Friday link round-up

Published by Lori Pickert on March 29, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Hello and happy Friday! This week’s Facebook link round-up commences … now.

You probably already know my take on screen time (you can read about it here and here). I really enjoyed this writer’s thoughtful exploration of the topic:

On the one hand, parents want their children to swim expertly in the digital stream that they will have to navigate all their lives; on the other hand, they fear that too much digital media, too early, will sink them. Parents end up treating tablets like precision surgical instruments, gadgets that might perform miracles for their child’s IQ and help him win some nifty robotics competition — but only if they are used just so. Otherwise, their child could end up one of those sad, pale creatures who can’t make eye contact and has an avatar for a girlfriend.” — The Touch-Screen Generation @ The Atlantic

Fantastic article about how to change the story and make positive errors:

Scientists call it the ‘sweet spot’ — that highly productive zone on the edge of our abilities where learning happens fastest. The problem, of course, is that the sweet spot doesn’t feel sweet. In fact, it feels sour and uncomfortable, because being there you have to take risks and make mistakes. And most of us hate making mistakes.

Basically, we’re allergic.

But what’s kick-assingly powerful is when somebody finds a simple way to reverse that allergy.

[C]oaches and parents are storytellers. Their job is to create an emotional safe zone where players can go to the edges of their abilities and then beyond.” — How to Overcome Fear of Mistakes: One Coach’s Story @ The Talent Code

“Changing the story” reminded me of Donald Miller’s book, which I quoted quite a while back on Facebook (before I started doing these round-ups):

If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen. The truth is, you wouldn't remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.

But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to be meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won't make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story

I usually take a pass on articles talking about how public education isn’t making the grade (they usually have titles that incorporate puns), but I couldn’t resist this description of Education 3.0 — because it sounds just like PBH:
“Schools are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning and implementing Education 3.0. ... [Education 3.0] is self-directed, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation and creativity drive education.” — Jackie Gerstein
Kudos to people who are working hard to bring the opportunities to public school students that homeschool students already have! (Although not all homeschoolers take advantage of those opportunities…)
Along those same lines…
We teach kids to do all sorts of things, but we don’t teach them to think about things in the inventive way — and why don’t we? It’s something you should be alert for from earliest childhood. You should be conscious that when you do devise something, when you fill a gap, you have invented. I’d love to see kids thinking in that way, and growing up to be adults that think in that way… that solve their own problems, and acquire stuff for themselves that they want, whether or not it can be bought off the shelf.” — Saving the Inventive Way of Life @ InventiveMax
In that same vein, I shared this quote:
“Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it. Not learning other people’s ideas, or memorizing a body of information, however much those may sometimes be useful. Developing your own ideas. In short, thinking for yourself.” — William Deresiewicz
We could save a lot of time — and increase our learning ROI exponentially — if we just paused before selecting an activity for our kids and opted instead to make choices that allow them to develop their own ideas.
I loved this article on how positivity and generosity relate to succeeding in life — and if you’ve read Heather’s post about me then you know where I fall on this subject as well:
The greatest untapped source of motivation … is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other peoples’ lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.” — Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead? @ The New York Times
I have much to say on this subject but I think I’ll write a post about it.
Shelli wrote a post about doing PBH this week and identified the key principles as she sees them:
“[A]ll these elements work together to create this lifestyle of learning. Project-based homeschooling is like putting together a puzzle. It doesn’t matter which piece you start with, but as you lay them all on the table, you’ll start to see how they fit together to make the whole picture.” — What Is Project-Based Homeschooling? @ Mama of Letters
And now I want to share with you a testimonial from the PBH forum — I hope you find it inspiring!

I started this PBH journey a few months ago with my 4 year old, and in my project notes and my questions on this forum, I can find records of me struggling with all the PBH things it seemed like he wasn’t doing. He didn’t focus on anything real, and then he didn’t identify questions or do research, and then he didn’t make things, and then he didn’t improve his work or problem solve, and then he didn’t share his knowledge, etc...

But now, after a few months, I don’t have anything to worry or complain about any more. My kid is just a regular kid, and neither he nor I do this PBH stuff perfectly. But I’m so impressed with how well it’s fallen together, and how much he’s been able to learn, and how it really does work like it says in the book. :)

We have some adult friends staying with us for a couple days, and seeing him share his knowledge of prehistoric creatures with them has really impressed me. He’ll walk over to the wall to show off his artwork (much more detailed than a few months ago), and talk about it … And when they have more questions, instead of just always making up an answer, he’ll go to one of his books, find the right page and research something … using the pictures and his memory. And he’s constantly pushing the edges of his knowledge and figuring out what can be looked up on Wikipedia or Google Images. …

I think my family is now thoroughly hooked on this approach.

Yes! Learning to mentor your children to become self-directed learners doesn’t happen overnight, but it is well worth the effort.
Thank you to everyone who has e-mailed, left an Amazon review of the book, or shared their small win in the forum — your feedback is immensely appreciated! Now go have a great weekend.

1 comment

Comment by Pamela @RedWhit... on March 30, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Such a great round up of comments. Thanks so much for sharing!

(My favorite is the Jackie Gerstein quotation!)

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