Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Sins of Forced Education

Psychology Today has a blog called Freedom to Learn which is pretty interesting to me. I've linked a post before, and now I'm linking again -- this time to Seven Sins of Our Forced Education System. Like I said in my other post, this is no surprise to me and I think most, if not all of the items, were brought up by John Holt in his book, How Children Fail (this link actually gives you a preview of many of the pages). I loved that book, which I could find my copy of it and all the stuff I underlined. Alas, I cannot, but at least I did some posts early on this blog which quoted some of my favorite passages.

Back to the Seven Sins -- I strongly agree with his second premise:

2. Fostering of shame, on the one hand, and hubris, on the other.
It is not easy to force people to do what they do not want to do....Children are made to feel ashamed if they perform worse than their peers and pride if they perform better....Those made to feel excessive pride from the shallow accomplishments that earn them A's and honors may become arrogant, disdainful of the common lot who don't do so well on tests; disdainful, therefore, of democratic values and processes (and this may be the worst effect of all).

 While I agree that what happens to those who don't measure up is terrible, what happens to those who do is not much better. I think tracking can be useful, but it's not without it's downside. I wonder if some of these successful students don't internalize the constant competition and become somewhat fearful that they will find someone better, smarter, or more accomplished. To look at others as a constant source of competition strikes me as a barrier to healthy relationships. But I'm no pyschologist.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Teaching Ourselves to Read

I admit I don't find this article very interesting because it has been my experience. My response is more like, "yeah, so?" than, "wow, are you serious?"

My oldest started reading somewhere between ages 3 and 4, I think. My attempts to use a reading program (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) did not go well. The first few lessons were fine, then she got bored and I got impatient. The CD case of ABBA Gold seemed to provide her more help than reading instruction. I would play that CD in the car, Suzanne asked to look at the case and I'd hand it back.

My youngest started reading around the age of 7. Unlike her sister, she was not a big fan of being read to. However, she started writing earlier than her sister did, so she was working on her own things, at her own pace.

It's nice to have them both reading now. Now go educate yourselves, kids, and let me know when you need me.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence

I fell down the rabbit hole again. While writing my last post to share a link for preschool resources, I wandered across this link. It has extensive listings and I don't always trust the Federal government when it comes to education, but there might be something useful in there, so I'm posting the link here.

Ed Pubs Resources for Preschoolers

The Helping Your Child series were not designed with homeschoolers in mind, I'm sure, but they are free publications available from the Federal government. They are now available as pdf files, but when my kids were little, I ordered printed copies of the books. They may be useful in their suggested activities and worth a look.

If I recall correctly, I found the Helping Your Preschooler and Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics most useful.