Saturday, July 29, 2006
'School' by Dr Wysong
So anyway, what with home educating Kyle and stuff I tend to look for a lot of articles regarding that area. Found this one today, I hope you enjoy it
'School' by Dr Wysong
Traditional school coursework does not usually make smarter or better people. Everyone needs the basic three R skills, but to a young person detail beyond that is pretty much a waste of student’s and teacher’s time as well as tax dollars. School serves as a convenient babysitter and helps to socialize children, but history, economics, physics and algebra minutia doesn’t do much more than superficially acquaint kids with some terms.
Learning that is important to living comes primarily from what is experienced. For example, love and concern from a teacher, fear of a bully and infatuation for a classmate all create indelible lessons remembered for a lifetime. On the other hand, the only lesson most kids take away after learning the Pythagorean Theorem and the date of the battle of Gettysburg is that learning isn’t fun and is a waste of time.
The sooner a person can get out of school, the better the chances for useful learning. Personal initiative, individual study, successes, mistakes, fear and pride out in the real world are the best teachers. These two volumes encapsulate the issues we face in real life and have taken me ______chapters and almost a thousand pages to cover in abbreviated form. The fact that essentially none of this material is covered in formal schooling is a testament to the failure of modern education.
Without sufficient life experience (which creates little hooks in the mind to which details can attach), or a specific need to apply information, learning just by rote goes into short-term memory (long enough to pass a test) and is then essentially lost. As mental calisthenics coursework is fine. As training for life it is woefully inadequate. Children are taught how to read (barely) but they are left unable to distinguish what is worth reading. It teaches about things, not reasons. It gives the false idea that life is scripted such that if specific do’s and don’ts are followed--papers are written and tests aced--that success will surely follow.
If in doubt about the utility of modern education ask employers whether new graduates (other than from trade schools) bring to the workplace anything other than tools they don’t know how to use. If an employer can find an employee who is motivated, eager to learn and a self-starter (all rarities), that is about the most that can be hoped for. From there the employer is faced with all the costs of training…and pay to the employee while doing it. In the meantime schools take a big chunk out of tax dollars and teachers get good salaries and great benefits. But the students they turn out are in no way ready to hit the ground running once they find a job. Nevertheless, educators – with their absurd lecture, note-take, regurgitate pedantic – mislead students into believing that they are receiving real training that can immediately command high wages and benefits. This not only does a disservice to the student but forces employers to repair the damage and bring new graduates back down to earth.
Understandably students spending years burdened by mountains of memorization are exhausted by academic demands and feel entitled to a reward, even though they intuitively know that the majority of what they have memorized is worthless. The result is a workplace filled with overpaid, under-skilled employees. Many see their stint with education as a price paid, a reason for entitlement and a burdensome part of their personal history, not an active and engaging part of their future.
Schools should effectively and thoroughly teach the basics that everyone needs to function well in society. Very general courses should be taught in all the disciplines to give students a broad overview of what knowledge holds and to equip them for a degree of self-sufficiency – like balancing a checkbook, avoiding credit card debt and high interest, writing a clear letter, preparing meals, fixing a plugged sink, sewing, checking the car oil and air tire pressure, changing the furnace filter and so on.
This could be accomplished easily within 6-8 years of school, but beginning at an older age since too much of education is wasted on the young. School days should be shortened and not begin in the early morning when growing bodies and minds should be sleeping. By compressing school-time, teachers would be forced to hit the high points that students are more likely to retain.
Specific training for specific careers should follow these 6-8 years with lots of hands-on practical experience and emphasis on problem solving. Before a student is released into the workforce they should be able to accomplish a job with competence. As things presently are, most degrees do not signify useful skills other than book reading and test taking.
Also, interspersed in the school curriculum should be coursework in intellectually challenging topics such as philosophy, science, religion, marriage, family, metaphysics, politics, sociology, ethics, logic and all the other fields of controversy in which everyone should make a lifelong study and contribution. Such topics should be taught using basic concepts and by encouraging synthesis, original thinking and hands-on learning, not with a dull memorization format.
Most of all, students should learn that mental growth is an ongoing endeavor and a basic human requirement for happiness. Continuous intellectual growth is necessary to make oneself interesting to others, to properly function in society, and to contribute to improving the world. Education does not end with a degree, it is a lifelong process.
Unfortunately, rather than school stimulating a desire for learning it can leave a bitter after taste that discourages intellectual growth.
Teachers should be accomplished in the real-world field they are teaching and be accountable at all times. Tenure is a crazy idea as is most socialism. If there is any occupation that should be under pressure to achieve performance standards at all times, it is teaching. Instead, unlike any other career, mere time can lock in a bad teacher for a lifetime. The best formula for souring young minds on education is to force incompetent and unlikable teachers on them. Education is not about teachers and their security, it’s about properly training young minds and motivating the intellect of the next generation.
