[blindkid] Home-schooling/unschooling, attachment parenting, Re: Australia and life context skills

Heather craney07 at rochester.rr.com
Sat Feb 20 20:23:38 UTC 2010

Ah, well, we all have drafts that come back to bite us in the butt, self 
included.  It's no biggy.  I was just getting really frustrated with some 
people asserting that I was entirely against something, black and white, 
with no room for my true opinion which is quite in the grey, and so I was 
primed to nit pick.  Sorry about that.  Well, the mods seemed pretty 
annoyed, but since you are of the mind that they won't mind us continuing 
this, with a different slant and in an entirely different dirrection, and 
since you were addressing me and my post spacifically in your own post I 
will write back, although, I am now being moderated, and so, I don't know if 
this will go through.  Depends on how close they see this as being to the 
old "slate and styalis" thread I guess.

On an entirely different note then, and in response to what you just wrote. 
I think one of the things that we disagree on has nothing to do with 
technology or blindness, but rather a difference in our teaching styles.  I 
am a homeschooling parent, also an attachment parent, and I believe in many 
principals of the Reggio Ammilia school the Montessori school and the 
Waldorf school.  Not each entirely, but there are several concepts from each 
that resound with me, such as student led learning, developmentally 
appropriate practice, the importance of unstructured play, etc.  But then 
again, I am also an attachment parent who believes in many non-normative 
things such as the family bed, potty learning, not potty training, infant 
led weening and never ever the cry-out or controled crying method for 
infants, although toddler tantrums are of course different.  I also like and 
follow some ideals of unschooling, although, as an educator I realize that 
complete, and idealistic unschooling is simply not practical if children are 
going to be brought up to function and thrive in our society.  So, Yes, I 
would let a blind child lead the way on many things, but I would also do so 
with a sighted child.  For me, potty learning, proper skills in feeding and 
dressing themself, basic safety rule compliance and learning how to express 
and control one's emotions are required, other things are flexable. 
Flexable, but not optional.  My child must learn print, cursive is optional, 
my child must learn Braille, Perkins is required, slate is optional.  My 
child must learn a sport, an instrument and another performance art form, 
but which sport, instrument and performance art they choose is entirely up 
to them.  They must learn how to do all basic household chores, but 
whichever chores they enjoy best and have the highest aptitude for will 
become their primary household responsibility.  That sort of thing.  I 
intend to hold my blind child to the same standards of any sighted child. 
No less, they are perfectly capable, with adaptation, and no more, I will 
not be a parent who pushes their child to become super bllind kid.  lol  I 
am sure everyone on this list is not at all like that, but I have met 
parents who are.  I think that honestly we all want roughly the same things 
educationally for our kids, but our priorities are certainly different. 
another example.  I will expect my boys to know how to change a flat tire 
and make things with power tools, but I will expect that of my girls too.  I 
will expect my girls to know how to take care of animals and children, how 
to cook and clean, but I will expect that of my boys too.

Wrapping up, I understand what you mean about context.  I know all about 
things like historical context to socio-cultural context, I.E. Vigotski. 
And, sub Africa for Austrilia, I completely agree that learning to dial an 
emergency number, when the village might not even have a phone is beyond 
ridiculous.  I think that context in America is slightly less variable, 
because of such things as state teaching standards, and a relatively 
homoginized society, but I agree that context absolutely plays a role.  I 
only mentioned the whole 911 thing in the first place, because as an 
attachment parent, I feel that socio-emotional and psycho-social development 
and basic safety should come before structured accademics for a four year 
old, but of course some feel differently, and I feel differently, when it 
comes to older aged children.  Finally, something I and some of the mamas in 
my clloth-diapering and babywearing moms' group was how accurate or not 
Maslow's higherarchey of needs is and how that relates to the parenting and 
teaching of young children.  One mama shared that she blocks out a rough 
schedule on a sheet of paper in quarter hour intervals.  She fills in the 
most important things, sleep, food bathing/hygene and elimination 
opertunities, then she blocks in basic emotional and social needs like story 
time, group play time, snuggle time with parents, for her kids, a daily 
massage, etc, then she puts in accademic things like structured block play, 
beginning math games, structured phonix exploration, etc.  If there isn't 
enough time for the accademics she thinks about how to incorperate them into 
the other areas of her kid's lives, and if she does take away some time from 
the physical and emotional needs, she never takes more than half of the time 
from each of those activities.  I hope that ramble makes sense.  Have a nice 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "H. Field" <missheather at comcast.net>
To: <blindkid at NFBnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2010 12:50 PM
Subject: [blindkid] Australia and life context skills

