Posts Tagged education
August 3, 2012
The concept of “American exceptionalism,” which traditionally places the US ahead of the rest of the industrialized world, should be dramatically reconsidered as the health and wellbeing of US citizens are sacrificed in the name of profit. This is according to Dr. Howard Steven Friedman, a leading UN health economist and statistician, and author of the book ‘The Measure of a Nation.’
July 28, 2012
As tuition prices continue to soar, Tim explains to his pal why so many students in places like Canada are taking to the streets by the thousands to protest the rising costs of education, and how their governments are trying to stop them.
by: Bohemian Mom
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Making the decision to homeschool is not an easy one. Societal pressure, family interrogations, and our own insecurities and fears are things we have to wrestle with on a regular basis.
Having a good support system is vital, whether it is local homeschooling groups, your spouse, or simply some good friends to listen to you and encourage you.
But another important component to starting the journey or just battling through some of the tougher times along the way, is to have a good arsenal of books that you can read and continue to refer to.
These books brilliantly shape the philosophy of homeschooling and offer creative alternative ideas that are essential knowledge for all parents. I’ve found the books on the list below to be invaluable for my homeschooling experience.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
It is a great book to read before starting your journey, but I have also referred to it several times when I have felt insecure about my decision, as a reminder of what I am pushing against by home schooling. You will feel enlightened, captivated, and most of all inspired!
Learning All the Time by John Holt
Considered by many to be the forefather of the homeschooling or unschooling movement, John Holt’s Learning All the Time shows us how children learn the basics of life, at home, in every moment of their day. Through play, cooking, and interaction with parents they learn to read, write, do math, and figure out how the world works. As he says, “Learning is as natural as breathing!”
Again, this is a seminal book to read both before and during the process of homeschooling, but it is also a good book to teach us to enjoy and encourage play in the lives of our children. When you read his common sense ideas about relating to children it is hard to dispute, or to go on living any other way. His joy and respect of children shines through the pages and makes you yearn to lead the same type of life with your children that he proposes in his writing because it’s a brilliant formula for happiness!
July 19, 2012
by: Bohemian Mom
July 20, 2012
Deciding to homeschool your children is probably one of the most significant lifestyle choices you as a parent can make, and it does not come easy.
Usually one parent looks into it and must convince the other parent that it isn’t crazy. So, the education actually begins with both parents opening their minds to new concepts.
Some are motivated to try homeschooling because of a bad experience their child had in public school, or some may view the conventional school curriculum as not in line with their beliefs or aspirations, while others are drawn to the freedom and joy of spending more time with their children.
No matter what the reason is, all parents who decide to homeschool will face similar challenges. Besides having to decide what and how to teach your children, you may also have to justify their lifestyle choice to the countless conformists who surround you.
When we first announced our decision to homeschool our kids, one family member brashly told us “how dare you think your smart enough to homeschool your kids.” Another said “You’re going to ruin your kids’ lives.”
So much for good old family support, right? Even though the popularity of homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds, most will find many family members, or even their spouse, to be resistant to the idea when it’s initially proposed as it’s out of line with traditional conditioning.
In the face of this pressure, you must choose what to teach and how to teach it so you don’t “ruin your kids’ lives.” Then comes actually filling your days with lessons and activities while managing the household and, sometimes, another profession as well.
It is not an easy path, but ultimately it’s worth it for those of us who philosophically commit ourselves to homeschooling. There is no standard approach to homeschooling, but we thought outlining some rules for happy homeschooling can help others find more peace in their journey.
Here are some basic rules that may help new homeschooling parents:
Educate Yourself: I don’t mean re-learning Algebra. I mean both you and your spouse must learn about homeschooling and agree on the general philosophy. It is nearly impossible for homeschooling to succeed if both parents aren’t on the same page. The experience will quickly deteriorate if one parent resents the idea or is overly critical of the process. Luckily, there are many terrific books and blogs about homeschooling to give you plenty of helpful information and support.
Consider it a Trial Run: Calling your adventure into homeschooling a “trial run” will help in many ways. First, it will diffuse negative reactions from friends and family who will inevitably pepper you with questions like “what about college?” If you must, explain your reasons for trying it and tell them if it doesn’t work out they can always go back to school. This also relieves the pressure to plan too far ahead. It can be easy to lose yourself in the magnitude of responsibility that comes with being in charge of your child’s education. Don’t worry about long-term success or failure, just consider it a new experience with nothing to lose.
