The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

26 September 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 36 articles, 2 audios, 5 videos and 5 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!





10 Ways To Prepare A Mom For A Great Birth
by Sarah C

A little while ago I did a post on how women are so often prepared for a bad birth experience.  As I end a series of childbirth classes this week, I have been thinking about all the things I want my students to be sure they know so that they can have a great birth.  Here it is.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Chrissy Grainger

The Gathering Mama: Get Fit for Childbirth the Natural Way
by Katy Santiago Bowman

If you want to start a debate at the next party you go to, bring up birthing politics. Hospital or home birth? Drug-free or an epidural? Birthing tub or stirrups? And remember that not so long ago, there was only one option. It was called, "You're doing this now, whether you want to or not."

I have a strong, personal preference for natural, drug-free, non-hospitalized births. Scientific and statistical evidence supports that, if all goes well, this is the ultimate "healthy" experience for mother and child.

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You Wouldn't Schedule Kisses, Why Schedule Feedings?
by Melodie

Picture this.

A mother leans over and kisses her wiggly baby on the forehead. She kisses each rosy cheek, each tiny hand, and each squirmy foot. She smiles sweetly at her exquisite child, leaving it with a favorite toy, and then moves on to continue her daily activities.

A little while later the baby starts to cry. She goes to see what's the matter. She changes its diaper, but the baby is still crying. She offers it a pacifier but it spits it out and cries harder. She checks to see if the baby is too hot or too cold, and she checks for anything else that could be causing discomfort, but the baby is beside itself in tears.

Someone suggests she give the baby a snuggle but the mother shakes her head no.

"It's not time for hugs and kisses. We just did that half an hour ago."

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Brenda Ferns

Breast is best - for longer than you may think
by Sarah McKenzie, The Sydney Morning Herald

As my daughter approaches 18 months of age, everyone is suddenly interested in the question of my weaning her. It seems that I am about to step over an invisible line where breastfeeding becomes weird, inappropriate and unappealing.

You've got to feel sorry for new mothers. When a baby is born, the pressure to breastfeed is intense. Women who do not, through either choice or necessity, might as well leave their newborns out in the woods for the wolves, such is the scorn heaped upon them by everyone from hospital midwives to sanctimonious friends and family.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Joanna Pelc

Mother-Toddler Separation
by Dr. George Wootan, M.D.

I'm going to open up a big can of worms here, one that gets me into as much trouble as my thoughts on weaning: mother-toddler separation. Imagine for a moment, that you are at the grocery store with your six-month-old. She starts making hungry noises, and you look down and say reassuringly, "I'll feed you in half an hour, as soon as we get home." Will she smile and wait patiently for you to finish you shopping? Absolutely not! As far as your baby is concerned, either there is food now, or there is no food in the world. Right in the middle of the grocery store, famine has struck!

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Eckhart Tolle on Conscious Parenting
by Phil Bolsta

I like Eckhart Tolle's take on how to make your child feel truly loved and cherished. Here is an excerpt from his book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose that I wish every parent would read and take to heart.

Read more ...

Do You Want Your Children to Be Like You?
by Margaret Paul, Ph.D

There is an old saying regarding children: "Do as I say, not as I do." Whoever coined this phrase didn't know much about children. Children often do not "do as we say." We are the role models regarding how our children learn to treat themselves and others. We are the role models regarding whether or not our children learn to take personal responsibility for themselves - physically, emotionally, financially, relationally, spiritually, and organizationally.

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Respect Children's Choices
by Ela Forest

My daughter, Sequoia recently developed an interest in Barbie dolls. Developmentally, that's totally normal for a four-year-old girl in a western country. Of course, my mind went through all the usual conditioned responses starting with 'Barbie is bad.'

Taking a step back and looking at Sequoia with full respect, I had to ask myself why I thought Barbie is bad. Arguments along the lines of 'Barbie fosters negative body images and therefore lowers self-esteem in girls' flittered around my mind, until I forced myself to really examine those ideas.

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Hopefully some day you will have a teenager
by Jenna Robertson

Last night my daughter asked, "Why do people have kids if they are just going to spend their lives arguing with them?"

Why do people have kids? There are as many answers to that as there are people, however, most people don't say, "I want to have kids so we can argue." Actually, while people may talk about having kids, they often end up saying, "I want to have a baby."

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Momma, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be … Engineers!
by Mark Brady

At least not only engineers. Require them to learn a companion, so-called "right brain" discipline, simultaneously. Make them also be dancers, actors, or artists or musicians, martial artists or yogis. Why? Because over-development of the left brain tends to cause problems. We all know people dead from the neck down, good people cut off from feelings, people who demonstrate the emotional intelligence of a polar ice cap. If kids feel more affinity for machines and software code than they do for humans, that's not good for peonies and peacocks, or people as this analysis recently published in the NY Times, listing a number of terrorists as engineers, underscores.

