Category Archives: Sometimes a Great Notion

This is where we will find success stories – with students, teachers, families – and yes – once in awhile – a particular school, or district which has overcome adversity to provide a winning agenda. You may also find postings regarding proposes POSITIVE changes to and for the education system suggested or presented by both public and private individuals. HEY – if nothing else – look at the work of people such as Kim Allsup. Yeah – Kim is here too.

Oh yes… this is the place you will also find single image posts, which may be quite suggestive in nature – for both positive and/or negative effect.

Why Every Parent Should Consider Unschooling

Gillian Lynne. Maybe you’ve heard of her? She’s the choreographer who did Cats and Phantom of the Opera, and she most likely would be diagnosed with ADHD if she was of school age today.

Gillian was fidgety. She couldn’t concentrate. And she was disturbing people. Gillian was considered hopeless by the school system. This was in the 1930s and Gillian was eight. As the story goes, she was sent to a specialist with her mother. After about 20 minutes of dialogue, the specialist told Gillian that he needed to speak with her mother privately. Before leaving, he turned on the radio. Once the pair were in the next room, he said to her mother, “Just stand and watch her.” Continue reading

Adulting Day’ at one high school teaches teens to cook, change a tire and pay bills

When I was in high school we had Home Ec and Shop to teach us those daily things. Home Ec also taught us how to care for an ill family member – how to change sheets and make a bed; how to sew things as well as how to keep a house clean and orderly. The shop classes taught woodworking, auto mechanics, etc.

The ADULTING DAY idea is great but it needs to be more of an ADULTING MONTH – including how to change a light bulb, how to fix a leaky faucet, how to clean a plugged drain, etc. All those things that are part of every day life. But then, nowadays, the schools would have to bring in professionals to show them how to do it as most teachers wouldn’t have a clue. I can just see todays youngsters (and adults) asking Google, Alexis, or those other talking tech things to tell them how to do something —other than to spy on all that goes on in your house.

How about teaching our kids how to do something PRODUCTIVE for a change???? ~ Jackie Juntti (Granny) Continue reading

Treasure Books

Old books are a treasure, of course. And it’s not merely for their subject matter.

There’s nothing quite like an old book to gain a snapshot of the linguistics of the day; many words and phrases long ago common and once well understood today are, in some cases, simply baffling, if not comical.

But it’s not subject matter and linguistics alone that make old books the rare treat they are. Oftentimes, it’s what people have tucked into them. Continue reading

The Best Way to Teach History to Children

In the mid-1990s, Mrs. Irene Harrison (1890-1999) from Akron, Ohio stayed in my bed-and-breakfast in Western North Carolina. On her last visit, Mrs. Harrison, daughter of famed tire entrepreneur Frank Seiberling, was 105 years old. She was a petite, gracious lady of the old school who proved highly entertaining on some occasions. Once when I was passing through the living room, she was discussing politics with her son. I paused to ask her to name her favorite president… Continue reading

E.B. White’s Touching Letter to Man Who Lost Hope in Humanity

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

On March 30, 1973, the ‘Charlotte’s Web‘ author wrote a beautiful note to a dispirited man who had last all faith in humanity.

I’m a longtime fan of E.B. White. Intellectual Takeout readers likely know he wrote a lot more than just Charlotte’s Web. His short story The Door is one of my favorite short stories. (We’ll deconstruct that one another other day; as you can see, it’s quite mad.) Continue reading

Indiana school district turns unused cafeteria food into take-home meals for kids

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WSBT) – An Indiana school district is taking steps to make sure kids have enough to eat.

Elkhart Community Schools students usually get breakfast and lunch at school, but on the weekends at home, they may be without food.

That’s where the South Bend-based non-profit Cultivate Culinary comes in: it provides weekend meals to a small group of students in the elementary school pilot program. Continue reading

On Loving Bookstores…

Growing up in a small but well-to-do Kansas town, I had access to several local bookshops – used and new – in grade school. Every bookstore offered joys, mysteries, and delights. Rarely have I walked into one and not found some kind of treasure.

A few weeks ago, while lecturing for a Hillsdale College event in Boise, Idaho, I visited the local Barnes and Noble on Milwaukee Street. It had been at least fifteen to twenty years since I’d last visited that particular store. Wave after wave of nostalgia flowed over me as I opened the front door and walked in. I knew the layout immediately, and, even more powerfully, I knew the smells. The scents of slick magazines, pulpy books, and thick coffee. This was, you see, the very first Barnes and Noble bookstore I had ever visited. Continue reading

How Storytelling Could Revitalize U.S. History Scores

Whatever I teach, I teach storytelling because it is an expression of human creativity that provides perspective. Stories help us understand our world by showing us that random events surrounding our lives only seem random, but are in fact connected. Stories enable us to perceive a higher level of meaning. Fiction such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Alex Haley’s Roots explore the role of cultural storytelling in personal formation. Aesop uses “The Tortoise and the Hare” to explain the virtue of diligence, and Ernest Hemingway critiques modernist conventions of storytelling in “Snows of Kilimanjaro.” Continue reading

Who can find time to read?

Books are good for your brain

Turn yourself into a bookworm. These techniques will help you read more.

Reading books can exercise your brain and even boost your emotional intelligence. Despite this, about a quarter of all Americans haven’t read a book in the last year and our overall book-reading time is on the decline.

In the new year, it’s time to buck this trend. But how do you find the time to read full-length books—and why should you bother in the first place? Continue reading

Evidence Suggests Some Schools are Finally Freeing Students from the Bonds of Mediocrity

By now, many parents know there is something seriously wrong with the average American school. Time and again, children go into the school system as bright bundles of energy, curious about the surrounding world, and time and again, they stagger through the system frustrated and losing their interest in learning. Unfortunately, parents have firsthand knowledge of what former New York teacher John Taylor Gatto explained in his book, Weapons of Mass Instruction:

“After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.”

That’s easy enough to say, but is it actually possible to do? Continue reading

Parents protesting contentious curriculum

A California family group says mothers in the state have had enough of public schools exposing their children to radical sex-ed curriculum, and they’re doing something about it.

Leaders of Informed Parents of California recently gathered on the Capitol building steps to make legislators and the State Department of Education aware of their outrage. Continue reading