More thoughts on education from one of my favorite thinkers, Sir Ken Robinson.
I had a conversation with the kids’ principal yesterday. Mr. White is a soft spoken, gentle spirited man with many years experience both in the classroom and administration. So when he said, “Do you know what I wish schools would do?” I was all ears. Something edgy? I thought. I love edgy! Some cool out-of-the-box approach?
I was all ears.
“I wish they’d start school later for kids,” he said. Okay. So it’s not some new edgy approach. But anymore, it is a RADICAL idea in education. So many people think infancy isn’t too soon to begin school.
Mr. White is convinced there would be a reduction in learning challenges if we held off school for kids until they are older.
It made me think about how if you “help” a butterfly out of its cocoon, it will die. The struggle is what helps with their first flight.
For children, their “cocoon” needs to be left intact for when they are ready for academics. Unlike the butterfly, a child’s cocoon time isn’t a time of struggle but rather a time to nurture and teach foundational skills. Like how to relate to others, play nice and have responsibilities such as emptying the dishwasher. It’s a time for them to discover who they are and the world around them.
I often remember the words of one of my dear mentors, Kathy Clement, “Relationships first. Skills second. Academics third.”
I consider it as sort of a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for education. First things first!
As in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DISEASE? Well according to one of the experts cited in this article, ADHD is a disease process. And it can be observed with biological markers
But that test won’t be available any time soon, especially because there appear to be a large number of variations in DNA that predispose a person to ADHD, the article states.
A large number of variations in DNA. Really now. I’d be fascinated to see if these scientists could quantify their data without a history of the uh, diseased, patients.
They also contend ADHD is “not a social construct” but a “hard and true disorder.”
Okay. Let’s see if I understand this. Much of the diagnostic criteria for ADHD revolves around a factory model approached classroom setting. And they’re telling me this is not a social construct?
I smell some spurious science at work here. (I wonder who sponsored the research.) But then again, there’s a lot of money and programs, yea verily, an entire INDUSTRY devoted to ADHD and its cousins.
Look, I know ADD/ADHD is real. I live with it every day. But I also know I get impatient, drink too much coffee and have brown eyes. It’s the way I am. It’s part of what makes me an individual. I don’t need medication for it.
People with ADHD are wired differently and don’t fit the classroom models very well. Do they have some challenging issues when it comes to sticking with a task or talking too much? Yep. Do they need some help with organizational skills. Yuppers. (And it occurred to me typing this that the organization obsession we have in America is really not so healthy anyway.) We’ve all got “issues.” Every single one of us.
Is this a DISEASE? No, no, a thousand times NO!
Parents, please don’t buy into these lies. Love your hyperactive bundle…and yeah, if your kid needs medication to manage some of the symptoms, no condemnation from this mom. We parents have to make some very tough decisions at times.
Find an environment where your child can thrive and cultivate the GIFTS that are part of ADHD. And yes, this may mean pulling him out of school and homeschooling him. (I never said this would be easy. Like you didn’t know that already.)
You may just be amazed at how your child blossoms.
Got a boy in school? There’s some disturbing things to consider if you do.
Consider these few facts: (A tip of the hat to Marty Nemko for his brilliant work on education. I found the info cited here.)
The number of boys placed on the Ritalin (and it’s ilk) leash has risen 3000% (!) over the past 20 years.
Boys are 2 1/2 times more likely to drop out of high school. 5 1/2 times more likely to commit suicide and much less likely to earn a college degree than girls.
In elementary schools, 91% of the teaching staff are women. The only male role model to be found in most schools is the janitor.
Throw in an ADD/ADHD diagnosis and things just got worse. Much, much worse.
These are just a few of the things I’m learning. And these are a few of things Deb Ingino and I will be talking about tonight. If you have a boy in school or a boy with ADHD in school, listen in! We’ll be taking questions as well.
