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Laurie Block Spigel

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Boy thinking

Is Homeschooling a Way to Avoid Brain Drain?

Girl thinking

Every summer there are articles and news spots warning parents about "brain drain." Apparently, this is an affliction that happens to children during their summer vacations from school. When they return in the fall they are two months "behind" in their math and language arts skills. The many tips to avoid summer brain drain sound an awful lot like a year-round homeschooling routine. Check out these expert educators' tips, recommending lots of learning games and hands-on experiences. Here are 16 brain boosting games and a host of suggestions for summer learning.

Perhaps more important that keeping busy is keeping your sights on what your child should really be learning. If you're not sure yourself, check out Stephen Downes's blog: Things You Really Need to Learn. Downes claims that the ten things your kids really need to learn are:

  1. How to predict consequences
  2. How to read (with understanding)
  3. How to distinguish truth from fiction
  4. How to empathize
  5. How to be creative
  6. How to communicate clearly
  7. How to learn
  8. How to stay healthy
  9. How to value yourself
  10. How to live meaningfully

These are surely important educational goals! Read his entire article for more inspiration.

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In Educating for Human Greatness , Lynn Stoddard lists the Seven Priorities in Education. Notice that none of them are about curriculum or school!

Develop the qualities of human greatness —
help students develop their own unique assets —
and employ them to be positive contributors to society.

PRIORITIES — Seven powers/dimensions of human greatness:

  1. Identity — The power of self-worth derived from developing one’s unique talents and gifts and using them to benefit society.
  2. Inquiry — The power of curiosity and effective investigation.
  3. Interaction — The powers of love, human relationships, communication and cooperation.
  4. Initiative — The power of self-discipline and intrinsic motivation.
  5. Imagination — The power of creativity in its many forms, including innovative problem-solving. The arts and other disciplines are used to nurture and expand all forms of imagination and creativity.
  6. Intuition — The power of the heart to sense truth and develop emotional intelligence.
  7. Integrity — The power of honesty and responsibility.

Read Discovering and Developing the Potential in Each Student, by Lynn Stoddard and Anthony Dallmann-Jones, PhD

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Articles on the brain and brainteasers for adults:

Brainteasers etc. for kids:

For more information on the brain, read Laurie’s article "Is Education Work or Play?"

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