Jun 28, 2013

Societal Development - Some interesting thoughts!

Before you read on please take a look at - Artificial Anarchy: Is Government Organic?
Now for those who may not have caught on, I was the one mentioned in the post who had brought up the idea that maybe they are just recreating their environment. I don't often get into political ideas here, but this is one that I find rather perplexing and my train of thought is below -

While I agree that some sort of order or organization is completely within our human nature, I think the reason that my mind went in the direction of the children "recreating" the world around them was in how closely the "societies" that they are creating are aligned with our current system - i.e. currency, leadership, punishment etc.
It made me wonder more along the lines of - if our children's generation was not so exposed to our current government and how it works, would they be just as likely to create that same sort of government? Our system has evolved over centuries and if we could have the benefits of our technologies and other advancements - societal, psychological, etc - but removed from the control of the government, would they still create that same sort of scenario?
Think of it this way - I remember playing school with my friends as a kid and loving it! We would take turns being the teacher, we would give out assignments, read aloud to the class, give out homework and even having spelling tests. My friend's kids who have always been home educated don't do that. They see school as a negative thing, they feel sorry for the kids that have to enter the big bad yellow monster every day to get herded into classrooms.
Young people today are shocked and horrified to hear of discrimination and segregation, but I have clients' in their 90s who grew up with that as the norm and are often shocked to see how many minorities are on television. Our children would never allow things to revert back to the standards of that generation because their perceptions have not been corrupted into thinking that anyone's life is less valued based on the color of their skin.
Of course there is no way to prove this hypothetical societal development, but it does make me really question whether our government is worth saving ---- sort of like the school system.

I would love to hear what other's thoughts and opinions are on this topic.

Jun 20, 2013

Perpetuating the Norm - Why do you stop learning in the summer?

This time of year the homeschool world seems to be all abuzz with end of the year parties, burnt out rants and thinking ahead to next year's school plans. As the weather gets warmer threads like - "What are you doing this summer?", "Join us for the annual end of year picnic." and "Looking for science curriculum for next fall." suddenly overtake the corner of the web that home ed families connect in. Each year I get more and more bothered by this cycle which perpetuates the norm of public school. 

"Short school years with long vacations are not the norm in Europe, Asia, or South America either. Children in most industrialized countries go to school more days per year and more hours per day than in America. While just sitting in a classroom longer does not necessarily ensure children will learn more, many American teachers spend weeks every fall just reminding kids of what they forgot over the summer." quote from Rachael Stark 

The American school calendar is based on antiquated nonsense - check herehere and here for some history lessons on the topic - and is thought to be one of the greatest impediments to successful education in the United States. So why is it that a significant group of people who realize that the public school system is lacking in so many ways can't seem to recognize one of it's largest faults.

I think for many it is childhood memories of all the fun and freedom they had during the summer and failure to recognize that in reality their kids could actually have that fun and freedom ALL year, rather than containing it to a small allotment of their schedule. I completely understand the wealth of activities that summertime brings which suit a child being a child, however I struggle with seeing how the other seasons don't.  This was not a realization that I came to only after removing KM from public school, infact she quite often says that it is my fault that she was so bored in school because I gave her "summer school" work every year. Previously I used the time off in the summer to cover things that I thought were seriously lacking in school. I just couldn't see the point in wasting all that time - 11-14 weeks - doing nothing. Once she was no longer going to public school, I developed a schedule that fit our lifestyle - more on that here and here - rather than sticking to something that we had no connection to and I couldn't see the logic in. At what other time in your life do you get a 3 month vacation every year? How is that preparing kids for the "real world"?

If your child shows interest in the budding plants, chirping baby birds and salamanders they found under the logs in the backyard, why would you make them wait until fall to start a biology curriculum that you think they will enjoy? Carpe diem!!! Take advantage of the seasons, make learning part of your life, rather than something separate and subjugated.  - more on my thought on this here

If you find a balance within your own family each and every season, you will find that learning happens all the time. I am not saying this in a "don't use curriculum" or "don't have a schedule" sort of way, but with the intention to encourage you to find the routine that works for your family! Home education's biggest asset is the flexibility and customization it allows. If you space out your lesson plans to fit your family, rather than fitting your family into someone else's timetable you will start to see the rewards quite quickly and you will be helping to end the ridiculous notion that school is the almighty NORM! 

Jun 19, 2013

Free Fun Fridays - Presented by Highland Street Foundation





This is a great opportunity to check out some great attractions! 
CLICK HERE to print the full list of scheduled events! 

Jun 14, 2013

Glass Lab Musical - MIT Museum Free Second Fridays

This month's FREE Second Friday at the MIT Museum was -Through the Listening Glass: A Concert by the MIT Glass Band - Immerse yourself in a tapestry of glass-blown music. Members of the MIT Glass Band come together with special guest Mark Stewart, MIT Glass Lab Artist-in-Residence, to create a one-of-a-kind symphony of sound and chat with visitors about the art and science behind the creation of the instruments. Come for one, stay for all—it’s never the same thing twice! Watch a short documentary about the Glass Band here.

Unfortunately I had to work, but KM caught a ride in with some friends of ours and had an incredible time!

Besides the MIT Glass Band, KM found the most interesting aspects of her visit to the museum to be learning about how bubble wrap was created and watching a machine make a paper clip!

Jun 10, 2013

Fahrenheit 451 - Synopsis

Here is a really great breakdown and analysis of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451presented by Academic Earth -

Created by AcademicEarth.org

Jun 6, 2013

Play Stories Build Life Stories

I have always loved legos, but this new advertisement has brought my love to a whole NEW level!!!!

Jun 4, 2013

Some Random Pics

Every once in awhile, I am quite surprised by some of the random pictures I find on my camera and here are some I simply forgot I took and some that were a bit shocking -----

Walking in the rain!

Even 15 year olds find paper bags FUN!!!

Apparently the lady at the pet store cannot count to 12!

She offered to mow the back lawn without me asking!!!

Jun 2, 2013

Then they were gone!!!

and then they were gone!!!
They were there....
KM got her braces off on Friday and she was SOOOOO excited!!! Although she was a bit disappointed when she was told she shouldn't bite into an apple for at least another 2 months......