Category Archives: raising kids / parenting

What it’s like for our Sudbury School family

Family First and Peaceful Parenting

Our kids go to SVS.  What’s it’s like for our family is this (and forgive me if I’ve written this down before)… peaceful!  It’s peaceful.  Not that it is quiet… we tolerate a lot of “wild fun” around the house.  But there are things missing that I know are pretty common like homework battles (there is no HW, unless they choose it), getting-up-in-the-morning and get-to-the-bus-stop battles (there is no set time they have to be at school… just the 5 or 5.5 hours the state requires), no tears, none of this stuff.

It’s wonderful and amazing and priceless!

Off to Work!

What I also wanted to say was what it is like for me personally when the kids go off to school.  Frankly, it’s exactly the same as I felt when I was a kid and my parents went off to work.  Namely, they would go off and do their own thing for “a few” hours a day, they would later come back into the family fold, and we’d maybe hear a bit about their day at work, but maybe not, and that’s it!  It’s the same with the kids at school.  That’s their time to do exactly as they wish!  And we hear bits and pieces of it, but certainly not right when they get back.  They are usually physically exhausted, mentally exhausted, and/or starved, because they were too busy to eat!  So it’s usually “Hi, welcome home!” until they have recharged their batteries a bit back at the family cave.

Now granted, we try our darndest to do the same (give the kids complete freedom) around the house, but it’s not going to be quite like being independent at school for a few hours a day.  At home with Mom and Dad they are expecting a little help and parental care and we’re happy to oblige.

So that’s one of the really great things.

“There’s nothing more exciting than peace!” — Byron Katie 

I like that quote because it reminds me of a concept(and forgive me if this seems like a stretch) in technology standards and generally in technology/tools we use.  When there is “peace” (standards) at one level, it allows incredible creativity to bloom at a level up on the stack.  So in software, the standards of HTTP and HTML have allowed for the creativity of the web to happen.  In the home, the peaceful state we experience allows for the creative expression and development of all of us, especially our kids.

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Filed under creativity, raising kids / parenting, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, what is work

Woohoo! Yeah!

“Woohoo! Yeah!” (yelled at the top of his lungs)

This is my (newly) 8-year-old son’s reaction to his realization that tomorrow is Monday and there is school (Sudbury Valley School).

What joy this joy brings to his dad’s heart!

Not that he is always this totally pumped for school… he’s a home-body kinda kid, so “transition-time” can be difficult for him even, but he’s never particularly fussed once he gets in the mood and gathers his gear and projects he’s working on. And there’s never really been “Sunday-night-blues” (in anticipation of the coming week) to speak of with either of our kids.

But turning 8 means a few new “big kid” privileges and responsibilities at school, and he is excited and ready for them!

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Filed under journal, raising kids / parenting, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

A for effort. Can a growth mindset itself be developed?

Is teaching a growth mindset possible? (In other words, does a person think their intelligence/talents are fixed traits or that they can be developed?)

“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.” — Carol Dweck

Dweck thinks so. 10 minute TED talk below complete with brain scans.
(Or play at 1.25 or 1.5 speed! 🙂

In the face of difficulty: “I love a challenge”
“You know, I was hoping this would be informative”

The math video game she mentions I guess is this:
http://www.mindsetworks.com/webnav/pricing.aspx

Another way of looking at it is… maybe we are all born with a growth mindset, but many of our experiences can pull it out of us. So the idea should be to not so much teach it, as to not suck it out of people in the first place? Flip side of the same idea I guess.

So that’s why I think Sudbury Schools are approaching things in a reasonable way. Whereas I think most traditional schools are very risky in that it is quite likely that they will suck the growth mindset out. Some kids might make it through intact, but it’s a serious risk.

SEE ALSO:
Hal Sadofsky on which is the riskier approach — Sudbury or traditional school

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Filed under growth mindset, mentoring / apprenticeship, nature vs nurture, person: Carol Dweck, raising kids / parenting, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, talent vs skill, unconditional love, underestimating kids, video games

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

It doesn’t matter if your kids love you or not. It’s not their job to love you. It’s your job to love them.

On the character Greg’s line: “It doesn’t matter if your kids love you or not. It’s not their job to love you. It’s your job to love them.”

Cody: That became kind of a mantra for me at a point in my life. It came to me when I was off shooting a different movie a few years ago, and my eldest son was 1 [year old] and he was so angry with me when I would come home — he wouldn’t come to me for a hug. He was genuinely clearly resentful of the fact that I had been gone. And it was gut-wrenching for me because I was a new mom, and it was not what I had pictured my life as a working mother to be like.

And so I just had to think of a way to remind myself that it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t come to you. That’s not what this is about. This is about you loving him and making him feel secure, and not vice versa. So that got me through a hard time, and then I wound up just popping it into a script later on.

From an interview with Diablo Cody about her new film “Ricki And The Flash” with Meryl Streep
http://www.npr.org/2015/08/09/430345434/straight-from-diablo-codys-life-ricki-and-difficult-families

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Filed under raising kids / parenting, unconditional love