I’ve written about this before surely, kids are in school for 5 to 5.5 hours each day over 180 days (MA has 900/990 learning time laws for public school) so that is 14 years * ~950 = 13,300 hours(!) for Pre-K through 12th grade.
Right now (still? I think this has been off-and-on for a long time) our 8 year old is OBSESSED with drawing animals, dragons, etc. and crafting “creations” out of popsicle sticks and a glue gun. Oh, and pottery. Luckily since he goes to Sudbury Valley School, so he has all the time he needs.
I really don’t see how he would have time to do all of this very serious thinking and doing if he was having to do and think about what OTHER people wanted him to — both in school and homework time. (In fact, maybe my 13,000 hour estimate is low?)
What a gift to be free for 10,000 hours.
— Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
— New Study Destroys Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule “Johansson argues that deliberate practice is only a predictor of success in fields that have super stable structures. For example, in tennis, chess, and classical music, the rules never change, so you can study up to become the best. But in less stable fields, like entrepreneurship and rock and roll, rules can go out the window…”
“Remaining at home, however difficult or isolating that becomes, gives older people a sense of control that may prove illusory, Ms. Murray said. “They feel like they have their freedom even though they don’t, really.”
This is a complaint of mine in general… I think sometimes people think that (for instance) their cars make them free. But I’ve personally never felt freer than when living in Geneva, Switzerland for 3 years *without* a car. It’s a small city and it has an amazing (to me!) public transportation system with trams and buses (with dedicated lanes) that run like clockwork.
Anyway, same idea. I think in many cases the idea of the American Dream is quite illusory and is holding us back.
Two American Dreams. One is dead.
Seth Godin writes:
What will you do next?
What can you learn tomorrow?
Where will you live, who will you connect with, who will you trust?
Are questions better than answers? Maybe it’s easier to get a dummies book, a tweet or a checklist than it is to think hard about what’s next…
It’s certainly easier to go shopping. And easier still to buy what everyone else is buying.
We live in an extraordinary moment, with countless degrees of freedom. The instant and effortless connection to a billion people changes everything, but instead, we’re paralyzed with fear, a fear so widespread that you might not even notice it.
We have more choices, more options and more resources than any generation, ever.
And I am not talking about choosing which item of dozens on the grocery store shelf or Consumer Reports review. Though that is a problem too. (All correct answers: Whatever is cheapest, most expensive, second cheapest, or weighs least.)
What I mean is… in general.
With great freedom comes the possibility of great existential angst. It’s the flip-side of the exciting possibilities.
One can do anything. Live anywhere. Youtube. Online degrees. Work from home.
Having limited or no options is no good either of course, so I think we are left with learning how to deal with this increasingly common reality. Kids have to confront this at school, and I think SVS is good because it embraces this, but I think it more comes from a culture in the family.
Related: It’s dangerous to go to college far away because you might meet a spouse and then guess what, your parents/families will probably be far apart and that’s a HUGE pain.
Stuck in Place
Pulling a geographic
Welcome to the Failure Age
“We are a strange species, at once risk-averse and thrill-seeking, terrified of failure but eager for new adventure.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/magazine/welcome-to-the-failure-age.html
Two quotes about people reconnecting with what they like to do by thinking about what they liked to do when they were kids and PLAYED!
“Try to remember the way you saw the world when you were a little kid, and practice it. This will help with the guilt, since kids never feel guilty about playing, and it will also keep you from getting too spiritually stagnant.”
— Ran Prieur
“So one of the things I wanted to do [after stopping work at google] was think about what I liked to do when I was little and to do more of that. I had heard somewhere from someone that that’s a good way to figure out what you like and what you are good at. So, I spent more time doing things that I liked to do a long time ago.”
— Ellen Huerta Interview: Why I Left Google
The World Happiness Report — a UN analysis of average happiness of countries — has an item that is one of maybe 7 factors they use to gauge overall (average) happiness:
“Freedom to make life choices” is the national average of responses to the question “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”
Guess what? The US doesn’t do all that well on that measure. So much for Land of the Free. I suspect it is because we think things like cars and single family homes in suburbia are desirable things. But it actually feels freer to live WITHOUT a car in an area with access to great public transportation, health care, etc. There’s probably a psychological or sociological term for this but it’s not coming to me right now.
