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Posted in Educational Reform, Math, Teaching & Learning

The Moore Method

“I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.” — Chinese proverb

The Moore Method is a little-known method for teaching advanced math that gets great results. In essence, it sacrifices breadth of coverage for depth of understanding, i.e. it prioritizes quality over quantity when it comes to learning a subject.

In essence the Moore Method works by having the students present the course content themselves. In higher math, the semester starts with a list of definitions and theorems to prove from them, with new theorems being introduced as students progress through the material. However, I believe that this approach could (and should) be adapted to other topics and levels of study and scaled up. This type of participatory/active, rather than receptive/passive, classroom experience is a fundamental feature of the educational revolution that is sweeping the planet.

“That student is taught the best who is told the least.” Robert Lee Moore, inventor of The Moore Method

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore_method

Posted in Independent Education, Inspiration, Tips for Students

How To Know If You Should Drop Out Of Shool

There is a lot of social pressure to go to school and to college, but neither is absolutely necessary to lead a fulfilling and successful life. Just ask any of the thousands of unschooled kids across the nation, or any of the college dropouts who have become billionaires. School is only a means to an end, and shouldn’t be confused with the end itself. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are considering taking an alternate route:

Are You Willing To Take On More Responsibility?

Are you willing to make decisions for yourself about what to learn and how? Are you willing to define your own goals and keep yourself on track towards achieving them? Unschooling yourself means drawing free-hand on the canvas of life instead of connecting the dots. This can only work if you are willing to be creative, courageous, and responsible. Quitting school doesn’t mean you get to do nothing instead; it means you have the freedom, and the responsibility, to do more.

Do You Have A Vision?

Do you have a vision of what you would like to achieve? Is school helping you realize that vision or is it getting in the way? If you can see a more direct route to pursue your objectives in life, then by all means follow it, and don’t doubt that you will be able to learn whatever you need to learn along the way.

Are You Passionate About What You Are Studying?

This is essentially the only reason to be in school: if you are passionate and excited about what you are studying, so that the learning process is rewarding in and of itself, then by all means keep doing it. There’s no reason to punish yourself with boredom and misery in exchange for some vaguely promised delayed gratification, when life is meant to be seized and enjoyed, and there is so much you could be doing right now that would be rewarding, satisfying, and practical.

Posted in Resources, Tips for Parents

Can Dyslexia Be Cured?

Learning Pathways is a Colorado-based educational intervention service that specializes in curing dyslexia. Their approach uses multi-sensory exercises based on the most modern research into neuroplasticity to develop fundamental cognitive abilities. While it was long thought that brain cells cannot be replaced, we now know that not only are neurons capable of forming new connections, new neurons can actually be created in the brain. This makes the concept of so-called learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD as being “hardwired” into the brain obsolete, and Learning Pathways’ success record of curing dyslexia proves it.

I have long observed that whenever we believe something is unchangeable, such as being “hardwired” or due to an innate “chemical imbalance”, we stop looking for answers. Instead of continuing to look for ways to solve the problem, we settle for finding ways to manage it. This obviously prevents us from finding whatever solutions might exist. In my opinion it is better to look for a solution when none exists than to give up on finding a solution when one does exist. That’s why I admire the customized, evidence-based approach Learning Pathways takes to helping students transform their conceptions of what is possible for them.

Posted in Tips for Students

How To Pay For College Without Taking Loans

Education should be free, but unfortunately the costs are increasing virtually by the year. An exploding number of students, whether trustingly following well-intentioned advice, going along with the crowd, or simply feeling like they have no choice, are financing their education with student loans. I have written before about why I think this is a bad idea, and why it is, in fact, your civic duty not to take college loans. But if you have your heart set on going to college and don’t want to come out of the experience loaded up with debt, what should you do?

Minimize Costs

First understand that all education is self education, and the quality of your education comes from you. What you get out of it is proportional to what you put into it, not to how much you spend on it. By earning some credits at cheaper institutions, clepping out of classes, and taking courses over the summer, when tuition is cheaper, you can trim the fat from your educational budget. In fact, there is a program, the Do-It-Yourself Degree, designed to streamline this process for maximum time and money efficiency.

Maximize Earnings

It may seem like a lot of work to take a thorough and systematic approach to acquiring scholarships, but compared to slaving away in debt for years or decades of your adult life, it’s like a little slice of heaven. By taking a determined approach to earning scholarships, any student with a decent academic record can get some or all of college paid for. There are a plethora of scholarship search engines that can assist you. However, you can’t expect grades and test scores alone to make earning scholarships a shoo-in; grades and test scores are just numbers, but what really makes you stand out and grabs the attention of scholarship selection committees is unique accomplishments. Your communication skills, particularly writing and interviewing, also play a key role.

Postpone

You don’t have to go to college immediately after high school. The “best years of your life” can be spent gaining experience in any number of ways, from travelling to volunteering, networking to interning or apprenticing. From a financial perspective, putting off going to college allows you to gain a little more worldly wisdom before you make what may be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, as well as relevant experience that can make applying for scholarships, grants, and fellowships even easier. It can also help you avoid the mistake of borrowing huge amounts of money to start on a career path that isn’t right for you. And who knows, you might even realize that there are better options for you and decide that going to college isn’t worth your time after all; just ask Bill Gates.

