The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

27 June 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 issue of the Parental Intelligence Newsletter there are links to 28 articles, 1 audio, 1 video 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 time!



"I believe that what we think about our children affects what they think about themselves, even if we never vocalize it to them." - Rue Kream



The Art of Education, 15th Anniversary Edition

Having become familiar with home education (homeschooling) only since the advent of the Internet and all the new and obvious opportunities for learning that the "digital revolution" in general has gifted to us, I would be the first to admit that the decision to remove my son from school was far easier to make in 2002 than it would have been when Linda Dobson's The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community, and Self was first published in 1995 (coincidentally the year my son was born).

So I have to say from the outset that I'm already an admirer of the author as a "pioneer" of the homeschooling movement.

In The Art of Education, Linda has a fascinating story to share from a position of great knowledge, understanding, and personal experience and, incidentally, I'm glad she chose not to rewrite this book to try to accommodate the "digital revolution" because it doesn't need that to get its message across: all the essential truths are just as true.

As an Australian, I found the detailed history of America's public school system particularly absorbing and - dare I say it? - highly educational. The author's comparison of the practices of schooling with what we know about how children naturally educate themselves and her skillful prising apart of the two are illuminating. How many parents have I encountered who think "school" and "education" are two words for the same thing? They're not and never have been, and Linda Dobson explains, quite brilliantly, why that's so.

It's her contention that the institution we call "school" has always by its very nature subverted the true meaning of education and is continuing to sell children and parents alike a false bill of goods. I believe her.

But her book is not a critique in itself of a method of educating children that Win Wenger, acknowledged modern day genius and author of the best selling book, The Einstein Factor, says "has squandered the gifts and potentialities of generations of human beings." It's a call to awaken to the inadequacies of that system (and to its increasing irrelevance in a time when all human knowledge can be readily accessed by any self-motivated individual); to break out of the Stockholm Syndrome, as some people have called it; to explore the wisdom of the art of education based on our individual families' values and priorities.

To reclaim our family, our community and our self. To restore the primacy of the parent in the raising of our children through family-centred learning.

Why we should do so is all here; how we can do so is all here.

In recommending this book to you, I can do no better than to echo Linda Dobson herself: "The art of education as it may be expressed through homeschooling has never been more important or more necessary than it is today. Reading this book could improve your family's lifestyle forever, and providing your child a real education instead of schooling could enrich his life forever, too."

The Art of Education
is available on July 4th. For more information about this book, please visit Linda Dobson's website Parent at the Helm.


A parent is born
by Pinky McKay

"Mummy, he's got brown hair!"  My (then) ten year old exclaimed as she stood shoulder to shoulder with the midwife, watching her baby brother's head crown. This time it was my turn to tell her, " he's got black hair!" as she gave birth to her own baby son .

I feel so privileged to have been invited and accepted by my daughter and her husband to support them at the birth of their baby - to share not only the birth but the gentle beginning of a new family: My baby grandson was born naturally, without drugs (or stitches), into water with dim lighting and the quiet strains of Tracey Chapman playing in the background.

Read more ...

Seven Tips for Creating a Calm, Joyous Homebirth
by Gloria Lemay

As cesarean and induction rates in hospital climb to astronomical levels many women are turning to homebirth. When interventions become excessively high, the risk/benefit ratio of being in a hospital swings more dramatically into the "riskier" zone, and even physicians and nurses begin choosing homebirth. Just removing your birth from a hospital setting doesn't guarantee that it will proceed in a natural, flowing manner. Too many women learn the hard way that a midwife can bring a hospital mentality and interventions right into the home and negatively affect the course of the birth. How can you assess the type of midwifery practice that you are purchasing? Here are some tips to help you assess the care that will be provided by midwives ...

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Chrissy Grainger

The infant feeding schedule: Why babies benefit from being fed "on demand"
by Gwen Dewar, Ph.D.

What's the best infant feeding schedule?

For generations, Western "baby experts" have advised parents to feed their babies at regularly-spaced intervals of 3- or 4-hours. Today, official medical recommendations have shifted in favor of feeding on demand.

