Monday, April 28, 2014

Five Favorite TV Shows For the Sensitive Child

My son and I are both wimps when it comes to movies...and tv...and books. My husband is kind of sensitive too so we rarely watch anything that isn't a comedy. To be honest I think a lot of people, especially children, are more sensitive than we think we are. It doesn't even have to be a violent movie that leaves you shaky for hours. TV shows with a lot of noise, quickly changing scenes, or hyper characters can leave my children behaving the same way. Children also tend to be sensitive to themes of shows, which is why I try to avoid shows that have siblings that don't get along, or main characters that have a negative attitude towards school. It may seem a bit hyperbolic to do that (although studies have been shown that TV does lead directly to negative attitudes towards those things) but I really feel like I'm helping my children develop a set of ideas that their life will later reinforce.

So here are our favorite TV shows:

Kipper



The Hive



Little Bear



The Magic School Bus



Martha Speaks


and even though it brings me up to 6, I have to include this one too!



Let me know any of your favorites! All of these shows are available on Netflix or PBS. And thanks to MoxieWife for the linkup!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ruminating On The Joys of Freedom From School

I hear a lot of people say things like "How do you find time to homeschool? I could never get it together enough to manage coordinating that!" But lemme tell you.....

Elementary school almost killed me.

School times are not in any way shape or form based on work schedules and coordinating every body in the house waking, leaving, coming, and going to bed at different times wore me to the core. I am not organized in the least when it comes to time management and even as a stay at home mom I completely wilted under the stress of trying to manage elementary school life.
It is nothing like June Cleaver's days of everyone getting up, having a breakfast together, kids going off to school around 9, coming home in the early afternoon, playing before coming home for dinner at the same time as Dad, doing a bit of homework, and going to bed.

It was more like dragging a sleepy child up in the wee hours of the morning,
shoving her out the door so she can make her hour bus ride, then doing all the things teachers expect parents to do during the day (because apparently they aren't able to manage their time either and have children do their schoolwork during...you know...school), not to mention the constant requests to come in the help "supervise" classroom activities and parties (I'm shocked at how many "rewards" children are constantly given in school. Food based rewards. Nothing motivates Sit Still and Pay Attention like telling them they'll get skittles if you do!),
and then waiting for the bus since they have about an hour long window when they may arrive at your house and you HAVE to be there because even if you feel like your six year old is responsible enough to walk 100 yards home the school knows better
and then forcing your grumpy child to do her homework when she'd much rather be out playing since she's already been sitting inside missing out on the sunshine all day
but you know she has to do it now because when Dad comes home you'll eat and by the time you're done she will only have just enough time to take a bath and get into bed so that she's not literally melting into nothingness due to sleep deprivation.

Needless to say, I have a lot of respect for the vast majority of parents who do this. Every day. For years.

We lasted 3 months before I couldn't take it anymore. My child was in school all day but yet somehow the school had reached it's tentacles all the way into my house and strangled my own daily routines.

So what do we do now?


We play in a lot of gardens. Ours or other peoples.


We spend a lot of time taking care of our various pets


And try to meet up with Dad for lunch at least once a week


We can leisurely do our errands...


....and can enjoy painting from life rather than from a picture.


We play dress up


Sometimes as animals...


...and sometimes as nice gentlemen and ladies


We perform plays and make movies (this is a still from Lily's book report on Ramona Quimby Age 8, in which Lily made a commercial to sell the book, just like Ramona did)


And take lots of field trips


We enjoy silly things like playing with light and reflections


And only fall asleep when the house is still and quiet


So maybe homeschooling is a bit more about me than the kids. I am terrible at handling stressful days, I am terrible at forcing my children to do things, and I am terrible at doing things I don't want to do.
I melt into a pile of goo when you throw a bucket of stress on me. But hey, we all just have to do our best with what we have, right?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Making the Most of Your Zoo Trip for Preschool-1st Graders

Finally warm weather means it's zoo season!
Although it's never much fun to have to do "school stuff" when you just want to go somewhere and have fun. I get it. But it's almost impossible to talk to the children about what I want to discuss with them when we go to the zoo. They're too full of energy and excitement to be reflective about what they're seeing.

Luckily we have a zoo membership so we can take fun trips and purposeful trips, without having to attempt to make zoo trips both. 