Posted in Educational Reform, Tips for Students

Don’t Borrow Money For College

The college debt crisis is one of the greatest injustices in American history, ranking right up there with the Native American genocide, slavery, and the Vietnam war.  The best thing that you can do is refuse to participate, and stand up for your right to an education AND a livelihood by refusing to take loans for college.

 

 

FACT: The easy availability of college loans drives up tuition prices.

Just like housing bubbles are perennially fueled by decreasing federal interest rates, an increase in the availability of credit in any market drives prices up. Why are more students taking bigger loans to go to college? Because prices are increasing. Why are prices increasing? Because more students are taking bigger loans.

FACT: College cost increases have exceeded cost-of-living increases and median wage increases.

Why do colleges charge more for tuition? For the same reason that oil cartels continuously raise prices and gas stations gouge consumers at the pump. Because they can.

 

While college costs have gone up, value has decreased

A college degree is not a shoo-in for a job. At the same time that college costs have been skyrocketing, the number of jobs available has been shrinking, and the number of opportunities to create a rewarding career from scratch has been increasing. The go-to-college-get-a-job career plan isn’t the only game in town, even when it is possible.

Well-intentioned advice can still be misguided

Parents of high school age kids today grew up in a world where having a college degree meant having a better-than-average shot at a high-paying job, and not having one meant a lifetime toiling at a payscale tied to the minimum wage. Parents don’t always realize that times have changed, and may think that because going to college, and taking loans if necessary, made sense for them, it makes sense for their kids too. But the future does not equal the past.

 

 

Education should be a right, not a luxury. Education is the foundation of an economy, and the basis of the pursuit of happiness.

Make no mistake – debt is indentured servitude. It means that the money you earn does not belong to you. The looming college debt crisis threatens to create an entire generation of debt-locked peasants.

 

 

Let’s face it: the United States spends more money on weapons of mass destruction than any country in the world, and more money on surveiling and incarcerating its citizens than it does on educating and caring for them. Increasing militarization and decreasing education does not a recipe for a bright and prosperous future make.

If the United States wants to avoid obliterating itself back to the dark ages, it needs to recognize these truths as self-evident.

Beyond resisting the pressure to take college loans, what can you do? You can figure out how to pay for college without taking loans. Or, you can skip college altogether and get right down to creating the life of your dreams.

Posted in Educational Reform, Independent Education, Inspiration, Tips for Students

That’s Just The Way It Is…NOT, Part 3

So many aspects of our modern lives and the way society is structured are taken for granted, and we just assume things are the way they are because they have to be that way. This series of posts looks at a few of the hidden assumptions we commonly make about education.

You Have To Go To College If You Want A Good Job

This conventional wisdom of the baby boom era is erroneous in two ways:

1. It is no longer true that you have to go to college to get a “good job”

and

2. It is no longer true that you have to get a “good job” to have a successful, exciting, satisfying, or rewarding career.

“What do you want to do?” is no longer synonymous with “What job do you want to have?”, but can more and more be answered quite literally:

“I want to go on adventures”

“I want to write”

“I want to make art”

“I want to help people discover themselves”

“I want to photograph wildlife”

“I want to heal people”

“I want to make people laugh”

“I want to create companies”

“I want to teach”

Any of these or countless similar aspirations can indeed form the foundation of a successful career.  Just as the huge lumbering dinosaurs were replaced by small, nimble, and adaptable mammals as environmental conditions changed, the changing technological environment and the resultant diffusion of the means of economic productivity is causing the huge, monolithic organization to become extinct, quickly to be replaced by tiny start-ups and independent solo operators.

These days you can be a freelance just-about-anything, and the opportunities to create a totally new career from scratch are only limited by the restrictions on the human imagination.  From 16-year-old sailors circumnavigating the globe, to 17-year-old nuclear physicists, to whole families bicycling around the world, more and more lifestyle pioneers are showing us all that life can be about so much more than getting a “good job” – if you want it to be.

Posted in Educational Reform, Homeschooling, Independent Education, Inspiration

That’s Just The Way It Is…NOT, Part 2

So many aspects of our modern lives and the way society is structured are taken for granted, and we just assume things are the way they are because they have to be that way. This series of posts looks at a few of the hidden assumptions we commonly make about education.

You Have To Go To School, Like Everyone Else

If there’s one thing that characterizes modern life, it’s options.  The freedom available to individuals in terms of the number of options for almost everything is expanding and accelerating.  This includes options about what to learn, how to learn, how to earn money, and how to pursue a fulfilling career.

Research has already shown that people perform better at all types of tasks when they get to choose what to work on, and they learn better when they study the things they are interested in.  For now school is still obligatory for most, but it is only a matter of time before governments and educational institutions catch on to the fact that their most effective role is not to mandate the learning process, but to facilitate it.  In the mean time, there are thousands of homeschooling and unschooling families are proving by example, in countless ways, that public school isn’t for everyone, and that the options for how to pursue an education and a career are limitless.

Mark Twain famously said that he had never let his schooling interfere with his education, and in today’s world we can all take this advice even more to heart, as there is no longer any reason that schooling has to interfere with education.  Instead of trying to march in lock-step with a fixed curriculum, you can learn about whatever you want, whenever you want, and let passion and interest guide you to master any type of knowledge or skill you desire, as well as design a rewarding career for yourself.