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Rethinking School- anyone else reading now?

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I will be just as soon as it arrives (I ordered it in October).  I can't wait!

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Is this SWB’s new book? If so I haven’t ordered it yet, guess I better jump on it.

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Yes! I was so excited when it just popped up in my kindle. Love preorder!

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I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for mentioning it. How is it already available "used" on Amazon if it was released Tuesday? Fast reader?

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Yes! In fact, I was just looking for the thread where we were talking about this and, of course, failed to find it.

 

I'm 15 chapters in. It came 2 days ago. (Thank you, relatively new Christmas toys, for the hours of peace you've provided me.) And so far I have managed not to get any chocolate or spaghetti sauce stains on it.

 

It's probably unsurprising that so far, Part IV is really speaking to me. (I mean, I'm a homeschooler. I've never had a kid in school. Of course it does.) I'm sending this book to my teacher sister as soon as I'm done, though, and she's going to want to give it to all her students' parents, I suspect.

 

What do you think of the first 5 chapters? I found the section on evaluating a child's maturity very helpful. I also LOLed at the first paragraph of Ch. 2, among other places.

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Yes! In fact, I was just looking for the thread where we were talking about this and, of course, failed to find it.

 

I'm 15 chapters in. It came 2 days ago. (Thank you, relatively new Christmas toys, for the hours of peace you've provided me.) And so far I have managed not to get any chocolate or spaghetti sauce stains on it.

 

It's probably unsurprising that so far, Part IV is really speaking to me. (I mean, I'm a homeschooler. I've never had a kid in school. Of course it does.) I'm sending this book to my teacher sister as soon as I'm done, though, and she's going to want to give it to all her students' parents, I suspect.

 

What do you think of the first 5 chapters? I found the section on evaluating a child's maturity very helpful. I also LOLed at the first paragraph of Ch. 2, among other places.

 

I'm really enjoying it. I just wish I had found something like it ten years ago. 

 

Had I not read so much John Holt and similar over the last few years (and hung out here on the boards)  my mind would've been completely blown by what I've read so far. But being familiar with all of those works,  this book is still resonating so strongly, and honestly a bit emotionally because I see the shift I've gone through in it. I was that Mom. I thought my child was the defective one for not fitting into the system. The quote on page 30 describes my life. I've come so far, but what a journey and how much could have been avoided. Oh to go back in time..........

 

I've already told a couple of people with kids in public school it would be a good addition to their to read list. Even if they don't need it now, they will eventually hit a snag and how nice to have an arsenal of tactics in the wings to advocate for your own child. 

 

I can't wait to read more tonight! 

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SWB includes a few examples from her thought experiment thread about a year ago. :)

 

I'm not as far into it as I'm trying to finish a library ebook. . . But, it has tempted me enough that I've started it (and found the Hive quotes).

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Finished it. I liked it. I’ll definitely recommend it to people who come to me because they are completely overwhelmed dealing with the school system. I plan to go back through it again and use some of the ideas and answer some of those questionnaires.

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I'm somewhere in Part 3 (loving it of course!).  I especially appreciate how it's causing me to reflect on the impact our system of education in the U.S. has had on my own homeschooling approaches (We've homeschooled from the start, but both dh and myself were public-schooled).  What assumptions about school (ages/grades/curriculum choices/tests) am I bringing into my home without even realizing it?  And how do they fit with the goals I really have for my children?

 

And on the positive side, I'm feeling a lot of reassurance about "radical" decisions I've made (such as homeschooling in general, and more specifically holding ds10 back in some subjects while propelling him ahead in others.) Not that I've felt I've been all that radical, but I've got many ps teachers in my extended family and often get raised eyebrows, so it's encouraging to hear SWB confirm a few of the choices I've made. 

 

And of course SWB's comments (in the Salon article, I think... maybe not the book?) about drilling her kids on what grade they were in before going to their medical appointments... so true!   :lol:  

 

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How timely...

How to solve the parent-engagement problem by EdWeek

 

Parents should be treated as full partners in their children’s education, not taken for granted
Over the course of a decade, I saw how the moms and dads of my students could become transformational advocates for their children when empowered with the right resources and knowledge. As an educator, I know firsthand the challenges dedicated teachers and principals can have trying to engage busy families and how little support families typically get even when they are trying to be involved, even when their schools are fully committed to it.