This was a great note from Mountain Laurel Sudbury School. But it’s in Facebook, so I include it here so it doesn’t get lost…
IT’S NOT ABOUT ALTERNATIVE
October 3, 2013 at 4:03pm
We try very hard to make sure we’re clear about our model. That it isn’t about a rigid dogma, but about trusting children with responsible freedom. Yet, for all our talk, some prospective parents will only hear what they want to hear. That we’re alternative. That if we’re alternative, we must subscribe to a certain set of alternative beliefs and practices.
Yes, in a place where there is freedom, all walks of life will be welcome. This will include people who would be considered alternative. But it does not guarantee it.
So, these potential parents will become quite distraught the first time they see something that doesn’t fit within their own particular alternative ideology. When a kid eats processed food. When there’s screen time. When the students don’t all have to do the same thing together. And we’re left explaining, yet again, that Sudbury schools don’t police students’ actions like that.
It’s not about being alternative. It’s about being free.
ORIGINAL WAS HERE: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mountain-laurel-sudbury-school/its-not-about-alternative/584913244878917
These recent articles make me think of Sudbury Valley School and I apologize if this has been written about before, but…
How Coffee[houses] Caused the Enlightenment — Steven Johnson
Social Networking in the 1600s
1. article: “Engineering Serendipity”
e.g. Yahoo wanting employees to work at the office so they can mingle around the watercooler
2. article: GROUPTHINK The brainstorming myth. BY JONAH LEHRER
“Building 20 [at MIT] … ranks as one of the most creative environments of all time, a space with an almost uncanny ability to extract the best from people. Among M.I.T. people, it was referred to as “the magical incubator.””
(See also the design of private offices and huge lunch tables at offices like Fog Creek Software)
3. The discussion of three levels of learning/interest: “curious probing” vs “entertainment style” vs “unstoppable mastery learning” from “Do People Learn from Courses?” in the book: The Sudbury Valley School Experience, pages 90-99
Chapter: “The loneliness of the Information-Age Learner” from book: “Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept” especially pages 221-225
–information-age exposure enabling ever-widening possibilities for discussions
–interests being pursued on 2 levels: “local” level (at school) and “world-class expertise” where students with a passion need to begin to connect with other experts in their narrow area of interest (as any one does…)
4. The discussion of the breakdown of communities where children can interact freely, with the benefit of the presence of capable adults — roughly around page 133 in the book “Reflection on the Sudbury School Concept” (1999)
The problem with twitter is that it isn’t more like facebook.
And the problem with facebook is that it isn’t more like twitter.
And the problem with wordpress is that it isn’t more like facebook and twitter.
By which I mean:
Facebook is annoying because:
– images are big now and everyone has figured out that the clever way to advertise their website is to put a clever saying in an image which is now huge and I have to scroll like mad now to read anything. I mean, I am guilty of sharing these sometimes, but will resist now I think. I usually hide article previews too.
– It’s not open
Twitter is annoying because:
– It’s a river (vs folders like is an option in RSS reader) so you can’t easily do things like group feeds, click to read one person (or one cluster) when you want to, etc. I know you can click (TWICE!) to read more from a person, but come on!
– It’s suggesting celebs to subscribe to. Uh, no.
– I pretty much totally hate URL compressor things since I can’t tell if I am interested cause the website name is hidden
– I am sorry but I am not conversing with you there
– hashtags are ugly and painful and useless unless it is a niche.
– It’s not open
WordPress is annoying because:
– It’s slow
– It doesn’t do nice/automatic previews of articles when you paste them in
– It’s slow
– All my friends aren’t there
– I can’t easily protect posts by friendship
– Might bring some open way of doing things like all of the above but in an open “internet standards” sort of way.
– simpler but also maybe more modular/programmable
— examples of tiny evidence of hope:
—– Dave Winer’s littleoutliner.com (see http://scripting.com/) is a sign (I hope) of things to come.
—– flickr.com API and APIs in general
—– bootstrap, and responsive design / HTML5
—– some google tools (books, forms) seem hopeful, but I won’t count on them now that I see that Google just close things down (ala Google Reader)