Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The World is Open

Bob Collier found this. He's good at finding stuff like this and he puts lots of those findings at his website and on his facebook, which is where I found this one.

The World is Open

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the article about the book...

"The primary thing to realize is that it is informal learning which is skyrocketing. Informal learning has rarely had credits attached to it. The main words with this openness are opportunities, choice, flexibility, empowerment, and, ultimately, freedom to learn."

"We need to stop thinking about what is not possible and replace such thinking with ideas and optimism of what is now possible!"

"Keep in mind that your original question, in many ways, assumes formal learning goals. My friend, Jay Cross, argues in his 2007 book, Informal Learning: Rediscovering Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance, that perhaps 80 percent of learning is informal."

"Academics need to step back when thinking about the open learning world and reflect on all their learning experiences and activities. Yes, they went through primary and secondary school, college, graduate school, and perhaps postdoctoral study. Those extended formal learning experiences color our perceptions of any new form of education that arises. Today we have the potential for hundreds of millions, if not billions, of new learners who might not be seeking a formally accredited degree. They can play in a global educational sandbox with anyone at any time. In fact, the premise of my World Is Open book is that with the emergence of the Web, anyone can now learn anything from anyone else at any time."

Unschoolers have been saying this for years... that learning is everywhere, access to information is right there at your fingertips, literally. Schools are like this big giant slow moving beast, eating up everything in it's path, eating up people and pooping them out. I guess while inside this beast students are expected to learn everything they need to "succeed" in life, but the reality is that most people are destined for mediocre. Schools succeed in mediocrity because they meet the needs of the middle, the boring, the average.

WOW, a nation and world of boring mediocrity... and yet, there are still pioneers in life exploring the possibilities of alternate ways of living and learning! There is hope, even if it takes 20 yrs or more into the future to get beauracracy on board with what will then be the past. Schools are still in the 1950's textbook style, rote memorization form of learning. How well has that served anyone?

Reading articles such as this really reaffirm my belief in unschooling! Stepping outside the box and learning because of intrinsic motivation to do so, not because someone tells you that you need to. The desire to learn what you need to learn, to do what you need to do, without someone else telling you what that is... that's so freeing and world opening!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I really like Flight of the Chonchords right now and I'm watching them over and over when I get them from netflix.

Chamille is gearing up for Fright Town, and so am I.

Margaux is almost 8, and she's about to lose her first tooth.

John is focusing on his business.

I'm going to get a dummy head from the thrift store to take pictures of hats, they had styrofoam ones there last week.

Chamille is getting back into sewing and making clothing after a boyfriend diversion, even though he's still the boyfriend.

Margaux is really catching on to reading, she reads lots of things now.

John has been playing his big beautiful full sized keyboard that doesn't really belong to us, but that we are borrowing indefinitely.

I've been trying very hard to keep the kitchen clean, although I miss my friend Laura who made it easy to do the dishes while she chatted my ear off during her visit.

Chamille has been remaking stuffed animals and puppets, in her morbid way.

Margaux is online playing dressup games a lot lately.

John recently set up a Sponge Bob display in his office, mostly for Margaux's enjoyment.

All seems good with the world at our house. There is nothing huge to report. There is only life...

Monday, August 17, 2009

review of... Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love

I heard this interview thanks to Schuyler who pointed it out in a chat. After hearing the interview, I read the book. Just now when I tried to find the link for the radio program, I found this interview.

I'm curious what others think of these sorts of issues, so I read a large handful of the comments. I was surprised to find more than a few that shared the same thoughts as I had.

The interview had left me feeling like this mother hadn't really quite figured out what went wrong and how she could've prevented what happened. What happened was really horrible. I read the book, hoping it would delve into that aspect a bit more, but it didn't really. It ended with the mom regretting missing out on raising her 2 older daughters, and simultaneously proud of them for finally graduating from highschool and moving onward to fulfilling careers and motherhood.

The daughter that was gone the longest, lives on the other side of the US from her mother. It doesn't surprise me in the least. There was an irreconcilable divide that happened, in a large part because of the mother's inability to see outside of herself and to look deeply into her children.

I kept hoping for an answer, a real answer about how this family could have changed course, but it never came. It seems as if the mother still believes that the outcome couldn't have been prevented. It's terribly sad, almost more tragic than a mother's loss of teen daughters that ran away.

Every step this woman took was to exert control over her children, to get them to comply with her idea of what her family should look like and be like. All of it failed over and over again. She stopped seeing her children as they were and could only see them for what they were not. They were not compliant children who aspired to go to school and get good grades, they were bad children who misbehaved and didn't follow the rules.

Even if the mother couldn't see taking them out of school as an option, she could have done so much more for those girls than give them rules and try to make them comply. The girls sure saw not going to school as an option, and the very fact that their mother couldn't recognize that, shows a significant lack of understanding and communication on her part. I doubt very much that school or no school was the answer. Ditching school was more of a symptom of a larger problem, a problem that was created by the parents, their divorce, their move, their total lack of control over anything that was happening in their lives. School was just one more thing controlling them.

While I'm saddened by the loss of what they could have had, I also admire her kids for getting out there and doing what they wanted to do, despite the hardships they must have endured. To think that they all could have gotten what they wanted. The mom could have been sweeter and kinder and more adventerous, and the kids could have been able to explore the world in the way they needed to do and still have safety and comfort and home and a parent.

I'm still looking for decent mainstream parenting advice... I never seem to find any. I know I can do a google search on teens and ____________ (fill in the blank), and get advice after advice after advice, but it's almost entirely full of bad advice. And still people are surprised by life gone awry...