The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

February 2010

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 22 articles and 20 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!



"It takes the same amount of time and attention to meet our children's emotional needs as it does to deal with the behaviors caused by their unmet emotional needs." - Pam Leo


Ignoring intertwingularity was education's shark jump
by Judy Breck,

Jumping the shark ... is the point at which something absurd is done, followed by ongoing efforts to revive an enterprise. Ignoring the intertwingularity is the shark jump for established education. Schooling is on a path of increasingly under serving youngsters and education as it was known in the 20th century is petering out.

Meanwhile there is great news: the connection handschooling can make for a student to the intertwingularity is now real and quickly getting more effective and spreading.

The reason handschooling is so hopeful is that it can put an individual student in touch with the intertwingularity. That connection can be made regardless of the "schooling" situation and status of that individual student, who could: be in a school where students score high on standards, be in a failing school that does poorly by schooling standards, schooled at home, not have a school to go to.

The fact of the matter is that handschooling - when it tips with enough of the world's youngsters connected to the intertwingularity - will force the reconfiguring of established education. That reconfiguring is sketched whimsically in stories taking place in the future in my book Intertwingle, if you are interested. The point of [] is to bring handschooling into focus now.

So what is the intertwingularity?

The word was coined in 1974 by Ted Nelson, as Wikipedia states, "to express the complexity of interrelations in human knowledge." The beautiful, spontaneous, serendipitous gift to learning that has emerged in the internet is a network that does indeed interface the complexities of interrelation of human knowledge. That network is what I call in the intertwingularity. At the end of this post, I have included, from my book 109 IDEAS FOR VIRTUAL LEARNING, some paragraphs describing the first time I realized the intertwingularity was out there. (Then ten years ago, I did not yet know of Ted Nelson's word, but I saw exactly what he described - and it was, as I write below, mysterious.)

A brief history of the intertwingularity so far:

    * What is known by humankind has poured into the open internet and there, following network laws, emerged as the intertwingularity.
    * Established education has held the internet at arms length, attempting at best to organize and judge some of the online knowledge, but not deigning to recognize or engage the intertwingularity of knowledge formed naturally in the network.
    * Education practice has continued to divide and disconnect human knowledge into standards and grades, continuing the increasingly dark art of shoehorning knowledge relations into standards and curricula (instead of letting them intertwingle).
    * Opposite to education's standards and curricula, the interwingulatity is emergent from the knowledge placed online by experts and authorities in knowledge fields, and is naturally vetted by network laws (think how Google puts the best stuff at the top).
    * By being individually owned and operated, the mobile internet browser has became able to connect its owner to the complexities of interrelation of human knowledge - the intertwingularity.
    * The intertwingularity has created a global knowledge commons where everyone who connects to it literally learns from the same virtual page - with very big time implications for world understanding.
    * The future of learning has become not about what we do in schooling: it is now about how soon we engage our learning generation with the intertwingularity.
    * We can connect individual kids to the intertwingularity right now through handschooling. Let's do it!

How I first glimpsed the intertwingularity in 2000, when I was contentmaster of

I had hung a large sign above my desk quoting Stephen Jay Gould and saying: Like bureaucracy, knowledge has an inexorable tendency to ramify as it grows. I had been watching the cascade of knowledge onto the Internet for many months, and assumed it was ramifying - branching out into smaller and smaller twigs of smaller topics. I was wrong, and so was Dr. Gould. I began to catch on when I noticed something that still strikes me as mysterious and is, at the least, counterintuitive. It was something actually happening among our packets and not in the least foreseen or planned by the extremely intelligent and knowledgeable team that was building the content collection. An example would be the surprising behavior of a packet of links collected by one of our historians on the subject of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 a.d., which buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. The packet would keep showing up in different places! Click into the packet comprised of packets on the mechanisms of volcanoes and the Vesuvius disaster packet would be linked in as an example in the dangerous lava flows packet. In the city planning packet exactly the same Vesuvius packet would be part of a packet on choosing a city location (not next to a volcano!). The same Vesuvius packet would also show up in European history, perhaps in two or more subpackets, say for ancient Italy and archaeological rediscovery. The classical art preserved beneath the lava also prompted our art editor to link in the Vesuvius disaster there. Clearly what was going on was not ramification - not branching. Every time I encountered the Vesuvius disaster packet in a different subject, the Vesuvius packet was a node in a different network from the last one. Each network was shaped by meaning - science, planning, history, art - cognitive stuff.

