Sallie's Miscellany

Sallie’s Miscellany – September 11, 2017

Sallie's Miscellany 2 a

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Good Reads

Sobering – Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.

Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.

Disturbing – The New Preschool is Crushing Kids

I taught first grade before I left the teaching profession. Kindergarten HAS changed. What I did in first grade is now done in kindergarten. And many of my first graders struggled at that point. What has happened to kindergarten and preschool is criminal. It really is child abuse.

Step into an American preschool classroom today and you are likely to be bombarded with what we educators call a print-rich environment, every surface festooned with alphabet charts, bar graphs, word walls, instructional posters, classroom rules, calendars, schedules, and motivational platitudes—few of which a 4-year-old can “decode,” the contemporary word for what used to be known as reading.

Because so few adults can remember the pertinent details of their own preschool or kindergarten years, it can be hard to appreciate just how much the early-education landscape has been transformed over the past two decades. The changes are not restricted to the confusing pastiche on classroom walls. Pedagogy and curricula have changed too, most recently in response to the Common Core State Standards Initiative’s kindergarten guidelines. Much greater portions of the day are now spent on what’s called “seat work” (a term that probably doesn’t need any exposition) and a form of tightly scripted teaching known as direct instruction, formerly used mainly in the older grades, in which a teacher carefully controls the content and pacing of what a child is supposed to learn.

One study, titled “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?,” compared kindergarten teachers’ attitudes nationwide in 1998 and 2010 and found that the percentage of teachers expecting children to know how to read by the end of the year had risen from 30 to 80 percent. The researchers also reported more time spent with workbooks and worksheets, and less time devoted to music and art. Kindergarten is indeed the new first grade, the authors concluded glumly. In turn, children who would once have used the kindergarten year as a gentle transition into school are in some cases being held back before they’ve had a chance to start. A study out of Mississippi found that in some counties, more than 10 percent of kindergartners weren’t allowed to advance to first grade.

From My Wish List

This is a lovely picture book – Christmas Farm. (Sneaks in some math too!)

Christmas FarmChristmas Farm

From the Archives

Have you heard of strewing? It can be a highly effective method to add to your homeschooling!

From My Shop

A fun bundle full of apple-themed activities!

Apples Unit Bundle with Literacy and Math Activities, Fun Fact Cards and KWLApples Unit Bundle with Literacy and Math Activities, Fun Fact Cards and KWLBuy Now

Reader Q&A

No questions to reply to! If you have one, send it in!

Sallie’s Miscellany features reader questions, links, ideas, and products to help homeschoolers and parents. I publish it as I receive questions and have enough other worthwhile links and products to share.

If you would like to submit a question for consideration, please contact me via the form found here.

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  • We’ve sidestepped a lot of developmentally-inappropriate activities for our children by homeschooling, but still run into them at church. Last Sunday I had to sit in on the youngest children’s class, the two-year-old doesn’t have nearly the attention span needed for the activities, and the older two spent much of the time waiting for the rest of the class to finish their craft and snack. By the end, all three were ready to run a few laps around the church…not that they can do that either.

    Monday is my back-up Sabbath.


Sallie-Schaaf-Borrink-060313-B-250x250I’m Sallie and I help people create a cozy life that surrounds them and their loved ones with peace, understanding, and joy. By cultivating a cozy home, we create a haven of rest and growth for every area – parenting, education, marriage, and faith. Welcome! ♥

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My Gift to You!

“We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those keeping up with the crowd.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

“After Laura and Mary had washed and wiped the dishes, swept the floor, made their bed, and dusted, they settled down with their books. But the house was so cozy and pretty that Laura kept looking up at it.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek

“They were cosy and comfortable in their little house made of logs, with the snow drifted around it and the wind crying because it could not get in by the fire.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House in the Big Woods


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