We had been talking about animal adaptations and classifications, so we took along a little notebook to keep track of the different kinds of animals we saw. Were they mammals, insects, arachnids, birds, fish, reptiles, or amphibians:


This was easy enough that it didn't really distract from the pleasure of observing the animals but we still got into some interesting discussions about how we could decide which category some should go in: Are penguins fish or amphibians or birds? How do we know?
There is nothing more fun than seeing you kids answer an obvious question ("Of course they're a bird!) and then become shockingly silent when you follow it up with "how do you know?"
You watch them silently thinking and trying to figure it out: "how in the world do I know that?? Maybe it's not. Am I sure?"
Nothing like a little doubt to get the gears grinding.


Once we got home we created a chart showing the kinds of animals the zoo has.


We then listed some of the special adaptations animals in the zoo have....


And combined all of them into a new animal: A furry, pouched, clawed, beaked, horned, striped, six-legged...uh, thing. I'm not quite sure if it was given a name. But it did have a child.


Finally, we looked at the adaptations our invented animal had and tried to guess what kind of environment it would live in. Has fur? Must be snowy. Has a beak and claws? Probably climbs and lives in trees.


None of this was the least bit "schooly" for my children and in fact they had a lot of fun coming up with their new animal and its habitat.

Happy schooling!

St. Patricks Day Homeschool Projects

Yes, St. Patrick's Day was two weeks ago. But I've had my moms birthday present sitting in my garage since August and still haven't sent out all of my Christmas cards so realistically I'm doing pretty well posting this within two weeks.

We are not Irish in any way, shape, or form. If I had to make up our family ancestry it'd be more like
1/4 Peruvian
1/4 German
1/2 British (note, this is different than simply "English")
Yep, no Irish

But St. Paddy's Day is a big day for us. Well, for me and the children it is. I think it's mostly because I love the color green, mostly because I love a good potato, and mostly because I love Irish literature. Mostly.
So every St. Patrick's Day we have our beer pot-roast, Irish soda bread, and boiled potatoes with a lovely chocolate stout cake (recipes here), and fill the day with activities, stories, and movies about dear Ireland.


The children and I cut out various heart shapes and glued them together to make four leaf clovers. Some we punch holes through and wrapped pipe cleaners through. I put them in a vase to make a faux clover bouquet. The rest we gave away to residents at my grandma's retirement community.


We also did one of the coolest experiments I've ever seen. I was absolutely floored by this. Most experiments we do are either anti-climatic or don't work as promised but this did both!


We started with three jars full of water. In one we put red food coloring, another yellow, and another blue. You know, the primary colors. Then we took a sheet of bounty paper towel, folded it, and put one end in the red water. Then we took an empty glass and folded the other end into it. We repeated with the blue and yellow, and continued until we had a circle of alternating water filled and empty jars with paper towels connecting each. (See full, and better, instructions here)


Then guess what happened?!? The colored water literally CLIMBED up the paper towel and filled up the empty jar. Because there were two colors going into each jar the colors would blend and we ended up with a full color wheel of colored water.


It took an entire day for all the water to finish but it was still really amazing to water.
I'm not sure how "Irish" rainbows are but it was still a fun experiments to complete. I don't know what experiment would be more Irish except for cooking a baby (Swift anyone?) but...yeah we're not doing that.

So we ate
did a craft
did an experiment

and finished our day with that wonderful classic, The Secret of Roan Inish



We've got to get Jimmy!!

Hope you have as wonderful of a day as we did!




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

8 Steps to Creating a Climate of Learning

If there is one thing I hear from other parents about homeschooling, it's always, "there's no way I could do that. I'm just not together enough for it."

Good news! Almost no one else is either!

Homeschooling accomplished well can be very organized, precise, and run like clockwork. 
Or you can create a climate of learning and just let your children have at it!

So what do I mean by a climate of learning? I don't mean to fill your home with expensive toys from The Knowledge Store or DiscoveryKids, although there is certainly nothing wrong with toys from either of those places. 
I think I can best explain it by repeating something people always tell parents in church. "You can't expect your children to want to read the Bible if they never see you doing it."

All about engineering. Just like Daddy.