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Waiting For Superman, Really?
by Laura Grace Weldon

School in the old days may not have been ideal, but good teachers made all the difference. My father taught elementary school back when teachers had real options in the classroom. At least in his district, as long as his students generally covered the subject areas he was free to innovate. So he did. His fifth graders performed experiments, took care of the classroom snakes and rats, started school-based businesses, and perhaps most importantly, read and wrote about what they found interesting. Those days weren't perfect by any means for students let alone teachers. But they've gotten worse. My father skedaddled out of the teaching business before standardized tests really hit education. But he saw the zombifying effect on schools, teachers and kids brought by high stakes testing.

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Teaching 2.0
by Jonathan Teghtmeyer

Find out how teachers are educating today's kids with today's tools.

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Gaming in the classroom: Rock Band
by Joe Bower

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the use of video games in the classroom. Because the kids love the opportunity to actually use class time to play games, engagement on their behalf is easily attainable. I see this as potentially one of the greatest arguments for gaming in the classroom.

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SPECIAL REPORT: U.S. Schools Embracing Technology?
by Linda Dobson

While homeschooling in the 80′s, my kids got a kick out of learning with a computer. After all, we had the latest and greatest: a Commodore 64 complete with all those floppy disks (when floppy disks were actually somewhat floppy) that made learning fun. There were color and shape matching for the youngest, and the Oregon Trail for the older kids - and Mom.

Times and computers have changed, but kids still get a kick out of learning with a computer. In "Educational Video Games More Effective than Teachers,"  Unschooling Examiner Sara McGrath explains ...

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Why Educational Technology Has Failed Schools
by Paul D. Fernhout

So, at home, library, museum, or business, technology is delivering the goods (physical or digital) and making these places all a lot better.

With all that technological success in other areas, why are schools still considered a problem area ...

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Shannon Burton

4 Reasons to Change the Way We Think About School
by Mary Hickcox

The way in which we view education has a lot to do with our past; how we grew up, societal influences, and the way we were schooled ourselves. It is the legacy that we pass on to our children. Tragically, the current way our education system is engineered, it appears our children seem doomed to be unsuccessful.

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10 Reasons to Abolish Brick and Mortar Colleges
by Carrie Oakley

Online schools are mushrooming everywhere these days, and it's not that hard anymore to tell the genuine ones from the diploma mills. A number of online institutions have established strong brand names and reputations for themselves, and even with traditional brick and mortar big guns like MIT jumping on the online education bandwagon, it stands to reason that place-based higher education is losing the importance and prestige it once held. The death of brick and mortar colleges will likely be long, slow, and painful, but here are ten reasons why we should consider speeding up the process and abolishing them right now ...

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Bill Gates' favorite teacher
by David A. Kaplan,
Fortune magazine

Sal Khan, you can count Bill Gates as your newest fan. Gates is a voracious consumer of online education. This past spring a colleague at his small think tank, bgC3, e-mailed him about the nonprofit, a vast digital trove of free mini-lectures all narrated by Khan, an ebullient, articulate Harvard MBA and former hedge fund manager. Gates replied within minutes. "This guy is amazing," he wrote. "It is awesome how much he has done with very little in the way of resources." Gates and his 11-year-old son, Rory, began soaking up videos, from algebra to biology. Then, several weeks ago, at the Aspen Ideas Festival in front of 2,000 people, Gates gave the 33-year-old Khan a shout-out that any entrepreneur would kill for. Ruminating on what he called the "mind-blowing misallocation" of resources away from education, Gates touted the "unbelievable" 10- to 15-minute Khan Academy tutorials "I've been using with my kids." With admiration and surprise, the world's second-richest person noted that Khan "was a hedge fund guy making lots of money." Now, Gates said, "I'd say we've moved about 160 IQ points from the hedge fund category to the teaching-many-people-in-a-leveraged-way category. It was a good day his wife let him quit his job." Khan wasn't even there -- he learned of Gates' praise through a YouTube video. "It was really cool," Khan says.

Read more ...

Foundations would better drive education innovation by focusing on Homeschoolers
by Clark Aldrich

I remember so clearly the moment when I was talking to the head of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in his office and he said, "Oh, we've given up on schools."

I have come to agree. The pockets of innovation nurtured by non-profit foundations in traditional schools will be erased shortly after the funding stops. The money that The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is spending on grants, for example, will likely have no real effect on education in fifteen years.

Read more ...

Educational Superstitions of our time - Shakespeare, Maths and Handwriting
by Roland Meighan

Professor S. Bengu, The Minister of Education for South Africa, gave a keynote speech at a conference on democratic education last May. In it explained his country's intention to move away from a bureaucrat-driven imposed curriculum towards a learner-driven curriculum by 2005.

