Nice quote

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." Neil Gaimon

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Contemplative thoughts, fall beauty, deep breaths in the late afternoon

My gorgeous late afternoon view after I raked the front yard and then sat on the ground in the backyard thinking and breathing in the fresh fall air. Friday October 23, 2015

There is quiet beauty somewhere near you. If it's hard to find, close your eyes and imagine some. Look at art, listen to music. Breathe a little more deeply, a little more slowly, and you'll be better for yourself and for those around you.

From Sandra Dodd's Just Add Light and Stir email list:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A couple of great movies starring Aamir Khan

3 Idiots and Like Stars on Earth are two movies I loved that starred Indian actor Aamir Khan. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did!

Rotten Tomatoes page for 3 Idiots: 

Rotten Tomatoes site for Like Stars on Earth:

IMDB page for 3 Idiots:

IMBD page for Like Stars on Earth: 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Homeschooling Family Fundraiser (Bowling in Brunswick on March 27th from 6-8, $10 including shoes and unlimited bowling)

Reposting to share the event - Laurie

Jenn Carsoni is a homeschooling mom. She helps run  Midcoast Maine Homeschooling Co-op in Bath. Approximately two weeks ago the house she was renting burnt down. The family lost everything! Thankfully everyone made it out okay.           

March 27th from 6-8pm we will be having a bowling fundraiser for the Casoni's at Yankee Bowling Lanes in Brunswick.  Its 10$ per bowler and shoes and unlimited bowling is included in that time.


Here is link to the facebook event for this fundraiser:

Please share! 


Link to Gofundme site if you are able to donate:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Real life connections

I saw a post on the Unschooling New Hampshire Facebook group that was a good example of a person making a meaningful connection. I loved how it came about in such a natural and fun way. That is how learning happens. In this case, there was curiosity, questions, discussion, play and connections were made. Pretty cool! 

With permission from Tom/Jody Courtney, here is the post. (from 1/16/2015)

Just have to share a little smile (actually a big one) from our day. Today our 12 yos wanted to look something up on the globe. We started looking at the continents, hemispheres, etc.Then he asked about the numbers. So we talked about longitude and latitude and coordinates. He seemed a bit bored -I tend to love explaining lol. Well, I was just watching him play his Minecraft, when he got excited about finding the exact center of his world on his map. Wow!! Coordinates!! What perfect timing!! He got to see the very thing we were discussing for himself!! Soooo cool!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Article by Alfie Kohn to do with principles, assessments and intrinsic motivation

Cara Barlow shared this article on the Unschooling NH facebook page.  

Here are some of my favorite parts of the article. 
Regarding example 1 which was to do with math: 

 Some were taught the underlying principle ("The goal of a problem like this is to find ..."), while others were given step-by-step instructions 

...the principle-based approach was much better at helping them transfer their knowledge to a slightly different kind of problem

Direct instruction of a technique for getting the right answer produced shallow learning.

But why not do both? What if students were taught the procedure and the principle? 

Regardless of the order in which these two kinds of instruction were presented, students who were taught both ways didn't do any better on the transfer problems than did those who were taught only the procedure—which means they did far worse than students who were taught only the principle. Teaching for understanding didn't offset the destructive effects of telling them how to get the answer. Any step-by-step instruction in how to solve such problems put learners at a disadvantage; the absence of such instruction was required for them to understand.

Here are the things that stood out to me in example 2 which was to do with how assessments (grades vs narrative comments or both):

....students were subsequently less successful at the tasks, and also reported less interest in those tasks, if they received a grade rather than narrative feedback.

Grades almost always have a detrimental effect on how well students learn and how interested they are in the topic they're learning.

....the negative effects of grading, on both performance and interest, were not mitigated by the addition of a comment. 

....the students' performance was highest with comments, lower with grades, and lowest of all with both.

....the more traditional practice not only didn't help, but actually wiped out the positive effects of the alternative strategy.

And this also stood out - 

"Our original goals were to control student behavior and build community, but along the way we learned that these are conflicting goals." Only when the "doing to" is gone can the "working with" really begin to make some headway.

This section below I found especially worthy. Why? Because it can be difficult for some parents to trust that their child will read if and when they are interested and motivated and when they have their own intrinsic reasons for doing so. 

It seems prevalent in our culture for parents to sign their kids up for some kind of reward program to earn points, a bike, pizza, or or ice cream. 

There are even programs that encourage kid to read to dogs. The animals may like the attention. And maybe kids without pets might like reading to one. However, there are other authentic ways of helping one's child to enjoy the experience of being around dogs rather than pretending that it is somehow worthy or beneficial to read to someone else's pet. 

Kids are smart enough to realize that pets don't understand the plot and it is simply a ploy to get them to read. Tricking kids into reading seems condescending, disrespectful and untrusting.When kids realize that their parents, teachers and other adults believe incentives and/or rewards are required for a person to read, they may think that reading must be drudgery. Plus, if their parents, teachers and other adults don't trust them to read for the sake of reading itself, how can they trust themselves? 

In addition, a lack of trust in one area can undermine the confidence one has in other areas, especially where learning is involved.  For example, if a person feels they must have specific instruction or do specific things in order to learn something, they may believe that they must follow a certain order to learn in other areas too. If they believe they must be bribed to read, then they might believe they must be bribed to calculate, help others, write, take books out of the library, participate in physical activities, create art, etc.  

