Dave asks a great (rhetorical?) question here that begins with << Here’s a question: At what point in your life did what you think become important? >>
Hi Dave, great question. What got you thinking about this?
For me, I don’t think it was until I could vote (18). Not good!
UPDATE 12/3: I was thinking about this today and I think I’m wrong… there are actually LOTS of times when I was a young kid that I felt important. My parents were very good at giving us responsibility and trusting us. Some examples: given freedom and responsibility very young to 1) cook and make food including lunch for school, 2) walk to and from school on my own when in 1st grade or so. 3) we kids have our own bank accounts. I remember saving up to buy “FOOTBALL II” — a hand-held video game.
Other memorable experiences of “important”:
- sports: the team is counting on you to play your part. i often pitched and played goalie, so those felt especially important
- boy scouts: I was a patrol leader for several years when I was still quite young
- baby-sitting and lawn-mowing and dog-watching jobs
- In school: I went to traditional public school, but the times of feeling important were anytime I worked on a presentation or report where I knew I knew more about the particular subject than anyone else in the class, including the teacher.
- I will add to this list as I think of more
This question was so important to my wife and I that we moved so our kids could go to Sudbury Valley School (sudval.org) where they can do what they want (all day long!) as long as they are not infringing on other people at school (other students or staff) or doing something dangerous, illegal, etc. The adult staff (no “teachers”) obviously have years of often valuable life experience and as paid employees they have have the added responsibility of taking care of the school. So no one is saying the kids are just little adults — but like you say, “what you think matters as much as what anyone else thinks.” So indeed, equal opportunity and one-person one-vote is embedded in the legal by-laws of the school. No puppet strings. 4 year-olds can vote if they want to. They know this, but are mostly happy to not vote until they are older.
UPDATE 12/4/13: Our 6-year old is serving his “every-other-year-or-so” duty as “juror” on the school’s Judicial Committee this month. He meets with the all-ages J.C. for an hour or so each day to hear the cases brought before them for that day. A powerful responsibility!
Daria: What types of things do the children learn at Sudbury School?
Mimsy: Well, I think they learn every type of thing but there are some things that I think every kid has to learn here because you can’t be here and not learn them. One of those things is to love the outdoors. Kids can spend as much time outside as they want here and that’s very healthy for their minds, their hearts, their souls, their bodies. There’s not a kid who’s gone to school here who doesn’t afterwards talk about how important the outdoors was to them.
(from a radio interview transcript here)
Some typical examples of outdoor/nature play at Sudbury Valley School and other Sudbury Schools:
- Forts and outdoor play at The Circle School
- Some very elaborate outdoor pretend play that goes on for days and weeks at a time
- Outside at Sudbury Valley
- A few photo galleries: The Slate Store, Fishing, Rocks, Forts, Sandbox
- I regularly catch glimpses of basketball, football, ultimate, wiffleball games with kids as young as 4 and as old as 17.
- … Kids still outside doing pretend play or nerf-gun pretend battles or home-brew tag games or playing in the stream, etc. etc. even though it is a late fall afternoon and starting to get dark and is less than 40F. It’s not uncommon to arrive at around 4pm to pick up my kids and there to be 20-30 kids outside. Or to arrive and have only a few kids outside — already eating lunch at the picnic table even though it is 10am and cold.
Just depends on the day.
Q: Can I watch Hulu (free! not HuluPlus which is $8) on my TV in my living room?
A: Yes! I do this all the time with a Mac Mini. A less expensive option in 2013 is a $200 Chromebook.
So just get a:
- $200 Chromebook w/ a HDMI plug
- $350 Laptop w/ a HDMI plug
- $550 Mac mini (which all have HDMI plugs) and a wireless keyboard and mouse
Normally you can only use HuluPlus via Roku (we love our Roku for Netflix!), AppleTV and other streaming services. But HuluPlus is a paid monthly subscription, whereas Hulu is free. As are most “recent episode” archives at the websites of the major networks — ABC/CBS/NBC/etc.
- Of course, do the math… a $200 chromebook is 25 months of $8/month HuluPlus. And a Roku is very easy/handy vs it is a bit of a pain to use a laptop w/ one’s TV.
- more episodes
- HD (Hulu is not usually HD)
Hulu vs Chromebook. Chromebook allows:
- flash games
- google docs / office-like apps
- use it in a different room than the TV occasionally
(Even better than a Chromebook… but more expensive/heavier/slower to start)
Hulu vs $350 laptop w/ HDMI. A laptop additionally a laptop allows:
- real Microsoft Office apps
The photos of structures — dollhouses, parking garages, towers, etc, etc — that kids as young as 4 have built with magna-tiles over at amazon (LINK HERE) are pretty amazing and mirror the amazing (but also different) things that my kids have built. Who would have thought so many complicated mazes, castles, doll-houses, hot-wheels parking garages, stuffed-animal homes, airports, roads, etc, etc, etc. could be built with this one toy and keep kids of such different ages engaged! Interesting for the 4-year old and the 9-year old, and safe for the baby! And mom and dad don’t have to help. The kids do it totally on their own! What a blessing and the kids love it, of course! Independence! Imagination! Free and creative play!
