The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

25 July 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 30 articles, 1 audio, 1 video and 11 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!



"Young children seem to recognize that knowledge is an essential shared resource, like air or water. They demand a fair share. They actively espouse the right to gain skill and comprehension in the way that is necessary for them at the time. This is not only an expression of autonomy, this a clear indication that each child is equipped with an educational guidance system of his or her own." - Laura Grace Weldon



Free Range Learning
by Laura Grace Weldon

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

Wow, what a labour of love this book is! It must surely have taken hundreds of hours of work to compile - the depth and breadth of it is awesome.

To say that Free Range Learning is "about homeschooling" would be to tell only a fraction of the story. Laura Grace Weldon clearly has an understanding of how children really are and of what it means to be a parent - and of where all that might fit into "The Big Picture" - that goes far beyond her powerful demonstration of the many benefits of homeschooling.

So many ideas jumped out at me as I was reading this book - some new to me, some very familiar - I found myself stopping frequently to ponder. Not only on matters of educating my children and on my life as a dad, but also on life, the universe and everything! Light bulb moments. And at the same time, the many short and meaningful stories of personal experience contributed by dozens of real life homeschoolers were especially intriguing: pockets of illumination here and there throughout the pages providing me with an insight into how different homeschoolers live their everyday lives, as individuals and as families.

Whilst there's ample discussion in this book of "homeschooling" as a concept and numerous contentions in its favour that need to be supported by research (and are), in the end this book for me is about what people actually do, what they've discovered from what they've done, what works for them, what doesn't - and what we can all perhaps learn from their bold adventure. Add to that an abundant supply of practical ideas and resources and here is a guide to how homeschooling can indeed change everything that's enterprising in its scope yet comprehensive in its exposition of a brave and potentially wonderful new world.

Free Range Learning is a totally splendid and encouraging book and I'm very happy to have it available to me to share with others.

Discover more about Free Range Learning here


A Father's Perspective on Home Birth
by Jeff Sabo

Finding out that you're going to be a father is a very crystallizing and defining moment in a man's life. Some men run from it, others embrace it, and still more are frankly puzzled by it - and some fears and uncertainties, once believed to have been overcome, can come flooding out again ...

Read more ...

Pleasure Bonds
The "Glue" That Attaches & Bonds Human Relationships
by James W. Prescott, Ph.D., Joseph Chilton Pearce and Michael Mendizza

This essay precedes, compliments and supports Sensory Deprivation and the Developing Brain. It develops a scientific framework that establishes pleasure as the glue that forms and maintains human bonds. Think about it. Affectionate human touch is pleasurable. Being held as a baby, nursing at the breast of a pleasure filled mother, feeling close, safe and later in life, human sexuality and reproduction is full of pleasurable sensations. There is even a hormone, oxcitocin, called nature's love or pleasure drug that produces the euphoric blush we all know and covet. It is time that we let pleasure out of the closet. And here's why.

Read more ...

How love makes your baby smarter
by Pinky McKay

Forgot the flashcard saying 'you are being born'?

Don't have a curriculum beyond cuddles for your 3 month old?

If you are worried your child may be 'slipping behind' his peers because you haven't been providing enough educational enrichment, relax!  New research shows that the most critical factor in helping your baby's brain development is loving, responsive interactions between you and your baby.

Read more ...

Feel Guilty?
by Toni Rakestraw

In a backlash to all the recent scientific articles about the benefits of breastfeeding, we are seeing a lot of articles on blogs and in magazines about how moms who feed formula feel guilty and pressured. While I feel that parenting can be difficult and full of stress at times, I admit I have a problem figuring out how we breastfeeding moms are making formula feeding moms feel guilty.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Patricia Törngren

Falling victim to well-meaning advice, and how to save yourself and your baby
from Woman, Uncensored

Babies are not the only victims of CIO, sleep training, controlled crying, whatever you want to call it.  Parents can be too.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Kim Wildner

The Parent TraPS
by Jeff Sabo

In order to change, to adapt, and to grow, we have to look beyond our schemas, sometimes letting go and sliding down the mountain a bit in order to get a different view and engage in our lives in a different manner. And few changes in our lives have the potential to challenge and change us, and therefore to require us to give a bit on some of our schemas, than when we become a parent.

Read more ...

The Parental Practice
by Jenna Robertson

The struggles of parenting are mentioned in conversations, facebook posts, and books about parenting. People use words like challenging, hard work, exhausting, demanding, frustrating. The implication is that having children creates the struggles of parenthood and in turn, that the children are responsible.

If you are a parent, almost without exception, your choices brought that child (or children) into your life.

Read more ...

Are you a miserable parent?
by Christine Carter

I love my kid.

I hate my life.

That was the headline of a recent New York magazine cover story that has created a media frenzy.  No one I know in California gets New York, but I just tested a friend by saying, "Okay, complete this sentence.  I love my kid, but…"

"I hate my life," she said without a moment's hesitation. Holy cow. Is this a part of our cultural mantra? 

Read more ...

Owning your parenting choices
from Free Childhood!

