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Monthly Archives: October 2012

we have not gone back to school since my last post. we officially withdrew on monday. our current schedule: trapeze class taught in spanish on monday, science class at the exploratorium on tuesdays and capoeira on wednesdays. ida has her capoeira class on thursday. the time in between and fridays are reserved for play-dates and other spontaneous stuff.

we are all quite happy to have finally arrived at what feels like a final decision. that said, the one thing we all have learned about this is that nothing is final. each decision is merely a transition into the next moment. we will not be going back to school this year, this is the only certainty due to the rules of school. how our days are spent from here on out is continually open for discussion.

we were walking home from capoeira last night and crossed paths with a neighbor and her two children, all of whom we had not seen in awhile. we were catching up on ages and interests when grade level entered the discussion.

(some version of the following conversation has happened with many families we know.)

“where did you end up going to school?” she asked viv.

viv paused and thought about it and then said excitedly, “i don’t go to school! i homeschool!”

“how cool!” the mother said.

“i want to homeschool!” said her daughter, a 2nd grader. “i don’t want to have to listen to teachers yelling at me all day.”

“you can come to school at our house!” said viv. “we are making our own school.”

the mother responded to her daughter, “i’m sorry, but your parents aren’t patient enough to homeschool.”

the mother is a 1st grade teacher. i believe she must have some amount of patience to teach a room of 25 – 1st graders. and she seems like an amazing mother to boot! i think the real answer is that both of your parents have jobs and this is just how the world works. many people do not have the choice to homeschool given their financial obligations. and most people also think that it would make them crazy doing it. they have no desire to try it.

i feel we simply must try. i am also excited and relieved to be here. seems we have been headed here all along. (7 years?!) in that same breath, i make room for a future change of heart. but until that happens, i embrace this experience and all of it’s complexities whole heartedly – even the super crummy days which one has regardless of where they are spending their time.

i realize it is not for everyone. this statement is evidenced by most interactions i have with adults on the topic. though when pressed, these same adults come around to admitting that “school sucks” – it is an age old mantra.

and ask any kid if they want to stay in school and i do not doubt that the majority would say what the little girl said up above.

the current mindset does not support this decision. how can we help change that?

 

 

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“When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall.”

“We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.” – Dr. Michael Anderson

cut the budget and up the stimulants? this as an answer to children’s under performance in school? i realize that parents are desperate, especially when they are facing financial strain, but why is this okay with our government?

introducing stimulants to young children, is a really bad idea. that seems obvious. clearly there is a lot of desperation out there. people need help on so many fronts. when it comes to their children taking stimulants it is hard to fathom how parents come to see this as a rational decision when their child is struggling. that said, we all know what a long road it can be to finding ways to support our children. options take time, energy and a clear mind. most parents lack all three of these things.

a revolution is in order. so much needs to change. most urgently, children should not be taking drugs to perform better in an unhealthy environment. the alternative is obvious – the environment must change to better support the development of children’s minds and bodies. with the continual cutting of funding for our schools, the environment is deteriorating at a very fast rate. the curve seems to be quite steep, cliff-like really, after having existed on a gentle downward slope for so long. the tree is falling fast. class sizes are growing, recess time is shrinking, testing has completely infiltrated the classroom on all levels, and students do not know how to occupy their own time. meanwhile they are expected to sit still and be quiet. it has been a broken system for too long – one in which people are not seen for who they are, but are expected to be on the same path, walking at the same rate as everyone else. good grades are demanded in a mind-numbing environment. the only way to succeed is to avoid asking questions and do as you are told. how can one grow into a healthy mind and body in such an environment? i know humans are adaptable, but please.

current answer: give them the pill form of a straight- jacket. a perfect idea when considering the circumstances.

really???

toward the end of the article they mention a casual observation of the diagnosis rates of A.D.H.D. having risen as sharply as school funding has declined.

why do people not see that we are past the triage phase – the environment is not only unhealthy, it is dying.

click here for article

THE
PUBLIC
SCHOOL

is a school with no curriculum. It is not accredited, it does not give out degrees, and it has no affiliation with the public school system. It is a framework that supports autodidactic activities, operating under the assumption that everything is in everything.

how cool is that?!

they have formed in new york, los angeles, the bay area, berlin, brussels, helsinki, phily and san juan.

i like pretty much everything she has to say:

“The optimal parent is one who is involved and responsive, who sets high expectations but respects her child’s autonomy. ”

“The happiest, most successful children have parents who do not do for them what they are capable of doing, or almost capable of doing; and their parents do not do things for them that satisfy their own needs rather than the needs of the child.”

“If you can’t stand to see your child unhappy, you are in the wrong business.”

“If pushing, direction, motivation and reward always come from the outside, the child never has the opportunity to craft an inside.”

“Parents also have to make sure their own lives are fulfilling. There is no parent more vulnerable to the excesses of overparenting than an unhappy parent. One of the most important things we do for our children is to present them with a version of adult life that is appealing and worth striving for.”

 

click here for the article