Please join us TONIGHT at 9PM CT! Here’s the call details:
I tried a daring experiment yesterday. I wasn’t sure if I could do it but somehow, I managed to pull if off for almost the entire day.
I went without wearing my watch.
So big deal, you say. Yeah, it does sound pretty insignificant in comparison to splitting an atom or getting through Wal-Mart on Saturday with a colicky baby.
But for a person who is wired like I am, always cognizant of time, this was no small thing. I am frequently driven by the words of that sage, Steve Miller, “Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future!” Because of this, I suspect part of the stress and anxiety I deal with (especially given our present circumstances) deals with time. Tomorrow, to be exact. Tick-tock-tick, ya know.
So when my friend Debbie Forte posted this link this morning on Facebook, I found it, well, timely. (Har.)
I’m learning to live in the moment; that’s where the grace is found. Jesus himself said “Take no thought for tomorrow.” But yet we fret away moments dreading tomorrow’s “What if’s” or in my case right now…my physical therapy appointment in less than hour. (Yeah, that doubles the fun when you spend half the morning dreading it. That makes sense.)
I find this guy’s observations in regards to school especially fascinating. Go ahead…take the time and watch this. (OMG. I am just killing myself today.)
Filed under: education, Misc, Musings, Personal development, Special Needs' Kids, The Mother Lode Project | Tagged: Fly Like an Eagle, living in the moment, Steve Miller Band, stress, time management | 2 Comments »
If your child suffers from the “psychiatric disorder” known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, they have a higher chance of delaying high school graduation or of dropping out.
In this article in USA Today, author Julie Schweitzer, an ADHD expert and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UC-Davis, says, “This study shows that ADHD is a serious disorder that affects a child’s ability to be successful in school and subsequently in a way that can limit success in life,” she said.
(Cue to the war drums….)
Schweitzer adds ominously, “This is a disorder that has serious long-term impacts on your ability to be successful and contribute to society, not just in school, but for the rest of your life.”
Folks, contrary to the verbiage of this article, ADD/ADHD is not a mental health disorder. But of course if it’s going to treated as such, one need not consider that maybe, just mebbe….our educational models are playing a causative role in the increased diagnosis of ADD/ADHD.
Instead, we’ll throw medication at these kids, stigmatize them as defective and then, wail about how they’re dropping out of school and becoming a burden to society.
How about this: We rethink how we do school. Plug the kids into hands on work or real world job shadowing. Bring back auto and carpentry shop. Utilize mentors. Challenge their creativity. Give them uber difficult problems to address.
And allow the genius that is wrapped up in ADD/ADHD an opportunity to flourish.
I read an ad touting an award winning curriculum for preschoolers. One of the goals of the curriculum: “To prepare young minds for preschool academics.”
Have we lost our minds? We’re talking about 3 and 4 year olds!
But I shouldn’t be surprised. There is a growing trend for parents to begin preparing their children for college while they’re in kindergarten. I have even read of kids taking entrance exams for preschool. (And parents sweating over their results.)
I’ll say it over and over again. One of the greatest gifts a parent can give to their child is the gift of time. Time to allow their children to explore their interests and their giftings. Time to be creative. Time to climb trees, contemplate clouds and learn how to relate well to those around them.
The old “get good grades so you can get a good job” mantra doesn’t work anymore. The assembly line approach to education doesn’t work. And instead of recognizing this new reality, we speed up the pace and attempt to place the children on an assembly line at younger ages.
Anytime a system takes priority over the individual it becomes all about maintaining the system…and to heck with the kids. There’s just too much money and power invested in the house of cards.
Which brings me back to my point about preschool academics. The ad that I read was targeted toward homeschoolers!
Parents- why are you trying to recreate this irrelevant system in your home?
Read books with them. Go watch an ant hill for an hour. Fix lunch together and help a neighbor.
And watch your relationship flourish along with their curiosity. I can’t think of a better way to prepare them for a successful life….and even college if that’s what they need to do.