In short, it's about being a model to your children of what a life full of constant learning looks like. Creating a climate of learning is about creating a home that is full of exploration. The kind of home that doesn't take "I don't know" for a final answer. The kind of home that is full of "make it yourself" rather than "lets go buy it." The kind of home where ever member is eager and excited to share what they know with each other.
  • Share your job with your children. There is nothing more fascinating to them than where Mommy or Daddy goes everyday. Your job doesn't have to be interesting to you to expose a new kind of worldview to them. If you work as a janitor, explain to them how different kinds of chemicals work best on different kinds of surfaces (ahhh chemistry). If you're a teacher, talk about how children, like them, learn, what's going on in their brains as they develop, what it's like being a mom to so many other children. If you're an engineer, or even just work in the factory, show the kids where you work, what you do all day. Our kids love engineering because of their dad and watch hours and hours worth of How It's Made, as well as pretend they're factory workers. Childhood is the time when things like bagging groceries at the store seems like a worthy career choice, so take advantage of it!
  • Don't just stop at your job, share your life with them. I often see far too many people in families living almost completely separate lives. Of course, you don't have to be the complete opposite and be together all the time. Simply share what is going on in your life. You'd be surprised at how far talking to your kids how you accomplished your raise, not simply buying them stuff with your new larger paycheck, will go at helping them build a successful life for themselves. Please don't limit your conversation to all complaints about your day though. There are a million different things we see around us everyday that pass through our minds. Things children would be delighted to hear. Like how the sun looked purple when you went to work (I wonder why it does that?) Or summarizing something interesting you read. When I see articles that I think my daughter would enjoy, or cute cat pictures, I make a point to save them so I can share them with her later. Not only does it enhance my own pleasure at seeing those things through her point of view but it creates a connection between the two of us.
  • Bring home something interesting. I love watching Dick Van Dyke and every evening when "Rob" comes home he has something in his pocket for his son. It's almost just something small, like a rubber band, that he picked up during the day. Children are marvelous at treasuring the small delights in life (until we kill it off in them with our lavish present giving traditions...ugh) and it is amazing what they can come up with using the most commonplace things. My husband regularly brings home "toys" for the kids...in the form of discarded shock parts from work, bumper stickers no one wanted, pennies from his pocket. My Dad used to give me his extra pennies every day when he came home and they went right into my savings jar. When I was 8 we rolled up all those pennies and I had 18 dollars to open a savings account with. Yes, that is 1800 pennies. Lesson about saving the small things: absorbed!

Shock parts. All over our house.
  • Be an example. Let children see you try to figure out something. Let them see you engrossed in a book. Let them listen to you hum along to music. Those kinds of things often seem fruitless but when children grow and begin to form habits that will last for the rest of their lives, those kinds of examples suddenly reappear. I never used to be a morning person but I knew my parents got up early even on the weekends. They would talk about the pleasure of seeing the sun rise. About how much work they got done in the quiet morning hours. As an adult, I've grown to love mornings for all those reasons they always said. Same thing with classical music. I used to listen indifferently as my Dad played it. Now, I play it during the day for myself. Childhood is the best time for creating those little examples of what adult life should be like.
  • Allow boredom. When the kids are bored I don't stop what I'm doing to entertain them. I don't turn on the T.V. I don't give they a snack. They grumble, I ignore, and they come up with some of the most ingenious games I've ever seen children play. There is nothing like boredom to really get the brain flowing. But part 2 of getting creativity flowing is....
  • Get out of their way. After the boredom bug has passed and some brilliant idea has popped into their head, I can't stand there and say "no, don't do that," "don't make a mess," "don't you have something better to do?" I have to stand back and watch as, like they did this morning, they dig through the recycling bin and begin cutting and gluing and coloring until they had their very own robots. Robots that required imagination to work yes, but they were still adorable, used creativity, and strategic thinking about how a real robot that did a given task might have to look. None of which would've happened if I had placed something to do in front of them, whether it's a movie, a book, or a chore. Sometimes the best thing you can do to help learning is to just leave your children alone.
  • Sometimes, they just need to do it on their own. My oldest child is getting to the point where hand walking her through things is more detrimental than helpful. She can learn by herself and often does better by herself than with me guiding her. Almost all children will reach this stage, some earlier than others, and the goal is to allow them to constantly be testing their abilities. At a young age it may be as simple as telling them to figure out how they should sort their laundry or the best way to add two figures. As they get older it can advance to having them fix their car themselves instead of taking it in or researching on their own the best way to approach a job interview. Children need guidance to lean on but the freedom to stand on their own. Nothing creates learning faster than necessity. One of my favorite parts of going to the Air Force Museum is seeing how different aircraft from WWI to WWII are. Necessity spurs learning.
  • And finally, create some family interests. It can be educational, like you all enjoy star-gazing and so you buy a telescope and start checking out stare charts and take vacations to desolate areas. Or it could be sporty, like biking together. Or it could be community based, like volunteering regularly together. Or it could be something couch based, like all getting together to watch a show. Really anything, as long as it's something that you all can enjoy together. It doesn't have to necessarily be something you would choose to do on your own, but creating a communal interest in your home not only helps your children learn to work in a group setting, but it also helps them to learn to see passion in other people, to take advantage of strengths and weaknesses in each family member, to learn to love something because it makes those around you happy. All of which are valuable lessons to be learned.