The part that mystified me and I still find counterintuitive is that all of this is virtual and dynamic. It is not possible to pin down simultaneously the many ideas that issue from the different patterns of connections formed in the subjects. That is very similar to, if not the same thing, as the lack of the ongoing existence of an idea in your brain and mine. In both cases when connections are active an idea is happening. But we digress. What is important is that the connectivity is real, visible, and a new medium for interfacing what is known by humankind.

Quoted from: Judy Breck, 109 IDEAS FOR VIRTUAL LEARNING, Idea #59.

* was the largest - in terms of content and traffic - open study subject website during the Dotcom boom: 150,000 links, 35,000 study subjects, 4 million hits per month in spring 2000

Reprinted with the permission of the author.

To learn more about "handschooling", please visit


Sleep Training: Higher Stress, Lower Serotonin May Increase SIDS
by Liz DeMar

I happened to catch the NBC Nightly News this evening where I heard about the latest development in SIDS research. My interest was piqued even before I heard the full story: How would this compare to research done by Dr. James McKenna? What does it mean for those who share sleep (co-sleepers)? What would be the mainstream media response?

Read more ...

Lessons from a crying baby
by Pinky McKay

If you are the parent of a crying baby, it may help to remind yourself that perhaps the stares your baby's crying elicits from perfect strangers aren't always glares of disapproval or judgement: it is natural to feel sensitive when your best efforts to protect and nurture your child seem less than perfect, but could it be possible that many of the stares and whispers that surround you and your crying baby are really voices of concern or even deeply felt empathy? After all, empathy (along with humility) can be one of the greatest lessons learned by parents who have a crying baby.

Read more ...

"Should" I sling my baby?
by Renegade Parent

Knowing that I have spent (and still spend) a lot of time carrying Mollusc, a friend sent an article to me just after I gave birth to Nudi, entitled "Why human babies should be carried". I have to say, although I am sure it was written with the best intentions, it rankled with me just a little bit as I don't like being told why I "should" do anything - I prefer to work it our for myself, thank you! I also question any post that purports to explain "why babywearing is the best way to meet our infant's needs" when each infant is a unique human being.

Read more ...

Children Who Are Spanked Have Lower IQs, New Research Finds
from Science Daily

Children who are spanked have lower IQs worldwide, including in the United States, according to new groundbreaking research by University of New Hampshire professor Murray Straus. The research results will be presented Friday, Sept. 25, 2009, at the 14th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, Calif.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Javed Alam

The Daycare Dilemma
by Jan Hunt

It's always a dilemma for me to know just how to address the subject of substitute care, because there is such a gap in our culture between the ideal and the possible. Ideally there would be little need to use substitute care, nor would any mother feel a strong personal need or desire to do so. The reality, of course, is that parenting - the most important job a woman can have - is not valued sufficiently. No one should ever feel that she is "only a mother" - motherhood should be more highly valued than any other profession. No other job is as critically important; no other job has the potential for improving our world by nurturing the capacity to love and trust others.

Read more ...

How to break bad beliefs with doubt
by Ronit Baras

A year ago, I became the Queensland state coordinator for Together for Humanity Foundation. The foundation works in schools with grade 4 to 12 kids to fight racism and inspire cultural openness. It turns out that, out of 50,000 kids in Australia who have participated in the program, over 90% have had racist attitudes towards other cultures.

Read more ...

