The ADHD Personality: A Normal and Valuable Human Variation
For good evolutionary reasons, some people are highly impulsive
by Peter Gray on Aug 19, 2010 in Freedom to Learn
Is the Common Core killing kindergarten? – The Boston Globe
I guess you know the answer…
No brainer. 2 main points in the article 1) drilling shows nothing if kids aren’t developmentally ready 2) People are different. And any benefits fade quickly for those who ARE ready, and the negatives DO NOT fade for those who are not (shown in studies both in reading and math)
I would add: 3) school in general ends up being at least 90% extrinsically motivated learning, because people are all different and interested in a HUGE range of different things AND at different times. So to expect someone to be interested in the same topic at the same time at the same pace, etc. it difficult. If school were not compulsory, ok, but it’s not.
Anyway, my kids have been going to Sudbury Valley School since they were 4 where all of this is moot, thank goodness, because it’s just left to the kids themselves, with the staff and other adults in their lives to support them as they desire. http://sudval.org/
My kids are each very different from each other. One has a dyslexic brain (one of the 5% or so) and it has been frustrating the heck out of him that reading hasn’t just clicked like it has for most of his friends, cousins, etc. So he has been absolutely loving going to an amazing, enthusiastic reading tutor on the side who has been helping with his decoding skills. His choice. But to imagine this in a non-age-mixed, compulsory school setting is difficult.
– Peter Gray: How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development. Academic skills are best learned when a person wants them and needs them.
– “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities… It is neurobiological in origin, meaning that the problem is located physically in the brain. Dyslexia is not caused by poverty, developmental delay, speech or hearing impairments, or learning a second language, although those conditions may put a child more at risk for developing a reading disability.” http://www.ldonline.org/article/14907/
“When each nurturing act is administered with the distant future in mind, what becomes of the present?”
How to raise an adult(-child)
“Haims has identified overparenting as a trap. But once you escape the trap, the goal remains the same: to mold your offspring into thriving adults. Whether a child is learning to ride a bike or doing his own laundry, he is still viewed through the limited binary lens of either triumphant or fumbling adulthood. The looming question is not “Is my child happy?” but “Is my child a future president poised to save the environment, or a future stoner poised to watch his fifth episode of ‘House of Cards’ in a row?””
“During a decade as Stanford University’s dean of freshmen I knew a large number of college students who had lived fully scheduled lives year-round as children and who, as young adults, couldn’t really tell you why they’d done most of it. Yes, they’d been trying to get into the “right” college. But having done that, they were stuck in perpetual “now what?” mode, hoping someone else would answer that question for them.”
“… Isn’t this summer the perfect time for your teenager to kick around doing nothing? If not now, when? … But doing “nothing” isn’t nothing.”
What’s Your Teenager Doing This Summer? In Defense of ‘Nothing.’
By JULIE LYTHCOTT-HAIMS
MY COMMENT: As Julie writes, summer can be a great start. Then try a Sudbury school. Students at Sudbury schools get to figure this stuff out year-round, not just during the summer. And not just teenagers. 4-year-olds too! It’s pretty exciting to experience a 4-year old busting out, wanting their freedom for a few hours a day. (Here I write about my then 4-year-old transitioning to SVS from his neighborhood day care which he also loved… but….)
“Over all, the accelerometer data showed that the children were sedentary during about 70 percent of their day… . On average, only about 48 minutes in a child’s day — about 12 percent of the time he or she spent in child care — were set aside for active play time… Compared to the recommended 120 minutes per day of physically active time for children at this age, the average of 48 minutes per day during which children had even the opportunity for active play is “considerably suboptimal,” the researchers wrote.”
And this is for pre-schoolers. I am sure it is even worse for older kids in school. So why don’t traditional schools get a bit more nuts on testing the aerobic capacity, flexibility, strength, agility, etc. of the kids?
Even the CDC says: “Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day. Aerobic activity should make up most of your child’s 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day.”
My son regularly says:
“I was outside running around ALL DAY at school today” at Sudbury Valley School http://sudval.org
And I believe it. My two boys regularly come home from school sweaty and with a fine layer of dirt covering their entire body with tales of complicated collaborative games that they’ve been playing. Right now basketball is pretty popular. Followed by nukem and 4-square. But I’ve been hearing a lot about handball, ultimate, pickle, and a three-team tag/capture-the-flag sort of game someone came up with called Frank. I haven’t really been able to sort out what that’s all about.
Sidebar: Important tips when your kids got to a Sudbury School
Fall/Spring: Stock up on sunscreen and band-aids. Your kid might be riding a bike at age 4 or 3.5. It’s worth paying for good bikes (and helmets of course). Start with 12″, then 16″ (still ok to be kick-brakes), then 20″ (this should be a 6 speed with had brakes), then 24″. Trek or specialized seem like the way to go. craigslist is great. Buy 2 if necessary to avoid having to bring the bike to and from school everyday if you don’t want the hassle. “Iron Knee” jeans from Lands End really do seem to hold up needing little knee-patching and they also sell “slim” sizes.
Cold winters: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” Buy extra pairs of waterproof gloves and mittens. You might need to alternate days when 1 pair is still drying out or a pair is “lost” at school. A boot-dryer is invaluable and knowing the trick of drying-out shoes with newspaper. 2 pairs of smartwool socks can help. Polyester fleece pants. The sturdiest sleds seem to be the foam ones. Most of the hard plastic ones seem to break too quickly compared to the ones I used as a kid. For younger kids: figure out what is easiest jacket for zipping-up themselves without having to ask a staff member.
“But at Cliffs there was so much room to spread out, so many empty peaks breaking off to the west of the main takeoff—or, if you kept an eye out, perhaps on an inside shelf that had quietly started to work—that I felt free to pursue my explorations of the margins. Nobody bothered me. Nobody vibed me. It was the opposite of my life at school.”
Actually, that sounds like Sudbury Valley School http://sudval.org/
There’s a book about how 10,000 hours is a rough estimate of how many hours it takes to get good at something (Outliers). Well how about getting good at being you? What is better than that?
So let’s say you go to a Sudbury School starting at Pre-K through 12th grade. Well, there are no grades at Sudbury Schools — it’s completely age-mixed — but you get the idea… that’s 14 years.
So let’s assume a low-end of say 5 hours a day in school (that’s where the “900 learning hours” at many public schools comes from. 900 = 180 days * 5 hrs)
So that is 14 years * 180 days/yr * 5 hrs/day = 12,600 hours
That’s right, you’ve got an extra 12,600 hours to be yourself as a kid when you go to a Sudbury School. Wow.
2 childhoods for the price of 1? Priceless.