Not every child is home schooled. Not every parent has a lot of free time. But as people always say, learning starts in the home, and to be honest, I don't think it ever really leaves the home. The home is the place where children develop interests, learn the most important things in life like how to love, how to care for, and how to balance a checkbook, and home is the place where children develop the habits that will last the rest of their life. Take advantage of this. Share your life with each other.

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
-Deuteronomy 11:19

Monday, December 9, 2013

Play Learning

If there is one struggle with homeschooling it is ensuring that you are actually teaching your children something while still maintaining the peace in your home. Unlike teachers in school you can't tell the children to suck it up and then send them home with their sour attitudes. And maintaining peace is hard when there are lots of days when you're just not feeling...you know....doing stuff.

I read an article, which for the life of me I cannot find now, about a school that has children write up a play plan and then stick to that playing for an hour. They are not allowed to stop playing that particular thing for an hour, although if they'd like to go longer that's ok. The point is that focused playing helps children learn and then retain their learning much better than traditional learning.

I've been trying to incorporate this into some of my schooling. Things like history and languages, which don't have concrete examples to demonstrate to children like say math or science does, or the interest level of reading a story, are perfect for play learning. We have some playmobil toys which look particularly German and so there is a rule that when they are played with they must speak in German, or with a German accent. Since we're still in a very primary stage of German I hear a lot of "Guten morgen! Let's go get the sheep schwester!" Our Lalaloopsy dolls only speak french and the fairies speak spanish. Although we haven't been doing this for very long I've already noticed a difference in how willing my children are to speak other languages. Before they seemed to be shy and embarrassed, but playing affords them the freedom to perhaps make mistakes and to just be silly and enjoy it. I encourage them to even think about their toys in terms of the other languages. There is no fairy with the blue dress, it is the fairy with the azul dress. The Lalaloopsy dolls love saying c'est bien! and are generally frivolous and silly little things, even the boys.

Today we were talking about the Pont du Gard and other aquaducts. I told them they needed to build a village and somehow get water from the "lake" to the village. They used hotwheel tracks to create an aquaduct and even made a storage container for it, and a dam to hold flood water back. But then I told them a drought came, so they tore down the dam to purposefully help the land flood to bring back moisture and nutrients.

This is the lake and aquaduct

Because Industrialization was occurring a train bridge ran over the aquaduct


And then it finally rained. So I threw water at the kids. To say they thought it was funny is a bit of an understatement.
Unfortunately it didn't rain soon enough for the horse and fish. They died.


The possibilities are endless for play learning. If there is one thing I've learned about how my children learn it is that I need to get out of the way. I'm there more for guidance and loose direction than telling them what to do and what to learn. Creating a climate of learning is so easy and the children just really seem to take it from there.

Speaking of playing and learning have you guys subscribed to Bedtime math? You should!

Friday, November 22, 2013

How History Convinced Me to Homeschool

It's no secret that schools in the United States are not what they used to be. As with most things, no one can agree on exactly why that is. Theories range from smart women now going into more high profile careers rather than teaching to kids today are unmotivated slackers. The general thought seems to be to throw more money and hope the problem fixes itself, and while I do believe there are many good ways to "revamp" the schooling system, when it comes to making your own family choices, waiting for a school revolution to occur seems a bit like a lost cause.

The more I've learned about history the more I've noticed glaring differences between the way we've historically schooled and the way we are today. Of course, things change for a reason. Penelope Trunk makes a great point when she points out that labor laws for minors forced the government to establish mandatory education, because what else were people supposed to do with their children all day if the children weren't allowed to work in factories alongside their parents? However, that doesn't necessarily mean that mandatory and public education is necessary anymore, especially during a time when more and more parents are working from home. As Trunk points out, "Today's New York Times makes it so clear that the United States education system was our way of getting kids out of factories. Everything in this country is set up assuming that parents have no idea what to do with their kids. We're now six generations past the parents who put their kids into factories. None of us could ever imagine doing that now. And most of us have a lot of good ideas about what to do with family time."
Her point is well put. If there are historic reasons why we do or don't do things, then why can't we change again to match where we currently are in history?