> Dear Heather,
> As you and I were also addressing larger educational issues that are
> often affected by teacher bias, and are topics that many parents of
> blind children need to think through and have views on, I don't think
> that the moderators would mind a couple of final posts. I am actually
> Australian myself, currently living in America, so I'm very aware of
> the snow that can fall in parts of Australia. However, in my post I
> said that if a child lived in, northern, Australia. The far north of
> Australia is above the tropic of Capricorn and doesn't ever get snow.
> A dusting may have fallen at times in Queensland, where I'm from, but
> this doesn't help validate an assertion that knowing how to button an
> over-coat might be a higher priority than good spelling. This is
> because none of the stores in Northern Australia would have an
> over-coat in stock, because they're never needed up in the tropics.
> Even through some freak of nature should a dusting of snow fall and
> stick long enough to be identified as snow, a child wouldn't be able
> to use his carefully learned over-coat buttoning skills. So, the
> contextual framework of his life would still determine his skill
> learning priorities, not very occasional weather events.
> As for the 911 example, i had meant to change my first draft  by
> inserting, "parts of Africa" to give the post diversity. In my rush I
> forgot to do it. Thank you so much for pointing out that of course, a
> modern country like Australia,  has an emergency response service.
> Having clarified those points I would still encourage you to consider
> the concept of life context as a determining factor. I would also like
> to encourage parents to give less weight their young child's
> preferences when making choices about what skills they insist their
> child learn. In numerous posts on the topic of tools that a child
> needs, parents said something like "if my child likes it," or, "if my
> child really likes it." This is rarely a criterion used by parents of
> sighted children when deciding which life skills their child needs to
> learn. Usually, if parents of sighted children decide that a
> particular skill or set of skills is important - such as learning a
> musical instrument or learning basic cooking - then the children are
> expected to do it, whether they particularly like it or not. I would
> encourage parents of blind children to take the same approach.
> Warmest regards,
> Heather Field
> ------ Original Message ----- 
> From: "Heather" <craney07 at rochester.rr.com>
> To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)"
> <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 4:53 PM
> Subject: [blindkid] didn't want to clutter up the list,Re: Australia
>    I saw the messages from the moderators.  I am dropping it.  I have
> so
> many more things worth stressing over in my life.  But I did address
> two
> blatently wrong statements, in a post with a different subject.  Have
> friends from Austrillia and they would kill me if they found out that
> I was
> lax about some ignorant statement like that.  How would you feel if
> someone
> stated that the whole United States had a climate like Virmont, or
> that we
> have no, insert name of service, that is vital and that we do infact
> have.
> Ok, sorry for emailing you off-list, but I didn't want to piss off any
> moderators, but I don't know if thisn list has rules about not
> emailing
> people off-list.  I hope not, or I am screwed.  I am used to more laid
> back
> lists.  Sorry again.
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Albert J Rizzi" <albert at myblindspot.org>
> To: "'NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)'"
> <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 3:06 PM
> Subject: Re: [blindkid] Australia
>> Heather, let it go. We are all in agreement that the slate and
>> stylus is a
>> good thing for students to learn and use. As they grow as
>> individuals it
>> is
>> they who will determine what options they choose for their life and
>> what
>> they don't as parents and educators we must offer all options in
>> spite of
>> what we as adults have come to prefer. It is all about empowering
>> our
>> children to greatness and not trying to be right or convince any one
>> person
>> about why we prefer to use what we use, just know options in life
>> are what
>> make life wonderful. That is and was the nature of the inquiry I
>> heard and
>> supported in this dialogue. Peace.
>> Albert J. Rizzi, M.Ed.
>> CEO/Founder
>> My Blind Spot, Inc.
>> 90 Broad Street - 18th Fl.
>> New York, New York  10004
>> www.myblindspot.org
>> PH: 917-553-0347
>> Fax: 212-858-5759
>> "The person who says it cannot be done, shouldn't interrupt the one
>> who is
>> doing it."
>> Visit us on Facebook LinkedIn
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org
>> [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>> Behalf Of Heather
>> Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 1:28 PM
>> To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)
>> Subject: [blindkid] Australia
>>    Emergency code for Austrilia, 000, for New Zealand, 111
>> In Australia, snow can fall in the mountains of Victoria, Australian
>> Capital
>> Territory, New South Wales and Tasmania. There is a regular snow
>> season in
>> several areas which have seasonal ski tourism industries. Sometimes
>> snow
>> has
>> even been reported in the mountains of South Australia, Western
>> Australia
>> and Queensland though this is very rare.
>> Snow at sea level has been recorded on mainland Australia but has
>> happened
>> more times in Tasmania, some of the snow at sea level has fallen in
>> the
>> off
>> season like summer. Snow has fallen nearly everywhere in Tasmania,
>> though
>> it
>> is rare to fall in the north coast at sea level.
>> The occasional cold snap, caused by cold air drifting north from
>> Antarctica,
>> can cause significant snowfall in rural areas, as well as major
>> cities
>> such
>> as Hobart, Melbourne's outer mountain suburbs, Canberra and Sydney.
>> Such
>> occasions are rare, but have occurred in 1951, 1986 and 2005.
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