Monthly Archives: August 2013

A list of interests

One of the suggestions I love from Project-based Homeschooling is to keep a bulletin board nearby where you can post images, text, drawings and other ephemera that relate to your child’s interests– a way to keep them on that deep dive into a subject. As we gear up for the fall and prepare to rearrange the kitchen for project work, we are already thinking about how we can do this. But until the space is prepared I thought I’d jot down a few things that the kids are into so I might start collecting images and ideas to spur their imaginations.

D – Rube Goldberg  chain reactions. Building them and watching videos. Especially this one.
D – Cheetahs (after our trip to the Cape May Zoo)  We’ve been learning out how fast they can run.
D – Cars and car logos – He’s been doing photo-walks to collect the emblems he likes best.
D – Birds of prey – Snowy Owl and American Eagle (We watched together and I answered a barrage of questions throughout.)
D – Video games – He had the chance to play a snowmobile game at the arcade on vacation. Now his drawing have a course-like quality, with jumps and obstacles.
D – Skateboards and riding bike.

E – Monkeys – After her trip with Tia to the Philadelphia zoo and our trip to the Cape May Zoo, she has been pretty interested in monkeys.
E – Babies and social pretend play. She can spend hours with her dolls– acting as mom, but also working through all sorts of social situations with her “guys.”
E – Dressing herself. She changes constantly during the day. The PBH book recommends to loose fabric for kids to create their own costumes. It may be time for this.
E – Looking at pictures and videos of us. I need to refresh the digital picture frame.

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“You can’t say ‘You can’t play.'”

I just listened to Act 3 (46:54) of “The Cruelty of Children” on This American Life again. What stikes me the most is the paradigm, the culture, of how we think about children– that they are, by nature, little monsters.  Holt, Illich and Gatto also talk about this understand we have of childhood. We assume that children default to cruelty, bad behavior and meanness. We rarely question the environment that we create for them or our own behavior as a model for their capacity to be cruel. What this episode demonstrates so powerfully is that under the right conditions, children can feel relieved to leave behind any capacity to be mean to others– to excluded, to shun, to bully. One simple rule created a paradigm shift that effected these kids for years to come: You can’t say “You can’t play.”

Listen to Act 3 of The Cruelty of Children HERE.

In fact, one could argue, that our schooled lives foster a cultural attitude that constantly disconnects our actions from our goals. We go to school to prepare for life and work; we work to earn money so we don’t have to work.
….. How do we reconcile the prescribed nature of school with the vigor of youth? Kids want to build the world, and to make things awesome. How do we let them?

From a post on The Saxifrage School’s blog.

Wow, she can sing!


I was so excited to listen to this recording! Singing is the daughter of some friends of ours whose unschooled kids have been a huge inspiration to us in our decision to keep our kids out of school. Proof is in the pudding.

A Wilderness of Thought

A Wilderness of Thought – Childhood and the poetic imagination – an Orion article about children and poetry

Idea: We practice reading nightly before bed. The books we read are of the kids choosing. Might we start to allow one text of their choosing and one of ours? Might this be a way to introduce chapter books and poetry with more frequency?