Breaking the Cycle of Control With Food
by Teresa Graham Brett

When I decided to get pregnant, I jumped into organic and natural, unprocessed foods with both feet. I quit my daily habit of two café lattes a day and committed to "cleaning up my act." During my pregnancy I read about all the things I could do to make sure my son would eat and want healthy foods. No sugar for the first three years, according to Dr. Sears, would ensure he would not crave sweet foods. I asserted my need to control through food in the family.

Read more ...

Mommy and Me
by Karen

I ran across a rant of sorts yesterday from a couple of young mothers seemingly at their wits' end with their children. Their five-year-olds are driving them crazy, misbehaving, refusing to clean their rooms. Shouldn't five-year-olds be more responsible?

Shouldn't they listen to their mothers and just obey, for goodness sake?

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Jean Dorsey

The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s
by Brad Stone, The New York Times

My 2-year-old daughter surprised me recently with two words: "Daddy's book." She was holding my Kindle electronic reader.

Here is a child only beginning to talk, revealing that the seeds of the next generation gap have already been planted. She has identified the Kindle as a  substitute for words printed on physical pages. I own the device and am still not completely sold on the idea.

Read more ...

Tapscott: Digital natives need tech-rich education
by Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, eSchool News

Educators should change the way they view technology's role in everyday life in order to understand students' educational needs, said Don Tapscott, chairman of nGenera Insight, during a Jan. 19 Consortium for School Networking webinar on the digital generation.

The nation is at a turning point, Tapscott said, and many institutions that have served us well for decades or even centuries-including education-have come to the end of their life cycle and must be "rebooted" or reinvented for a new age.

Read more ...

For the love of learning
by Joe Bower

I am not the same teacher I used to be. When I started, I was very focused on power and control. I assigned loads of homework, dished out huge penalties for late assignments, assigned punishments for rule breaking behavior and averaged my marks to get a final grade. I did some of these things because I was trained to do so in university. However, most of these teaching strategies were being done mindlessly, and like a lot of teachers, I was simply teaching the way I was taught.

Read more ...

The behaviourism infection
by Joe Bower

"There is a time to admire the grace and persuasive power of an influential idea, and there is a time to fear its hold over us. The time to worry is when the idea is so widely shared that we no longer even notice it, when it is so deeply rooted that it feels to us like plain common sense. At the point when objections are not answered anymore because they are no longer even raised, we are not in control: we do not have the idea; it has us."

This quote could be used to describe any idea that we come to mindlessly accept as a given truth, but when Alfie Kohn wrote these words in his book Punished by Rewards, he was referring to Behaviourism.

Read more ...

"Products" of Education
by Joyce Fetteroll

There's a myth going around that schools are a place to get a great education.

But it's a lie.

Schools are factories. They take in raw materials (children), apply a standard process (curriculum) and turn out a product (children prepared for college). And while many children do become grade A products (by school standards), there are grade B, grade C, grade D, grade F, kids sent to special education, kids sent to trade schools, and drop outs.

Read more ...

ReThink Interview: Cevin Soling, Director of the War On Kids
by Jonathan Kim, The Huffington Post

"The War On Kids, a documentary by Cevin (pronounced "Kevin") Soling, goes inside the American public school system to reveal some unsettling truths -- that our public schools have become prisons, where kids are medicated against their will, treated like prisoners under strict Zero Tolerance policies, and have most of their civil rights summarily stripped away. While conditions for kids have been worsening over the decades, the film argues that the root of these problems isn't school shootings or budget cuts, but the institution of school itself, which is inherently authoritarian, oppressive, and fails on most levels to fulfill its number one goal: to educate."

Read more ...

Learning is Not Something That's Done to You
by Wendy Priesnitz

Perhaps the most basic assumption our society makes about education is that learning can and should be produced in people. This assumption leads to another one: Learning is the result of treatment by an institution called school.

Read more ...

Uproar after teacher is replaced with a website
from The Sydney Daily Telegraph

A funds shortage has been blamed for Year 12 students being left without a qualified 2-unit maths teacher for the first month of the school year.

