Monthly Archives: December 2014

Play not fear

““We know how kids learn; we know what classes should look like, and yet our classes look almost the opposite,””

““Students clearly learned in Mr. Holman’s class, and he never pushed fear,” wrote a former student, Kate Nunke, in an email. She described the rest of her high school experience as one long fear fest: “Fear of not getting into college, fear of not passing, fear of disappointing parents, fear of looking like a fool in front of your peers,” the list goes on.”

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Filed under contrarian, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

“Statistically speaking … we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one. … But is there any way to empirically test this hypothesis? Indeed, there may be. In a recent paper…”

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Heating Degree Days and NSTAR (our gas company)

NSTAR puts a nice 13 month chart of usage on your monthly bill (so one can see usage from the same month in the previous year). That’s nice. But… what would be even cooler is if they showed the HDD and CDD (heating degree days and cooling degree days) for these time periods. That way, when it says you used 100 units this year vs 140 last year, one could quickly tell if that was because it was a lot warmer this year or because of all that insulation you added!

Here’s and API for such data… Only $49/month for unlimited locations! Go to it NSTAR! Actually, surely they already have this data and probably much more because they already surely have to strategize about supply and demand and they probably consult historical data like usage and HDD and weather forecasts.

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The big idea: Children are biologically designed to educate themselves

The big idea: Children are biologically designed to educate themselves

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Filed under person: Peter Gray, play, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

“Then as I got even older I realized that the people in charge are as clueless as the rest of us. Like our software, our society just kind of happened over the years and it’s always on the verge of coming tumbling down. Nobody really knows what they’re doing or what they’re talking about. If you can get over the sheer terror of that thought, it’s actually quite liberating.”

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Shimer College AND Why I Am Teaching a Course Called “Wasting Time on the Internet”

Shimer College: the worst school in America?

This tiny, eccentric institution in Chicago was just voted the worst place to study in America. But does Shimer, which shuns lectures and has no societies or clubs, deserve such an accolade? Jon Ronson went there to investigate


Why I Am Teaching a Course Called “Wasting Time on the Internet”

“The idea for this class arose from my frustration with reading endless indictments of the Web for making us dumber. I’ve been feeling just the opposite. We’re reading and writing more than we have in a generation, but we are reading and writing differently—skimming, parsing, grazing, bookmarking, forwarding, retweeting, reblogging, and spamming language—in ways that aren’t yet recognized as literary.”

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Filed under college, consumer society, contrarian, creativity, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Dry Cough? Stuffed Nose? ICE CUBES TO THE RESCUE!

My son stumbled on this remedy on his own this afternoon… he was having some ice water to drink and happened to be sucking on an ice cube and his cough went from once ever minute to once every 5 minutes!!!! This is amazing! We’ll see how long it lasts!

Dry Cough:

Stuffed Nose:

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One American Dream is dead

“There might actually be two American dreams.

There’s the Mark Zuckerberg American dream, which is that anyone can start… Horatio Alger… You can start in your garage and shoot the moon. And I got the sense just from the interviews we did that people think that American dream is still very much alive and well; that that’s possible.

But what’s less possible is this other American dream, which was that if you worked hard and you got an education, that you’re going to get a job, that you’re going to get a house, that you will get married and get two kids, the “Leave it to Beaver” American dream.

And I think that is the American dream that people feel today is so challenged.”


(The original article/poll from the NYTimes:

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US ranks 26th in median wealth

This is the most shocking table of info I have pretty much ever seen!
US is 26th on median wealth! 26th! And it’s not one of these charts where the US and 20 other countries are almost tied.
“The verdict is in: The typical American is even poorer than his or her equivalent in Greece. The median Australian is four times wealthier. The Canadians are twice as wealthy. “

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Rewild Your Child

These 2 links are from an article in Sept 2014 OUTSIDE MAGAZINE:

“[P]erhaps the best answer I can give to the question of what price my children might pay is in the form of another question: What price do school-going children pay for their confinement? The physical toll is easy enough to quantify. Diabetes rates among school-age children are sky-high, and the percentage of 6-to-11-year-olds who qualify as obese has nearly tripled since 1980. And what do children do in school? Exactly. They sit.”

“Peter Gray … a Boston College psychology professor who wrote the 2013 book “Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life”, is unsparing in his criticism of compulsory education. “Children are forced to attend school, where they are stripped of most of their rights,” he says. “The debate shouldn’t be about whether school is prison, because unless you want to change the definition of prison, it is. School deliberately removes the environmental conditions that foster self-directed learning and natural curiosity. It’s like locking a child in a closet.”
“What kids need instead, Gray contends, is exploration and play without supervision. It is this that allows them to develop self-determination and confidence. If he’s right, current educational trends are not promising: in 2012, five states voted to increase the length of the school year by no less than 300 hours.”



“Perhaps the closest you can get to unschooling in a school setting, the Sudbury model of progressive education puts the students in charge of their own intellectual development. At the Sudbury Valley School, on ten rural acres in Massachusetts, students from four to 18 choose what they learn, and how. There are no teachers (adults function as role models and resources), tests, grades, classrooms, or application requirements, but there is a photo lab, sound-proof music studios, an internet room in a restored barn, the freedom to spend all day outside if they choose.”

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