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 48 articles and 28 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!
"Intelligence to me is not a thing, it's a process; one that never stops." - Sean Grainger
A Teacher's Transition to Unschooling (a.k.a Collette Deneault/Oldham sees the light!)
I wasn't always for homeschooling, after all, I was a teacher. Anytime I had a name on my list of students that said "Homeschooled" I seriously felt sorry for that kid. I kept thinking to myself, "This kid is missing out on so much." I never questioned what I meant by "so much". This was especially true when I was doing a fun project, I kept thinking of what this "poor kid" must be doing at home. After all, we were having fun and learning, and that certainly couldn't be true for him. We sang, we danced, we played….I was positive that every kid wanted to do that at a pre-programmed time.
My views on homeschooling were the typical concerns:
(1.) I felt they weren't being socialized (based on a few families I knew whose kids did not know how to socialize.)
(2.) I felt they couldn't possibly be learning as much as I was "teaching"……..I was sure every kid was dying to know their multiplication tables through music…..etc.
And (3.) to top off my ego, I was sure that I was doing a much better job with 25 kids, than a mom/dad could possibly do one-on-one. (I still don't understand why I ever thought this!)
Then it happened. I became a grandmother and my grandkids were going to be, not just homeschooled but unschooled….. no curriculum bought materials!!! This required some re-direction on my part. But fortunately, I didn't need too much persuasion as my last few years in the classroom were convincing enough. This together with reading lots of books, magazines and sites, I was able to re-define what education meant to me.
First of all, teaching to the test has become the cornerstone of "teaching". If a student scored lower than a 4 on standardized testing, he/she would be pulled out for extra "help". Any teacher time for planning fun activities got taken over with the recording and analyzing of data. I slowly went from teacher to secretary in four years (thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act). Each day became more cloned until everyone had to be on the same page in order to compare/contrast. More workshops were brought into the school, business consultants were hired (education having become a business I suspect), and more curriculum was put into our day with nothing removed. Recess was slowly taken away, and instead kids were forced to read or at least hold a book in a ludicrous attempt to help state scores. Eventually, the school day was extended by a half an hour, a double guarantee that more structured time would definitely help scores. No school wants to be a school in need.
At one point in my teaching career, I decided to graph actual "teaching" moments. Not necessarily learning moments but "teaching". I came to the realization that I had about 2 hours a day where I had all the kids at the same time. Pull out programs, designed to help kids, were doing anything but that. Whether they needed it or not, these kids, for example, were removed from a rich literature discussion and were made to sit around a round table learning the sounds of the vowels and reading rhyming books with absolutely no plot and no interest level. Of those two hours of "non-interrupted time" in my class, kids were still going in and out of the room for various reasons (nurse, school store, bookmobile, banking, bathroom etc.). Moreover, any "new" concept from our rich state driven curriculum was not necessarily a new concept for everyone and for some it wasn't even important. Educating children at school was practically becoming synonymous to torture for both the teacher and the student. So you can imagine when the concept of unschooling came up, I was more than ready to embrace a system of learning that could indeed be called learning (and keep my grandkids out of this bureaucratic mess).
And now back to my 3 original concerns.
(1.) I now see that socialization in a classroom may not be the socialization you want your kids to model. Besides, contrary to belief, there's little time in the day for kids to be kids and no time in the day for kids to interact with adults. In a school setting, adults are the people who tell kids what to do. A teacher does not have time to have a conversation with each child every day. A home/unschooled child, on the other hand, learns to communicate with everyone, no matter what the age. I've come to realize and more importantly witness, that socialization in the real world happens in the real world and not behind closed doors with same age children waiting for a teacher to tell them what to do. I'm speaking from experience. I did that. I'm guilty! I'm glad I'm living long enough to see the other side of the coin.
(2.) Yes, I now realize that homeschooled children ARE learning and as a matter of fact, they are learning much more at home. They may not be learning the government regulated curriculum, but who says you have to read at 6, study Eskimos at 7, Egyptians at 8, the solar system at 9 and the constitution at 10. And when's the last time someone asked you what 3/4ths of 7/8ths is? I find it much more rewarding to have my 7 year old grandson (who can't read yet ….and is not coded for this "flaw"), to come flying through the door to show me how his magnet under the table moves his magnet over the table. From this comes a spontaneous discussion on magnets that would have taken me a day to set up in a classroom and two days to deliver to a 3rd grade class, (certainly not to be taught to a 2nd grade class according to specific curriculum regulations!).
(3.) Lastly, yes, my ego took a much needed face lift. I no longer believe that my 30 plus years in the classroom was more beneficial to any child whose parents chose to homeschool. If I had to do it over again with my own kids, it would be really wonderful to not have to wake them up from a warm bed, stuff breakfast down their throats and put them on a noisy bus only to be delivered to some other adult who's in charge of 25 other kids, and then have them sit there all day being told what to learn with little socialization. And in addition to sitting on a hard seat most of the day next to some child who may be annoying, please realize that they all must walk down the hall quietly, hurry to eat (a non-healthy meal), rush outdoors to play in a 15 minute recess disguised as socializing in a sea of kids who are exactly the same age. Very realistic!? And you mustn't forget the kids who never get recess because the teachers keep them in for "extra help" or better yet, take away their recess as a punishment OMG! This really really does happen!
A day in the life of my grandkids would go like this: Happy engaged kids learning everything they WANT to know, eating when they are hungry and resting when they are tired.
A day in the life of a schooled child: Happy or unhappy kids engaged or not engaged in learning or not learning, eating when they may or may not be hungry and unable to rest if they are tired.
IN SCHOOL I believe that
Some kids learn all the time
All kids learn some of the time
But not all kids learn all of the time
But for unschooled kids, they ARE learning ALL of the time. They are living life and learning everything they need and want to learn.
The choice is evident to me............and to my husband who is also a retired school teacher!
Collette Deneault/Oldham - Teacher for 30 plus years & Grandma to 5 (ages 9,8,6,5,4)