Saturday, March 31, 2018

free range learning...

A friend sent this link to an article in the New York Times ( ) describing a new "free range parenting law" passed in Utah, that recognizes that allowing children to do on their own what they are mature enough to do, is not neglect. Parents in some states had been arrested and charged with neglect for allowing children to do simple things like walking home from the park. The free range parenting law appears to recognize that in some cases parents may actually know their children and what they are capable of doing  best.

In New York a few years back, a columnist had described letting her 12 year old son take the bus home alone from the museum (something he had wanted to do and along a route they had taken together many times before). Her big mistake was writing about it. Helicopter parents attacked her without mercy as being the worst mother of the year.

Yesterday I was in our elementary school classroom and took this candid photo of a desk where our  children work together. The photo shows small boxes my students made in wood shop, full of puzzle piece cards the students made. The puzzle pieces have a picture of an object on one side, and the object word on the other, and so you can see its a fun game to make them, a fun game to use them, and it's  an integrated lesson that involves reading, writing, manual dexterity, art, pattern recognition,  and spatial sense (an essential tool for the development of math).

An important function of the teacher in most schools is measuring and recording student performance. But when students are given the opportunity to do real things, they do not need a teacher to measure the results of their learning. Parents see it.  The casual bystander would see it, and most importantly, the students see it for themselves.

Make, fix, and create. Allow others the opportunity of learning lifewise.

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