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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

August 9, 2013
What's Important?

35% Of Us Keep Learning-But It's Got To Be 100%

Suki: Adapting Curriculum for Homeschoolers & Getting Together with the Tribe

Christine: New Discoveries for Voyager 1
Lorraine: Let Them Go!
Great Books Online Course at Monterey Peninsula College

This Week
Live Raptors Visit!
Click to view our Business Directory
  What's Important?

(Photos General) Children_Learning.jpgWhile shopping for back to school supplies, choosing an ergonomically sound backpack, planning  healthful lunches, getting into the structured routine are all part of getting ready for a return to school, what's really important is that your child is in the best learning environment for his or her particular needs. That is what affords us parents peace of mind and makes for a happy child. 

If you find yourself losing sleep because you think you must make do with a less than satisfactory situation --and I've been there-- either get help or do your own sleuthing.  Trust your instincts!  It's that important.  Our choices are wonderfully varied: neighborhood public school, charter school, private school and homeschool.  Within each of these categories there are many variations.  While it may seem confusing as you explore options, stay with it.  Good choices come from gaining more knowledge, sorting through and homing in on what's right for your child.

I saw this on Bookshop Santa Cruz's website. 

"If you want your children to be Smart, tell them Stories.
If you want them to be Really Smart, tell them more Stories.
If you want your children to be Brilliant, tell them even MORE STORIES."

-Albert Einstein

How true.

I'm amazed at the historical data on IQ in our country as discussed by Annie Murphy Paul. It's no surprise that continuous learning makes us smarter, hopefully!

A local Great Books program came across my radar.  I connected with the founder, David Clemens, and am sharing his response with you.  If this program interests you, contact him

Read, read read!, Parmalee

SUMMER CAMPS PARK ACTIVITIES THE WEEKEND
 

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  35% Of Us Keep Learning-But It's Got To Be 100%

by Annie Murphy Paul

I will never get tired of reading about, and thinking about, the Flynn Effect-the astonishing phenomenon wherein IQ scores have been rising over the past century. My latest object of fascination is this interview with James Flynn, the political scientist who discovered the effect and for whom it is named. It appeared in the Monitor, a publication of the American Psychological Association:

What has caused these changes [in IQ scores]?

Well, everything about the modern world has changed since 1900, as you can imagine.

(Photos General) kidsworkingtogethermixedages.jpgThe three things that stand out are: first, formal schooling. That clearly has to be involved in the huge gains in vocabulary and general information we see in America since 1950 - vocabulary subtests of the IQ tests have risen by 17 points over those 50 years. If you project that back to 1900, a period for which we don't have adequate data, that would be 34 points, or two standard deviations. So that's a lot of vocabulary. It means that people today on average know enough vocabulary to mimic the speech of only the cultural elite of 1900.

The second factor is what Alexander Luria discovered when he tested rural Russian peasants in the 1930s. He discovered that pre-scientific people can't take the hypothetical seriously. That is, if you pose to them questions like, "There is snow at the North Pole; where there is snow, bears are white; what color are bears at the North Pole?' they would say, "Well, I've only seen brown bears. And only if a person came from the North Pole with testimony would I believe that the bears there are white.'

They were addicted to the concrete world, not the world of hypotheticals. And that of course has a big impact on a whole range of tests. If you look at Raven's, where the gains have been so huge, the test consists of all hypothetical questions about symbols that are well removed from concrete reality.

Luria also asked his subjects about classification, such as, "What do dogs and rabbits have in common?' In 1900, a person would say, "You use dogs to hunt rabbits.' Today you say, "They're both mammals.' And that gets the question right.

In the past, people's minds were utilitarian. They weren't interested in hypotheticals or in classifying things together. But today people have "donned scientific spectacles,' they have scientific habits of mind.

Finally, there's the wealth of visual images in the modern world. I think that is responsible for improvements in mapping skills and improvements in looking at three-dimensional figures and how they rotate.

Do these rising IQ scores actually mean that people are getting smarter?

That depends what you mean by smarter. It really breaks down into four questions:

Do we have better genetically engineered brains than we did in 1900? Of course not. Genes don't select like that in four generations. So, if by "intelligence' you mean a brain engineered to accomplish greater things, then we've made no progress at all.

But if you mean: Is our ability to attack a wider range of conceptual problems improved? Then yes, we have gained in intelligence. The average person can do creative work today that they couldn't do in 1900.

