Monthly Archives: May 2011

“if cloudy days are like coin flips…”

weather forecast

“If cloudy days are like coin flips, a house that can store enough heat
for N cloudy days can be 100(1-2^-N)% solar-heated, eg 97% for 5 days.”

NICK PINE on 100% solar heating

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Filed under passive house, solar, superinsulation, zero energy home

Guest post: High School by Jessica

“High school? High school is all about extrinsic motivation. Work hard learning useless s_ _ _ to get arbitrary grades so that you can get into college and hopefully one day get a good paying job so that you can…buy useless s _ _ _. “Kids” spend their entire 20’s trying to find themselves, through the purchasing of useless stuff that they think will provide them with an identity that they were never given the time or space to explore.”

See also:
Music and Life (Animation) words by Alan Watts
Animation from DVD “Democratic Schools” by Jan Gabbert
Children and Money by Naomi Aldort
– “Should School-Age Children Hold Jobs?” from: Education in America: a view from Sudbury Valley By Daniel Greenberg, pages 96-99

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Filed under alternative education, homeschooling, kids -- freedom and responsibility, person: Jess, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, unschooling

Neuroscience and Education

I think it’s reasonable that as neuroscience and our understanding of the human brain advances over the years that we will:

1. Realize that the way we are educating our children today is not “evidence based”. That kids/brains are wired so differently and/or are at such different “places” at a given point in time that it makes little sense (on a large scale) to follow a curriculum that will “work” for every kid.

2. On the flip-side, we we also find that some things that we thought we’d “figure out” are even *more* intractable than we guessed.

Both are arguments for letting go.

I don’t personally think of this as reductionist thinking.

I am also not arguing that things like classes/lectures are cannot be worthwhile. I obviously know that they can be. I watch/listen programs on TV and the internet all the time and learn a lot. But I was the one who chose it. Not a curriculum.

Classes (from p19-22, Free at Last: The Sudbury Valley School)

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Techno Life Skills

Power Tools for kids

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Filed under simple, technology

Erik’s Shopping 2011: iPad 2 vs Xoom & why no Android Flipboard?

Here is the best 2011 specs breakdown I’ve seen of the iPad/iPad2 vs the other popular tablets out there:


I still haven’t chosen. But I will buy at Amazon when I do. Probably a Xoom, but maybe an iPad 2. Definitely Wi-Fi. Why isn’t there a Flipboard app for the Android Tablets? Is it that hard to code? There’s that Facebook app that does something similar I guess. I forget the name. Shows you how impressed I was I guess.

  1. Apple iPad 2
  2. Motorola Xoom

    Uh… no…

  3. HP Touchpad (coming mid 2011)
  4. BlackBerry PlayBook
  5. HP Slate
  6. ASUS Eee Slate
  7. Samsung Galaxy Tab

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Filed under erik-VS, tablets

Sudbury Valley School (the modern-day village) vs unschooling

“Dear Coby,
I liked your posting about SVS type schools vs unschooling. I also think that no matter how democratic a family is it is a too small unit for children to grow up in. I believe that they need an “outside the family community” to belong to as well as to the family. The old villages in the non-western world provided just that and here in the west we are obliged to create a psuedo [sic] village for them and call it a school. The children get to belong to a family and to a community which hopefully is in harmony with the family but which is separate from them. It provides kids for a place of their own to make relationships, to observe people of all ages, to learn skills that are not the family’s skills such as carpentry or putting on make-up (skills that my children enjoyed acquiring in the school), and above all it is a place in which they can make mistakes in privacy from their parents. …
Hanna from SVS” LINK

– Villages — See book: Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept (1999) (pages: 13, 30, 127, 130, 134, 136, 137, 139, 144, 152, 154 ,161)
– On SVS and Family:
“Sudbury Valley was set up to be a day school complimenting the child’s family but never superseding it in importance. The assumption is that the child receives a full measure of love from within the family, and uses the school to develop a wider range of relationships, from close and intimate, to very casual, all of course determined by the children themselves.” (The Sudbury Valley School Experience, p 180)

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Filed under erik-VS, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, unschooling

Playing in the Zone of Proximal Development: Qualities of Self- Directed Age Mixing between Adolescents and Young Children at a Democratic School

Playing in the Zone of Proximal Development: Qualities of Self-Directed Age Mixing between Adolescents and Young Children at a Democratic School
Researchers: Peter Gray and Jay Feldman
Format: Full article in PDF
Year: 2004
At an ungraded, democratically structured school, we documented 196 naturally occurring interaction sequences between adolescents (ages 12-19) and children (ages 4-11) who were at least four years younger than the adolescent. Children and adolescents appeared to be drawn together by common interests and play styles, personal attraction, and complementary desires to nurture and be nurtured. Further analyses identified apparent contributions of such interactions to both parties’ physical, intellectual, and social/moral education. Adolescents led children to act within the latter’s zones of proximal development (Vygotsky’s term), and children stimulated adolescents to make implicit knowledge explicit, be creative, and practice nurturance and leadership.

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