The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

1 May 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 26 articles and 10 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!




Student's fight against circumcision reaches global stage
by Maria Ágreda, The Rebel Yell

UNLV student Travis Wisdom has been battling the centuries-old Western tradition of male circumcision for two years. And he's backing it up with research.

A women's studies major in his senior year, Wisdom is passionate about sharing his views and research on the preservation of the genital integrity of infants and is seeking to educate people about what he said is the danger of the practice of circumcision.

Read more ...

Facing in? Facing out? A science-based view on baby carrying positions
by Dr. Henrik Norholt

ERGObaby occasionally receives questions from well-intended parents asking if their baby can be carried facing outward when babywearing. Clearly, these parents wish to stimulate their baby as much as possible and engage it in the outside world at large. We will try to answer this question with the following scientific insights into child development that have been created over the past few decades. We will describe some of the aspects of how a baby develops in the first year which relate to ideal carrying positions and we hope that this will help you make good and informed choices on the carrier types and positions you will employ in your care for your baby.

Read more ...

The Debate on Spanking is Dead
by James C. Talbot

I feel it's important to make it very clearly known to any and all concerned, that the debate on spanking within the scientific and academic communities is dead, and has been for a number of years now. The most substantial indicator of this development is evidenced by the fact that virtually every professional organization in the U.S. and Canada concerned with the care and treatment of children, has taken a public stance against the practice of spanking.

Read more ...

Gentle Discipline: So what DO you do?
from The Path Less Taken

I have been thinking about discipline a lot the past several days (as have, apparently, many of you) I realized that what was bothering me the most about the negative comments I was receiving about the spilled milk post - aside from the people who felt led to name call - was the pervasive assumption that not punishing equaled not disciplining. That because I do not take a punitive approach, that I do not PARENT.

The opposite is true.

Read more ...

Learning Manners from Children
by Naomi Aldort

Q: My six-year-old daughter is rude. Each time my relatives arrive for a visit I spend half an hour with Emily, asking her to behave nicely when they show up. Still, when they arrive and say, "How are you Emily," she makes faces and goes away angrily. Although they speak in a patronizing way she does love them and later she plays with them happily. So why is she so rude and how can I teach her to be kind?

Read more ...

The Development of Resilience
by Chris White

To my eye, cultivating emotional resilience in our children is the most important task ahead of us in the 21st century. This post will outline the steps required to help your children become adaptive when facing the unavoidable challenges of life.

Read more ...

Have Faith in Your Children
by Gal Baras

Ronit always says, "What you focus on grows, so to have more good things in life, we need to focus on the good things we already have and they will grow". When it comes to parenting, Ronit says we should ignore problems (because there is no such thing as bad attention), wait patiently for our kids to do something good and then jump all over the place and praise them for it.

I am a fixer. I have been a fixer all my life. This means I see problems and things that could work better all the time and immediately come up with clever solutions for them. Waiting patiently for things to work and then praising them does not come naturally for me.

If you are a fixer like me, or if your kids "never do anything good/right" or always "give you a hard time", this post may really help you.

Read more ...

How To Listen & How To Be Heard
by Laura Weldon

"Do you really want a dead cat on your desk?"

When a teacher took a parent's phone call at the end of another busy school day, she was taken aback by the question. She couldn't figure out why a first grader in her class came home telling his mother that their recently deceased family pet had to be on the teacher's desk the next morning.

Then she realized what must have happened.

Read more ...

Just One More
by Jeff Sabo

Last weekend, my oldest son and I watched Field of Dreams. I've seen it, or pieces of it, probably ten times or so over the years. It's a pretty magical movie, and the last 15 minutes usually leave me a teary-eyed mess of blubber for a little while afterward.

One of the central themes to the movie is the idea of making dreams come true. In one part, the main characters meet an old man named Archie Graham, who got to play one game of major league baseball but never got up to bat. Archie's dream went unfulfilled, and while he lived a very satisfying and amazing life he still spent time wishing that he had just one more chance to get a hit.

Read more ...

Montessori, Peace, and Libertarianism
by Stephan Kinsella
Among libertarians and Austrians, there is intense interest in the topic of how to educate children. Of course we are all averse to the idea of government schooling. This has led many libertarians to abandon government schools in favor of private schools or home-schooling, or even the seemingly odd approach of "unschooling."