That's probably a good thing, because the timed-interval infant feeding schedule is not dictated by physiology or what's best for babies.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Pinky McKay

All About "Babies"
by Susan Gaissert

Today is my birthday (I'm 52!) and I love going to the movies, so Stephanie and I went to see Babies. It's a non-fiction film-I wouldn't really call it a documentary in the classic sense-and it's about, well, being a baby. There is no narration, and the closest thing to a plot is the fact that the babies get older as the film goes on. It's simple, fascinating, entertaining, and extremely thought-provoking, especially if you are interested in how children learn.

Read more ...

Dancing Babies & World Peace
by Laura Weldon

Turns out we're born to be more receptive to music than to speech. According to a recent study babies respond to music, even regular drumbeats, with increased smiling. Even more surprising, this research shows that babies correlate their movements with the tempo and rhythm. They dance!

Read more ...

On roses and child abuse: Can abuse survivors be good parents?
by Alicia Bayer

The other day, a friend wrote me that someone had told her that people who were abused as children should not be allowed to have kids of their own. This ignorant soul had been unaware that my friend is a survivor of childhood abuse. He said that parents would be unable to keep from being abusers themselves.

I must really live in a bubble sometimes, because it really surprised me that people exist who are still this stupid and insensitive at once!

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Shannon Burton

The Simple Path to Parenting
by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Parenting shouldn't mean imposing rules or impressing others with your supposed intelligence and superiority. Refuse to convey superiority. Show others how to live from the Tao perspective by being willing to admit that you don't know what's best for them, nor do you even know with any degree of certainty how your own life should go.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Lisa Meuser

Thanksgiving Day
by Jeff Sabo

Today is Father's Day. An entire cottage industry has been developed to make it easy for us to revere our fathers on this special day; you can easily shower your pop with cards, shirts, hats, mugs, meals, movies, and anything else you want to celebrate the amazing dad he is. And of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with treating your dad in an extra special way on any day, let alone on Father's Day.

Personally, I am uncomfortable with a day of gratitude or reverence just because I am a father. Maybe this is because I feel like I am respected for being a dad - and for being me - just about every day anyway. Maybe it's because I don't really like celebrations that are forced to occur on only one specific day a year, as though we need the calendar to tell us when we need to be appreciative. Or maybe - just maybe - it's because I think Father's Day is less a day in which others should celebrate me, and more a day when I should be celebrating the children that have made my life so very special.

Read more ...

Wise Men Sleep When They Are Tired
by Heather

It isn't really fair to expect someone to go to bed before they are tired.  I've witnessed children yelled at, stripped of toys, spanked and forced to lie awake in their rooms.  Let's not forget the famous cry-it-out method.  Why choose so much anger, hostility, or frustration over bedtime when you can choose kindness and togetherness.  Is it any wonder that these children don't like to go to sleep when they actually are tired?

Read more ...

How About Consistency?
by mamapoekie

Consistency is very important in parenting, or so we are told. And rightly so, because, if we would be continuously changing our minds, or debating our partner's parenting, it would indeed be a confusing and probably even scary environment for a child to grow up in. But what exactly is consistency?

Read more ...

Stuff and money and space
by Ronnie

Most of us have an innate desire for stuff that starts at the exact moment we become aware of stuff. My babies, as many babies do, started reaching for stuff at four months. We saw this early desire for stuff as natural and healthy, and we happily put stuff where the baby could reach it and took great delight in each fumbling grab. Most parents are the same.

It is only as our kids get a little older, as the stuff that they desire extends beyond the teething rings and cloth books that we joyfully provided, that their desire for stuff becomes problematic.

Read more ...

Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss: Parenting Teens
by Ronit Baras

Parenting teens is considered the most scary period for every parents. I heard endless times the mantra "Wait until your kids become teenagers" and when Eden was young, I did find this warning scary. After all, I had not been an easy teen for my parents (not that I had been an easy kid either).

Yet, the more Eden grew, the more I realized that for my parents, my teen years had been years of reason, success and happiness. While other parents had talked about their kids turning into monsters during their teen years, my parents had found joy parenting me for the first time in, because I had finally done well socially and academically.