If you mean, on the other hand, something like: Were people just as adapted to their circumstances in 1900 as they are today? Well, of course they were. They were able to do factory work, to hunt. They could cope with the world as it existed then. They had an average IQ of 70, but they weren't all mentally retarded. So in that respect there's been no gain in intelligence.

But finally, if you mean: Are people today mentally adapted to a far more complicated world? Then yes, there has been a gain.

Do you expect these gains to continue through the 21st century?

Who knows? In 1900, 25 percent of people in the United States had less than four years of education. Between then and 1950, you had the high school revolution. And then, since 1950, we've gone from 12 percent of Americans exposed to tertiary education to 52 percent. You might say that this progress has to level off. Unless we're going to have 50 percent of people over the next half century going to graduate school, it may stop.

But then there is this new creative class: 35 percent of people continually refine their skills and self-educate after tertiary education. Will that make a difference or not? It's ambiguous at present.

And then there's the question of whether we're as stuffed full of visual imagery as we can get at this point. It may be that that shows diminishing returns.

Another thing that's important is the nurturing of children by their parents - children receive more nurturing as family size decreases. I think that is important. But you can always say that today kids are nurtured practically until it's running out of their ears, there isn't much more nurturing that can be done." (Read more here.)

So much interesting stuff here-I'll just pick out one thing: Flynn's mention of "the new creative class," "the 35 percent of people [who] continually refine their skills and self-educate after tertiary education."

My view is that the percentage of people who behave in this way is going to increase in the future-has to increase, because this is the only way to keep up with our fast-changing culture and economy, in which anything rote or routine is outsourced or (eventually) automated.

What do you think?

 

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  Suki: Adapting Curriculum for Homeschoolers & Getting Together with the Tribe

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Adapting Curriculum  When I started homeschooling, I would listen jealously as other parents discussed curriculum for reading and math, two subjects that my daughter never needed any instruction in as a young child. I was eager to try out curriculum, much of which seemed quite fun, but my visual spatial daughter wasn't quite ready for learning on paper.

Once I thought she was ready, I found out that searching for the right curriculum was not exactly the fun job I thought it would be. Everything I tried seemed to have major flaws. I realized that because curriculum has to be written for some fictional "average" child, even curriculum written "for gifted children" is unlikely to fit my children like a glove.

Through some experimentation, I found that the really major problems are easy to fix...Read more>>>>>


Getting Together with the Tribe  As my daughter and I were preparing to attend our local homeschooling conference last weekend, she asked a very good question: "Why don't school families have a fun conference to go to?"

It was a little hard to answer. The immediate quip that came to mind-"because they're boring?"-wasn't fair to school parents, many of whom are fabulously creative and fun just like homeschooling parents. And "because they don't want to do things with their kids" isn't fair or accurate either.

The complicated answer, I think, is that it's harder for school parents to find their tribe. They have friends, of course, and networks of people that they connect with through their work, their creative pursuits, and their families. But few school parents have what homeschoolers have: a tribe that welcomes their whole family.

A tribe is not a group of people who all know each other. A tribe does not have to include only people who like and approve of each other. People in a tribe are not uniformly similar.

But a tribe is an affiliation that somehow transcends daily concerns: people in your tribe are not necessarily people you'd want to have over to dinner, but still, they're your tribe. People in your tribe may differ quite a bit from you in how they run their lives and make their decisions, but still, they're your tribe.... Read more>>>>

Suki Wessling writes about parenting, education, gifted children, and homeschooling.

 

The Jungle Book by All About Theatre

A Musical Family Performance - A rousing musical about a small boy raised in the jungle by wolves. Will he return to the man village?

Aug 9, 6:30pm to 8:00pm and Aug 10 and 11, 6:30 pm and 2 pm

buy tix online $10-$13

Foursquare Community Church Theatre, 4525 Soquel Drive), Soquel Map  website
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  Christine: New Discoveries for Voyager 1

We have been watching Pioneer 10 and 11, and Voyagers 1 and 2 for 40 years as they zoomed past planets. They are the first man-made items leaving our Solar System. Except for our electro-magnetic signals like radio and TV which have left ahead of the solid pieces of equipment.
There have been multiple announcements of Voyager 1 leaving the Solar System. The issue has been defining the limits of the Solar System.  As more data comes in from Voyager 1, it turns out that the boundaries of our system need to be redefined.