It is SO much better to help kids do what they are interested in, help them explore what they'd like and introduce them to things you think they would enjoy (respect it if they aren't interested!) and trust that they are continuing to build on what they already know just like they will be doing for the rest of their lives. People WANT to learn. Humans like to learn what they are interested in. If we are bribed, then we think whatever we are being bribed about must suck. 

Don't take away a young person's possible love of reading by bribing them! Some people will love to read and some will learn in other ways. We all learn differently and each of us have individual ways that we learn best. Don't spoil a child's love of reading by making it seem like it stinks! Because it is so wonderful for many people in oh-so-many ways!!!

Or consider a teacher who does all the right things to help kids love reading: surrounds them with good books and offers plenty of time to read them; gives kids choices about what to read and how to respond to what they've read; teaches them to read from the beginning through rich stories and other authentic material, with a focus on meaning rather than just on decoding skills. Sometimes, however, those ingredients of literacy are soured by the simultaneous use of reading incentives—either home-grown schemes or slick prefabricated programs (bought with precious book-acquisition funds)—that lead children to regard reading as a tedious prerequisite to receiving points and prizes. It's hard to treat kids like budding bibliophiles when they're also being treated like pets.

One of psychology's most robust findings is that extrinsic motivation (doing something in order to receive a reward or avoid a punishment) is completely different from—and often inversely related to—intrinsic motivation (doing something for its own sake). The more we offer rewards to "motivate" people, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward.

Some behaviorists have tried to challenge the growing evidence supporting that contention, but the latest major research review—see Psychological Bulletin, vol. 125 (1999): 627-68—dispels any lingering doubt about a finding that has by now held up across genders, ages, cultures, settings, and tasks: Two kinds of motivation simply are not better than one. Rather, one (extrinsic) is corrosive of the other (intrinsic)—and intrinsic is the one that counts. To make a difference, therefore, we have to subtract grades, not just add a narrative report. We have to eliminate incentives, not just promote literacy. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"An apple seed will never grow into an oak tree."

Sharing this with permission from Karen James who writes oh so eloquently! (Because understanding this is so integral to unschooling!)- Laurie

"An apple seed will never grown into an oak tree." Sandra Dodd said this yesterday in one of her talks at the Always Learning symposium in Maine.

It's a line that stood out for me because my son suggested something similar to me one night several years ago when he and I were reading stories and chatting in bed. I think Ethan was five. At the time he was very interested in rocks and minerals and the table of elements. I was telling him that he could be a geologist or a chemist when he grew up. He listened. He'd heard this kind of grand predictive thinking from me before. I was fond of telling him who he could be when he grew up, based on the interests he had at the time. After a pause, he said to me "But what if I don't want to be anything big?"I gave myself some time to let what Ethan said to me sink in before I realized what I was doing. I was not looking at and encouraging who Ethan was in the moment. Rather, I was looking off into the unknown future trying to fit Ethan to a model I was forming in my head. My predictions were making him feel uncomfortable and unsure. He was asking me to be with him in the present, to share his excitement for his interests now, and to leave the future to the future because my version of it might not be where he was meant to go.

An apple seed will never grow into an oak tree. An acorn will never grow into a tree that bears fruit. Knowing that, the most prudent thing we can do as parents is to do our very best to nurture the seed we have at every stage of growth it sees. Like Sandra said, we can stunt it's growth, break it, or damage it beyond repair by trying to make it into something it's not or failing to protect what it is at all the stages along the path of it's growth. Or we can choose to encourage and safeguard the beautiful seed we have been given from seed to seedling to full grown tree, offering it everything it needs to grow into the best version of itself it can be. - Karen James (fall 2014)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ronnie Maier's post about whether unschooling works and how it leads to great relationships

Katherine Kate Anderson shared Ronnie Sundance Maier's status update.
September 6 at 2:00pm

Ronnie Sundance Maier
Bear with me while I attempt to articulate something intangible. People ask sometimes whether unschooling "works." They want to know if it it provides an education equivalent to public school. The answer ranges from "of course" to "hell no, and that's why we do it" to "beats the hell outta me" (because most of us who do it simply don't care as long as our kids are happy and successful by their own definition of the word). But what is perfectly clear now that my unschoolers are grown is that it builds excellent relationships, not only between parent and child but between parents and all the people our children bring into our lives. Eventually even the friends who have been schooled and traditionally (or wretchedly) parented--the ones who interact with us at first with great caution and restraint--come to realize that we are more interested in *them* than in their ability to "measure up" or conform or achieve in any way beyond what they choose for themselves. They begin to trust in our interest and our (relative) lack of judgment. We become contemporaries instead of adversaries, and we have FUN. And then they know they can come to us if/when they need help. I don't say this to sound smug or special: What we do for these *people* is not particularly difficult and doesn't stem from any particular talent. It shouldn't *seem* particularly special. But, yes, it WORKS. We have friends of all ages, and our kids have friends of all ages, and we can count on each other for fun, and to listen. It works. ‪#‎unschoolingmoments‬ ‪#‎100unschooldays‬