Category Archives: freedom

The World Happiness Report and “Freedom to make life choices”

The World Happiness Report — a UN analysis of average happiness of countries — has an item that is one of maybe 7 factors they use to gauge overall (average) happiness:

“Freedom to make life choices” is the national average of responses to the question “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”

Guess what? The US doesn’t do all that well on that measure. So much for Land of the Free. I suspect it is because we think things like cars and single family homes in suburbia are desirable things. But it actually feels freer to live WITHOUT a car in an area with access to great public transportation, health care, etc. There’s probably a psychological or sociological term for this but it’s not coming to me right now.

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Filed under freedom, kids -- freedom and responsibility, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

IT’S NOT ABOUT ALTERNATIVE

This was a great note from Mountain Laurel Sudbury School.  But it’s in Facebook, so I include it here so it doesn’t get lost…

IT’S NOT ABOUT ALTERNATIVE
October 3, 2013 at 4:03pm

We try very hard to make sure we’re clear about our model.  That it isn’t about a rigid dogma, but about trusting children with responsible freedom.  Yet, for all our talk, some prospective parents will only hear what they want to hear.  That we’re alternative.  That if we’re alternative, we must subscribe to a certain set of alternative beliefs and practices.

Yes, in a place where there is freedom, all walks of life will be welcome.  This will include people who would be considered alternative.  But it does not guarantee it.

So, these potential parents will become quite distraught the first time they see something that doesn’t fit within their own particular alternative ideology.  When a kid eats processed food.  When there’s screen time.  When the students don’t all have to do the same thing together.  And we’re left explaining, yet again, that Sudbury schools don’t police students’ actions like that.

It’s not about being alternative.  It’s about being free.

ORIGINAL WAS HERE: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mountain-laurel-sudbury-school/its-not-about-alternative/584913244878917

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The problem with twitter (and facebook (and wordpress))

The problem with twitter is that it isn’t more like facebook.
And the problem with facebook is that it isn’t more like twitter.
And the problem with wordpress is that it isn’t more like facebook and twitter.

By which I mean:

Facebook is annoying because:
- images are big now and everyone has figured out that the clever way to advertise their website is to put a clever saying in an image which is now huge and I have to scroll like mad now to read anything. I mean, I am guilty of sharing these sometimes, but will resist now I think. I usually hide article previews too.
- It’s not open

Twitter is annoying because:
- It’s a river (vs folders like is an option in RSS reader) so you can’t easily do things like group feeds, click to read one person (or one cluster) when you want to, etc. I know you can click (TWICE!) to read more from a person, but come on!
- It’s suggesting celebs to subscribe to. Uh, no.
- I pretty much totally hate URL compressor things since I can’t tell if I am interested cause the website name is hidden
- I am sorry but I am not conversing with you there
- hashtags are ugly and painful and useless unless it is a niche.
- It’s not open

WordPress is annoying because:
- It’s slow
- It doesn’t do nice/automatic previews of articles when you paste them in
- It’s slow
- All my friends aren’t there
- I can’t easily protect posts by friendship

The future:
- Might bring some open way of doing things like all of the above but in an open “internet standards” sort of way.
- simpler but also maybe more modular/programmable
— examples of tiny evidence of hope:
—– RSS
—– Dave Winer’s littleoutliner.com (see http://scripting.com/) is a sign (I hope) of things to come.
—– https://ifttt.com/
—– flickr.com API and APIs in general
—– bootstrap, and responsive design / HTML5
—– some google tools (books, forms) seem hopeful, but I won’t count on them now that I see that Google just close things down (ala Google Reader)

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Filed under computers, freedom, future, tech, thinking

“Just the freedom was better than breathing they said”

“Just the freedom was better than breathing they said”
Lupe Fiasco, “Kick/Push”

This is totally out of context of course (a rap song remixed by Bassnectar) but when L started (out of the blue) at Sudbury Valley School back in June (Mid-June, why not!), I could just tell that the freedom was *very* *very* important to him and his decision that NOW he was ready for SVS to be HIS school too. Now 6 months later, he is still a very little guy, so even though he goes to SVS 4 days a week, he still also really loves the cozier scene once in a while (once every week roughly) over at the neighborhood daycare he was previously at more regularly. Anyway, it’s his choice and I feel privileged to be able to provide it to him, and to just let him do HIS thing. Go L!