Education officials told parents from Davidson High School, on Sydney's Northern Beaches, the situation was not a one-off and there were year 12 classes at other high schools without teachers.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to my daughter Bronwyn

Doing testing and certification away from the school herd
by Judy Breck

A revolution in testing and certification ["assessment" in educationist lingo] may finally emerge because the mobile can individualize it both geographically and for when a student is prepared. Mobile is a key because it lets me take an online test outside of my school - essentially anywhere.

Read more ...

Homeschooling Delivers The Goods
by Eileen Lian

As homeschoolers, we find that we are often asked to justify our decision to raise our children outside the school system.

We are constantly bombarded with queries about our homeschooling from all quarters: the sincerely concerned, the intellectually curious, the secretly disapproving, the intensely doubtful and the hopeful wannabes.

Read more ...

Monk on Regulating Homeschooling in Britain
by Milton Gaither

This post reviews Daniel Monk, "Regulating Home Education: Negotiating Standards, Anomalies, and Rights" in Child and Family Law Quarterly 21, no. 2 (2009): 155-184

Monk, Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, Birbeck at the University of London, has been studying homeschooling for a few years now, his work largely concerned with challenging the dominant discursive tropes used by both advocates and critics of homeschooling, trying to get everyone to see that there is more at stake than the simplistic parent vs. government rhetoric suggests. 

Read more ...

'When I said Archie was educated at home, people thought I was bonkers'
by Sarah Freeman, Yorkshire Post

One of the growing number of children who are being taught at home, for Archie there will be no dreaded Sats exams and when the time is right he will likely bypass GCSEs and move straight to A-levels.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Raquel Toney

Deschooling For Parents
by Joanne

In order for homeschooling/unschooling to work for us, I had to go through my own deschooling process, which was more deep rooted and tangled up than my kids deschooling was for them. Because I went to school longer than they had, and knowing the public school system from both as a student and as a parent, it was harder for me to look at education and school a different way than I had before.

For those who've never heard of deschooling, it's the process one goes through after leaving an institutionalized schooling environment.

Read more ...



Author: Judy Breck,

"A compelling story of what is possible with a foreword by Howard Rheingold

Intertwingle takes place in the future when, as Google CEO Eric Schmidt put it, "every human being on the planet will have access to every piece of information on the planet."

Judy Breck uses whimsy to shake us loose from obsolete concepts that are crumbling schools and dumbing down kids. The characters in the stories are thirty-somethings whom we meet living in the future.

Howard Rheingold muses in his Foreword: "How might the world of 2030 look if enough people were to understand the possibilities that coming technologies enable, and to create or repurpose our social and political institutions to take full advantage of mobile-learning? What if billions of people were able to attain more of their potential -- something we're going to need in order to solve the problems we've created for ourselves?"

Ted Nelson, an information technology prodigy said: "Everything is deeply intertwingled." Judy Breck tells a compelling story where everyone lives happily ever after in the intertwingled mobile tomorrow.

Book description from where Intertwingle is available in paperback or as an ebook download.


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

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 (7 mins 48 secs)

Learn more about Robin Grille's work at

Australian home birth figures debated

Recent interesting events in Australia regarding the safety or otherwise of homebirthing:

"A sixteen-year study of births in South Australia shows there are greater safety risks and higher death rates associated with home births compared to hospital births, says AMA president and obstetrician Dr Andrew Pesce."

Read the news report on that here

A comment on Dr. Pesce's point of view from Homebirth Australia:

""When one actually reads the data we find none of the sensational claims are able to be made.  The research is fundamentally flawed and reporting claims of increased death linked to homebirth is simply not supportable." said Justine Caines, Secretary of Homebirth Australia and mother of seven home born children."

Read the Homebirth Australia news release here

Dr. Stuart Fischbein: Midwives

Dr. Stuart Fischbein, Birth Action Coalition Medical Advisor, shares his thoughts on midwives.

