Monthly Archives: April 2015


AGILE is a process used in software development. It works with software. It works with kids and families.

Family meeting once a week.
Write it down. Make daily checklists

The 3 questions for family meeting (focusing on the family, not individuals):
1. What’s working well in our family this week?
2. What’s not working well?
3. What can we focus on in the week ahead?

To me, this relates to the more general ideas that:
1. Kids are fully people.
2. People are happier in communities where there is direct democracy. Like Switzerland and Sudbury Schools.

Leave a comment

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


Happiness in democratic schools and… Switzerland


ABSTRACT. An econometric analysis of a happiness function, based on a survey of 6,000 persons in Switzerland, indicates that:
(1) the more developed the institutions of direct democracy, the happier the individuals are;
(2) people derive procedural utility from the possibility of participating in the direct democratic process over and above a more favorable political outcome;
(3) the unemployed are much less happy than the employed, independent of income;
(4) higher income is associated with higher levels of happiness.

Leave a comment

Filed under direct democracy, happiness, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Inside the world’s best kindergarten

Sorry, I’m not talking about Fuji Kindergarten

I’m talking about Sudbury Valley School.

Except it’s not just a kindergarten. It’s also a pre-school, elementary school, middle school, junior high and high school.

Sudbury Valley School does an even better job at this! All ages 4-19, more wild nature, no classes for “the boy in the corner” to run away from (as the TED presenter put it.) Etc.

I think it’s actually kinda sad… the jokes the TED presenter makes about feeding the animals (kids) who are lined up behind the railings like they are in an animal cage. Because really, they sorta are. It looks a lot like a stereotypical prison yard depending on how you look at it. Looks to me like there is a lot of herding kids going on there. And the poor kids… all trying to play on the limited (not really climbable) trees. Better than no trees… but still.

I know, I know… we are ALL just rats in a cage you could say. But it’d be interesting to see what a full day is like here, rather than a few photos. I should look for a video.

And I realize the school appears to be in an urban area (Tokyo?) so it’s not like it’s particularly easy to magically have huge open fields, a pond, a stream, big swingsets, a basketball court, etc. like SVS. But I still bet there are probably urban schools that are even more free. That’s my main beef I guess.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

This week at the NYTIMES

Evidence that modern traditional-school parents are insane:

Editorial reviewing how modern parents are insane:

How students who opt out of standardized testing are punished:

Abysmal performance in high school and on SAT’s doesn’t predict poor performance in college:

Leave a comment

Filed under Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Negative attitudes about school

I’ve started a “Negative attitudes about school” youtube playlist. If you know of any videos to add to my list, let me know!

This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of how my kids feel about school. But that’s because they go to . Instead they are:
1. Happy when school starts in September.
2. Sad when it stops in June.
3. A bit bummed when there is a snow day.

Sure they enjoy a fun dumping of snow every now and then, but generally they really like going to school because they get to do their own thing for 5 or 6 hours without their parents bugging them. Not that we bug them much at home, but kids like to do their own thing. Even 4-year-olds!

“Orange you glad first grade is over?” Cause ‘ya know… school sucks.


Leave a comment

Filed under contrarian, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

artificial food coloring

Lots of artificial food coloring that is used regularly in the US is banned in Europe. That’s lame.


In the U.S.
Kellogg’s Strawberry Nutrigrain bars are colored with Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1

In the U.K.
Kellogg’s Strawberry NutriGrain bars are colored with beet root, annatto and paprika extract

In the U.S.
McDonald’s Strawberry Sundaes are colored with Red #40

In the U.K.
McDonald’s Strawberry Sundaes are colored with… (wait for it!) strawberries

Leave a comment

Filed under food

We learn to think by thinking…

“We learn to think by thinking. We think even as small children, amazingly, without the help of algebra or art history. What happens is that people stop kids from thinking by telling them the truth and failing to have conversations with them that might challenge their beliefs or force them to defend their ideas. We learn to think through intellectual engagement and intellectual combat, not through indoctrination.”
— Roger Schank

Leave a comment

Filed under contrarian, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Kids are people. They are good at mindfulness…

Kids are people. They are good at mindfulness like meditation and The Work

Leave a comment

Filed under kids are complete people, meditation, The Work (Byron Katie)

SO BRAVE: decision-making using anecdotes vs data

“So to avoid bravery debate framing, here is a table showing the tradeoffs.” (for decision-making using anecdotes vs data)

Leave a comment

Filed under anecdotes vs data, contrarian, thinking