Monthly Archives: March 2015

Schools will probably eventually wither away. In the meantime…

“Schools will probably eventually wither away. In the meantime, for safety reasons and because the adult world is still so crabby about children, we’ve got to create environments in which kids can grow up. The only environment that makes sense now is one where we treat them the way we treat adults where we let them be free, where we let them pursue happiness and give them liberty, where we let them figure out what they want to do, what their life dream is at any given age, whether they’re 4 or 8 or 16, and where we treat them as equals.”
— Daniel Greenberg, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

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Filed under Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Choose *YOUR* type of success

“We’ve got one of the most ridiculous and paradoxical ideas at large in modern society – is this idea of work-life balance. In other words, you can be a success at work, and you can be a success at home with your family. … The bad news for listeners is that you can’t.” — ALAIN DE BOTTON
and click the audio link (not the video)

or transcript here:

“DE BOTTON: You know, there’s a problem because – well, you know, as anyone who’s ever tried to do anything well and wholeheartedly knows, there’s only so many hours in the day. So we have to make some choices. What do we want to be successful at, and as? Do we want to be a successful parent? Do we want to be successful financially or in terms of reputation, or in terms of changing the world or – you know, there are many, many criteria. And I think we’re not given enough of a guidance by our schools, families, the surrounding environment, at the idea that there’s going to have to be a choice around that word “successful.” So don’t get me wrong. I’m not against success. It’s very important to strive to be successful. But before you do that, I think it’s even more important to try and tighten up the definition of what success might be for you ’cause it’s unlikely to be something that will be, you know, a one-size-fits-all.”

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Filed under american dream, meaning of life, success, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, time, work-life balance

open badges (open source credentialing)

Sudbury Valley School has a system of certifications. Generally not age-based, simply based on showing you know how to do something and then given permission to use said thing (microwave, grand piano, certain computers, etc)

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Filed under certification / credentials, college, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Presence instead of praise

We’ve all heard a million times that things like
– “good job!”
– awards for everything… just for showing up basically
– graduation ceremonies for graduating from pre-school and elementary school
– helicopter parenting generally
are not constructive and can actually lead to narcissism. Or at least looking for more external praise and direction.

I had not heard it framed this way, which I liked:

“So, this year, I am vowing that I won’t let praise replace presence. Whether we are talking about her soccer game or the homemade music box she hopes to create, I want to tune into her stories, engaging her in conversations about the things that are important to her. Instead of responding with “That’s great!” I can ask her how she decided to create a homemade music box, and the materials she thinks are needed. When I remember to ask these questions, she always leans towards me, hungry to open up and share what’s inside her mind.”

seems like this wording “presence vs praise” came from this book

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Filed under exceptionalism, praise, talent vs skill

The problem of innate talent and competitive youth sports as a ticket


“[O]ver the years we’ve run into parents who really push their kids. They love their kids but they want to ensure that their kids are going to be successful. And they somehow get bought into, “sports is a ticket.” There’re studies that have shown that it’s very hard to try to predict athletic talent. There’s just a study done in Europe like with 4- or 5,000 tennis players and judo players at the junior level. And there wasn’t a very good correlation between being a junior-ranked player and being a senior-ranked player.”
– Only a Game on NPR
Dr. Dan Gould, the Director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University, spoke with Bill Littlefield about the implications of recruiting kids.

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Filed under exceptionalism, sports, sports and outdoors, talent vs skill

Do Nots for parents?

Do not make your children eat greens

Do not praise

*Do* love your kids unconditionally.

*Do* respect (more important than love?)
(Peter Gray, the author of this post also talks about the huge increase in narcissism and corresponding decrease in empathy that has been measured since the late 1970s LINK)

Why I’m Not Raising a ‘Good Girl’

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Filed under advice, contrarian, narcissism, person: Peter Gray, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Phineas and Ferb – Quantum Boogaloo (FF to 10:20) to see what happens to kids in the future

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Filed under Uncategorized

What Doesn’t Seem Like Work?

“If something that seems like work to other people doesn’t seem like work to you, that’s something you’re well suited for.” –Paul Graham

Sorta similar:
“When you do the work that others can’t possibly imagine doing, you set yourself apart.” –Seth Godin

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Filed under person: Paul Graham, person: seth godin, work

John Taylor Gatto: “What part of the resume [college applicaton] submitted do you look at first?”

The Princeton admissions guy: “Hobbies… it’s the only honest information you’re likely to get. How does someone spend their time when it’s their free choice to spend. It’s a window into their mind and their heart.” (at 51:40)


“What matters more than any academic pedigree is that your children pursue their passions outside the classroom.”
from: Does It Matter Which College Your Child Chooses? Probably Not

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Filed under college, hobbies, person: John Taylor Gatto, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School


“[W]e didn’t subject our most highly paid professionals [doctors, lawyers, etc] to international competition in the same way as manufacturing workers. In fact in some ways we increased their protection. This matters because the inequality resulting from globalization was by design, not an accidental outcome.”

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Filed under contrarian, globalization, person: Dean Baker