Every parent is different, every child is different, every family is different. These differences should be honored, but it seems as though when it comes to parenting, everyone thinks their way is the only right way and anyone who does anything differently is wrong.

Don't get me wrong, there are some parenting choices I will never agree are right for anyone, such as routine infant circumcision, cry-it-out (CIO) sleep training, and spanking (and of course all other forms of physical violence). I don't think those things should even be parenting choices, as I think they should be illegal (and they are in many countries). But, when it comes to all the other parenting choices that are so often the topics of heated online debates, there is not a universal right or wrong and it's rather useless to get defensive and huffy when what someone announces they believe is different from one's own beliefs. I'm talking about choices like these ...

Read more ...

Stop It With The "Good Girl"! Harriet Is Inherently Good!
by Sazz

The Fringes Family tries to steer clear of using praise as method of educating Harriet. It may seem strange, many people think praise is positive and denying a child praise is tantamount to cruelty, but we feel that praise teaches children negative lessons and can be far more destructive than parents realise. A lot of the times we feel the urge to tell Harriet she's a "good girl" we realise that what we really mean is "that behaviour is convenient to us as parents". But when we think about the lessons we want Harriet to learn we realise that being convenient to those around her isn't high on our priorities.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Chrissy Grainger

by Rebecca Thompson, M.S., MFT

Whenever I ask a group of parents what they want for their children, the topic of respect inevitably comes up.  Parents want their children to be respected, but parents also want to feel respected by their children.  Many parents grew up not feeling respected themselves and most parents, it turns out, grew up having at least one experience (most had many experiences) of not being respected by an adult in their life.

Read more ...

Thoughts on Respect
by Robyn Coburn

Respect is a really hard concept for a little child to grasp. Or even a big one. It is so very abstract, and in terms of practical action so hard to express. An adult's concept of respect from a child is often tied up with the child being made responsible for filling an adult's need for ease or comfort. Or it is assumed that respect is manifested by obedience/compliance, or good manners, or by not being challenging to the adult in any way. These things can happen because the child feels respectful, or from other reasons that are less positive.

Read more ...

Myth: cooperation takes time…
by boheime

Many parents believe that cooperating and problem solving with their children takes more time than more authoritarian parenting methods. However, this is actually the opposite of the truth.

Read more ...

Can a Child Learn Without Rules?
by Heather Burditt

In our home, we do not live with rules. I'm sure that for some, this conjures up images of children swinging from chandeliers and using slingshots to break the good dinner plates in the backyard. We haven't had a single rule in our home for years, so long in fact, that it's completely normal. I actually have to remind myself that we aren't the norm!

Read more ...

The government needs to do comprehensive clinical trials in education BEFORE it gives advice and creates standards
by Clark Aldrich

In medicine, as epitomized by cancer research, there are 5-year, 10-year, even 20-year studies to look at patterns and effectiveness of various approaches. But when it comes to education, there are simply a lot of people arguing very hard for specific curricula, approaches, and standards based on, well, nothing. Typically, the loudest and most persistent voices shape government policy.

Read more ...

The Fast Food Model of Education
by Wendy Priesnitz

A curriculum is a diet of other people's ideas that is fed to children in schools. It is designed by a group of people assumed to be much better qualified than mere parents - let alone children - to decide exactly the type of information that should be fed, and when, and how its digestion should be measured. However, that very process results, more often than not, in what I call "fast food education."

Read more ...

Students find variety at good ol' Virtual High
by Robert A. Frahm, The Connecticut Mirror

A literature course featuring 20th-century female authors is not standard fare at most high schools, yet Maggie Court earned credit at Rocky Hill High School this year by taking the course on her home computer.

Read more ...

Education As We Know It Is Finished
Clayton M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn,

Classrooms are giving way to online learning--forever.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Stephen Downes

Computers and Self-Directed Learning
by Wendy Priesnitz

No matter what sort of manipulation, supervision or technology is directed at the educational process, people learn what they want and need to learn. And that's an education - whether business professors, schools, and educational researchers like it or not.

Read more ...

15 Models that are Better for Childhood Learning than Schools
by Clark Aldrich

Here are 15 organizing models for communities and individuals that are better for childhood learning than schools' lectures, papers, tests, grades, and transcripts ...

Read more ...

Top 10 things homeschooled children and parents get to do while everyone else is in school
by Sara McGrath

1. HOMESCHOOLERS GET TO SOCIALIZE! I always laugh whenever I encounter an argument against homeschooling based on children's need to socialize - As if you get to do that in school?! As a formerly schooled child, I distinctly remember my teacher saying, "You're not here to socialize!" While most kids are in school and their parents are at work, my children and I get to socialize. We socialize with one another - my favorite - and we get to interact with the community. My kids know the folks at the post office, grocery store, hardware store, and library. We run errands together every day.

Read more ...

You Are So Strange
by Linda Dobson

No  doubt  about  it.  When  you  start  announcing  to  the  world  that  you want to stay home with the kids, when you declare their learning experience is more important than the salary you're giving up, when you proclaim that you're actually enjoying it all, somebody, somewhere is going to say, "You are  soooo  strange."  (Or s/he  will  just  think  it  and  verbalize  it  to a  friend later!)