Read more ...

A lesson in brave parenting
by Bruce Barcott, Los Angeles Times

The parents of 16-year-old solo sailor Abby Sunderland aren't crazy or insane, they're subversives, bucking the overprotective parenting trend.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Maria Whitworth

Who needs a Philosophy of Education?
by Four Moms with 35 Kids

You can send your kids off to school for years and never once stop to consider what you believe about how children learn.  You can home-school for years and never give any thought to the question of your philosophy of education, in fact I know many people who do.

On the other hand, whether you carefully and purposefully think a philosophy of education through, or at least the beginnings of one, you do still have one.  Thinking it through will just save you some time and unnecessary steps later.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Susan Gaissert

Learning Styles
by Carol Ann Tomlinson

The term "learning style" is often used as a cover term for lots of things that are probably better called something else. I've used the term "learning profile" to include learning style, intelligence preference, culture-based learning approaches, and gender-based learning approaches. When looked at in this way, there is broader ground for conversation-to some degree because of research, and to some degree because of theory.

Read more ...

Are Kids Naturally Lazy or Natural Learners?
by Jerry Mintz

It wouldn't be so bad if the current education debate just involved different ways to achieve the same goals for children. But the reality is much more dangerous.

We are talking about two completely different paradigms: One, the traditional one that is failing, assumes that children are naturally lazy and need to be forced to learn. If you believe that then you need competition for grades, passing and failing, tons of homework, long school days, long school years, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

But modern brain research doesn't confirm that assumption.

Read more ...

Unconditional Recognition
by Joe Bower

Three years ago, I was a part of a committee of teachers who decided to abolish our school's Awards Ceremony. Rather than inviting only the honors students, and openly excluding everyone else, we decided to unconditionally recognize all of our students.

After we poll the students to find out what friends, interests and strengths they want on their poster, the teachers create them and have them printed in colour on nice photo paper. We host a breakfast recognition event in our school gym where every single student walks across the stage to shake hands with their teachers and receive a personalized recognition poster. Parents and family members are invited to attend.

Read more ...

End Them, Don't Mend Them
by P. J. O'Rourke

Figures in the Statistical Abstract of the United States show that we are spending $11,749 per pupil per year in the U.S. public schools, grades pre-K through 12. That's an average. And you, like me, don't have average children. So we pay the $11,749 in school taxes for the children who are average and then we pay private school tuition for our own outstanding children or we move to a suburb we can't afford and pay even more property taxes for schools in the belief that this makes every child outstanding.

Parents of average students believe it too. According to an annual Gallup poll conducted from 2004 through 2007, Americans think insufficient funding is the top problem with the public schools in their communities. But if throwing money is what's needed, American school kids are getting smacked in the head with gobs of cash aplenty. That $11,749 is a lot more than the $7,848 private school pre-K through 12 national spending norm. It's also a lot more than the $7,171 median tuition at four-year public colleges. Plus $11,749 is much less than what's really being spent.

Read more ...

Parent, Unschool Thyself
by Jeff Sabo

Whether you live in a traditional family or a more radical one, it is difficult to put your own needs behind the needs of your child all of the time without becoming a disconnected, embittered martyr. If you have decided to unschool, however, it is not only difficult to do - it makes unschooling significantly more challenging and less rewarding.

Read more ...

You might call it obsessed, I call it PASSIONATE
by Lisa

The great thing about living an unschooling lifestyle is that we come to truly appreciate our children's (and our own) passions. My daughters have never been required by myself, my husband, or anyone else, to learn things on a particular timeline or schedule. We've never given them tests, quizzed them on their knowledge, or sat them down to teach them information against their will.

Everything that they've done in life has been a choice.

Sound scary??? I certainly would have thought so before I had kids, but it's quite the opposite. It's empowering for us all. So, what do we do?

Read more ...

What GMA edited out, the real story
by Sara McGrath

Erika Krull , MS, LMHP, of Psych Central admitted that she felt skeptical of unschooling after her first impression based on the recent Good Morning America segments, so she issued a call for input from readers who have experience with unschooling.