The enthusiasts for imposing a curriculum on the learners are often horrified at such heresy. "What if the learners do not choose to learn Shakespeare?" I always thought that Bertrand Russell gave the cool answer here, when he said: "Shakespeare did not write with a view to boring school-children; he wrote with a view to delighting his audiences. If he does not give you delight, you had better ignore him."

Read more ...

True Education
by Diogenes Vindex

Education: It has many designations--pedagogics, teaching, learning, inculcation, et cetera, yet it has only one true purpose; to draw out knowledge, or more precisely, draw out the ability to achieve knowledge; two separate aspects of the same primary term. Unfortunately, the former is quite rampantly mispracticed most of the time without any attention to the latter.

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To School…or…Not?
by Nicole Basham

As my son begins his last year of preschool, I listen with anticipation - and could that be a little dread? - from the moms whose children have started kindergarten. Although there are admittedly many children who come home brimming with information, genuinely excited about everything about school, I can't help but hone in on the challenges and frustrations some of the moms share. Only twenty minutes of recess? How could she possibly need ten glue sticks? Homework - in kindergarten? The school really sent home a fundraising packet the first week of school?

What are the alternatives, you may ask?

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The Deschooling and Unschooling Movement is Growing
by Kate Hammer,
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

A small but growing movement known as deschooling, life learning, unschooling, and edu-punk is home-schooling returned to its postwar progressive roots, far from the Bible-thumping mould that has come to dominate the modern image of home-schoolers.

Read more ...

Comparing unschooling to regular schools
by brentcu

Seth Roberts pointed to a The Globe and Mail (a Canadian newspaper) article on unschooling. It's a touchy topic: the government spends a huge amount of money on schools and your kids spend thirteen years of their lives in them. Thirteen years!

There are a few things in the article that annoyed me enough to write this up. I'm not defending anyone's idea of unschooling or homeschooling since I don't know much about them, but I do want to point out some of the crap that people talk about regular schools since I know a bucketload about those.

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Homeschooling (In Less Than 1,000 Words)
by Linda Dobson

HOMESCHOOLING - the act of families accepting legal, financial, and educational responsibility for their own children in a family environment; an education that is individually configured and parent- or child-led; also known as home education. Homeschooling may be accomplished in the home with a parent as primary instructor, or at various locations utilizing a variety of community members as additional teachers, even though they may not be certified teachers such as are found in the public school institution.

Read more ...

Homeschooling Myth #3: Mom Needs to Be a Teacher
by Linda Dobson

Those  of  us  who  started  our  homeschool  journey  with  school-at-home were  usually  under  the  spell  of  this  myth,  too.  Our  conditioning  led  us  to believe  we  had  to  don  yet  another  hat  and  stand  at  the  head  of  the  class pouring forth facts, acting as we presumed teachers are supposed to act. There  are  two  misconceptions  rolled  into  this  one  myth.

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How We Homeschooled
by Deb Chitwood

Although my children are grown up now, I love to look back on our years spent homeschooling. And I'm so thankful we homeschooled. Whenever you hear someone say children grow up too fast - they're absolutely correct! I'm glad homeschooling allowed my husband and me to spend as much time as we did with our children.

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We Are Not Jello Put Away Your Mold
by Donna Michelle Kilgore

In seven years of homeschooling I have learned many things. First, I never want to hear the words, "No school today?" again, ever. Secondly, I find the word "socialization" more offensive than most words that pour forth from late night cable television. Third, Hot Wheels (R) and toilets provide excellent media for an impromptu science experiment. Surprisingly, the most important thing that I have learned is that we are not Jell-O. You may as well put away your mold--we will never fit into it.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Joanne Greco

Not Back to School: How We Learn at Home
by Denise

Recently a friend asked me to explain how unschooling-or natural learning-works, and in my answer I made the mistake of explaining what it isn't, rather than what it is. "Well," I told her, "we don't use a curriculum, or do tests or grades…." I trailed off.

"Then what do you do?" she asked, understandably more confused than ever.

"We learn from life. It's kind of hard to explain," I finished lamely. I know, I know, I did a disservice to unschoolers everywhere. You would think by now (after a year-and-a-half) that I would have a better elevator speech, but I still get intimidated when talking to people like my friend, who don't know anything other than the public school paradigm. They're just trying to wrap their heads around homeschooling in general; understanding unschooling from that mindset requires a quantum leap that I've yet to witness.

Read more ...

Misconceptions About Unschooling
by Idzie

There are so, so many misconceptions out there, and most of the time I just let it all slide, but today I felt inspired to address a few of them ...

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Coercion and choice
by Simon Webb

Babies and small children have an enormous desire to learn things and find out. Later on in life, this 'learning' will often become a separate thing from their everyday life, an attitude which school encourages. With home education, it is possible to prevent that and ensure that 'learning', 'play' and 'everyday life' do not become separate and distinct things. This longing to learn is rather like a mighty river. We do not create it, let alone make it happen through any external coercion! All that we do is guide it into various directions; harness it if you will. All parents do this, even those most devoted to the principle of autonomous education.

