Category Archives: education

Children That Play Outside In All Weather Grow Up Resilient

It seems like an obvious statement, so why don’t kids play outside in challenging weather nearly as much as they used to? Why are schools keeping kids inside at recess when the temperature gets too cold? What kind of adult will this type of childhood experience create?

Most challenges, risks, and hurdles are swiftly removed from childhood in efforts to prevent anything bad from happening to the children that we love.

As Winter ebbs and flows, with temperatures ranging from minus 25 to plus 10 in the past few weeks, we’ve experienced a wonderful range of opportunities with the programs we run. Challenges and opportunities. From freezing weather with blustery winds, to rain and floods in the parks where we work, to massive snowstorms full of amazing forts and fun!

Imagine children that have grown up playing outside in all manner of challenging conditions, in all seasons of the year. Imagine how they’d be different than kids taught to come inside when it’s raining, or cold. Imagine how they’d be different from kids that find entertainment from the TV, computer or video games.

Kids who play outside in challenging weather are more positive, more creative, and more adaptable. They don’t let challenges stop them. They rise to challenges and find ways to carry on in spite of them. And that’s just their baseline. It’s nothing special to them. It’s normal.

It used to be normal for all kids.

Add mentors and role models with smiles on their faces, skills to keep everyone warm and happy(ish), challenging questions to keep children growing and children become even more incredible! Especially if parents, family, and community are all making these types of experiences a normal reality for their children, rather than preventing them from going outside in all weather.

Imagine children that have grown up playing outside in all manner of challenging conditions, in all seasons of the year. Imagine how they’d be different than kids taught to come inside when it’s raining, or cold.

Challenging weather creates real and perceived risks, and so risk creates opportunity for growth. Because risks teach. They have real consequences that ask us to be aware; aware of ourselves, others, and nature.

This type of risk is a rare opportunity for children today. Most challenges, risks, and hurdles are swiftly removed from childhood in efforts to prevent anything bad from happening to the kids we love. But this may be robbing children of life’s challenges and not preparing them for the realities of being an adult.

Kids don’t have to be positive, creative, or adaptable if there are no challenges. With no challenges, there are no consequences. What kind of adult will result from a childhood without challenges or consequences? Yikes is all I have to say.

The great thing is, it’s easy to switch this up.

One way is to just go outside. Go out in all conditions, and if you aren’t comfortable doing so, bring your kids to others that are. That’s community, and a “village raising a child”, so to speak.

Amazing things happen outside.


The Future Of Education Was Invented In 1906

Pascal-Emmanuel GobryPascal-Emmanuel Gobry

Wired has an excellent-yet-frustrating  on what they call “A Radical New Teaching Method” that is transforming . Of course, , there is nothing “new” about this teaching method: let kids figure things out on their own, and they’ll not only learn better, but be more passionate.storyeducationas the article itself says

The frustrating part of the story is precisely this: they try to connect age-old insights about education to, somehow, a story about techno-utopianism and the internet and technology transforming schools. The great part is the story of José Urbina López Primary School, a very underprivileged school in Mexico where an enterprising professor helped his pupils be among the best in the country by utilizing student-directed methods. This story is inspiring and even, at times, moving.

But here’s the thing: there is nothing new about it.

The piece makes a big deal out of Professor Sugata Mitra, who is famous for the “hole in the wall” experiment: leaving a computer out in an Indian slum for kids to try out, and discovering that the kids figured out how to use it and taught themselves things. I’m sure Mitra is working on cool things, but there is nothing new about the fact that kids will instruct themselves.

In fact, the future of education was invented in 1906. That’s the year Maria Montessori, who was the first female medical doctor in Italy, opened her revolutionary school. People who talk about Montessori education often talk about some of the specifics–no grades, child-size objects, students choose their own activities, the same set of materials in every classroom, etc. but that’s missing the point. Montessori education was so groundbreaking because it was the first (and, to my knowledge), scientificeducation method. By which I mean the following: every other education method is based on an abstract model of the child and then derives education methods from that. Maria Montessori, a doctor and a researcher, went the other way around: she experimented with methods and, based on the results, built up a theory of the child, which she then tested and refined through experiment.

Eric Hoffer- Before the Sabbath (1974), p. 40-41

The best education will not immunize a person against corruption by power. The best education does not automatically make people compassionate. We know this more clearly than any preceding generation. Our time has seen the best-educated society, situated in the heart of the most civilized part of the world, give birth to the most murderously vengeful government in history.

Forty years ago the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead thought it self-evident that you would get a good government if you took power out of the hands of the acquisitive and gave it to the learned and the cultivated. At present, a child in kindergarten knows better than that.

Education is Too Important Not to Leave to the Marketplace

This week, events around the country will highlight the importance of parental control of education as part of National School Choice Week. This year’s events should attract more attention than prior years because of the growing rebellion against centralized education sparked by the federal Common Core curriculum.

The movement against Common Core has the potential to change American education. However, anti-Common Core activists must not be misled by politicians promoting “reforms” of the federal education bureaucracy, or legislation ending Common Core while leaving all other federal education programs intact. The only way to protect American children from future Common Core-like programs is to permanently padlock the Department of Education.