Read more ...

23 Facts About Unschooling
by serendipitymama

Here are 23 facts about Unschooling that I fear might be misunderstood.

Read more ...

Everyone unschools most of the time
by Clark Aldrich

When a doctor finds an interesting condition in a patient, he or she does not sign up for a class that covers the material, runs six weeks, and starts next fall.

Read more ...

Finding My Deschooling Path
by Stacey Clarke

A 15-year-old from Victoria, BC, describes her unschooling experiences. She says, "This is for all my friends who still hunger to know what it is I do all day and why."

Read more ...

Every kid who has a smart phone can read this poetry
by Judy Breck

The picture of the girl reading American Negro Poetry is from the Gates Foundation website. Getting the analog book into her hands undoubtedly cost the foundation quite a bit of money. She could, instead, use her smartphone to read comprehensively in the Negro poetry genre for free.

Read more ...

Education vs. Passion, Which Should Win?!
by Mohamed Tohami

"Are you crazy?"

"Do you want to throw five years of engineering education in the wastebasket just to follow what you call your 'passion'?" ...

That was the first challenge I faced when I started following my passion and living my true purpose in life. This is what I heard from my parents, my friends, and my family. Sure, they were all just trying to give me their honest advice, but they didn't realize that there is only one path to success - and that is the path of passion!

Read more ...

Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss: How to Keep Your Kids Healthy
by Ronit Baras

Healthy kids are every parent's hope and prayer. I remember during my pregnancy, while everyone was talking about the sex of our baby and our plans and wishes for its future success, the older people said, "The most important
thing is that you have a healthy child".

I am a very good example of a parent who thinks we can do something to change our kids' health, although I did not grow up with that thinking.

Read more ...

Is Nature Somewhere Else?
by Laura Weldon

We tend to think of nature as separate. We imagine spending time "out there" hiking in some remote wilderness, drinking from mountain streams and observing creatures that have never faced highway traffic. There, in a place far from our busy lives, we might find peace, tranquility and some kind of deep connection to what is real.

If. We. Just. Found. Time. To. Get. There.

That's part of the problem. Because we're already there.

Read more ...


Radio Free School

Radio Free School is a weekly radio show "by, for, and about, home based learners". Currently, there are 217 archived shows to choose from, 30 minutes in length.

Listen at


Cameron Herold: Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs

"Bored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: This child might be an entrepreneur, says Cameron Herold. At TEDxEdmonton, he makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish -- as kids and as adults."

Watch at (19 mins 36 secs)


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

Head, Heart and Hand. Education in the Spirit of Pestalozzi

A newly published book by Arthur Brühlmeier, translated from the original German by Mike Mitchell.

"The aim of this book is to familiarise English-speaking readers with the thoughts of the Swiss educationalist and philosopher, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746 -1827), who was a major influence on such important educators as Fröbel and Montessori. The book also demonstrates that consideration of Pestalozzi's fundamental ideas can provide helpful guidance for all those who want schools to be more child-oriented and produce better-educated school-leavers. Arthur Brühlmeier takes a practical approach to the educational philosophy and life of Pestalozzi which will be of great benefit to all those in the field of education, as well as to parents."

The book is available at or through the website PestalozziWorld, where you will find more detailed information about Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi - "Two hundred years ahead of his time."

Free Range Learning

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

"Free Range Learning advocates for the child's right to learn naturally and demonstrates how to enfold this approach into daily life. It incorporates ancient knowledge as well as current research, highlighting wisdom shared by over 100 families from around the world.

In this useful book readers will discover a wealth of inspiring ideas for connecting with nature, reinvigorating their communities and sustaining the love of learning. If you need one volume about educating the whole child, Free Range Learning is that book."

Find out more about Free Range Learning here

Home Based Learning Network 2010 Conference

3rd and 4th of July, 2010

At Penrhos College, Morrison Street, Como, Perth, Western Australia

"A Conference flyer has been created. Feel free to download, print and distribute to help advertise the event!"

Please visit this page at for the details


Saturday, July 10 - Saturday, July 17, 2010

At The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge  Kent, England

"HESFES is the Home Educators' Summer Festival. Children who are in school are also very welcome.

