Recent Posts

Summerhill School – Quotes from A.S. Neill on his living free school

The book Summerhill School – A New View to Childhood tells the experience and observations of  A.S. Neill running a free school in Suffolk, England for fifty years. The book was originally written in 1960, when Neill was 88-years old. It’s amazing to see the story of a school that was founded in 1921 on revolutionary principles for today.

When Neil died in 1973, his wife Ena took on the school for 12 years. The school is now run by their daughter Zoe.

The pupils are free to attend classes whenever they want. The kids can play for days, weeks or years. There’s freedom from any indoctrination, whether religious or moral or political and freedom from molding. And the pupils and staff self-govern the school through weekly meetings.

Neill admits some problems the school had too, bullying being the main one. He tells a few times how he would have liked to not take in problem-children that could disrupt the harmony of the younger simply because he knew that the problem-child would have no other better school (that could do him some good) to go to.

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The result of the 30-days-without-yelling-at-my daughter challenge

Jan 19, 17 The result of the 30-days-without-yelling-at-my daughter challenge

30 days colored and only 2 faults marked in my calendar. The purple days just mean I couldn’t find the blue pen.

I did it! Out of the 30-day challenge, I yelled only twice. So, let’s say I did it for 28 days, not straight… Anyway, I did make a shift to make this happen.

As I mentioned before, I have been trying to avoid getting mad at my daughter for quite a while (you can read more about my efforts here and here). I have been practicing some techniques (breathing, removing myself from the room, keeping quiet, talking to my daughter about my inner struggle), the biggest thing is really trying to get to the root of a problem and so it´s not like from hysterical mom I went to mindful mom in one day. It´s been a long process.

But the challenge is like a sort of graduation in my inner process.

In order to not yell, I’m learning to hold myself back, to not react to something that triggers my anger right away.

An example is when my daughter gets mad and threatens to throw things downstairs or on the floor (if they are breakable), or simply throws them.

She did this during my challenge. I saw her throwing this little mirror she has and a scissor.

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When schooling is good, it can be really awesome

You might have read me bitching about schooling on this blog before (at least on Why the school system is dangerous). I do think schooling is bad for our children when only the traditional systems and ignoring the children’s interests is behind the scenes.

Fortunately, there’s also good schooling. Some alternatives to the traditional schools are around, like Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, The Sudbury School, Summerhill School and Homeschooling, you can find information on some of these inspired methods here (and please add any other you know in the comments section to spread the good information).

These schools usually have different and changeable curricula, age mixing, order and discipline (forget accusations on mere anarchy), values on education, holistic philosophies, pluralism and political neutrality.

When a school uses ideas of group learning and intrinsic motivation, I am all about it.

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The secret to keep a positive mindset at crazy times

Dec 01, 16 The secret  to keep a positive mindset at crazy times

Being pregnant and having my little girl all by myself taught me a lot of good things. The biggest of them is to remain positive no matter what.

“Pay attention only to what’s good and beautiful in life”

This was taught by a Japanese friend. He told me that in Japan, back in the day, when the emperor wife was pregnant, she was taken to a beautiful palace, where she would be surrounded by beautiful flowers and the best healthy food and kept safe from bad news.

The Japanese believe that what the mother feels, the baby feels too, so they are actually taking care of the baby. Making sure the baby only has good feelings.

When I heard this story it made all the sense to what I already felt like it could be happening (the baby felling all that I felt). So I avoided anything that would make me feel said, angry, frustrated or anything negative.

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Why being consistent with discipline is so hard

Oct 31, 16 Why being consistent with discipline is so hard

As a parent, you must know this already: you have to be consistent when educating your child, otherwise the lessons won´t stick.

There are two difficult things about being consistent with discipline. First of all the word “discipline” gives the creeps to many people (to me it does). But, hey, what is discipline anyway?

Second, well, it´s simply hard to be consistent.

I´ll go over these two points.

In Wikipedia, we find that “In its most general sense, discipline refers to systematic instruction given to a disciple. To discipline thus means to instruct a person to follow a particular code of conduct “order.” Usually, the phrase ‘to discipline’ carries a negative connotation. This is because enforcement of order – that is, ensuring instructions are carried out.”

“In the field of child development, discipline refers to methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior”.

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Travel with children in Costa Rica – is it safe?

Just promise me you won´t leave your camera on the beach for a swim, explore deserted places and walk randomly at night, will you?

Is backpacking as a woman alone dangerous? Is traveling alone with a small child risky? My family and friends back in São Paulo, a city in Brazil with about 20 million people, think that I am courageous and that I could be safer back home. I think that any city with a traffic light is too big and has too many problems and dangers to be livable.

I lived in a few paradises already which were all very touristy. Now, in Costa Rica, another country, I live in exactly the same kind of place I was living before in Brazil: tropical beach, lots of tourists and lots of locals from all over the world.

One thing is for sure: where there´s tourism, there´s crime. Where there´s people with a lot, there´s people with less ¨working¨ their way around the stuff. It´s simple mathematics.

There are some precautions you have to take anywhere you go to, traveling or not.

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The problem with going home after a big trip

Oct 02, 16 The problem with going home after a big trip

Once you travel far enough to be away for time enough to feel a big change, it´s just hard to go back home. Especially if you started to feel that the new place was home too and that back home is a weird combination of words.

It´s been 4 months since my 5-year old and I are back in Brazil after spending 1,5 years in Costa Rica, and finally I´m starting to feel more like home again.

I´m slowly thinking less obsesively about traveling again. A month ago, I was still checking to go to Costa Rica and Chile and imagining ways to raise the money to leave again.

I kept thinking how from the northeast of Brazil I should get to the Caribbean by sea. And it´s too bad that it´s more expensive to travel by cargo ship  than flying. Basically, I need 1000 dollars a head to fly and would need 1200 dollars (a head) to go by cargo ship and take 12 days more instead.

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