The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

17 April 2011

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 20 articles 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!




Why Do People Have Children? Ask the Wright Brothers.
by Jayne Kearney

Why do people have kids?

Got a mental block? Feel a cliché coming on? Having trouble articulating your feelings? Welcome to my conundrum.

I'm a mum and happy to be one but, biological imperative aside, I don't believe that being a parent is the holy grail of humanity. In fact, I often find myself feeling rather disgruntled on behalf of the child-free minority. People without kids are so often expected to justify their choice and yet no-one asks the procreating majority to state their case.

Read more ...

How to Get Your Partner on Board With Your "Crazy" Natural Childbirth Idea - A Man's Perspective
by April Asorson

For many of us the thought of bringing our baby into the world in a hospital is simply not an option in our minds, and for us the only way we can imagine is to have a natural childbirth, and preferably at home. But how in the world do we get our partners on board with us, and how do we even go about it without just sounding like a crazy hippy??

Read more ...

Feminism and Fathers
by PhDinParenting

My regular readers will know that I believe feminist mothering, in a heterosexual relationship, is not possible without a father who is an equal partner in parenting. The way that looks may differ from one family to the next, but ultimately our society's assumption that mothers are "the" important parent and that fathers do not matter, results in too much blame and responsibility being put on the shoulders of mothers and it hinders them in the pursuit of non-parenting related goals.

Read more ...

Fatherhood, Gendering and Feminism
by mamapoekie

My dear friend Jeff Sabo asked on FB [Facebook] a while back why there isn't a 'Fathering' magazine. He is completely right. Parenting from the father's side is still a complete obscure subject. While there are some dad bloggers out there, they are still a minority, and in general, when it comes to dads blogging, they are mostly profiled as professionals (doctors, psychologists...) instead of fathers.

Read more ...

Beyond Tiger Mothers and Glass Children - Resilience, Vulnerability, and Growing Up
by Chris White

In some mysterious way, emotional fluidity and openness are at the heart of growing up. This stands in contrast to a life filled with relationships and circumstances that cause children to become chronically reactive, defensive, and hardened. A hardened heart - which is a metaphor for a defensive mind - stunts maturation.

Read more ...

I Say I Love You and Kiss My Teenage Boys Every Day
by Annette Reuss

Do you kiss your kids often?  Do you tell them you love them every day?   I do.  They kiss me back and tell me they love me too.  Often this happens more than once a day.   My kids are 17 and almost 19.

Read more ...

The Clingy Child
by Naomi Aldort

Q: My three year old son clings to me and won't play with other children. He wants to be with me when I shower, eat, sleep...and in play groups he just sits on me while other children seem to have so much fun. My father in law tells me that I am destroying his ability to develop independence. He thinks our co-sleeping and breastfeeding and all this holding is the cause of his lack of independence. Am I doing something wrong?

Read more ...

Approval Trap (3): Approval-Seeking Behavior
by Ronit Baras

The first step of getting out of any emotional trap is recognizing that you are caged by a mindset that blocks you from being happy and fulfilled - that you are the one giving others power over your life.

People in the approval trap have some common character traits, all related to fear (is there anything besides love and fear?). They lack significance, have low self-esteem and use attention-seeking behavior to gain more significance, although that cannot remove the fear or raise their self-esteem.

Read more ...

Approval Trap (4): How to get yourself out
by Ronit Baras

If you have followed the activity in the previous post, you probably understand that it is impossible to be totally free from needing approval. Again, do not blame yourself or others for this mindset, because you always do the best you can and your parents always did the best they could. But now that you know how dangerous approval can be to live with, you cannot afford to pass it on to your children, because doing what was done to you is not longer the best you can do.

Read more ...

In Dealing with Schools, The First Step is Getting Past Denial and Admitting We Have a Problem
by Clark Aldrich

We, as a society, have to solve this problem that is our school system. This problem extends to all levels across K-16. But we can't honestly deal with schools until we get over our collective denial.

We are in denial about ...

Read more ...

Turning the Classroom Upside Down
by Salman Khan

We all know the standard drill for a math class. The teacher delivers lectures on a new concept, students do some homework problems, and after a few weeks they take an exam. Some do well, some do poorly, and then it's on to the next topic.

The problem with this model of instruction is that it leaves behind large gaps in understanding. For A students, it might be a 5% gap, for C students a 30% gap. But all of them end up with a Swiss-cheese education-full of holes. Little wonder that, when they reach algebra and calculus, they often struggle. It's like being trained to juggle oranges half-competently and then being expected to juggle knives.

Read more ...

"Well, Duh!" -- Ten Obvious Truths That We Shouldn't Be Ignoring
by Alfie Kohn

The field of education bubbles over with controversies. It's not unusual for intelligent people of good will to disagree passionately about what should happen in schools. But there are certain precepts that aren't debatable, that just about anyone would have to acknowledge are true.

While many such statements are banal, some are worth noticing because in our school practices and policies we tend to ignore the implications that follow from them. It's both intellectually interesting and practically important to explore such contradictions: If we all agree that a given principle is true, then why in the world do our schools still function as if it weren't?

Here are 10 examples.

Read more ...

Finland's Educational Success? The Anti-Tiger Mother Approach
by Joshua Levine, Time Magazine

The Finns are as surprised as much as anyone else that they have recently emerged as the new rock stars of global education. It surprises them because they do as little measuring and testing as they can get away with. They just don't believe it does much good. They did, however, decide to participate in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And to put it in a way that would make the noncompetitive Finns cringe, they kicked major butt. The Finns have participated in the global survey four times and have usually placed among the top three finishers in reading, math and science

Read more ...