  • Kids aren't meant to be grouped by age. For most of schooling history in the United States children were all grouped together based on proximity rather than age. When every one has to walk to school, it's unlikely that you'll get a whole classroom full of six year olds. Rather, all ages are working together simultaneously. Not only is this helpful for socialization, giving older children responsibility and younger people role models, but it also fosters learning, since children are rarely "fifth grade level" or "fourth grade level" in ever single subject. In the American Girl Doll series, Kirsten, who is a Swedish immigrant, learns with the younger children because she doesn't speak English. But does that mean she is forced to sit in a classroom with younger children or is relegated to a secluded classroom so someone can work with her alone? Nope, she just pays attention when it comes to learning to read. I get to see this daily in my own house. My son is 3 and is beginning to read and write and can do some basic addition. He can't do these things because he's in some special montessori school, or because I work with him all day. He can do it because his sister is constantly sharing her knowledge. In the book How Children Succeed author Paul Tough notes that one of the most effective ways for children to retain knowledge is having them "teach" it to someone else. But how are you going to do that when you're in a group where you're all supposed to be on the same level?

  • Children are learning too much too soon. There is an episode of Dick Van Dyke where Rob and Laura's son Richie is thought to be exceptionally intelligent because he knows how to read basic words like "and" and "the." He's six years old. Today, a first grader who doesn't know how to read will be sorely behind. The problem isn't that children are forced to learn things that are too difficult, but rather that the expectations for the sheer bulk of knowledge is too great. Children need more time to play because play, more than any other thing, teaches children. While American schools are moving towards more integrated learning, the intense focus on reading and math basics leave little room for any play based learning. In the old British schooling system most children did not attend school until at least age 8, and those that could afford it would homeschool longer before packing their  children off. They understood that children need more time to be children. In many cases, too much too soon actually breaks your brain. As Jay Griffins wrote in The Guardian: "In 1960, Denmark (with Japan) had the world's highest suicide rate. Sweden's rate was almost as high, but what of Norway? Right at the bottom. Hendin was intrigued, particularly since the received wisdom was that Denmark, Sweden and Norway shared a similar culture. What could possibly account for such a dramatic difference? After years of research, he concluded that reasons were established in childhood. In Denmark and Sweden, children were brought up with regimentation, while in Norway they were free to roam. In Denmark and Sweden, children were pressured to achieve career goals until many felt they were failures, while in Norway they were left alone more, not so much instructed but rather simply allowed to watch and participate in their own time. Instead of a sense of failure, Norwegian children grew up with a sense of self-reliance."

  • Learning isn't integrated enough. With common core curriculum children practice and practice and practice the fundamentals of reading and math, the thinking being that without mastery of these basic skills all other learning is compromised. However, when we look at many of the great thinkers, their biography's rarely read that they mastered phonics and addition at a young age. Rather, they had PASSION for a subject, and mastered it because they enjoyed it. I jokingly talked the other day about how I've read too many novels where children read things like Homer and so it gave me unrealistic expectations for my children. What I meant wasn't that my children couldn't enjoy Homer. In fact, my daughter and I read Antigone earlier this year, which she loved. Rather, that I had assumed in my basic mastery thinking that a child reading Homer must mean said child had high comprehension levels, a large vocabularly, could sound out large words, etc. I've learned that none of these things were true. Children a long time ago did not read things like Homer or Pilgrims Progress because they could understand every little plot twist, but because the beautiful language captivated them and moved them to continue exploring these great works. This is how learning works. You have interests and learn basics through your interest.
Maybe phonetic learning has something to do with people not enjoying reading
  • There is a bad cultural attitude around school. One of the biggest reasons why we decided to homeschool rather than switch school systems or try a private school is because of the attitudes around school today. It is a joke, every one knows it is a joke, and there is little reason for children to treat it any different. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had a lack luster school performance because I wasn't challenged enough. I don't say that to mean that I'm some genius, in fact I think most children aren't challenged enough. I know that doesn't seem to make sense when so many kids are performing so badly in school but this is my logic. In elementary years when children complete a task early, they sit and wait. They poke the child next to them. Maybe day dream. There is no stimulation. They hear parents complain about school, they hear teachers complain about school, they hear their older siblings complain about school. As they progress in their school career the lack of self-exploration and stimulation combined with a consistently bad attitude around school creates a blase, apathetic, and at worst antagonistic attitude towards school. It combines the worst attitudes of "this is too easy it isn't worth my time" and "this is too hard and no one is helping me so why should I care" to create an entire attitude of "school sucks." You can hear this in how parents talk about school too. "This homework is ridiculously hard, I can't even do it!" "Why do I even send you to school since you don't learn anything!" "I can't believe you didn't do well on that paper, I think it's great!" In many of the school systems Americans admire, like Sweden's, Japan's, Norway's, everybody knows that school is serious, and it is treated as serious rather than the frivolous thing to be gotten through that it is here.

