When parents say, “my child is not self-directed,” they seem to be implying that self-direction is some trait that only a select group of people have. The truth is a little more complicated.
Princeton Learning Cooperative has been supporting young people and their families to be in charge of their life and education for the past 8 years. We’ve seen that providing a flexible, interest-based education in a welcoming community with caring adults can be a LIFE-CHANGING idea for young people. In order to get this flexibility to really do what is in … Read More
This analogy refers to different styles of raising a child. A “gardener” tends to the fertility of the soil—the access to sunshine, water and minerals allowing for the best development of his charge, while the “carpenter” has a fixed idea of the desired outcome—he cuts, shapes, smooths and joins his raw material until the final product has emerged. The book … Read More
In a previous post, Rethinking the Gaps, I argued that in trying to close the skill gaps that we fear children hold, we actually juxtapose pressuring kids and overprotecting them. We simultaneously push kids to check all the customary boxes while denying them the natural experiences of taking risk. Though we do it for good, this results in feelings of … Read More
There’s so much talk these days about the need for children to develop resilience and perseverance, to learn to be open to failing and trying again, to be willing to put in the effort when something is hard, to be up for a challenge. I don’t want to oversimplify, but I believe that Carol Dwek’s ideas are a big part … Read More
As a parent and educator, one of my heroes is Alfie Kohn. If you don’t know him you should check him out. He will challenge you to reflect on the things you think are important for a child. He will also challenge you to reflect on how adults, however well-meaning, control children. One thing he likes to deconstruct (and that’s … Read More
Share this Post I recently heard an episode of the radio show This American Life called Batman. It tells the story of Daniel Kish, a boy who grows up blind and develops the ability to echo-locate. By clicking his tongue, he is able to navigate the world and learn to do pretty much everything that other children do. He walks … Read More