Watch the video on YouTube (2 mins 42 secs)

Thank you for that item to Laureen Hudson

More about Dr. Fischbein here

Mothers Against Circumcision

"Routine Infant Circumcision [RIC] is not practiced in most medically advanced nations. Unlike American parents, few parents worldwide are actually faced with this choice. Their babies are automatically brought home intact. 82% of the world's living men are intact. Few people are aware of the fact that circumcision was introduced to our culture in an attempt to eliminate masturbation."

Chanced on this old "Web 1.0" site that hasn't been updated since 2002 but nonetheless is a banquet of food for thought on this particular topic. Probably not for the squeamish.

Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.)

Mentioned on the above website.

"D.O.C. is an organization of physicians, and others who are opposed to non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision. D.O.C. has members in 50 States, 12 Canadian Provinces and Territories, and in nations on six continents. These doctors recognize that no one has the right to forcibly remove sexual body parts from another individual."

NOCIRC Annual Newsletter

The 2010 Newsletter of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) has been published online this month.

NOCIRC was "founded by healthcare professionals to provide information to expectant parents, healthcare professionals, educators, lawyers, ethicists, and concerned individuals about circumcision and genital cutting of male, female, and intersex infants and children, genital integrity, and human rights."

Read the 2010 Annual Newsletter here (10 pages)

European view of spanking

Two short videos from the Council of Europe's "Raise Your Hand Against Smacking" campaign.

Watch them here (1 min & 4 mins 2 secs)

The War On Kids

Watch a trailer for Cevin Soling's documentary the War On Kids (see interview in Article Links) at the Natural Child Project website (3 mins 20 secs):

Parenting for Social Change

"Social change parenting is about creating new paradigms for parenting that affirm the dignity and respect the rights of all children."

The website of Teresa Graham Brett.


"Dreamcatchers saves lives, we work with the young people society have written off. We support them via training and coaching to discover their passion and find the motivation they need to fight their way back into society and prove their doubters wrong by living an independent and positive lifestyle.

Too many organisations who work with young people get hung up on meaningless targets set by people who will never meet any young people let alone learn their names. Dreamcatchers is a new breed, we operate on a purely needs led basis and achieve positive results through positive actions".

Andy Jackson, Founder of Dreamcatchers

The Education Revolution Free Parent Subscription & Membership Offer

For a limited time, the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) is offering a free PDF subscription to its magazine and free membership to parents.

All the details are here

Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling

A book lover's review of Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling.

Read it here

Parenting Issues for Unschoolers

More from Sandra Dodd. This is a page at her website leading to an exploration of the parenting aspects of "unschooling" and a gold mine of helpful ideas, observations and shared experiences.

Rainbow Divas CampFest

National Home School Camp, Conference, Trade Fair and Festival

Albury-Wodonga, Australia

During March 2010

"Inspired by the UK annual HESFES, our aim is to create a national, annual Home Education Festival in Australia that will meet the needs of all home schooling families. The CampFest builds on the very popular Rainbow Divas Home School Camps held in 2008 and 2009 organised by Jenni Domansky."

For more information, please visit

The Autodidact Symposium

A gathering for self-directed learners

Downtown Columbia, South Carolina, USA

March 12-14 2010

"A gathering for unschooled young adults and families to create social networks, meet potential mentors, find resources, and make meaningful friendships."

For more information, please visit

Rethinking Everything Magazine Opens Minds and Leaves Readers Rethinking... Everything

"Rethinking Everything Magazine is a brand NEW groundbreaking publication of true stories of earth shattering, intrinsically inspired personal transformation and empowerment. Its ad-free, page-turning online format is as cutting edge as it is green."

For more information, here's Rethinking Everything Magazine's February 6 press release

And finally ...

NLP and Emotional Intelligence

A new Facebook group started by NLP Consultant and Life Coach Keith Gilbert, author of neuro-linguistic programming: Liberating Parents, my favourite parenting book ever.

Join the NLP and Emotional Intelligence Facebook group here

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 16 March 2010

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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