 

 

 

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I hadn't heard of this one. I just bought it and am excited to read it. I have a daughter with certain learning struggles entering high school next year. I'm kinda freaked out over getting her college prepped in 4 short years. I'm hoping for some great insight into how to do that or a change in my thought processes altogether. We'll see.

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About 1/2 way done. Really enjoying it!

 

Our 2 DSs are long graduated, after 11 years (DS#1) and 12 years (DS#2) of homeschooling, BUT, I am finding it an encouraging confirmation to read that many of our off-the-beaten-path choices of how to homeschool DSs are exactly the advice and support that SWB is giving in the book! (Of course, I can see where DSs are now as adults, and know that they turned out fine -- it's just that I even now have a tendency to second guess myself sometimes and wonder "DID we do the right thing at this point or that point?" ;) )

 

AND... It's wonderful to see SO many familiar WTM boardees being quoted throughout the book for their experiences and wisdom!  :hurray:

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Listening to SWB's interview with Andrew Kern on Circe (FORMA podcast) while I wait for the library to get the book.

 

eta: Decided this is a book I will want to write in and reread, so spent the last of my Christmas Amazon gift card for it.

Edited by ScoutTN
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Yes!  

 

So great!  It has come to me at a time when I really needed some gentle reminders and a brath of fresh air in my homeschool thinking.  Especially now that I have a high schooler, I feel like I am so locked in to what we can do with homeschooling.  I feel like I can relax and trust my gut again.  That feels wonderful.

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Yes!

 

So great! It has come to me at a time when I really needed some gentle reminders and a brath of fresh air in my homeschool thinking. Especially now that I have a high schooler, I feel like I am so locked in to what we can do with homeschooling. I feel like I can relax and trust my gut again. That feels wonderful.

Me too. The “fit the box†high school anxiety has started rearing it’s ugly head and this booked nipped it straight away.

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Just finished Chapter 9 on homework and wanted to mention something a couple of friends with kids in private school have witnessed recently. When pushing back against homework for extremely young kids (pk/k/1), the parents were informed the teachers sympathized and that it was indeed other PARENTS requesting homework and then more homework. The schools apparently felt compelled to comply or lose students to more competitive schools in the area. I was really surprised to hear that, but I guess with parents getting more and more wrapped up in competition themselves it was bound to happen coupled with the early academic push that’s been building over the last couple of decades.

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Just finished Chapter 9 on homework and wanted to mention something a couple of friends with kids in private school have witnessed recently. When pushing back against homework for extremely young kids (pk/k/1), the parents were informed the teachers sympathized and that it was indeed other PARENTS requesting homework and then more homework. The schools apparently felt compelled to comply or lose students to more competitive schools in the area. I was really surprised to hear that, but I guess with parents getting more and more wrapped up in competition themselves it was bound to happen coupled with the early academic push that’s been building over the last couple of decades.

 

I had to fight back against homework when my oldest was in K. The teacher assigned a full page word search and expected it done in one night. I told her I have no problems with word searches and that I understand the value, but 20+ words in one night is a bit much for K. If she gave him a week, I'd make sure it was done. She was completely sympathetic and agreeable, but couldn't change it. My kid was ahead in reading and it was too much for him, so I can't imagine that there were a lot of kids that were completing it. 

 

My school district recently changed it's homework policy for the better. The rule is 10 minutes per elementary grade. No assignments on weekends or holidays.  They have to take into account the individual needs and academic abilities of each student when assigning homework. They will only assign work for skills they have not mastered. They said "Giving homework just to give homework is not productive." I applauded it, but there were so many comments from parents citing that we have one of the worst school districts and if anything they need more homework! And more along the lines with "Keep those kids too busy to get in trouble!" Ugh. 

 

My cousin used to teach at a private school and ended up quitting because of the parents. One parent of an elementary grade student berated her because her kid was not getting As after insisting they skip a grade. From the stories I've heard, I cannot imagine the pressures these kids are under. 

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Just finished Chapter 9 on homework and wanted to mention something a couple of friends with kids in private school have witnessed recently. When pushing back against homework for extremely young kids (pk/k/1), the parents were informed the teachers sympathized and that it was indeed other PARENTS requesting homework and then more homework. The schools apparently felt compelled to comply or lose students to more competitive schools in the area. I was really surprised to hear that, but I guess with parents getting more and more wrapped up in competition themselves it was bound to happen coupled with the early academic push that’s been building over the last couple of decades.

