Thursday, January 25, 2018

Educating Independent Children in a Technologically Dependent World:

An excerpt from Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning SnapChat
By  01/08/2018

Education Next

Technology has changed the way kids are raised and educated. In her new book Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning SnapChat, Naomi Schaefer Riley offers parents strategies for helping children grow up with sensible boundaries as well as a sense of independence. In the following excerpt, she visits a nature club for homeschooled students, where children are developing social and emotional skills the old-fashioned way.

A couple of months after my son started second grade, I remember him poring over an atlas on our family room floor. He asked me about finding Massachusetts on a map—that’s where his grandparents live. When I told him to look further north, he seemed puzzled. “Simon, which direction is north?” I asked. Without hesitation, he answered, “Up.” It was a perfectly logical answer for someone who liked maps but was used to seeing them pinned to the front of a classroom rather than actually using them to get places.
A few weeks after this conversation, I found myself at a state park in the suburbs of Philadelphia with a group of about thirty kids ranging from toddlers to teenagers. A young man in his twenties took out a map of the park and handed a few other copies to the kids. Then he took out his compass—a couple of the kids pulled out their own as well—and asked them which way we should go to get to the trail. The kids laid their maps on the ground and quickly found the answer. “That way is north,” yelled one boy who looked to be about ten. “We need to head to the left up ahead.”
Like many of the kids at the park that day, this boy seemed confident, knowledgeable about his surroundings, and happy to talk to other kids of different ages, not to mention their parents. He was curious and excited but also surefooted and eager to warn others about pitfalls on the trail ahead.

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