Read more ...

Answering questions about unschooling
by Lisa

My family was recently interviewed about our unschooling lifestyle. While I didn't answer all the questions exactly like I do below, nor were the same questions asked, I thought you might enjoy reading some answers to questions that have been asked of me and my family lately.

Read more ...

Disposable Checklists for Unschoolers
by Sandra Dodd

Beginning homeschoolers are often afraid. Sometimes they homeschool for a while, and a curriculum keeps the fear to a manageable level. Sometimes a curriculum is a workable alternative to school for a family. For some it is not. Some of those give up and the kids go back to school. Some give up the curriculum and move toward unschooling.

Beginning unschoolers are often afraid. Without the touchstone of a schedule and a list, they don't know how they will see progress, or how they will recognize "sufficient effort" on the part of children or parents.

Read more ...

Fifty-eight percent of Americans unschooling
by Sara McGrath

In her article, "Unschooling Defined", unschooling mother of four, Teresa Blalock, wrote:

According to the 2000 US Census statistics, around 20% of the population is from age 5-19, and around 22% of the nation's population is enrolled in college or graduate school. So, that means that approximately 42% of the population is either required to, or has chosen to be in school. The other 58% is "unschooled". What does the other 58% of the population do as unschoolers? To put it simply, they live their lives.

Read more ...

I Live Therefore I Learn (Principles of Unschooling)
by Pam Sorooshian

Learning happens all the time. The brain never stops working and it is not possible to divide time up into "learning periods" versus "non-learning periods." Everything that goes on around a person, everything they hear, see, touch, smell, and taste, results in learning of some kind.

Read more ...

Looking Ahead at Social Learning: 10 Predictions
by Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd

Ten years ago, we had just come out of one of the most costly IT investments of all time-the Y2K scare. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, was in high school. Microsoft had just lost a major antitrust lawsuit; Google was getting settled in its first office space after being in a garage for its first year; and the presidential election results were stalled due to hanging chads. The economy was in a state of hope and opportunity known as the dot-com boom, and the phrase "Web 2.0" was 1 year old.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Javed Alam

Is he really playing a PS3? I don't think so....
from Hot Milky Drink

Have a close look at this picture. It looks like a young boy about 6 years old who appears to be playing a computer game using the sixaxis controller for the PS3. Take a closer look and maybe, like me, you'll begin to think that something's not quite right here...

Read more ...

The Anosognosic's Dilemma: Something's Wrong but You'll Never Know What It Is
by Errol Morris, New York Times

"When people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.  Instead, like Mr. Wheeler, they are left with the erroneous impression they are doing just fine."

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Raquel Toney

Music at the Integral Spiritual Experience Conference, 2010
by Jessica Roemischer

Over the course of thirty years, I've improvised at the piano with hundreds of individuals on four continents-people ranging in age from 4 to 84, as well as those with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism.

Without fail, everyone who has ever played in duet with me has come forth with music of disarming originality. Time and again, I see people emerge simply and fully as themselves--free, authentic, creative, alive. The music they express reveals the essence of who they are. It is always beautiful and it is always unique.

Read more ...


Rethinking Everything Freedom & Responsibility Conference Calls

"Barb Lundgren of Rethinking Everything will host 7 free conference calls over the course of 7 weeks during July and August. 

All calls will address topics critical to the discussion and understanding of creating environments for children, teens and families that support maximum opportunity for individual freedom with responsibility. 

Guest facilitators, all of whom will be speakers/facilitators at RE this year, will co-host each call."

The seven co-hosts are Scott Noelle, Sarah Parent, Teresa Brett, Courtney Taylor Clay, Brent Cameron, Quinn Eaker and Chris Parent.

Please visit this page at Rethinking Everything for details of the calls


Alfie Kohn video clips

Some short videos of "progressive education" advocate Alfie Kohn speaking on a variety of topics: Assessment (4 mins 18 secs); Motivating Students (5 mins 35 secs); What is Constructivism? (3 mins 18 secs); Learning From the Inside Out (2 mins 48 secs); Teacher as Facilitator? (2 mins 45 secs).

Watch at


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

Real Men Wear Babies

"Last September, during International Babywearing Week, we asked peaceful parenting dads to send us their babywearing photos. There was such an outstanding response from men around the world, that we'd like to highlight some of the babywearin' fathers and grandfathers here."

View the photos at

Education Revolution magazine: Read It Free Online!

"Education Revolution magazine is the Alternative Education Resource Organization's primary publication and networking tool. Each quarterly issue includes the latest news and communications from the alternative education world, as well as conference updates, job listings, book reviews, travel reports, and much more."

The latest magazine has been posted to AERO's new online archive:

50 Eye-Opening Unschooling Blogs

"Unschooling is an alternative education system that supports natural, interest-led learning at home. Whether you want to learn more about unschooling for your own research or child rearing projects, network with other parents who unschool their kids, or adopt some of the alternative learning philosophies to augment your own formal education, check out these 50 eye-opening blogs."

View the list 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

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 8 August 2010

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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