Talk Early, Talk Often

What can you as a parent do to help your children develop their language skills? Workbooks? Flash cards? No, my advice is much simpler. Talk to them. Talk early. Talk often. Talk about all the interesting aspects of your life together. My fans may remember the 30 million word research. Today, I discovered an extensive… Continue reading Talk Early, Talk Often

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No Such Thing As Free School

Remember the saying? There's no such thing as a free lunch? This is true for all "free" goods provided by the government. First off, obviously, taxpayers cover the costs. Second, government is seldom or never the most efficient provider of services. But most importantly, "free" school (the topic of this article) comes packaged with a… Continue reading No Such Thing As Free School

To Suppress Natural Curiosity – Or Not?

"My 5 year old son keeps asking to do more math, and I have to keep explaining to him that school is over, and it's summer vacation now!" Sorry, but you're doing home education wrong. Anytime anyone, of any age, expresses an interest in math, I'm happy to oblige. Home education requires very little "formal… Continue reading To Suppress Natural Curiosity – Or Not?

Makework Expands To Fill Time

Why are school lessons so bad? Perhaps we overlook the most crucial of reasons, discovered by Parkinson: work expands to fill time. Compulsory attendance laws mandate that children attend to something for ever-increasing parts of their lives, under the direction of professional educators, at ever-increasing cost. It simply wouldn't do to pay these educators to… Continue reading Makework Expands To Fill Time

Freedom Zone Confronts City Council

"Let's bring this meeting to order," said the Mayor. "Order, please." He banged the gavel. Quiet emerged in the packed City Council Chambers. Cameras flashed. "All right, to begin, this is a highly informal meeting, at the request of a group which calls themselves the Freedom Zone. This group, and the area where they reside,… Continue reading Freedom Zone Confronts City Council

Shan Gao, Huangdi Yuan

Some folks believe that we can't possibly have liberty unless we somehow push a button and make all governments vanish. But why limit our imagination to those stifled and over-governed experiences which most of us in "developed" countries have inured ourselves? Of the seven billion people on this earth, perhaps five billion live in places… Continue reading Shan Gao, Huangdi Yuan

A Little Calculation

Can I have a few seconds? Researchers have been videotaping classes, taking notes, making an estimate of how much time children are actually receiving instruction, as opposed to walking, listening to announcements, handing in or receiving papers, and so forth; it comes to 90 minutes of actual instruction per school day. But even that tally… Continue reading A Little Calculation

Why Am I Not Perfect?

Why am I not perfect? Short answer: because I am a human being - same as everybody else. Why am I not as good a cook as Judy? Because she "failed her way to success." I admire her wondrous spread of exotic cuisine, and she doesn't tell me about the hundreds of disasters, big and… Continue reading Why Am I Not Perfect?

Unteaching

I chat frequently with many young folks, sometimes over a span of several years. I do almost nothing to "improve" their writing; I just write as well as I can, for that format and that audience. When a "creative" spelling appears, I will simply use the same word with the correct spelling, in a natural… Continue reading Unteaching

Failing To Success

Can you fail your way to success? Yes. I was reading an article, Giving Good Praise about how to motivate people to work harder to improve their skills, instead of assuming that they "just aren't smart enough," which included this (lightly edited for capitalization) passage: Failure in small doses is good. [...] Advocates of game-based… Continue reading Failing To Success