Skip to content

Category: Homeschool Conferences

Washington Homeschool Organization Conference Notes: Dale McGowan – Engaging Ethics

Special note: even though Dale writes about parenting from a non-religious point of view, his talks were not from any pro or anti-religion point of view. The two books of his I’ve linked at the end of the post were not referenced in his talks, but are included as a small sample of his work.


Not knowing what is wrong is rare – you already know what is right. Example: “you mean to say murder is WRONG?!” No one says that.

Morality – prosocial, helps people, improves lives

Moral stages (1950s-1970s)

  • Piaget’s developmental stages
  • Kohlberg’s moral development

Moral development stars earlier than previously thought – 12-24 mos = shame, guilt, pride etc can be felt. Theory of mind – can be used to comfort or mess with someone else. Parents are the early regulator.

Moral development acts on existing temperament – 40-70% of temperament is genetic. Temperaments – open, slow to warm, negatively reactive.

Moral development positively correlates to healthy attachment to primary caregiver.

Moral development: experience > formal teaching.

Religion is an unrelated variable — Dr. Larry Nucci — studies children’s moral development. Moral indoctrination interferes with moral development, children can’t think morally.

Moral development has a mostly positive default. Children will hit moral landmarks regardless of what parents do.

The Ethical Eight

  1. Responsive and prosocial home life, strong attachment
  2. Encourage active moral reasoning
  3. Don’t hit or humiliate kids
  4. Encourage kids to question authority, including yours
  5. Make them comfortable with differences
  6. Use knowledge to drive out fear
  7. Teach and expect responsibility and maturity
  8. R E L A X

Some of Dale’s books:

Dale’s Website

Leave a Comment

Washington Homeschool Organization Conference Notes: Kieran O’Mahony – Ignite Your Children’s Learning With A Neural Lens

Basic overview of the brain

The amygdala controls defense (fight, flight, react)

Boredom results in shutting down and can move us into the defense mode. If a child doesn’t feel safe they can’t learn.

We can move the brain to use the prefrontal cortex and restore calm.

Learning Components

  • Physical Movement – BDNF (brain-derived neurtrophic factor)
  • Choice and Prediction – we all hate being told what to do (can cause us to be reactive)
    • when we are predicting we can not be functioning from the amygdala
  • Fun and Laughter – releases feel-good neurotransmitters, makes the brain “talk”
    • serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin
  • Human Interaction – also releases feel-good neurotransmitters
    • a lack of human interaction releases cortisol
  • Sense of Discovery – prefrontal cortex –> curiosity, imagination, creation
    • discover the answers vs being told them
    • we are hardwired to learn
    • boredom activates the amygdala

Dandelion vs Orchid Children

Serotonin Transport Gene – short, long.

  • Dandelions: long/long
  • Orchid: short/short
  • can be a combination (short/long)

Dandelions are resilient kids who thrive in any environment. Orchids need to be greenhoused – very sensitive children. 23andme can show the results of this. You’ll know if you have an orchid.

Always teach towards the orchid, dandelions flourish wherever they are.

The Environment

Also important for learning:

  • Safety (obviously)
  • Sleep (regular routine, 7 days a week – practice good sleep hygiene)
  • Low cluttered spaces keeps working memory open

Working Memory

1950s – Miller’s Law –> 4+/- 2

The Finger/Palm Game

Engaged a lot of learning components

Anticipation is often greater than the reward

Overall

Keep lessons short, end on success

The younger the child, the more activities are needed


Kieran’s Websites:

Kieran has a book coming out this fall (IIRC) as well.

Leave a Comment

Washington Homeschool Organization Conference Notes: Dale McGowan – The Four Parenting Styles

Special note: even though Dale writes about parenting from a non-religious point of view, his talks were not from any pro or anti-religion point of view. The two books of his I’ve linked at the end of the post were not referenced in his talks (The Altruistic Personality was), but are included as a small sample of his work.