I am almost embarrassed that his quick transition to wanting to go to SVS surprised me, but it did. I mean, forget the terrible twos, I think ages 3-5 is an amazing and difficult and dynamic part of childhood because kids are growing in independence so quickly yet still needing/wanting the parental attention and attachment. Anyway, each kid is different… A and L certainly are, but it is a joy (usually ;-) to spend time with them and get to know them!

I should also note: this song is also appropriate because there is a lot of skateboarding and longboarding going on at SVS lately. An all-ages affair of course.

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Filed under attachment parenting, freedom, sports and outdoors, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

L’s surprising first day of school… in June!

It was 4 year-old L’s second day at Sudbury Valley School today. (This after months of a complete lack of interest, and now suddenly last week, “I want to go.” What? Really? We’ll see if he really means it…)

At the end of the day today, I had to leave and come back almost an hour later to try again because… he wouldn’t leave! He was too involved in an art project and would almost not acknowledge my presence, at least when the subject of “OK, time to go!” came up. He had also said on the 10am car-ride to school, “I’m eating my lunch as soon as I get there!” Go for it, I said. (There is of course no set “lunch time” at SVS.) But he forgot by the time we arrived. He was too busy!

Older brother A would occasionally pop into the art room (or wherever) to check on him. What a sweet, caring kid. Come on people, this is beyond awesome. All around me as I walk around the school and outside are kids from families… they are not age-segregated off in separate rooms, classes or grades. They are truly together (or very much not!) but the point is it is their choice. Kids age 4 thru high school.

And some of them actually know where their shoes are when I come to round up a carpool of 4 or 5 of them from 2 families. ;-)

I’m not saying SVS is utopia. I am not saying there might not be some disadvantages. (Certainly some us of parents sometimes wish we lived in Framingham or a magic school bus could drive the kids to and fro!) But I really can’t say that any of it could outweigh the advantages. At least for our family, this is real life… now. No waiting for tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, L has asked that he stay “even longer” so that he arrives home later, just before his favorite animal TV show starts. Not so fast mister! Maybe next week… it’s only your third day! Act like you miss me at least a little. Please!?!

LINK: Sudbury Valley School

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Filed under alternative education, attachment parenting, freedom, kids -- freedom and responsibility, responsibility, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

I now realize what I meant to say was “everything”

“When I was eight years old and people asked me what I did with my time at SVS, I said, “nothing.” I now realize what I meant to say was “everything.”
On the Nature of Sports at SVS and the Limitations of Language in Describing SVS to the World
By Michael Greenberg
From The Sudbury Valley School Experience

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Filed under alternative education, freedom, kids -- freedom and responsibility, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Power tools for kids

A few thoughts on the subject…

Minecraft and the Tinkering School (it’s a camp) have me inspired to use power tools and knives more with the kids.

Dad gave us kids toolboxes and tools and wood and glue as kids and that was cool. We all had swiss-army knives when we were little too.

Here is an example of tools and a workbench on offer at day care. Cool. I mean, as a SVS-aficionado and all, I think it should be up to kids whether they want to do anything with any of it, but having it available is nice too.

Ah well, anyway, I just wanted to collect a few links and articles and ideas floating around in my brain. Kiddos (all of us!) just love doing stuff that is REAL so much, that’s basically all I wanted to acknowledge. This is (one of the many) beauties of things like SVS, and cohousing. Can’t get more real than that! People living and doing stuff. Awesome!

Related:
- Life Size “Lincoln Logs” – still contrived. fancy “forts”? life-sized Magnatiles?
- The Agenda Restated by James Kunstler
- MAKE and Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World
- Story of building a harpischord at SVS (The Kingdom of Childhood: Growing Up at Sudbury Valley School By Daniel Greenberg, p136)
- 11 tools to get for your kids — a good list!
- http://woodgears.ca/ – has some nice beginner plans for woodworking
- simple solar projects are good places to start for DIY solar (see builditsolar.com for more…)

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Filed under community, contrarian, erik-green, freedom, homesteading, kids -- freedom and responsibility, minecraft, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School