generation essay, but that literature represents a good starting point, since many of the claims for educational reform are justified by reference to the net generation, or digital natives. I examined much of the literature to see when these claims were actually backed up by research.

Read more ...

Is App Addiction a Real Thing?
by Sarah Perez, ReadWriteWeb

Do you jokingly refer to yourself as an "app addict?" That is, are you someone so obsessed with your mobile phone applications that you've filled numerous screens full of apps, play with them anytime you have 5 minutes to spare and sleep next to your phone just so it can be the first thing you grab in the morning? While there haven't been any studies yet on the impact of mobile phone application use and health, USA Today recently ran an article practically dubbing "app addiction" a real thing. "What is app addiction doing to people's health?", the article asked. What indeed?, we wonder. How about nothing at all?

Read more ...

Computers in Early Childhood Education - A jump start or a setback?
by Dr. Renate Long-Breipohl

We want the best for our children, so it's easy to think the latest technology of our time will benefit them, but does it?

Read more ...

An Operating System for the Mind
by Stephen Downes

The core of the opposition to what are being called "21st century skills" is contained in the following argument: "Cognitive science teaches us that skills and knowledge are interdependent and that possessing a base of knowledge is necessary to the acquisition not only of more knowledge, but also of skills. Skills can neither be taught nor applied effectively without prior knowledge of a wide array of subjects."

In response, I pose this question to the defenders of this 'base of knowledge', "why is a common core necessary for the teaching of skills, and why is testing of that core necessary."

Read more ...

How emotional intelligence matters
by Daniel Goleman

As an author I'm used to being mis-quoted and mis-interpreted. But there's one distortion of my position on how "emotional intelligence matters more than IQ" which disturbs me. As I explain in the new introduction to the tenth anniversary edition of Emotional Intelligence:

Unfortunately, misreadings of this book have spawned some myths, which I would like to clear up here and now.

Read more ...


Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling

I don't recall now where or when I first encountered Sandra Dodd on the internet, but I've been a member of her Always Learning discussion group since April 2007. It's one of my favourite online places, and I nearly always return from a visit there with an idea or two to ponder upon.

Sandra is the "unschooling mother of Kirby, Marty and Holly, who never went to school." At the time of writing, Kirby is 23, Marty is 20, and Holly is 17, and they're all fine young adults and an asset to the world according to everything I've seen of them and read about them.

In other words, as far as "unschooling" is concerned, Sandra has 'been there and done that' very successfully. Now she's written a book from her experiences in which she paints as clear and complete a picture of what "unschooling" is really all about as perhaps there can be. Is it simply an alternative to the school classroom? Is it an educational philosophy? Is it a parenting philosophy? Is it a lifestyle choice? Now you can be the judge.

I have to say, personally, I don't use the word "unschooling" to describe my own situation. It seems to me a somewhat misleading term now that its historical significance is usually overlooked. But I certainly appreciate that, even so, it's a long established and widely used term that is gaining currency in society at large and I think those viewing the world of the unschooled child from the outside will benefit greatly from having what is meant by this increasingly familiar term explained to them as fully as possible - what is it that actually lies beyond the description "unschooling"? Or whatever else we might choose to call it. In that respect, Sandra Dodd has done a marvellous job. Her book is, however, not necessarily for bewildered members of the general public. It's primarily a book of wisdom for those who are already "unschooling" or who are thinking about it.

Given my admiration for what this lady has achieved and for the depth of her knowledge and understanding, I hope Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling becomes "The Unschooler's Bible". It deserves to be. As well as being an inspiring read in any event, I think it answers every question anybody could ask about "unschooling", or at the very least puts them on the right track to an answer.

Please find out more and read some comments on Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling at this page:


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

Parenting For A Peaceful World
"Robin Grille, author of Parenting for a Peaceful World, and also Heart to Heart Parenting, shares some profound information about children and parenting  practices around the world and throughout history."

A video created by Jacob Devaney for Culture Collective, narrated by Aja Swafford, written by  Robin Grille.

Watch it on YouTube (7mins 48secs)

Learn more about Robin Grille's work at

Child Development & Positive Parenting Skills on YouTube

A series of videos (five so far) on parenting or working with young people from John Breeding, PhD., author of The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses and True Nature and Great Misunderstandings.

Start here with Part 1

2010 Australian Breastfeeding Association Calendar

"Celebrating the beauty of breastfeeding, babies and family, this full colour calendar takes you through the twelve months of 2010, PLUS November/December 2009 PLUS January/February 2011.

With stunning images selected from thousands of submitted photos, the ABA calendar is an easy to use calendar featuring large squares to keep track of family events and important dates."

More information at

Spanking - Questions and answers about disciplinary violence

La Fessée: Questions sur la violence éducative

A book by Olivier Maurel translated from its original French by Tom Johnson, with a Foreword by Alice Miller.

It's free to read online at Project NoSpank, the web presence of Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education, Inc.

Please go to this page

Alliance for the Separation of School and State

"We believe parents, and not the state, should be in charge of their children's education. That control may take many forms and levels of involvement, but the state will never be part of the picture.

If this seems like an impossible idea, consider that 8 million children already learn free of state control. We're not starting from scratch here. The snowball of educational independence is already rolling. "

The Schichida Method

"Professor Makoto Shichida is leading a worldwide revolution in education which is changing the way we understand children, their brain capabilities and their learning styles."

For more information, please visit

Rainbow Divas CampFest

Australia's National Home School Camp, Conference, Trade Fair and Festival - Rainbow Divas CampFest!!!

Wymah Valley Holiday Park, Bowna (Near Albury), New South Wales, March 2010.

Visit for all the details

Thank you for that item to Beverley Paine

UK Unschoolers Blog Ring

"This is a blog ring for unschooling and radically unschooling bloggers in the United Kingdom, so that we can easily find each other, link to each other's sites, and share our unschooling journeys.

If you are in the UK, and you run an unschooling or radical unschooling blog, I would love to welcome you as a member of this ring."

Using e-Learning To Facilitate 21st Century Learning

A fascinating slideshow from Zaid Ali Alsagoff with ideas and hyperlinks to explore. Viewing on full screen recommended.

"This presentation explores learning and how we can use web 2.0 learning tools and Open Educational Resources (OER) to transform the way we learn. Finally, it reflects some of the challenges that we will probably face as we embark on this 21st century learning adventure."

Watch it here

And finally ...

Feeleez. A simple game about feelings.

This game is for parents, teachers, therapists or anyone who cares about fostering well-being for children. Used as a game or a tool, Feeleez grows empathy  and compassion, along with imagination and creativity. Made by the Natural Parenting Center (, Feeleez is sustainably  produced, made with recycled cardboard, soy-based ink and a re-usable tin.

Kris Laroche is looking for distributors in various regions around the globe. Help share Feeleez and become part of something that matters. Contact Kris at if you are interested in creating a meaningful business for yourself.

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 16 November 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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