Google+ Authentic Parenting: January 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Life Skills for Teens: College and Beyond

Before your children leave the house for college or a job in the workforce, acquiring certain life skills will set them up for success. Some you can teach them, while others they may learn in the digital world. The following are just a few skills you can teach them:

Advanced Cooking

Everyone knows ramen is the platform of the college student's food pyramid. But it doesn't have to be. While a well-prepared meal is something your teens have taken for granted, teach them how to prepare some of their favorite meals, and they'll thank you for it in the long run.

Make sure they know their way around a kitchen and how to use specialized kitchen tools like a heavy-duty slicer for meats and cheeses.
Teach them how to sear, braze and season with precision. Make sure they know how much they can save if they pack their own lunch with home-prepared sandwiches compared with purchased food from cafes. If your teens know their way around a kitchen, they'll also be able to land a job at a restaurant or deli easier than if they live off ramen in their dorm room.

Second Language 

The United States is quickly becoming a multilingual country. Whether you know a second language or not, make sure your kids study a second language throughout school and into college. Those who enter the workforce with proficiency in a second language can expect a 10 to 15 percent pay increase.
An estimated 25,000 jobs in interpretation are estimated to be created between 2010 and 2020, a growth rate of 42 percent, according to CNN, and this market doesn't include the military.
Sixty-six percent of recruiters in North America agreed that proficiency in a second or third language will increase in importance over the next 10 years. People who are bilingual have more opportunities and typically make more money than those who aren't.
Give your children a head start and encourage them if they enjoy linguistics and languages.

College Isn't for Everyone 

Some jobs don't require a second language or even a college degree. W
ith the digitization of everyday life, social media managers, marketers and freelance writers have more opportunities than ever before. Well-written content and concise messages are in high demand.
You don't necessarily need a college degree for a job as a freelance writer or a social media marketer. However, you do need writing skills for both jobs.
Some writers are better editors than others, but freelance writers and social media gurus should at least be decent editors of their own work. A love of writing is essential for this career path. If your teens have a love for the written word, encourage them to research either of these jobs.
While Instagram, Twitter and Facebook can seem like a waste of time, many businesses and corporations pay good money for a well-managed account and concisely written copy.

image: Moyan Brenn


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Learning isn't linear

Whenever I talk to people about unschooling, I get the question: “but how does that work”. Really, what they mean is: “How do people learn”.

Over our 7 years of unschooling, I must say that learning does not - not even closely - resemble the way the schooling system believes it does.

In a traditional system, learning is believed to be linear. You do reading 101, regularly, then pile it up with 102 and so on. You continue this practice for about 14, 16, 18 years, depending on where you live, and in the end you’re accomplished.

Now, just from observing my own children, and conversations with other unstopping parents, learning isn’t linear AT ALL. If I have to define it with some ‘shae’, I’d say the spiral comes close. It’s cyclical, it moves away and back to the ‘core’, and it’s ever continuing.

My eldest has a taste for the written word. She’s 7 and can only read and write her own name. In Belgium, that’s quite the shock. But she loves the written word. She loves pretending to write, look at words, and be read to… As much as possible. We’ve been reading chapter books for quite a while now and have covered many classics and half the Harry Potter books.

Yet she doesn’t read yet.

Her interest in words started about when she was two. We’re a heavy reading family, so even early on I would read to her. Anything really. She’d point at words and ask me what that word is. I’d tell her, point to similarities… Then she lost interest, the pointing out words game wasn’t frequent anymore.
A while later, when she was about three, I know for a fact she could recognise some letters or at least letter groups. Pa and Ma for example.

She went through a phase where she did lots and lots of pre writing exercises.
Then at about 6, she did a lot of very scholarly early reading and writing.
Now, at 7 and a half, she talks about learning to read again. It comes and goes.

Now, my daughter is a perfectionist and like to get things ‘just’ right (wonder where she gets that from), I figure she probably recognises some letters, or later sequences, but is too proud to meddle. She’ll probably be one of those kids who one day picks up a chapter book and just reads it. And astounds us all.
And that’s ok.

Now, I am her mother and I observe her closely. I have been with her nearly every day of her life. I see her effort, I see her achievements, I (sort of) see her progress. Some things are small and escape me at first.

Other people don’t notice these small things because they aren’t as closely involved. “Can she read yet,” is all they ask. Reading, however, is a process, not a possession. She’ll get there, but in people’s linear view of learning, there’s just no understanding how exactly this is happening, or where she is on her path. She could very well read tomorrow. Or in a couple of years. I don’t know. But I don’t worry.

To cast the full picture: I myself, was an early reader, so the not reading, learning to read process has been very much one of learning to let go for myself. For a long time, I was anxious about it. I had read extensively about unstopping and knew that children learn to read at very diverse ages. Somewhere between 4 and 14, quite a vast span. But I was somehow confident that my children would be early readers, too… How could they not be? I’m a writer, we read, and I was an early reader myself.

Comes to show that unschooling is all about deschooling yourself and putting your assumptions to the test.