One of the less conventional approaches to education is that spearheaded by Maria Montessori (1870-1952), the so-called Montessori Method. Many libertarians may have heard of this approach because Ayn Rand had positive things to say about it.

Read more ...

Mistakes and Freedom
by Marc Seldin

Adults enjoy more freedoms than children. We can eat ice cream when we want. We can stay up as late as we wish. We can watch TV until our eyes fall out. We may choose to quit an unsatisfying job, or to move to a better house. We may choose to do more of the things that we enjoy, some of which may not be good for us.

The freedom to do what we want carries with it the burden of making good choices. How do we prepare children for this freedom?

Read more ...

5 Tricks that School Lobbyists Use to Try to Expand Schools' Reach (and Budgets)
by Clark Aldrich

Society is coming to the same conclusion about schools as previously discovered about legal offices and health care providers. The industry is not run by saints who selflessly toil for the general good of the human condition, but by real people, mostly decent but who nonetheless want to improve their own security and standard of living. Given that, one useful lens to view the collective school system is as an industry wanting to grow. In order to grow, school systems have to do two things ...

Read more ...

Power to Control
by Wendy Priesnitz

"Most of us are tactful enough with other adults not to point out their errors but not many of us are ready to extend this courtesy to children."  ~ John Holt

Holt died twenty-five years ago, but this tendency for adults to ignore tact and courtesy when interacting with children is still alive and well. In the same time frame, we have learned it's not cool to discriminate against other adults on the basis of ethnicity, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, and physical abilities. But adultism is still entrenched in our culture.

Read more ...

A Conversation with John Holt (1980)
Interviewer: Marlene Bumgarner

In 1980, Marlene Bumgarner, a homeschooling parent, hosted author John Holt in her home while he was in California for a lecture tour. While he played in the garden with her two children, John and Dona Ana, she interviewed him for the bimonthly magazine Mothering.

Read more ...

Unschooling: Homeschooling without the school
by Maureen Downey, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Among the ever expanding lexicon of alternative education is the trend toward unschooling.

Unschooling might best be defined as homeschooling without the school. It eschews standardization of education in favor of customization. Unschoolers don't turn their kitchen tables into de facto classrooms, piled high with math textbooks, reading lists and maps of Asia.

Instead, unschoolers let their children take the lead, allowing them to decide whether they want to study algebra or Civil War history. The children determine whether they prefer to spend a day or a month playing chess or building a catapult.

Read more ...

"Unschooling Rules" by Clark Aldrich
by Tom Bosché

One of the reasons I continue to post ideas and recommendations on this site is to promote the ideal of a skilled, well-educated, well-mannered and well-dressed student.  Toward the well-educated end, I recommend that everyone take a look at Clark Aldrich's recently-published book on education, Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education.  In this short, easily readable manual, he sets forth fifty-five rules to improve education in all its forms.  He organizes his Rules into what he refers to as the "Seven Cs of Education" ...

Read more ...

Are Parents Without Formal Teaching Qualifications Equipped to Home Educate their Children?
Beverley Paine of Homeschool Australia interviewed by Julia Harris, journalist student

1/ In your opinion, are parents without formal teaching qualifications, equipped to home educate their children? Why/ why not?

Read more ...

Why Do So Many Parents Think They Can't Homeschool Their Children?
by Linda Dobson

I'm cutting to the chase. Many parents don't think they can homeschool their children because their own schooling experience convinced them they're incapable. Not directly, of course. Instead, it was part of an overall message of incapability that permeated our formative years in school.

Read more ...

Things You Really Need To Learn
by Stephen Downes

Guy Kawasaki once wrote an item describing "10 things you should learn this school year" in which readers were advised to learn how to write five sentence emails, create powerpoint slides, and survive boring meetings. It was, to my view, advice on how to be a business toady. My view is that people are worth more than that, that pleasing your boss should be the least of your concerns, and that genuine learning means something more than how to succeed in a business environment.

But what should you learn?

Read more ...