Put Joy and Happiness First: Happiness and joy should be the overriding goal for your homeschooling experience. Everyone should enjoy the process. Otherwise, what’s the point? Teaching and learning is much easier if everyone is having fun. If something isn’t working, or is causing too much tension, then change your approach or scrap it altogether. Happiness equals success. Period.
Have a Flexible Curriculum: Your kids do not need to be spelling bee champs to justify your decision to homeschool. Sure, it’s wise to set some basic academic goals, but be willing to throw out the “on par with grade level” mentality if necessary. Kids are sponges for learning, especially when they’re enjoying themselves. Believe me, they’ll always be learning far more than a standardized test can show.
Teach How to Think: All public school students are taught what to think, but few learn how to think. Homeschooled kids aren’t special because they learn what to think better than their schooled peers, they’re special because they learn how to think. So ditch the flash cards unless you can use them in a memory game. In other words, be creative in presenting boring material as a mystery waiting to be solved. Make your lessons more like treasure hunts. The ability to solve problems is far more valuable than the ability to memorize “facts” that can be Googled in 2 seconds.
July 7, 2012
A few weeks ago I was in a particularly depressed mood. That’s not the norm for me, but this time it was completely justified. I was pondering my children’s futures.
College prices have sky-rocketed, far surpassing wage increases. My daughter will be ready for college in five years. Will we be able to afford a college education for her or even pay a percentage of it? And, if she does go to college, what will she major in that will provide a reliable career in a world whose future is increasingly unreliable?
Perhaps my kids should learn a trade that would provide a rock-solid income, but what would that be? As a mom, I want their futures to be as secure as possible, giving them a chance of achieving their dreams and a comfortable lifestyle.
As you might imagine, it was right around this point that my thinking got pretty muddled. Is there a career that’s EMP-proof? A job that will provide their families with an income even if the dollar goes belly up and America, as we know it, declines forever?
I’m still not sure what path they should take, and of course they have a say in their future plans! However, my brain lit upon something that gave me hope as I contemplated a dismal future.
What’s more important than a college degree?
The future job market may be bleak for professions from A to Z, but people will always, always, look for and need leaders. People who have the skills, confidence, and personality to stand up and lead. Isn’t that what our world is crying out for right now? Leadership?
June 29, 2012
Well it looks like Congress will act just in the nick of time to preventstudent loan interest rates from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July1, but there’s more. Starting Sunday students will have to start payinginterest rates on loans while they are still in school and will no longer begiven a grace period to start paying off their debt once they graduate. RobertApplebaum, founder of ForgiveStudentLoanDebt.com, joins us with his take on howCongress is screwing college students.StudentLoanDebt.com, joins us with his take on how Congress is screwing college students.
June 28, 2012
On July 1, student loan interest rates are set to double, but it seems that Congress will step in just in time to prevent this from happening. Although doubling interest rates was eluded, other parts of the deal will have students paying interest on loans while they are in school and immediately after they graduate. Maxwell John Love, a student at University of Wisconsin — Madison, joins us with more.
By: Jeff Berwick
June 27, 2012
Many words make me cringe. “We” and “our”, when not specifically pertaining to the people you directly know or associate with on a personal level, top the list. Probably third is “education”.
The word, just like so many, has been twisted, turned and co-opted over time. Just like the word “liberal” used to mean someone almost of anarchist leanings, but now signifies almost the exact opposite: a leftist statist. Or how the word “anarchism” has also been skewed through propaganda to connote the opposite of what it is. Education can mean one of many things depending on who you talk to.
Education has a different meaning depending on who is doing the educating. William Torrey Harris, the once US Commissioner of Education, probably best defined education in the US in 1906 when he said that “substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.”
H.L. Mencken explained further in arguing that the “aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.”
That is why, really, the only education that matters is to teach someone how to think critically. Once someone is armed with that ability, then they can seek knowledge in whatever they wish to learn, and be able to think critically in order to separate what is truth from what is fabrication. Note that the last thing a child would ever be taught in a public school is logic, rationality, and critical thinking, which would be counter to the intended goal.
Margaret Mead put it simply when she said, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
Richard Dawkins expanded on that, stating, “Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.”
What masquerades as education today in public schools in the Western world is, for the most part, brainwashing, subjugation, and mass control. What students do absorb in terms of basic math or language skills is minimal, as can be seen from the near-universal dumbing-down of Western society.
Look no further than the first sentence of the Wikipedia entry on Education to realize that, “Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next.”
If education is the means to pass along the “aims and habits of a group,” no one should ever want to be educated. What we should want is knowledge. Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes: perception, communication, association, and reasoning.
What your kids are getting, and getting good, in public school is education, not knowledge.