As I’ve written about before…. this toy is really amazing! Better than legos! If you are balking at the ~$120 price for the 100-piece translucent set I recommend to everyone with kids I know, let me just tell you that after only a week I felt that this toy had already paid for itself in terms of the unbelievable hours of total engaging play and happiness it had given my 2 kids. And after probably a month, I bought a second set. So worth it!
Here’s a comment from a parent about the musical that SVS students wrote/produced/direction/performed this spring…. I hadn’t thought about that, but they’re right! BTW, the musical was so so amazing. I really loved it.
“After the play, I told the writers that I was impressed they used Kurosawa’s method used in the 1950′s film Rashomon. Where did they learn about the great Japanese master and his pioneering story structures? They told me they never heard of him. I was disappointed, but then I had a revelation. These SVS kids developed a sophisticated technique behind which there is unique philosophical view on what the truth is (or is not) by searching for the most effective way to tell their story. They understood Rashomon without ever seeing or hearing about it. It is a great example of how the SVS experience stimulates high levels of inquiry and understanding(and may save some parents $200K for NYU Film School tuition.)”
Parents (or dads?):
Yes, I know marble runs have a certain appeal. And yes, I know that Quadrilla claims to be for ages 4+ (!!!) but let’s face some facts:
1. Quadrilla is very cool.
2. Quadrilla is a bit tippy. Especially sets with curved tracks and sets with the older 4 loop funnels (notice, all the new sets including the set I recommend below have straight tracks and the new 3-loop funnels)
3. Even with the more accessible sets, one has to (at least for younger kids) think of this as something for mom or dad or baby-sitter to do WITH your kid/s.
4. The kids really do enjoy the sets when they are set up. But be ready for them to get knocked over too. And don’t stress!
OK, so here’s my recommended set:
VERTIGO (134 pieces). It has straight tracks, smaller funnels, that cool tippy thing. All good.
One of my favorite smaller sets is this one: Round About (91 pieces) (which is very similar to the BASIC from past years, but minus a few pieces)
(BTW, I can’t imagine the piece count is too too meaningful since some of the pieces are those little red “accelerator” pieces, etc. Vs the blocks and rails.)
OK, but this review is also about comparing Quadrilla to Hot-wheels. My point is… kids love (even I did 35 years ago!) running marbles down hotwheels track or using hotwheels track in combination with a marble run setup (like Quadrilla) AND a good set of blocks. Here are some good blocks for example: Melissa & Doug 60-Piece Standard Unit Blocks
The basic idea is to skip the gimmicks and buy as much TRACK and BLOCKS as possible. And maybe a loop and a jump. For example, this one at amazon
Go for it!
SEE ALSO: All of my reviews
Thinking about dropping your traditional phone service for an IP-based phone? Look no further. Buy an OOMA TELO immediately and decision made!
OOMA TELO on Amazon.com. Are those enough 5-star reviews for you?
All you pay after the initial purchase is some ~$4 telecommunications fees you already pay on your “normal” telephone bill.
People seem to be confused about this. But it couldn’t be easier. Just make sure your old phone system is unplugged from the street or Cable or FIOS or whatever it was connected to. And then plug the OOMA “to phone” line into a jack in your house and voila, every jack in your house now has phone.
Our Ooma (actually, we have 2… I also use a separate one for my home office phone number) have worked almost perfectly for 4 years. There are VERY occasional moments where the phone will weird-out, but that is (to me) totally worth the $200+ I save each year.
If you aren’t interested in saving money, then there is probably no reason to not just keep using your normal phone.
E-911 works PERFECTLY for us. Just make sure you keep your address updated.
The voicemail app at the website is great. There is also an interesting feature where you will get an email or SMS if someone calls 911 from the phone.
So, to summarize:
- You will like it
- Only drawback is VERY occasional flakiness
- Oh, and your phone won’t work when there is a power outage unless you are able to power your internet and the ooma device. This doesn’t bother me at all because 1) we hardly ever lose power and 2) if we do we can use a cell phone.
Some random advantages:
- 7-digit dialing local dialing. But you can enter 10 or 11. No confusion.
- no “1″ needed for long distance calls. But you can!
- VERY cheap international calling via prepaid minutes at their website.
- You can bring your phone number with you. Just take the ooma on vacation and plug it in to the ethernet/wifi.
- I’ve personally had very good luck with their technical support when things have been glitchty.
OOMA TELO on Amazon.com.