Did you see this story on 20/20 last night? My first reaction was outrage. A mother giving her child marijuana to help tame is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?! Marijuana to help a kid with ADHD keep from fidgeting in the classroom?! Who’s in charge of this insanity?
But then I listened to the desperation in the voices of these moms. (As much as one can through the carefully edited clips.) And I backed off on my harsh judgment. In my mind, there’s no dispute that these dear children had issues. And that these poor moms were at the end of their tether.
This is yet another indicator of the sheer insanity afoot in our schools and medical community. I’m not here to argue about the pros and cons of marijuana. There are much deeper issues going on and to give a kid a joint to cover up the real issues is troubling…very troubling. (Can you imagine the IEP’s that will start showing up in the classroom? Johnny will be excused every two hours to toke up…20 feet from the school building less we violate our smoke-free zone policy.)
The one mom also noted that the THC is so low in the prescription weed that there is little mind effect. But she confessed, in an interrogatory tone, that a little bit of a high wouldn’t be so bad because her boy? has been unhappy for like? such a long time? (The kid is 12 years old.) “I just want him to feel the euphoria,” she added.
There was no indication of a dad being present in the lives of these boys. But hey- how about a little Columbian Gold, you know, a little stronger stuff, to help numb the pain and anger?
How about offering classes in Joint Rolling 101? Graduate courses in Dealerships? (With an emphasis in Latin American relations.) Yeah, I’m just regular laugh riot today.
Sarcasm aside…this is horrifying. I would to God a little reefer would heal the dysfunctions in our families and in our educational models. But if anyone believes that, well, they’re simply blowing smoke.
A note to school teachers: You may want to keep some munchies on hand.
Filed under: ADD/ADHD, Current events, education, parenting, Public schooling, Special Needs' Kids | Tagged: 20/20 Medical marijuana for OCD, Treatment of ADHD with medical marijuana | Leave a Comment »
It’s been a struggle for a long time. I’ve never quite felt right. Fear and shame have kept me from admitting who I am. Christian circles in particular don’t know what to do with people like me…overall a good gal who loves God but…geesh….there’s those differences.
Initially I thought it was just a passing stage. Certainly everyone experiences those, right? But then I realized I was born this way. Wired differently. But I’ve been keeping it a secret because I know even those who love me…sometimes don’t know what to do with my differences.
I am an unschooler.
Those are the words that could suck the air out of the Abeka conference. Bob Jones acolytes would politely clear their throats and discreetly seek the closest exit.
I am an unschooler. I see educational opportunities everywhere and I chose real life over a text book.
I am an unschooler. The words of Robert Frost buoy my spirits when I read the words, “I believe in education, I don’t believe in school.”
I love open source education and believe the WalMart clerk is just as qualified to teach me something as a pedigreed professor.
I draw courage from great men like Louis L’Amour who dropped out of school at the age of 15 because he felt school was interfering with his education.
Do I believe every child should be bounced out of school? Not on your life.
But as I have watched my nearly 16-year-old unschooled son grow and develop into a skilled worker and a confident young adult…I am convinced that sometimes the best educational model isn’t a model at all.
I am an unschooler.
Filed under: ADD/ADHD, education, homeschooling, Public schooling, Special Needs' Kids | Tagged: compusory education, education, Education of a Wandering man, educational models, Louis L'amour, unschooling | 9 Comments »
This fellow, Dr. Peter Gray is compiling stories from parents on their ADHD children. He suspects that kids with ADHD who are homeschooled, unschooled or completely neglected and left to be raised by wolves (haha, I’m JUST KIDDING on that last one) maybe, just maybe….have a different outcome from their traditionally school counterparts.
I’ve long-held that ADHD is, to a certain extent, the fruit of compulsory education. Just check out some of the diagnostic criteria for ADHD and decide for yourself. Most of the “symptoms” manifest in a classroom.
I’m enormously interested in Dr. Gray’s findings and will keep you posted.