We are always told that in NZ too but I am not sure how true it is.

 

We also never have homework in the weekends (so far) but the weekends are really the only time we have time to do homework.

Edited by kiwik
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Just finished Chapter 9 on homework and wanted to mention something a couple of friends with kids in private school have witnessed recently. When pushing back against homework for extremely young kids (pk/k/1), the parents were informed the teachers sympathized and that it was indeed other PARENTS requesting homework and then more homework. The schools apparently felt compelled to comply or lose students to more competitive schools in the area. I was really surprised to hear that, but I guess with parents getting more and more wrapped up in competition themselves it was bound to happen coupled with the early academic push that’s been building over the last couple of decades.

This was absolutely true at the school I worked at. We had been a school for a long time that didn't believe in homework unless it was the occasional work sent home to finish it if not done in class. We were continually pushed by a large chunk of our parents to provide homework. These were the same parents that took their child from school to Kumon in the late afternoon. We ended up becoming yet another private school sending busy work home every day.

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Yep! One of my comments posted here a couple of years ago is included! DD was thrilled! lol 

 

I think it's really resonating with me!

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I'm only on chapter 4.  (I'm about to head back in.)

 

I've got to be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to buy it.   I'm not dealing with public school, and I feel like I'm as confident as I'm ever going to get in our homeschool. (I personally believe anyone who is 100% confident is fooling themselves, lol.)  But some of the comments have me thinking there's still plenty in there that might resonate and refresh me, so I went for it!

 

Plus, I can send it to my sister when I'm done.  Even though I generally roll my eyes over the whole "homeschooling toddlers" concept, my sister has been giving my 2yo niece an incredibly nurturing environment, and that little girl is quick as a whip.  Before she was two, she was literally explaining the universe to me.  I didn't learn about dwarf planets in school; a baby taught me, lol.  My sister doesn't intend to homeschool, but I suspect they're in for a challenging road, whichever one they travel!

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One thing that's striking me right now, and causing me a few flashbacks, lol, is the advice shared (from Autism Speaks) on ASD-1, and then the section on giftedness.  Though they are put in slightly different contexts, it is so incredibly hard to live in a dimension where teaching/praising/rewarding can be considered both necessary and debilitating.  As a mom who homeschooled a gifted child on the spectrum for several years and tried to work the public system in all the other years, trying to separate non-academic behaviors from academic achievement was difficult, as he preferred to spend most of his time in academic pursuits. And trying to get family and teachers to downplay his intelligence was *entirely impossible. 

 

My now-young-adult is even more trapped by perfectionism than I am.  (I was a "So smart, too lazy" student.)

 

I do find it amusing that SWB says ASD-1 "interventions" could benefit all children, because my entire reason for homeschooling at first was the whole 2E/ASD factor with my first.  I  remember it hitting me that all of this would be equally beneficial to my supposed NT kids, and feeling like I had made an amazing discovery, lol.

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I applauded it, but there were so many comments from parents citing that we have one of the worst school districts and if anything they need more homework! And more along the lines with "Keep those kids too busy to get in trouble!" Ugh.

 

If you think your kids need hours and hours of homework every night, step up and assign it yourself. Don't put that on the other kids in the class!

 

 

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 the parents were informed the teachers sympathized and that it was indeed other PARENTS requesting homework and then more homework. The schools apparently felt compelled to comply or lose students to more competitive schools in the area. 

 

My children are part-time students at a local private school and I have attended some parent meetings -- this is what I've seen as well, to my utter shock.  

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One thing that's striking me right now, and causing me a few flashbacks, lol, is the advice shared (from Autism Speaks) on ASD-1, and then the section on giftedness...I do find it amusing that SWB says ASD-1 "interventions" could benefit all children, because my entire reason for homeschooling at first was the whole 2E/ASD factor with my first.  I  remember it hitting me that all of this would be equally beneficial to my supposed NT kids, and feeling like I had made an amazing discovery, lol.

 

I've only been skimming the amazon sample and missed she had a chapter on autism. So is she saying her dc was diagnosed as on the spectrum, or is she synthesizing what she found online? 