How to Get a Real Education
by Scott Adams

I understand why the top students in America study physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature. The kids in this brainy group are the future professors, scientists, thinkers and engineers who will propel civilization forward. But why do we make B students sit through these same classes? That's like trying to train your cat to do your taxes-a waste of time and money. Wouldn't it make more sense to teach B students something useful, like entrepreneurship?

Read more ...

Challenging Assumptions In Education
by Laurette Lynn

I recently finished reading Challenging Assumptions in Education by Wendy Priesnitz.

You know, I want to say that I highly recommend this book for every home educating parent - but that's not true and it sounds too weak.   The truth is that I strongly urge every parent (even if they are not home educating...yet) to read this book.

Read more ...

What World of Warcraft taught me about Education
by Don Elwell, Ph.D., Director, Greylight Theatre

This article was prompted by three significant experiences: ones that have really rewritten how I feel as an educator about what we're doing. The first, as he title suggests, was getting sucked into playing World of Warcraft online. Don't get me wrong, I'm an inveterate nerd, and did the Dungeons and Dragons thing in college, but I'd resisted getting involved in WOW mostly because I knew it to be a HUGE time sink. The second was acting as a camp director for Guard Up's Wizards and Warriors LARP (Live Action Role Play) camp in Massachusetts one summer. The camp is basically a live-action version of games like D&D and WOW, with the kids living and playing the fantasy against monsters and going on quests. More on this later. The third was becoming aware of and ultimately involved in the "Democratic Schools" movement in the US. Based loosely on A.S. Neill's Summerhill School model, the schools are run by the students, generally lack traditional classes or objectives outcomes testing, and stack up strangely well against traditional schooling models. How those knit together is the subject of this article, and of the change in my thinking.

Read more ...

Is "I Love Lucy" Educational?
by Jan Hunt, M.Sc.

During a debate on legislation that would require a minimum of three hours of "educational and informative" television each day, a USA Today article quoted readers' viewpoints on the definition of "educational and informative". One show that brought about disagreement among readers was "I Love Lucy," a favorite of mine.

The view of many adult panelists was expressed by a Detroit reader: "While some of life's valuable lessons may be included in shows designed primarily for entertainment, that does not qualify them as educational. Education can be fun, but it is a disciplined activity. 'I Love Lucy' just doesn't fit the bill."

The children who wrote to USA Today took a different view ...

Read more ...

Leap of Faith
by Dagny Kream

[A speech from the NE Unschooling Conference 2007]

I'm calling this The Leap of Faith because that's what unschooling is.

If I asked any person in this room what they thought of sky diving you would probably say it would be exciting, but you certainly couldn't deny you'd be kind of scared. That's how I see unschooling. It's scary and exciting and hard to get off your butt and just do it - but once you do it's going to be one of the most amazing experiences you'll ever have.

Read more ...

We're Born to Learn, Not to Be Taught
by John Abbott

Profound truths are often so unsettling that people lose themselves in lengthy explanations that ultimately confuse, rather than clarify.

This is a very human trait which starts as the youngest children begin to form straightforward explanations as to how they see ideas fitting together. But unless they replace such earlier 'naive' explanations as they grow older, youngsters can't develop the more robust frameworks needed to handle complex thinking. It has been well noted that, "it is not people's ignorance you need to fear, it's what they know which darned well ain't true any longer that causes all the difficulties."

Read more ...

College Without High School: An Interview with Author Blake Boles
by Maya Frost

Blake Boles has written a remarkable how-to handbook that is destined to change the lives of young people across North America. In College Without High School: A Teenager's Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College, he offers a step-by-step plan to help students envision their best educational experience and make the most of the time they would have spent in high school.

Read more ...


Donate to The Natural Child Project
"The Natural Child Project has been our labor of love since 1996. Please help us to continue our current work and reach more families. Children who are loved and respected are the world's greatest hope.

Your kind support helps to make our work possible. Thank you!" - Jan Hunt, Director, The Natural Child Project

Review of Free Range Learning

A review of Laura Grace Weldon's book Free Range Learning by Pat Farenga, President of Holt Associates Inc.

Read the review at

Review of Unschooling Rules

A review of Clark Aldrich's book Unschooling Rules by Sara McGrath, author of Unschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning.

Read the review at

Sandra Dodd‭ ‬- Unschooling talks in Edinburgh‭, Scotland

May 21, 2011

The Sanctuary,‭ ‬Augustine United Church,‭ ‬41‭ ‬George IV Bridge,‭ ‬Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Please visit for the details

LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference

May 26-29, 2011

Red Lion Hotel, Vancouver, Washington, USA
Get all the details at

The LiTTLe Conference in London (Learning Trust, Trust Learning)

June 11, 2011

Dragon Hall 17 Stukeley Street, Covent Garden, London, England

Visit for the details

HSC Conference 2011: Adventures in Homeschooling

August 4-7, 2011

Radisson Hotel, Sacramento, California, USA

Find out more at

15th Annual Rethinking Everything Conference

September 2-5, 2011

Sheraton Grand Hotel, Irving, Texas, USA

For more information about the conference program, please visit

Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference

September 8-11, 2011

San Diego, California, USA

Get the details at

Australian Unschooling Conference Retreat

October 28-November 1, 2011

Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia

Find out more at

Always Learning Live Unschooling Symposium

December 28-31, 2011

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Find out more at

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 1 May 2011

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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