Federal programs providing taxpayer funds to public schools give politicians and bureaucrats leverage to impose federal mandates on schools. So as long as federal education programs exist, school children will be used as guinea pigs for federal bureaucrats who think they are capable of creating a curriculum suitable for every child in the country.

Supporters of federal education mandates say they are necessary to hold schools “accountable.” Of course schools should be accountable, but accountable to whom?

Several studies, as well as common sense, show that greater parental control of education improves education quality. In contrast, bureaucratic control of education lowers education quality. Therefore, the key to improving education is to make schools accountable to parents, not bureaucrats.

The key to restoring parental control is giving parents control of the education dollar. If parents control the education dollar, school officials will strive to meet the parents’ demand that their children receive a quality education. If the federal government controls the education dollar, schools will bow to the demands of Congress and the Department of Education.

So if Congress was serious about improving education it would shut down the Department of Education. It would also shut down all other unconstitutional bureaucracies, end our interventionist foreign policy, and reform monetary policy so parents would have the resources to provide their children with an education that fits their children’s unique needs. Federal and state lawmakers must also repeal any laws that limit the education alternatives parents can choose for their children. The greater the options parents have and the greater the amount of control they exercise over education, the stronger the education system.

These reforms would allow more parents access to education options such as private or religious schools, and also homeschooling. It would also expand the already growing market in homeschooling curriculums. I know a great deal about the homeschooling curriculum market, as I have my own homeschooling curriculum. The Ron Paul Curriculum provides students with a rigorous program of study in history, economics, mathematics, and the physical and natural sciences. It also provides intensive writing instruction and an opportunity for students to operate their own Internet businesses. Of course, my curriculum provides students with an introduction to the ideas of liberty, including Austrian economics. However, we do not sacrifice education quality for ideological indoctrination.


Education Expert Says College Freshmen Read at Seventh-grade Level Government Education the Worst Money Can Buy

If you think that this dumbing down of people is an accident you might want to get some of the history of government/public education.
Written by  
Education Expert Says College Freshmen Read at Seventh-grade Level

Dr. Sandra L. Stotsky, professor emerita at the University of Arkansas, recently said that Renaissance Learning’s latest report revealed that a large number of college freshman are reading at a seventh-grade level.

Stotsky, who received her Ed. D. from Harvard, is a well-known and respected figure in the world of education. She served on the Common Core Validation Committee in 2009-10 and, along with colleague James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, refused to approve Common Core’s standards, which she called “inferior.”

In a recent interview with Breitbart Texas, Stotsky said:

We are spending billions of dollars trying to send students to college and maintain them there when, on average, they read at about the grade 6 or 7 level, according to Renaissance Learning’s latest report on what American students in grades 9-12 read, whether assigned or chosen.

Stotsky also pointed out that as a result of students reading on a lower level of difficulty and complexity in high school, colleges now assign a lower reading level of books as summer reading to incoming freshmen.

Stotsky expanded on her statement to Breitbart: “The average reading level for five of the top seven books assigned as summer reading by 341 colleges using Renaissance Learning’s readability formula was rated 7.56.”

A level of 7.56 reflects reading on a level of grade 7 at about the sixth-month mark.

Some of the statistics cited by Breitbart came from “How Colleges Are Dumbing Our Kids Down, Too, and What We Can Do About It,” an article written by Stotsky posted online by Pioneer Institute last November 3. In that article, Stotsky wrote:

It’s not just Common Core’s standards and the curriculum teachers are putting into place to address those standards that are dumbing our kids down. Our colleges are contributing in their own way to the problem by the books they assign incoming freshmen to read in the summer for their first “common experience.”

Stotsky continued by noting the reading levels of 53 of the most frequently mentioned titles listed in the NAS (National Association of Scholars) report, Beach Books 2013-2014: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class? The readability levels of 23 of the 53 titles were available, with an average ATOS book level of 6.8. (An ATOS [Advantage-TASA Open Standard] level on a book indicates how difficult the text is to read.) The highest ATOS book level found was 10.2 and the lowest ATOS book level found was 4.0 (fourth-grade reading level!).

As Stotsky summarized these findings:

Based on the information available, it seems that our colleges are not demanding a college-level reading experience for incoming freshmen….

However, our colleges can’t easily develop college-level reading skills if most students admitted to a post-secondary institution in this country read even high school-level textbooks with difficulty. Strong growth in reading starts in the elementary school.

Among the many recommendations Stotsky makes in her article, one stands out: “Require a college-level book as summer reading for newly admitted college freshmen and let the high schools from which their freshmen graduated know its title and reading level.”

Stotsky has an impressive resumé in the field of education, adding much credibility to her observations. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Arkansas in 2007, she was a research scholar in the School of Education at Northeastern University in Boston from 2004 to 2006. From 1984 to 2000, she was a research associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education affiliated with the Philosophy of Education Research Center (PERC). She served as editor of Research in the Teaching of English, the research journal sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English, from 1991-1997.