There's this great episode in Louie where Louie is at a parent-teacher meeting and all of the parents and teachers are trying to brainstorm ways to help the children learn and Louis goes "Yeah, but there's really only so much we can do because...you know, it's school." Everyone just stares at him. "Don't you remember when you're little...you know, school sucks." This is exactly why I have little hope for schools drastically changing anytime soon because ultimately people think it's school, school sucks. The culture has to change before public schools can do much good.

  • Life should not be so rushed. It's a fact that the least stressed people are the happiest, and it's is also a fact that our children today are more stressed than they've ever been. If you think about the modern school day children get up and are off to school by 8, come home around 4, have an hour or two before dinner to do homework or extra curricular activities, dinner, then an hour of free time before bed. At most, children have 2 hours a day which are their own, to do what they want. But often those hours and weekend hours are taken up with after school activities. Where is the time for family? Where is the time to cultivate interests? Where is the time to just sit? It's not surprising children spend so much of their free time watching TV...it helps them to decompress after a long day.

  • Green space= more knowledge. Remember those old TV shows from like the 50's showing children playing outside all the time? Modern studies have shown that all of that outdoor time helped children learn and retain their knowledge from school. So much so that some are starting to say that limited access to green space is one of the "learning disadvantages" inner city children have....along with lack of nutrition and poverty and unstable families. Not only do children have limited exposure to the outdoors while they're in school, but often after school activities and homework leave little to no time for children to have unplanned free time. The APA recommends against things like video games because they produce a sedentary lifestyle, but what is more sedentary than sitting at a desk for 7 hours a day? This is obviously directly related to the epidemic of childhood medication. If you wonder how people used to get their children to behave so well in school or church it probably had more to do with the fact that children had more time to get their energy out than rigid disciplinary techniques.
  • Open access to information should make it easy for every one to homeschool. In the past rich people had tutors. They had access to information and informed people. Today, there is absolutely no reason why the vast majority of Americans should not live as the rich used to. The internet has become the great tutoring tool, and many academic minds are consistently available to share information, whether they be found in a museum, a zoo, or a university. Information is free in a way it never was before, except for the very wealthy. 


  • Children learn better from their parents than from teachers. Ok, that's not always necessarily true. But any teacher will tell you that the biggest difference between successful children and unsuccessful children is the amount of parental involvement with homework. Yet, studies have shown that homework has little academic benefit. So what then is making children learn more? Parents. That is because the kinds of things that help children learn aren't tests or special methods, it's character building traits like discipline, patience, and resilience. The kinds of things children don't learn from teachers but do learn from their families. Historically speaking schools did teach these values but with the modern P.C. culture and parents no longer being ok with teachers acting as...well, parents....character building is sorely lacking in children. And that's a problem, not because Christian values in our culture are deteriorating or something but because character building traits are how people learn. People with them who have access to education will go far, people without wont, as simple as that. 


As always, I don't think that everything was better in the glorious past. I'm not romanticizing the history that was, for many children, full of hard work. But the kinds of things that are time tested ways that humans succeed are often undermine by new ideas based on made-in-a-bubble research. It's almost as if we've taken out the foundational aspects of learning and left only the superfluous structures. I feel like most of the great lessons of our age is realizing that many of our modern improvements are actually hurting us, whether it's organic food or the over-dependence on pharmacudicals and schooling is no different. There is always room for new innovative thought, but it should not come at the expense of thousands of years of human thought and tradition. When your new ideas don't work it's not because people aren't applying them correctly, it's because there is something wrong with your idea. As people like to say, Evolution > modern culture. So where then do we go? I think a good start is to rethink a lot of things that we feel are immovables. Things I've talked about here, like mandatory education, starting children as early as possible, having teachers work as babysitters rather than instructors. Until then, families are going to continue moving out of the schooling system. And we're one of them.