Define freedom

“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.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/health/at-home-many-seniors-are-imprisoned-by-their-independence.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

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.

RELATED:
Two American Dreams. One is dead.
https://ehaugsjaa.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/one-american-dream-is-dead/

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The future is not worth wasting today

“When each nurturing act is administered with the distant future in mind, what becomes of the present?”

How to raise an adult(-child)
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/books/review/how-to-raise-an-adult-by-julie-lythcott-haims.html

“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?””

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Filed under kids are complete people, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, today

Interesting side-effects of dual income households

“It’s easy to impose severe limits on the mobility of your children when you are not personally expected to provide 24-hour supervision. When I was a kid, there were a lot of mothers at home who believed that being home with kids was important but did not actually personally enjoy playing with 4-year-olds. Those parents would have rebelled at being told that they should never let their kids out of hearing range. Those mothers are now at work, paying someone else to enjoy playing with their 4-year-old or at least convincingly fake it.”

Seven Reasons We Hate Free-Range Parenting
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-04-13/seven-reasons-we-hate-free-range-parenting
(Ignore the stupid title… the 7 points are actually describing the factors leading to the overprotective parenting culture that many would say predominates in 2015 in middle-class america)

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Important effects

Mere exposure effect
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mere-exposure_effect

Novelty effect
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novelty_effect

Shifting baseline
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shifting_baseline

Decision fatigue
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decision_fatigue

Observer effect
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect

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The risk of a checklisted childhood

“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.”

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What’s Your Teenager Doing This Summer? In Defense of ‘Nothing.’
By JULIE LYTHCOTT-HAIMS
http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/whats-your-teenager-doing-this-summer-in-defense-of-nothing/
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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….)

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Standardized testing in schools: How about health and exercise?

“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.”
http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/27/preschoolers-more-likely-to-sit-around-than-run-around-at-school/?_r=0

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.”
http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/children.html

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
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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.

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Filed under health, obesity, outdoors, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Exercise Prevents Dementia Study Shows Link Between Fitness And Cognitive Abilities

Exercise Prevents Dementia Study Shows Link Between Fitness And Cognitive Abilities
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/exercise-prevents-dementia-study_n_2622363.html

Enough said!

original study:
The Association Between Midlife Cardiorespiratory Fitness Levels and Later-Life Dementia: A Cohort Study
http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1567851

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