These are all nice ideas, but education is not going to change anytime soon. It is too institutionalized, governmentized, unionized and tenurized. It likes itself the way it is, very comfortable and secure for all who feed from it. Never mind whether students, the workplace and society are really benefiting from it or not.
It’s not like there is some grand conspiracy to keep education boring, irrelevant and expensive. It’s just that those who write curricula and who teach know no better and find it easiest to stay in the same groove in which they were taught. Love of children and wanting to teach are certainly important, but not enough. Students who go through high school, then college, then grad school to become teachers are still students. Students teach others how to be students, not what life is really about or how to succeed in it.
It should be a prerequisite that before any politician presumes to run society that they have had at least a decade of proven success in the real world at real jobs. Similarly, a teacher entrusted with the future of the world (children), must have lived out in the real world and proven their ability to be successful at it. Particularly should this be so at the high school and college levels. Instead, too often students or those who were incapable or nonproductive in the workplace find a home in a teaching position. We must change the aphorism: Those who can, do, those who cannot, teach. It should be: Those who can, teach; those who cannot should go do something else. One on-line university that caters to those discouraged by traditional schooling has the right idea. Their advertising for professors says, “If you haven’t done it during the daytime, you can’t teach it at night!”
Speaking of the Internet, that may be the spearhead for a solution to education because it creates a realistic alternative to the traditional classroom format. Education will not change from within because it is too comfortable with itself like all embedded institutions get to be. The free market of Internet choices may create the pressure all institutions really pay attention to—economics. That will force the system to either become relevant and efficient or die a quiet death as their tuition resources dry up.
Parents are not above blame or absolved from educational responsibilities just because kids can be pushed off to school and taxes are paid. We should not surrender our children to an incompetent system. Home schooling or ‘unschooling’ (an actual movement you can search out on the Internet) are options every parent should explore. At the least, children should be engaged when they get home from school. They learn best by experience and example so parents who are themselves thinking people and are able to put what is being taught in school into context and to discuss and live intelligently the matters touched upon in these two volumes are the best teachers children can hope for.
For further reading, or for more information about, Dr Wysong and the Wysong Corporation please visit www.wysong.net or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. For resources on healthier foods for people including snacks, and breakfast cereals please visit www.cerealwysong.com.
how are you doing with no kids?
I home educate Kyle, and I see the benefits of it for his sake, but I would honestly love it if school was more suitable than what it is for him, he'd be back there right away hahahaha
But seriously, the school system here sucks, and seeing as I'm on state benefits anyway and not working I might as well keep him home with me.
Funny thing is, I was about ready to go for a further education when the youngest, Courtney, started school so that I could get a good job, and then decided Kyle needed me more and put my plans on the shelf. Again.
Strange what kids do to ya as a parent, huh?
i have shelved all my personal plans until damien finishes school and (hopefully) varsity or college- so i reckon i have about 10 years before i can do my own thing.
but when i tell people i'm waiting till later for me to start my thing, i'm not whining about it- and its hard to explain!
We're waiting to do 'our' thing because that's what we CHOOSE to do. For the sake of the kids and our own sanity...
I've found that when I change the way I say things to people, they seem to 'get it' a bit more. For example: I used to say 'I can't do my thing until later because of Kyle.' People would react negatively and think I was moaning about it.
When I started saying 'I CHOOSE to put my own thing to the side so that I can be of more use to the kids right now, this way or that way blah blah blah' they take it the way it's meant.
It's basically a play on words, and whatever you say, people will always tend to look at the negative side of things unless you make it perfectly clear ;)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
A Sleepless Night
I'm a night owl and don't go to bed until around 2-3am normally. Ever since I had Kyle I've never been able to go to bed early, or even stay in bed long for that matter, always had to keep an eye on what he's doing.
Anyway, I knew there was no way I could risk sleeping last night after finally getting ALL the kids (including Chris' best mate) around 11pm. If I had, I just wouldn't have gotten up in time for their taxi picking them up at 5.30am this morning.
So instead, I sat working on my website and my new salespage for an ebook I'm in the middle of writing. Hugh (my fiance) sat and watched TV and chatted about anything and everything just to make sure he stayed awake with me to keep me company. Gotta love him! :~D
We sat up ALL night, and thank goodness we did, cos the taxi turned up 30 minutes early! LOL
Poor kids were still in bed so it was a matter of 'Get up, get dressed, get GONE!' hahahaha.
Oh well, saved a lot of the normal morning tantrums and yelling and everything and after they left we went to sleep for a couple of hours. It was heaven, lemme tell ya!