Read more ...

Early Childhood Education - First Do No Harm
by Laura

I have wanted to write a post about this for a while because I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how my children learn and how I can educate them.  I love learning, researching, debating, reading, and problem solving and I want my children to love and be good at these things as well.  So how do I encourage a love of learning?  I've basically decided that children are already born with the desire, so basically I just need to not quash it. 

Read more ...

Giving kids the support they need to be self-directed learners
from Radio Free School

We are used to doing very little for ourselves.  Take sewing our clothes, baking our bread, making our own furniture, fixing our cars, our bikes, growing our food.. the list goes on. While I am deeply thankful that I don't have to milk my own cow, or sew footwear for myself and the family, I can't help thinking that the less we have to do for ourselves the more we have developed dependent attitudes and  mindsets in all areas of being alive.

Perhaps this is why the idea of unschooling-of taking responsibility for educating ourselves- is unthinkable for so many.

Read more ...

Restricting access to palatable foods affects children's behavioral response, food selection, and intake
from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Background: Restricting children's access to palatable foods may appeal to parents as a straightforward means of promoting moderate intakes of foods high in fat and sugar; however, restricting access to palatable foods may have unintended effects on children's eating. The efficacy of restricting children's access to palatable foods as a means of promoting patterns of moderate intake of those foods is unknown.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Lyla Wolfenstein

Food and Assumptions...A True Unfettering!
by Shannon Burton

As a child, food was akin to torture, to me. It wasn't that I was especially picky; I wasn't, although there were always those things - cola, mustard, sauerkraut, melons - that I have never wanted to put anywhere near my taste buds.

The food didn't bother me, but the eating did. There were definitely rules about eating in my family, and they weren't up for negotiation. And those rules ran counter to my very nature, which, despite my every effort to comply, too often earned me harsh words and punishment.

Read more ...

The Study of Empathic Therapy: Human Connection versus Psychiatric Control
by Dr. Peter Breggin

I am best known from my critiques of biological, mechanistic psychiatry with its cookie-cutter diagnoses and brain-disabling drugs and shock treatment. Establishment and institutional psychiatry can be like a dark shadow that crowds out the light. Even as we grow in awareness of the harm perpetrated by biological psychiatry, we need more focus on the light -- on the life-giving principles that have moved me and so many others to take up the cause of reform in psychiatry and psychotherapy. These underlying principles try to capture what is good and important in human relationships beginning with empathy, love and respect for each individual's unique life.

Read more ...


Unplugged Educators Radio

"The Radio show for the Independent Educator and out-of-the-box parent!"

Hosted by Laurette Lynn - "Laurette lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is an "unplugged" Independent Educator of three kids. She is a Motivational Speaker, Coach and writer. Laurette specializes in Active Unplugged Mothering and Home Education."

Listen at

Sam Fuller, unschooled teen, interviewed

"Youth Radio's Sam Fuller isn't in school or home schooled. He's unschooled -- and he likes it."

Listen at (2 mins 21 secs)


What adults can learn from kids

"Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach."

Watch at (8 mins 13 secs)

Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising's Image of Women [Trailer]

"In this new, highly anticipated update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, the first in more than a decade, Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity."

Watch at (4 mins 57 secs)

Thank you for that item to Marion Badenoch

Bartleby Project 2011

"This is a call to all American students to write on your State Exams this school year: "I PREFER NOT TO TAKE YOUR TEST" ... and just sit there. No arguments. No violence. Just write that statement. Bartleby Project 2011!!!!"

Watch at (2 mins 28 secs)

Jerry Mintz on Unschooling

"The following interview took place at the 7th annual AERO conference and was conducted by Dr. Carlo Ricci.
Carlo is the co-editor along with Jerry for the new book, Turning Points: 35 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Stories.

Jerry Mintz has been a leading voice in the alternative school movement for over thirty years."

Watch at (3 mins 54 secs)

New Documentary: Learn Free

"A video by Lillian Mauser-Carter.

"Learn Free" is a documentary about unschooling which is an educational philosophy that states children learn best by not attending traditional school, but rather through their own interests and by living life."

Watch at (14 mins 35 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

Do Life Right Inc. Books

"Are you and your children tired of books that revolve around school settings, with miserable characters who hate their lives? Had enough of fiction that promotes sibling rivalry and distant parents?

Imagine a world full of books about children and their families excitedly learning from life out in the real world, without a boring classroom in sight! Seem too good to be true? Not with Do Life Right, Inc. books! With the 2.2 million (and growing) homeschooled children in the U.S.A. today, we NEED more children's books with realistic homeschooled characters of today!"

Back this project or simply learn more

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 10 October 2010

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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