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I've only been skimming the amazon sample and missed she had a chapter on autism. So is she saying her dc was diagnosed as on the spectrum, or is she synthesizing what she found online?

It’s info within chapters 4 and 5, not specific to her own children. Not an entire chapter on autism.

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I mean, did she REALLY want to imply that everyone whose kid is labeled ASD1 is WHINING and not a good enough parent??? Really??? Don't we already get that crap from psychs and the ps enough?

 

But I'm really happy for her that her dc had a small enough number of mutations that she never needed to bring in ABA, never got concussions from her kid, never had to bring in lawyers to fight for access to funding and services. I'm really happy for her that her nice parenting techniques were enough.

While I did have a slight “Dude, if only it were that simple “ reaction, I didn’t take anything she wrote as the brush off you’re hearing.

The recommendations she included are not her personal thoughts. They’re Autism Speaks’. Of course, they’re controversial, themselves.

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While I did have a slight “Dude, if only it were that simple “ reaction, I didn’t take anything she wrote as the brush off you’re hearing.

The recommendations she included are not her personal thoughts. They’re Autism Speaks’. Of course, they’re controversial, themselves.

 

Understatement of the year, lol. 

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PeterPan, if you're skimming the samples, please do consider reading my entire argument. I certainly never suggest the things you're saying. In fact, please notice what I say on p. 43, very clearly:

 

"Clearly, a difference that causes struggle and angst across the whole

of a child’s life (a sensory processing style that makes leaving the house

a challenge, for example; a speech disorder that affects communication

with friends and siblings; trouble reading anything, signs and labels

included) has become a true disability that needs careful and probably

aggressive intervention.

But if a “disability” really only becomes a problem in one setting—

our factory- model K– 12 system— I’d challenge that label."

 

Obviously, your experience is one of struggle and angst in the whole of your child's life. I would certainly never suggest that my "nice parenting" was responsible for a different outcome. Never. 

 

I respect your right to disagree with me vehemently, but it seems a little unfair for you to blast me without actually reading the entire argument, including its context.

 

SWB

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So are you saying she wrote those comments on ASD support level 1 TOTALLY THEORETICALLY, totally based on what she read somewhere, with NO actual experience herself? Not her own kid or her grand kids or ANY experience at all? She just read that list and went wow I'll bet if those parents did good parenting stuff their kids with deficits in non-verbal, language, and social thinking to the extent that they're clinical and affect every area of life would just snap right up! Really??? NO EXPERIENCE??

 

Wow, how often do we buy that? I will tell you how delicious chocolate cake is. It's smooth in the mouth and the best way to eat it is chilled and... Oh but I've only looked at pictures. For real???????

 

I just assumed she had a kid somewhere in the mix that got the label and she went well that worked for us, that level of support (nice parenting) worked for us. 

 

My kid is at the Drives Mom to Drink level of support. So how about we give it some real names. Some kids are at the Give Me a Flyswatter Cuz You are Bugging Me support level. We could put real names to this and not leave it so confusing like the idiotic DSM does. Not a fan of the DSM.

 

Autism parent to autism parent, I think you're being incredibly unfair and speaking with a giant chip on your shoulder.  I don't expect anyone, professional educator, autism expert, or otherwise, to speak directly to my specific child's unique issues.  But I sure as heck don't want them to not speak at all.

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SWB, I liked your section on maturity and thought that was a really helpful meta level analysis. Hopefully at some point I'll get a chance to read the rest of the book. Our library doesn't have it yet.

Edited by PeterPan

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I'm sorry for the situation you're in--and very much aware that individual situations (including one in my own family, which I do not detail for privacy reasons) resist simple solutions. 

 

FWIW, I do say repeatedly that diagnosis and access to services is vital for struggling kids. 

 

SWB

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The recommendations she included are not her personal thoughts. They’re Autism Speaks’. Of course, they’re controversial, themselves.

 

That's putting it lightly!

 

In the interest of peace, I won't share my opinion on that organization, but if you're looking for another autism-related charity to support, you might consider anything else the Autism/Asperger Network or else the Organization for Autism Research. Aside from being relatively non-controversial, when it comes to their financial practices they have quite respectable ratings on Charity Navigator. Autism Speaks most certainly does not.

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