  • Parenting guidance in the 1920s:
    • John Watson
      • Little Albert and conditioned response
      • Holding babies will spoil them
  • Parenting guidance in the 1950s:
    • John Bowlby
      • attachment theory
  • Parenting guidance in the 1960s:
    • Harry Harlow
      • cloth and wire monkey experiment
    • Diana Baumrind
      • discipline
      • warmth
      • communication
      • expectations
  • Four Parenting Styles:
    • authoritarian
    • authoritative
    • permissive
    • uninvolved (added by Martin)

 

  • Permissive Parents can be:
    • affectionate
    • anxious to please
    • can’t say no and stick to it
    • easily manipulated
  • Permissive parenting outcomes in kids:
    • demanding and whiny
    • easily frustrated
    • lacking empathy and kindness
    • poor to average student
    • a follower
  • Uninvolved parents can be:
    • emotionally removed
    • unpredictable
    • inconsistent
  • Uninvolved parenting outcomes in kids:
    • clingy and needy
    • rude
    • troublemakers
    • poor students
    • a follower
  • Authoritarian parents can be:
    • emotionally aloof
    • “because I said so”
    • emphasize differential in power and rights
    • physical punishment and/or verbal insults
    • dismisses a child’s feelings (eg: “that’s not something to cry over!”)
  • Authoritarian parenting outcomes in kids:
    • well behaved
    • average to good student
    • moody and anxious
    • a follower
  • Authoritative parents can be:
    • affectionate and engaged
    • set limits and enforce consequences
    • use reason, logic, and appropriate negotiation
    • empower decision making
  • Authoritative parenting outcomes in kids:
    • happy and kind
    • good at problem solving
    • a leader
    • a good student
    • cooperative and responsible

 

  • How to parent authoritatively
    • listen repsonsively
    • validate emotions
    • establish clear rules with clear reasons
    • positive incentives
    • logical, proportional consequences
    • allow small choices from an early age (but beware the paradox of choice)
    • balance freedom and responsibility
    • encourage self-discipline by always moving toward autonomy and allowing mistakes

The following book links are Amazon affiliates, meaning I get a small commission if you use these links to purchase. Thank you for your support.

A book recommended by Dale: The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Germany
Some of Dale’s books:

Dale’s Website

Leave a Comment

Washington Homeschool Organization Conference Notes: Ed Zaccaro – 8 Components of Quality Math Education

1)  PASSION

Math is typically taught as “all scales, no music”. By tuning into our children’s passions, we can help them achieve excellence.

It is important to include real life math investigations – helps eliminate the “I’ll never use X” thought.

Make math interesting, challenging, and important.

Example: Dr. Alice Stewart used math (statistics) to show that X-rays of pregnant women had a valid result of an increase in childhood leukemia in the 1950s.

A child’s interest and passions are NOT always their areas of giftedness. Don’t squelch them.

Use math to solve real world problems:

Example: the gold kangaroo coin for $100 that is absolutely tiny because the advertisers used mm to show the diameter.

Example: whalers would promise 1/200 of profits, some hired men would DEMAND 1/300 of the profits not knowing they were getting ripped off.

A way of making math interesting: take boring worksheets and turn them into a game, ie “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”

2) MASTER BASIC SKILLS

3) CHALLENGE AND FRUSTRATION IS NORMAL

We can benefit from our mistakes. Some math mistakes in media:

Wizard of Oz: the scarecrow doesn’t properly quote the Pythagorean Theorem after he gets his brain

Proposition 203 in Arizona (cigarette tax)

Help kids develop GRIT

When working work variables, try the 2-10 method. Example:

Tom paints n cars in t hours. How many cars does he paint in an hour?
Tom paints 2 cars in 10 hours. How many cars does he paint in an hour? (5, t/n)

4) NURTURE YOUR FAMILY’S LOVE OF KNOWLEDGE

Introduce various subjects like math, history, science, analogy, etc. Dinner time trivia is a good painless way to do so.

5) TEACH FOR INTUITIVE LEARNING, NOT ROTE

Example: marble jar

You don’t need to be a math superstar in order to teach math.

6) DEVELOP MATHEMATICAL THINKING AND APPROPRIATE CHALLENGE

Example: Level 1, 2, 3, and Einstein level of math problems.

Kids in primary grades can do much harder math problems than we expect (intuitive learning)

7) SET REASONABLE CALCULATOR RULES

Keep learning basic facts

Teach thinking, not rote

8) TEACH BASES

This forces a thorough understanding of place value

Base 2, 5, 10, etc


Some of Ed’s Books:
The following links are Amazon affiliates, meaning I get a small commission if you use these links to purchase. Thank you for your support.

Leave a Comment