It is run by a cooperative of volunteers and is non profit making and entirely self funding.

Now in its 13th year  the event will once again see people from all over the UK and abroad come together for a week of fun."

Get all the exciting details at

Homeschool Association of California 20th Anniversary Conference

August 19 - 22nd, 2010

At Radisson Hotel, Sacramento, California, USA.

"Have you ever wished that you could find a place where you and your kids fit right in? Where no one looked at you sideways because your kids aren't in school? Where everyone thought it was great that you listen to your kids when they need you? Where they would listen to your kids, too?

Then the HSC Conference is the place for you!  Each year, over 1000 attendees, from ages 2 to 82, gather in Sacramento to play, learn, and just hang out."

Please visit for further information

14th International Rethinking Everything Conference

Friday, September 3 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010

At the American Airlines Training & Conference Center, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

"Founded 17 years ago as the Rethinking Education conference and officially morphing in 2009 to Rethinking Everything, we're setting bright new standards for progressive families ...

At the heart of Rethinking Everything is the awareness that the most important way we can effect positive, enlightened change in the world is by entirely rethinking the nature of childhood and the environments we create to support the THRIVING of children and their families."

Get all the exciting details at

Rethinking Everything Magazine

First Ever Australian Unschooling Conference Retreat

Friday, September 3 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010

At Tallebudgerra Tourist Park, Tallebudgerra Creek, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

"Come together with other natural learning families for the first ever Unschooling Conference in Australia! Join us for connection, community, support and fun!"

I will be speaking on the Saturday morning, September 4.

Get all the exciting details at

UZOMA Black Unschoolers' Conference

Monday, 7 March - Wednesday, 9 March, 2011

Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

"Uzoma is a Nigerian Igbo word which means 'the good path' and reflects the journey that all unschoolers embark upon when they choose this inspired method of education. It is our belief that a society can only experience freedom when its children are loved and respected as free people. Our mission is to help families learn about and share in this journey of becoming free.

The Uzoma Black Unschoolers' Conference (UBUC) was created to be a forum for unschoolers of color to meet together, build friendships, support one another, share resources, learn from experienced unschoolers of all backgrounds, and to discuss relevant issues that affect us in our unique experience."

Find out more at this Facebook page

Rainbow Divas Home Education CAMPFEST 2011

Tuesday 22nd to Sunday 27th March, 2011

Wymah Valley Holiday Park, Bowna (near Albury) NSW, Australia

"Our aim is to create a National, Annual Event in Australia that will meet the needs of ALL Home Schooling Families.  Our Festival is an opportunity to showcase the talent, skills, interests and passions of our Home Schooling Community.

Our intent is to promote and foster the skills, interests and knowledge of our National Home Educating community, and allow the passion of this information to reach as many Home Schoolers as possible.  At its heart, we believe that Home Schooling is a lifestyle, chosen by families for the enrichment of the entire family."

Please visit for all the details

Unschool Superstore

"We are an UNSCHOOLING family from Tulsa, OK.  Every year we attend an unschooling conference and anticipate coming home with loads of UNSCHOOLING merchandise to show off our UNSCHOOLING PRIDE.  Instead of finding lots of awesome t-shirts to buy, we found a new hobby as screen printers!"

Please visit the Unschool Superstore website for more information

The Unschooler's Emporium

"The Unschooler's Emporium established its business in early 2010, to offer the Unschooling Community a myriad of books, tools and natural remedies that have already shown themselves to be a success by the families that have used them. Although a young business, because of its focused and dedicated product line, and its approach to unschooling, it has, in its infancy, garnered much attention and praise from Unschooling Advocates Dayna Martin, Sandra Dodd and many more."

Read more about this new enterprise at

Funschooling on Zazzle

Even more Unschooling merchandise, from Sara McGrath.


16 reasons not to vaccinate

A comprehensive roundup of ideas and information on this controversial subject.


Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 11 July 2010

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

Subscribe to the Parental Intelligence Newsletter

Read the current issue
Parental Intelligence