Category Archives: alternative education

Whatever you do, don’t go into debt for college

Excerpt from an interview with Ran Prieur at Boing Boing:
http://boingboing.net/2011/05/27/interview-ran-prieur.html
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Avi: What advice would you give to a smart kid in high school right now?

Ran: My first advice would be: Whatever you do, don’t go into debt for college. This is a point about college that some people don’t understand. And that is, the main thing you learn in college is how to think and act like an educated person.

If your parents both went to college, then they raised you, then you already know how to think and act like an educated person. You don’t need to go to college to learn that. If you come from a lower class family and your parents did not go to college, then college is much more beneficial to you.

People who’ve been to college and learn to think and act that way get a lot more respect in the dominant society. Just the way you say words, the way you carry yourself. So that’s a big benefit of college. You don’t necessarily have to pay tuition to do that. You could learn that by osmosis. Hanging out in a college campus.

When I was in high school, I was completely unmotivated. I did not know how to motivate myself at all. I was just going through the motions. So I went to college because college was the thing to do. It was a lot cheaper back then in the late 80’s when I went to college. My parents had some money saved up so I didn’t have to go on debt for college.

But, boy, I would not want to be a smart kid in high school right now because unless you’re tremendously good at self motivating, it can be hard for you to quit high school and not go to college and find something to do and not just crash and burn.

Maybe I would say go to community college to get your basic stuff out of the way or hang out at a college campus. If you could get a staff job at a college campus, then you can kind of get the college experience, and even take a few classes.

I don’t know. I would not want to be a kid in high school right now. The generation that is coming up now is going to have a really tough time. Be adaptable, that’s the advice I’d give.

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Filed under advice, alternative education, college, person: Ran Prieur, raising kids / parenting, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

The World is Fast

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/opinion/the-world-is-fast.html
“In sum, we’re in the middle of three “climate changes” at once: one digital, one ecological, one geo-economical.” Thomas Friedman

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Filed under alternative education, climate change, computers, future, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Sudbury Valley and Free Kids related links – 5/15/2014

When Adults Take Over Children’s Fun
http://www.freerangekids.com/when-adults-take-over-childrens-fun/

“Schoolification” of Sports (from the unschool subreddit)
http://www.reddit.com/r/unschool/comments/25evsw/schoolification_of_sports/

Interview with Hanna Rosin (news report video)
“The Overprotected Kid.”
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/parents-let-kids-take-risks/

A Useful Reminder: Louis C.K. Was Bad Before He Was Good
http://calnewport.com/blog/2014/02/26/a-useful-reminder-louis-c-k-was-bad-before-he-was-good/

“I could see that the experience of meeting her was confusing to many of them. They were at the conference in support of learning through play, but here was a young woman who really had learned through play—through true, self-directed play, without coercion—and they found it hard to believe. I wish Nina had been invited as one of the principal speakers.”
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201405/can-lego-help-return-play-children-s-lives-and-education

The (Mandatory) Science Fair….
“Parent1: You mean I get an A on his science project?”
http://hanaschank.blogspot.com/2014/05/stupid-shit-my-kids-do-in-school-vol-1.html

How to find the perfect job… from Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) http://www.lifebuzz.com/mike-rowe/

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

The post linked here talks about the types of fear we have in discussing change in schooling:
http://www.unschoolingnyc.com/2013/06/26/the-fear-factor/

The problem I have with this is that it I think we can do quite well by simply living by example. Yes, there is even fear in this. But it doesn’t need to go the next level and be a movement like “Occupy”. We can just choose alternative options for our kids — homeschooling, Sudbury or other democratic schools, Montessori, Waldorf, etc. Others will see this and it will gradually build.

The problem with this is… parents need real choice for school for their kids without the burden of worrying about $$/tuition. I don’t think vouchers will work, because there will always be strings attached for assessment/testing and many parents don’t want that. Better to head in the direction of more local control.

Maybe ideally it would be more like college in the US. Where most people pay mostly out of pocket, but there is need-based aid available.

That way, property taxes could go way down (since in many areas, half goes to the public schools), and people would be free to use that extra money saved on school. So it would be close to “tax neutral”. And people without kids would not be penalized.

I am sure I am over-simplifying because there are lots and lots of people who work in education–teachers, administrators, textbook writers, and on and on–and many will resist because it will impact their livelihood directly. That’s understandable.

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Filed under alternative education, homeschooling, local, school, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

The SVS Report: May 10, 2013

The school report according to my fired-up oldest after bursting in the door: “Tons of running! — newcomb, soccer, ultimate…”

What? No pickle or “capture”? Not today I guess. ;-) And we rode our bikes to and from today.

(I’ll report back on a rainy day when it is all inside play for comparison.)

And really, I have no idea what his day was really like. Except that he loves going to school. That’s what is important. The rest I trust will take care of itself.

And BTW, the reason it works I think:
1. People are naturally curious and have a innate desire to figure out the world and their place in it and what they want to do — day-to-day, next week, and when they “grow up”.
2. Schools don’t raise kids, families do.
3. His time at school is HIS time. No judgement.

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

Experiences of ADHD-Labeled Kids Who Switch from Conventional Schooling to Homeschooling or Unschooling

“My analysis of these stories suggests that (1) most ADHD-diagnosed kids do fine without drugs if they are not in a conventional school; (2) the ADHD characteristics don’t vanish when the kids leave conventional school, but the characteristics are no longer as big a problem as they were before; and (3) ADHD-diagnosed kids seem to do especially well when they are allowed to take charge of their own education.”

from:

Experiences of ADHD-Labeled Kids Who Switch from Conventional Schooling to Homeschooling or Unschooling

These kids and parents manage ADHD better without conventional schooling.
Published on September 9, 2010 by Peter Gray in Freedom to Learn

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Filed under ADHD, alternative education, homeschooling, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, unschooling

How to Run a Good School

How to Run a Good School? Well I think it’s suprisingly similar to How To Run a Good Conference**.

While Khan Academy talks about “flipping the classroom” (watch lectures at home, do homework in school… or collaborate on projects?), it’s still mostly going to be on topics that someone else picks. That’s interesting, but it’s still the curriculum model.

So that’s why the conference analogy is more compelling. There we have willing participants, choosing the topics THEY are interested in. What’s on the menu?

At some point someone other than advocates of Sudbury Schools might notice. I’m exaggerating, but perhaps not much!

(**from a 16-year-old Aaron Swartz in 2002)

Related:
Dave Winer, on rebooting conferences/bloggercon/unconferences (there are several other posts by him on the topic both newer and older)
– Flipping the classroom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip_teaching

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