Voyager 1 seems to have found new edges. There have been some well-established theories that defined the various edges of our Solar System. Of course these theories were based on basic physics and what we could see in telescopes. The general belief was that once cosmic rays increased then the probe would be beyond the bow shock. Now that Voyager is traveling through the edges, new science is being discovered. The pictures here are now probably wrong. ...  Read more>>>>

Christine is a scientist and mom.  You can find more of her essays here.

  Lorraine: Let Them Go!

(Photos General) LorrainePhoto.jpgWhen your son or daughter WANTS to do something you normally would NOT let them do, let them.

What?

That's right. Parenting is all about YOU growing. I'm sure you knew that? Make sure they are safe and let them GOOOOOOO. Tap into your own emotions when they do. Are you nervous? Are you upset? Are you worried? Why and about what? Your child's enthusiasm is their fuel. Do not put out their fire. Blow on it and ignite their passion for life!

Email me. I want to know how you do with this and what happens for you

So play with this, email me and let me know how it goes, and keep up the good work! To be ahead in the parenting game become an insider on The Secrets to Safe, Happy and Confident Kids

  Great Books Online Course at Monterey Peninsula College

Hi, Parmalee,

Thank you for contacting me. I've always thought that online literature classes are a natural for homeschooling (my best students these days have been homeschooled).

(Photos General) GreatBooks_ReadBestBooks.jpgThe program website is www.mpc.edu/greatbooks and it is full of explanations and links. We offer a Great Books Scholar certificate for completing Introduction to Great Books and four other courses (great for college or transfer applications and scholarship applications).

The other classes to choose from are literature, history, and philosophy (this semester we offer ENGL 5, Introduction to Great Book, online; ENGL 16, Shakespeare Visions (film and stage), online; ENGL 18, the Bible as Literature, online; ENGL 46, British Literature Survey I, online; and PHIL 2, Introduction to Philosophy, live.

These are traditional college courses, fully transferable to UC and CSU, and the cost currently is $46 per unit. All courses require ENGL 1A (which MPC also offers online now) or equivalent as a prerequisite.

I think there are a lot of opportunities here for your readers -parents and teachers might take classes and then deliver the curriculum to their children/students, or qualified high school age students could take courses for college credit, or parents and children could form discussion and shared inquiry groups.

Please let me know how I can help.

All the best,

David Clemens

MLA Delegate Assembly
Regional Director, ECCTYC Region 3
Founder and Coordinator, MPC Great Books Program 
dclemens @ mpc.edu

 

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  This Week

(Graphics) EventCalendar.jpg(Ads) SantaCruzParentCamp.jpgBelow is only a partial list of upcoming events and activities so be sure to click on our EVENT CALENDAR so you do not miss anything >>

Use the PARENT PLANNER to click on events and resources you are interested in and click PRINT MY PLANNER to print or email your list.

 

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Resources on SantaCruzParent.com

 

Adventure Sports August Swim Classes

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Session Dates:
Monday/Wednesday:
August 5th thru August 28th
Tuesday/Thursday:
August 6th thru August 29th

Schedules

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 Live Raptors Visit!

Summer Saturdays at the Museum-Native Bird Connections


(Photos General) Animal_GreatHornedOwl.jpgSanta Cruz Museum of Natural History
Learn about the Ohlone Native Americans of Santa Cruz!
Date: 08/10/2013 from 11:00am to 2:00pm
Ages: all ages Admission Fees: Free with admission: $4 adults, $2 seniors Kids and Museum members free

(Photos General) Animal_Raptor.jpgThis summer the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History's family programs feature live animals, games and crafts. Children must be accompanied by an adult. August 10th live raptors will visit the Museum amphitheater. Come observe and learn about these amazing predators.

Two shows: 11:00 am & 12:30 pm.
For more information, visit santacruzmuseums.org.

Location: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural His, 1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz Map
Phone: (831) 420-6115 •website Santa Cruz

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Summer Gathering of Mountain Men
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  Summer Gathering of Mountain Men
Roaring Camp
Date: Every day (Aug 20-Aug 21)
Details: Live history! Visit Roaring Camp's summer gathering of wild and woolly mountain men.
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Musical Saw Festival
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  Musical Saw Festival
Roaring Camp Railroads
Date: 08/11/2013
Ages: All
Details: Listen to the world's greatest saw players
City: Felton view all details >>
     
     
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