Tag Archives: development

Coop’s Childhood Part 3 – In School & Out

Bach Elementary School
Bach Elementary School
Nowadays K-12 school has become such a high stakes endeavor that academically oriented parents like mine might do their best to “game” the system by letting their kid start school a year later than possible, thinking to give them some sort of developmental and competitive edge relative to other kids. But in 1960 when I turned five, judging me to be an intelligent and precocious kid, my parents had me tested to see if I could skip kindergarten and start public school in first grade instead.

I recall that I found the IQ test they gave me intimidating. Anytime adults focused on me, particularly in a more formal or judging way, I felt uncomfortable. All adults, including my parents, felt like another species entirely rather than simply older versions of us kids. They seemed like large all-knowing deities even, that had me at a total disadvantage.

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Coop Goes to High School Part 2 – First Year

Pioneer HighContinuing from part one, this is part two in my attempt to recollect and record in writing my high school years which were so significant to me developmentally, not so much because of what I did in class, but what I did in my life beyond the schoolroom.

Pioneer high school was a big public high school with over 2000 students, one of two at the time in Ann Arbor, located on the southwest side of town about a mile and a half from my house. It was a sprawling building on an even bigger campus of lawn and parking lots looking more like a high-tech business campus than a typical high school. When I first entered to register for classes the week before school started the main hallway was broad and institutional with what I remember to be a polished formica or marble-like floor, nothing to give the place a sense of a human scale. The school was a string of buildings connected in an L-shape, maybe at least a quarter of a mile from one end to the other.

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Our Daughter Emma’s Lung Collapse & Repair (Updated)

Emma Glasses 21Updated Monday April 15: A week ago Sunday at 11pm at night, Emma’s right lung collapsed for a second time, as it had done a couple months ago.  Luckily this time, she knew enough from last time to know exactly what was happening to her, and since her boyfriend Luke was home he could take her to Kaiser hospital.  What followed was a challenging week that looks to all end well tomorrow, with the problem repaired and future incidences or complications highly unlikely.

It is a condition described clinically as a “spontaneous primary pneumothorax”.  It is a rupture of the tissue of the lung that causes it to deflate and allows the chest cavity to fill with air outside the lung making it hard for the lung itself to reinflate.  Such a rupture can be a secondary effect of an illness, or the result of some trauma like sudden or extreme air pressure change.  But in this case there was no illness or trauma, thus the “spontaneous” label.

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From Civilization to a Circle of Equals

LeviathanWhat follows is an outline of a book I intend to write and get published (even if self-published) in the next few years, based on a lot of the reading, thinking and writing I have done to date. The bulk of the links you find in the overview are to pieces I have previously written that I will attempt to weave in.

My working title at this point is “From Civilization to a Circle of Equals”, because I have come to see civilization, as human beings have mostly developed it so far, as an exercise in domination and control of the bulk of human beings by a vested elite. As we truly embrace the “circle of equals” in our society, we will see such a transformation as to perhaps move beyond any current concept of “civilization” as we know it.

Given that disclaimer, if you are interested in my thoughts on the grand narrative of our species, please keep reading, and please (please, please) comment with your thoughts! (It will also be posted on my site as a “page” called out in the right column!

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Unschooling in the Art of Social Transformation

It is my continuing effort to promote the concept of “unschooling”, the mostly unsung method of human development that often gets short shrift compared to more formal modes and venues for education. Wikipedia defines “unschooling” as a term coined in the 1970s by radical educator John Holt, representing…

A range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. There are some who find it controversial. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities, often initiated by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.

Becoming familiar with the concept of unschooling reading works by John Holt, Pat Farenga, Matt Hern and John Taylor Gatto, I have been taking a long look back at the road I’ve traveled and the key developmental experiences that have contributed the most to who I am today. Though I went to school (K-12 & college, some 20 years worth!), my school experience contributes relatively little to who I really am today, and the wisdom and skill set that I bring to my life’s activities. What is more significant, in retrospect, are the major themes of my own self-directed learning done mostly outside of school.

I have already told the story of my developmental themes around participation in theater and military simulation board games. What follows is a narrative of my continuing interest around the theme of social transformation. What I’m trying to get at is the “deep dive”, the robust weaving of many threads, that can happen with a totally self-directed effort to learn. This rather than learning initiated by an external entity that the learner is “assigned” to learn to a prescribed extent.

I will warn you up front, like the others, it is a long piece, some 7000 words.

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