Beyond us and them

Lately I’ve been recommending Lisa Rivero’s Gifted Education Comes Home to lots of people.  Not just people who think of their kids as gifted, and not just people whose children are not in school or are considering that as an option.  In the course of making her case for self-directed education for her child and others who share some characteristics, Rivero offers insights that turn out to be useful for parents of any child.

Hers is of course not the only publication of its kind to manage such a feat!  The other thing that sets the book apart, though, is that she manages to make her case without vilifying school or romanticizing homeschooling.  She’s simply observing that removing her own child from a traditional schooling situation and curricular track seems to have made it possible for him to fully realize his capacity as a thinker and learner, and that the same seems to have been true for the other children she met in the course of her research.  For Rivero’s case to be strong, she didn’t need to issue any proclamations about inherent problems with school or the damage it might do. Continue reading

A New Book about Play!

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, M.D., and Christopher Vaughan.

I haven’t read it yet, but it came out this week and it’s next up on my list. I can’t wait – what an amazing subtitle! Amazon has an excerpt posted. More soon…

School or Homeschool

I picked up a copy of a local parenting magazine yesterday and found this refreshingly unbiased article about the choice to school or homeschool.  The magazine is published in and about Maine, so the specifics about guidelines don’t apply elsewhere, but I wanted to pass along the article anyway.  I don’t often encounter a piece that’s laid out this way, with the tone suggesting that no educational option gets the distinction of being The Right Thing to Do. 

Why are they called numerators and denominators?

I’ve been doing fractions for several decades, and only yesterday did I find out how the numerator (the number on the top) and the denominator (the one on the bottom) got their names. I’m not sure that knowing why they’re called what they’re called will help too many folks who struggle with fractions, but I’m pretty sure it will help a few, so here goes. Continue reading

Gladwell Does it Again

I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers (subtitle The Story of Success). I found myself reading it breathlessly – I couldn’t get to the next part fast enough.

If you haven’t read any of his work, here’s what it’s like: Gladwell takes a social phenomenon he’s noticed and offers up examples of it. (And it really seems as though that’s how it works for him – he’s walking around on the planet, observes something in society, thinks to himself “hey…” and then starts doing research on whatever he noticed.) The examples he uses are quite disparate. I’m used to reading work like this that’s all in one discipline, like books about education that are about a particular phenomenon and use several different child case studies to illustrate. Gladwell manages to pull from all sorts of different realms. Continue reading

On sensitivity

I know several parents who find their children more sensitive to a myriad of things (making mistakes, loud noises, groups of people) than they expect or think is normal. What parents often find helpful when they find themselves noticing profound differences between the way their children function and they way they themselves function is to read up on personality type systems, like Myers-Briggs. Whether or not they agree with the notion that each of us has a type-able personality, parents often find that looking at their children’s behavior through this kind of lens helps them more effectively manage the differences in their family. Continue reading