They Dream of School, and None of the Dreams Are Good

I don’t know why these particular dream themes are so common. How sad, though, that schooling, which is more or less required by law, produces a lifetime of bad dreams.

Do You Have a Recurring School Dream? Tell Me About It

Dreams about being a student in school are very common, even for people who have been out of school for a long time. If you have had such a dream more than once, describe it here.

Inverse Relationship Between GPA and Innovative Orientation

Ironically and tragically, rather than adapt our educational system to the needs of our modern times we have doubled down on the old system, so it is ...

ADHD, Creativity, and the Concept of Group Intelligence

In an experiment, groups containing a person with ADHD symptoms showed more off-task behavior, but were much better at solving problems than groups with no such person.

One Man’s Way to Create Neighborhood Play for His Kids

When Mike Lanza became a father 11 years ago, he was determined to provide his son—and now his three sons—with a childhood of play.

Why No-Nonsense Classrooms Are Less Terrible Than Usual Ones

Recently, we've heard of the success of "no-nonsense teaching." Here's what I like about it. It makes no bones about the fact that children are little prisoners who must ....

The Good Enough Parent Is the Best Parent

The best parent is not the one who parents most, and certainly not the one who parents least, but the one who parents just the right amount. "Good enough parents" strive to....

Causes of Students’ Emotional Fragility: Five Perspectives

The high rates of emotional disorders and problems among college students have generated concern. Here I present views about the sources of students’ emotional difficulties.

Helicopter Parenting & College Students’ Increased Neediness

College counseling services report increases in emotional fragility in students. What is the evidence that these changes are the result of a rise in helicopter parenting?

Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges

Mental-health problems are at an all-time high among college students. In addition, there has been a sharp decline in students' abilities to deal with setbacks of everyday life.

Do First Amendment Rights Apply to Students in School?

In this interview, conducted by guest blogger Alex Walker, the founder of Free Student Press, David Krane, explains that student free speech is legally protected by the first amendment, but students must fight for that protection. School officials typically do everything they can to prevent students from knowing about and exercising their constitutional rights.

K & Preschool Teachers: Last Stand in War on Childhood?

The war against childhood continues. Children are no longer generally free to roam, play, and explore on their own, as they were in the past and are designed by nature to do. Parents who allow such play are being arrested. Schools throughout the country have eliminated or greatly curtailed recesses. The last bastion in the battle to preserve childhood appears to be be....

How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development

In the absence of an appropriate intellectual foundation and motivation to learn, students acquire academic skills by rote, in shallow, meaningless ways. This not only wastes students' time, but can cause serious harm to their future intellectual and academic development. Here's some of the evidence.

Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm

Many preschool and kindergarten teachers are extremely upset by the increased pressure to teach literary and numerical skills to little children and test them regularly. They can see firsthand the unhappiness generated, and they suspect that the children would be learning much more useful lessons by playing. Their suspicions are well validated by research studies.

Meet Danielle Meitiv: Fighting for Her Kids’ Rights

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv have been giving their children some of the same freedom that they themselves enjoyed as children, in a world that is safer than the one in which they grew up. As a consequence, they have been visited by police, and the county Child Protective Services have threatened to take their children away. Here is my interview with Danielle.

Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games

Adam Eichenbaum, Daphne Bavelier, and C. Shawn Green have, in a recent review article, summarized a growing mountain of evidence for long-lasting positive effects of video-game play on basic mental processes--such as perception, attention, memory, and decision-making--regarded by some as the building blocks of intelligence.

Spread the Word: Feb 4 is Global School Play Day

The Bedley brothers (Tim and Scott), who are both teachers in California, have started a movement, and it seems to be taking off. They have declared Feb. 4, 2015, to be the first annual Global School Play Day. Let's do everything we can to support it!

Manifesto 15: Triggering the Education Revolution

On January 1, 2015, John Moravec, a philosopher of education and world traveler, sent out a manifesto about the future of education. It has caught on and spread far more rapidly than he could have imagined it might. Within days, it was read by people in 84 countries and translated into seven languages (with more translations on the way). Read it here and send it on!

Sonnet to a Playful God

One of my secret pleasures (well, it was secret up until now) is writing sonnets. I love to play within the boundaries of the classic Shakespearian sonnet. Here's one I wrote about the value of play.

Malala’s Nobel Prize and the Question of Children’s Rights

Lack of respect for children is revealed in the language used by the Nobel Committee in their award of this year's Peace Prize. It's also revealed in the United Nation's Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

One More Really Big Reason to Read Stories to Children

Many people urge parents to read stories to children because it helps children become smarter and more verbal. An even better reason, I think, is that stories may help children become nicer.

Playing with Children: Should You, and If So, How?

Parent-child play is ruined when either the parent or the child dominates. Fun occurs when there is no domination in either direction. Parent-child play is not as natural, nor as crucial for the child's development, as child-child play, but it can still be fun.

The Danger of Back to School

The joy of school letting out is not just superficial and fleeting. Data from one children's mental health center indicate that children are far more likely to experience psychological breakdowns during the school year than during the summer. School is bad for children's mental health as well as their physical health.

What Do Grown Unschoolers Think of Unschooling? IV in Series

Most of the grown unschoolers in our survey were very happy with their unschooling and said they would unschool their own children. A few, however, were unhappy, and their descriptions of their childhoods make it clear why they would be. This final report in the series describes the advantages and disadvantages of unschooling, in the respondents’ own words.

Survey of Grown Unschoolers III: Pursuing Careers

Our survey of grown unchoolers—who had skipped all or much of K-12—revealed, not surprisingly, that many went on to careers in the creative arts. But that is not all. Many also pursued STEM careers and many become entrepreneurs. They chose careers that are enjoyable, meaningful, and high in occupational self-direction.

Survey of Grown Unschoolers II: Going on to College

Most people in our culture believe that college admission requires 13 years of hard work in school, maybe accompanied by frequent tears. To some of them it may be disturbing to learn that it is possible to go to college, and do well there, with no K-12 schooling at all, just by following your own interests and dreams. Here are the words of some who did just that.

A Survey of Grown Unschoolers I: Overview of Findings

How do people who didn't go to school or do curriculum-based homeschooling as children and teenagers fare in adult life? Can they go to college and do well there without previous schooling? What kinds of careers do they pursue? In retrospect, are they happy or unhappy with their unschooled background? In this study, 75 grown unschoolers tell us about their experiences.

Can Lego Help Return Play to Children’s Lives and Education?

I was invited recently to speak at a worldwide conference on play and learning, sponsored by the Lego Foundation. Not surprisingly, I was pleased by some aspects of the conference, displeased by other aspects. Here's why, and here are my thoughts about how the Lego Foundation might make a real, vitally needed difference in the lives of children and families.

Risky Play: Why Children Love It and Need It

Children love to play with great heights, rapid speeds, dangerous tools, dangerous elements (e.g. fire), chasing and fighting, and getting lost (or nearly so). Why has the drive for such play evolved? What happens when children are deprived of such play? How dangerous, really, is such play? How does the danger compare with the danger of adult-directed sports?

A Playful Path, and DeKoven's Advice for Getting Back on It

We are born to be playful. We are, as Johan Huizinga put it long ago, Homo Ludens (the playful human) even more than we are Homo Sapiens (the wise human). But many of lose our playfulness. Why do we lose it, and how can we recover it? Here’s why, and here, especially, is how to recover it—from a new book by Bernard DeKoven.

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