So that's it then, they've gone to France and are gonna be gone for the next 3 weeks...
What to do with the time, eh?
I had to do SOMETHING to cure the boredom!! LOL
Monday, July 24, 2006
Tablets, Tablets Everywhere!
I had to go to the docs today to get repeat prescriptions before the kids go on holiday tomorrow.
Bad enough I had to get Prozac for Chris and Concerta for Kyle, but I'd also run out of ALL of my tablets that I'm on for my belly troubles.
It's quite embarrassing to go in to the chemists to pick up 5 different types of tablets at once (yep, I take no less than 3 kinds of tablets for this stupid belly of mine) LOL.
I did get an appointment at hospital for my colonoscopy for next month, only they gave me the appointment in a hospital that I can't get to hahahaha. Had to get that changed to a closer hospital (one that's only 2 hours away instead), but unfortunately that's going to take another 3 months at least.
Gotta love the NHS :D
Aww, can't complain though, at least we get that stuff free, not like our American friends who have to pay for EVERYTHING health related. That must surely suck!
Anyway, got some web-work to do and a bit more packing for the kids and THEN I have to try to get them to bed early (it's already 7.15pm) so they're awake when the taxi comes to pick them up at 5.30am in the morning.
Wish me luck!
Sunday, July 23, 2006
http://angelathome.blogspot.com/2006/06/wow.html (rightclick to open in new window)
I'm crying because it is SO true. Living with an ADHD child IS very exhausting but also very rewarding. I'm not in a fit state to say any more, so go on, scoot over and read the poem for yourself and let me know what you think.
thanx for visiting me! i'll definitely be stopping by here again!
as you may have noticed my darling ADDer is 15, and the teenage hormones mixed with ADHD are SO much fun (NOT... LOL)!
i wish i'd found blogging years ago- but i've only been going for a little over a year! it's been a big help to damien and i- in terms of coping with his disorder...
And Tammy, I can't imagine how hard it must be with more than one ADHD kid in the house. My place is constantly trashed, thank god my Fiance ENJOYS housework hahahaha!
School's Out! Kids Are Leaving.
This year is going to be different to any other year I've had with the kids, because they're all going to visit their nan in France for 3 weeks on Tuesday.
I say 3 weeks, Kelsey, Kyle and Courtney are coming back then, but Chris and his best mate Vince are staying for 5 weeks. They get back about a week before they start college.
Chris is in a depression again and back on prozac, it is helping him lots and at least he sees that it's helping him this time. (Seems depression runs in the family here).
Kyle is getting better on Concerta, calming down a bit and not as aggressive as he normally is. He's still not sleeping much, but we can handle that when we don't have as many 'tantrums' to deal with.
Courtney, bless her, is already bored and counting the days until her 6th birthday which is the day after they start back at school LOL
Kelsey is having a blast with her friends and really making the most of the weather with trips to the beach and riding around on her bike etc. She's going to miss them lots while she's in France, but her school report says she's making fantastic practical use of her visits to France, so that's a good thing, right? ;)
Summer Is Here! Keep The Kids Happy And Occupied!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
A Visit From The LEA
They were here last year, after Kyle had been home educated for a year and a half and said they'd b back in 6 months time. I've called them on multiple occassions but never heard back from them until today, a whole YEAR after their first visit!
Anyway, they're happy with the education I'm providing, and reckon I'm an extremely patient woman. (Kyle showed them exactly how bad he can be LOL).
I've asked them for info on getting a laptop for Kyle, cos even now at the age of 9, he STILL won't write, no matter what. Funnily enough, he works fine on a pc....
They told me to email them and ask for a referral to the Behavioural Department. That means getting the B.D. to come out and check up on Kyle to see if they agree that a laptop will do him good. Fingers crossed that they'll come out soon and decide that a laptop is something he needs, as then I'll get it funded instead of having to pay for one myself.
Home education gets really expensive when you have to buy in all sorts of things constantly, so it would really help us if we could get that funded by the government.
Wish us luck!
32 Ways To Keep The Kids Occupied
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
School's out! Beat the Boredom
By Anna-Marie Stewart
It's every kids dream. School is finally out for the summer. They can do whatever they want now. Get up late, play on games consoles lots, go out on their bikes, hang around with their friends or maybe even go abroad for a week or 2.
Unfortunately after the initial first couple of weeks, time tends to start dragging for the kids and they start to get bored. Bored kids often lead to irate parents and bad feelings all round with everybody ultimately wishing for the holidays to end.
There are lots of things you can do to help beat the boredom and enjoy the holidays with your kids. One of our favourites (I have 4 kids) is nature walks.
