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Mon May 30, 2016, 12:09 PM

A Thousand Rivers-


The following statement somehow showed up on my Twitter feed the other day:

“Spontaneous reading happens for a few kids. The vast majority
need (and all can benefit from) explicit instruction in phonics.”
This 127-character edict issued, as it turned out, from a young woman who is the “author of the forthcoming book Brilliant: The Science of How We Get Smarter” and a “journalist, consultant and speaker who helps people understand how we learn and how we can do it better.”

It got under my skin, and not just because I personally had proven in the first grade that it is possible to be bad at phonics even if you already know how to read. It was her tone; that tone of sublime assurance on the point, which, further tweets revealed, is derived from “research” and “data” which demonstrate it to be true.


really interesting read. really rang my bells. the son i homeschooled is getting a phd in theoretical math. the son i sent to school is sitting in my basement, unable to start his own life. damaged, angry and confused.

sigh. i hated sending them to school. it just got to be too much and my now ex husband was no help. when he took a promotion i didnt want him to take, i gave up.
oh how i regret that now.

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Thousand Rivers- (Original post)
mopinko May 2016 OP
elleng May 2016 #1
mopinko May 2016 #2
elleng May 2016 #3
Mike__M Aug 2016 #6
elleng Aug 2016 #8
PoindexterOglethorpe Aug 2016 #4
mopinko Aug 2016 #5
Mike__M Aug 2016 #7

Response to mopinko (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2016, 01:16 PM

1. Thanks, mop.

Will read and maybe share with my daughter, mother of a 2 year old; she's caring for him and another at home now, studied Child Development & Family Studies-Preschool & Special Education, doesn't like the way teachers are treated in 'schools,' and will likely teach him at home for a few years.

Any suggestions for materials I can give her (as gifts; birthday's coming up,) would be appreciated.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Tue May 31, 2016, 08:04 AM

2. hmmmmm

sounds like she doesnt need much.
smart toys for that cutie would be what we spent a lot of money on. some of the more ed oriented one were spendy back in the day. cusinair rods were something that we misused quite a bit. they teach number theory. but i chuckle when i see some of the common core math problems illustrated w legos. i have no doubt these laid the ground work for son's amazing math brain.
i am sure the computer games are better than they used to be.

does she play an instrument? maybe something to invest in. or maybe lessons if she is interested, but doesnt.

make art? materials for them both. a box of sketch books for her, as that was all i could manage for years.
(probably the best thing the kids had was a white dog! oh how they decorated that sweet dog.)

i will try to keep this in the back of my mind.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #2)

Tue May 31, 2016, 10:54 AM

3. THanks. Will think of these.

They don't play instruments, had hoped our old piano would be available, but husb apparently ditched it when he sold our house. Did give a play one to my 'other' grandson for his 1st birthday; he was quite engaged with it for a bit. Approaching 3 now, and in a decent daycare/school, so lots of stuff there.

Did pick up coloring book at 2d hand store, and bought crayons too. Will check on legos, see if they have them. NO white dog! My neighbor has 2 westies, but not likely little kid will color them!

Daughter has a small farm, so he 'works' there, learns about animal husbandry, chicks that is, counts eggs, I think.


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Response to elleng (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 04:54 PM

6. Farming & gardening

Hi elleng! I'd say homestead-scale farming and gardening are great for kids. Most of our homeschooling friends, even the rigid school-at-home families, have at least some chickens. Whether it's cause or effect, I don't know, but animals and learning seem to go together. I think it's one of few endeavors in the modern world where kids can (are even expected to) participate in real tasks that have real rewards for the whole family. A gold star on a worksheet doesn't compare to a basket of eggs (or blueberries) carried into the kitchen for tomorrow's breakfast.

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Response to Mike__M (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 06:35 PM

8. Thanks, Mike.

I agree, LEARNING! They've recently acquired goats, and while I don't expect the little kid to do milking soon, he's surely learning: milk > cheese and yogurt! And, of course, eggs for breakfast!

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Fri Aug 12, 2016, 03:18 AM

4. Oh, yes.

My sister's oldest child learned to read spontaneously. Good for her. But my sister then thought that all her kids would learn to read spontaneously. Surprise, surprise. They needed instruction. As did my kids.

Also, my oldest was on the slow side of learning to read, even though once that happened he went on and did very well the rest of the way through his academic career.

Some kids are naturally good at "academic" things. Others not so much. That difference is not anything connected to their value as human beings, but just a commentary on what they do differently.

And it's not as though those who read early and readily are better human beings than those who struggle to read. Just as those who are morning people are not superior to later in the day people. They are simply different, and I wish all the morning people would get that.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #4)

Fri Aug 12, 2016, 08:11 AM

5. yeah, i was a little surprised that not all the kids were like

the oldest boy.
but they all had their gifts. and they are all well equipped to follow their curiosity, and not afraid to try something new.

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Response to mopinko (Original post)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 04:57 PM

7. Nice article.

Thanks for posting it.
Anyone who likes it might be interested in the finding a way to see the documentary Schooling the World: The White Man's Last Burden.

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