The Things I Really Want My Kids to Learn
by Sue Smith-Heavenrich

By September, every homeschooler in our state has outlined her proposed curriculum and sent it off to the local school district. I never found the forms our school district sent us particularly useful. They provided a planning sheet divided into small boxes, each about 2 inches by 3 inches, into which I was supposed to write all the topics I wished to cover--as well as books I would use.

I never did use the forms. Instead I wrote a descriptive curriculum outline, but it never seemed to include some of the more important things I hoped to teach my children. Things like independence and skepticism.

I started thinking about this the other day when a friend asked me, "What do you think every girl ought to know?"

Read more ...

Learning Happens...And It Is Fun
by Wendy Priesnitz

Awhile back, in response to something I don't remember, I tweeted a quote from my book Challenging Assumptions in Education: "We do not learn because the process is fun, but because what we learn allows us to accomplish something."

I was surprised to receive a relatively large amount of feedback. Most people wrote to tell me how much they enjoy the process of learning, which is great because learning is fun - or can be if school hasn't given us a phobia. But, perhaps due to the necessary succinctness and lack of context of the medium, many people misunderstood. For instance, someone instructed, "Learning is fun; being taught is not" and admonished me not to confuse the two. Rest assured that after 35 years of writing about this topic, I have not suddenly confused the two! Although I agree that learning can be fun, that was not my point.

Read more ...

Global knowledge - local nurture
by Judy Breck

This post is to suggest a large concept for the future of education. The concept has two parts:

1. The standardized concept is obsolete for knowledge that is nationalized (USA), culturalized (Moslem), state enforced (China).

2. As what is known by humankind becomes a global network that each youngster interacts with individually, nurture of each child needs to remain individually local.

Read more ...

How to be an Educated Consumer of "ADHD" Research
by Dr Bob Jacobs, Pys. D 
Dr Bob Jacobs, a US trained psychologist now working in Queensland, originally wrote this piece for the Youth affairs Network of Queensland in 2005. It highlights some of the tricks used by the ADHD Industry to justify the long term drugging of children with amphetamines and other psychotropic drugs.

Read more ...

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
by David H. Freedman, The Atlantic

Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors-to a striking extent-still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.

Read more ...

How To Access Your Body's Unique "Knowing"
by Laura Weldon

Ever notice that the smallest children seem to be one with their bodies? Unlike us, they don't value their thoughts over their senses. They also don't get caught up in ruminating about what isn't directly part of the moment. Past or future: irrelevant. Other people's opinions of their appearance: irrelevant. They are tuned to the sensory world around and within them.

Read more ...

The Link Between NLP and Hypnosis
by Roseanna Leaton

I was standing in a queue the other day and overheard a snippet of conversation between two gentlemen. One was describing Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to the other and was very enthusiastically mentioning the ways in which it can be used to train your brain to achieve different outcomes. He was clearly very keen on NLP and had fully grasped its potential to help achieve success in almost everything you might wish to do.

I heartily agree with this gentleman. NLP offers the human race an amazing set of mental tools or mental skills which can be applied easily, quickly and most importantly, they are powerfully effective. What piqued my curiosity was his answer to a question posed by his friend, namely "isn't NLP hypnosis?"

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

"Your children will never be amazing... until..."

"Learn how to raise your children without worrying about it - FREE 4 Part Masterclass with UK Minister for Inspiration, Richard Wilkins"

To investigate further and/or sign up please go to

Feel-Bad Education And Other Contrarian Essays on Children & Schooling

A new book by author and lecturer in education, parenting, and human behavior Alfie Kohn.

"Arguing that our schools are currently in the grip of a "cult of rigor" -- a confusion of harder with better that threatens to banish both joy and meaningful intellectual inquiry from our classrooms -- Alfie Kohn issues a stirring call to rethink our priorities and reconsider our practices.

Kohn's latest wide-ranging collection of writings will add to his reputation as one of the most incisive thinkers in the field, who questions the assumptions too often taken for granted in discussions about education and human behavior."

Find out more at

Unschooling Wins the Race

A new eBooklet from Sara McGrath of

"By conventional measurements (mandatory academic testing), my unschooling daughter ranks at least two grade levels ahead of her schooled peers. How did she accomplish that without school lessons? I suggest that unschoolers are on to something."

Available 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 15 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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