Nature walks are one of the most inexpensive boredom busters ever created. All you need is energy and wide-open eyes. Of course, you can make the whole walk a lot more interesting by having something specific to look for.
Luckily for townsfolk and city people, nature isn’t just about being out in the country. Wherever there are trees, there’s going to be birds. Where there’s grass growing, flowers and weeds grow etc.
Borrow a book about wild flowers, birds or animals from your local library and refer to it every time the kids see something of interest. Take along a notepad and pencil for each of the kids to write down what they saw on the walk.
Take along a camera ready for any fun or special moments and snap away. If you have a digital camera take that instead. When you get home teach the kids how to upload the pictures and get a free blog account at http://www.blogger.com where they can then keep an online journal of their summer activities.
Don't worry if the weather is bad, kids actually tend to enjoy themselves more in bad weather than when it's too hot. Just get out there and do it!
Discover how a mom with four unruly kids avoided
a breakdown with this surprise discovery! 12-page
guide reveals 32 ways to keep your kids occupied,
happy and focused. It’s a parent’s dream come true!
This article is available for reprint in your opt-in ezine, web site or ebook. You MUST agree not to make any changes to the article and the RESOURCE BOX MUST be included. (c) 2006 AnnaMarketing.com. All Rights Reserved
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Concerta: Good And Bad
This Tuesday gone we started using Concerta and OMG! what a difference!! I've seen good points and bad points so far, but the good definitely out-weighs the bad.
Well it's been less than a week, but so far the bad points have been
1. He sleeps less
2. He's a lot more 'jumpy' than before, gets a fright easily etc.
3. He doesn't eat much during the day
Just some of the good points:
1. He can concentrate much better on things
2. He can play out with friends without major tantrums and fights and without smashing things up when someone says something he doesn't like
3. He's more loving
4. He's showing some compassion
5. He's MUCH much happier
Kyle never has slept much, but we were at the stage where we could put him to bed at 9 and he'd be sleeping by 11, then getting up at around 5-5.30.
Right now, and I hope it's only temporary, he doesn't sleep until 1-2am, then he's up again at 5. It's more like the way he was before Ritalin, only then he would sleep an hour longer LOL
It's really not too bad though, as before we used to always have to watch him, and if he was awake we HAD to be awake as he got bored easily and would trash the house, or empty the fridge contents into a nice pile on the floor, flood the bathroom etc.
This past week when he can't sleep at night and when he wakes up early in the morning he sits quietly and watches tv for a while and actually comes and tells us when he's getting bored.
This is a MAJOR change and it's making things so much easier.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Concerta? Feedback appreciated...
Kyle was in top form all the time we were there, messing about with the hospital bed, running around the little room, asking a gazillion questions and not letting people talk LOL, hard work, but also good to know that the doc saw him 'in action' so to speak.
We asked about Concerta because in Kyles word 'Ritalin doesn't last long enough'. The doc seemed shocked that I even knew about Concerta (thanks Rich) and said that they don't usually pescribe it due to the cost, but seeing as I knew about it already he would. LOL, that's the National Health Service for you.
Seemingly Concerta is 7x as epensive as Ritalin, so no wonder they don't willingly blab about it, eh? Anyway, with Concerta Kyle will only have to take one tablet per day as it has some kind of slow release thing to it, which is a good thing. at least it makes it easier than taking 2 tablets per day for him.
He's looking forward to it, and hoping it will help him concentrate like Ritalin did (so that's 15 minutes instead of 2 LOL) as he knows that when he gets to concentrate on one thing at a time he's much happier within himself.
Only drawback was that we have to wait about a week cos the specialist/hospital wants the GP to pescribe it for him instead of them doing it due to the costs... sheesh.
So, any feeback on the use of Concerta is greatly appreciated so get commenting :)
32 Ways To Keep Your Kids Occupied
I just started writing about my experiences, it's been a very interesting few weeks.
It felt so good to have someone with a bit of experience actually leave a comment.
I'll be sure to keep you updated on how the concerta works for him.
Thanks again for the info, I really appreciate it :)
After 10years of being told by the so called experts my son was just very active not hyperactive, my son was finally diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 13. The doctor suggested medication - Concerta XL. I can honestly say it has made a huge difference to my son and our relationship, most of his problems were at school and things have definately improved in that area. Instead of talking at 100mph he's now slowed down to 30mph and seems to listen more carefully to what is being said. One side effect that I have noticed is the suppression of his appetite, however as the concerta wears off towards evening he will eat more and we found we were able to give him a day off, On a Sunday he does not take his medication and we find he eats loads. His behaviour is still manageable on this day as we try to make sure we do something quite active. My son is on 54mg per day and we find that is working well for him. I hope you find these comments useful, I'd be quite happy to tell you more about our experience if you have any questions.