Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Dangerous Child Curricula: Part V

Fifty Dangerous Things is really about providing an antidote to the overprotective parenting style that seems to becoming the norm in our society. _Wired
Gever Tulley's book 50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do, is about breaking through the suffocating wrap of risk aversion that threatens the future of modern societies. But most of the activities presented there would not have been considered dangerous just a few decades ago.

If children are not taught to responsibly, creatively, and ethically deal with risk, they will go out looking for risky activities on their own. Drugs, delinquency, drunk driving, and worse. If you think you are protecting your child by keeping them away from all forms of risk, you may be in for a big surprise before too long.

The idea behind this new book by Gever Tulley and Julie Spiegler is that by allowing our children some exposure to slightly dangerous things (with supervision and care, of course) we can help foster creativity, teach problem-solving, and have some good old-fashioned fun at the same time. After going through much of the book with my 7-year-old son, I’m fully on board with this theory. My little guy was thrilled with most of the activities, had many “aha” moments of accomplishment, and eagerly paged through the book checking out what our next dangerous activity would be.

The suggestions are presented in a clear and straightforward manner, with each topic getting its own illustrated description with a requirements list, possible hazards, estimated time for the activity, safety tips and some supplemental information related to the topic. There’s space to enter your own field notes and observations for each activity, giving it a sort of “lab book” feel, which my son seemed to really like. By including areas for kids to write about their experiences and take notes, the book became a cherished guide that my son wanted to keep handy and turn to regularly.

Some of the suggestions feel like pretty typical kid activities that I assumed every kid would just naturally do as they grow up, like throwing rocks or climbing a tree. But as we went through the book I found myself repeatedly surprised at how many of these kind of activities my son hadn’t actually ever tried. _Wired
More from the John David Garcia early childhood curriculum:
Physical Biological
Physical Theory Physical Practice Biological Theory Biological Practice
7.00 9.00 Consolidation of Greek
mathematics and geometry
using modern notation;
practical chemistry in
purifying common
elements from their ores
and making chemical
compounds such as
sulphuric acid, nitric acid,
hydrochloric acid, aqua
regia, and gun powder
Use geometry and
mathematics to design a
cathedral using Roman
arches, vaults, and
buttresses; isolate elements
from their ores; make acids
and simple compounds,
gun powder, and paints;
make mortars and cements;
continue modification of
sailing ship
Further study of
microscopic life, protozoa,
mites, worms, and other
microorganisms that live
on and in mammals;
diseases they cause and
symbiosis they provide
Microscopic observation of
classification in modern
terms; observe sea
plankton, sponges, and
hydra, and observation of
their life cycles
7.25 9.25 Mathematical modeling of
nature through advanced
algebra, geometry, and
trigonometry; derive
solutions to quadratic and
cubic equations; advanced
navigation, the compass
and the theory of the
sextant; advanced
geometry, trigonometry of
arches, domes and vaults
Masonry work, making
stone arches & vaults;
begin construction of small
wooden house with some
masonry; continue to work
with lenses and practical
optics, make large
reflecting telescope, make
better microscope; make
additional chemical
compounds, acids and
paints, dyes and cements;
construction of an
astrolabe; practical
astronomy; finish
modifications on sailing
Animal systematics,
invertebrate zoology,
comparative organ
systems, organ structure
and function, cell theory of
animal structures
Laboratory dissection and
study of the invertebrate
phyla in an evolutionary
context; detailed
experimentation for
function of organ systems
and microhistology
7.50 9.50 Mathematical modeling of
nature continued; quartic
equations; heliocentric
model of solar system
compared to Ptolemaic;
comparison of Viking
ships as fast raiders to
more seaworthy sailing
ships; prepare for two-week ocean trip, theory of
Continue work with wood
and masonry in house;
begin construction of
accurate water and
weighted clock; begin
construction of
astronomical telescope
with instruments;
alchemical preparation for
isolating elements and
making compounds; the
alchemical symbols as
Continue classification of
invertebrates for all
remaining major phyla,
specifying organ functions
and histology; show how
all metazoa have same
types of cells and all start
as single cell, simple
embryo egg
Laboratory dissection and
microscopic observation of
major invertebrate phyla;
tissue and embryology;
transition species to
vertebrates, tunicates, and
7.75 9.75 Begin study of conics and
analytical geometry; begin
study of the dynamics of
falling bodies and the
pendulum; continue study
of alchemy, showing how
acceptance of wrong
hypotheses impeded
progress; consider
measurements of time,
temperature, and position
Finish wooden house;
using telescope and clocks,
begin observations of
movements of planets and
earth relative to sun, and
deduce Kepler's laws; take
a two-week ocean trip;
begin construction of
Continue classification of
invertebrates; compare
with anatomy of simpler
vertebrates; study all
organs and their
physiology and function;
identify cells common to
vertebrates and
Microscopic observations
and dissection of simple
vertebrates and their
organs; observation of
simple embryology and
comparison to invertebrate
embryology; full dissection
of shark
Psychosocial Integration
Psychosocial Theory Pyschosocial Practice Integrative Theory Integrative Practice
7.00 9.00 The Roman Empire and its
interaction with
Christianity, the Greco-Roman disdain for manual
labor, the Christian disdain
for the natural world, the
Gnostic Christians, the
stagnation and
disintegration of the
Roman Empire until the
rise of Islam
Write speculative essay on
how Roman Empire might
have endured and what the
world would be like if it
had; write speculative
essay on how Christianity
would have developed if
the Gnostics had not been
The ethical decay of Rome;
Roman bureaucracy; how
the Catholic bureaucracy
established itself; Catholic
intolerance of deviant
views; persecution of
heretics; inferiority
complex about pagan
knowledge; the destruction
of Alexandrian library;
Finish design of cathedral;
paint Christian symbols
that express what is best in
Christianity; sing
Gregorian chants in Latin
after studying translations;
do an art project
expressing the meaning of
the Catholic church
7.25 9.25 The rise of Islam; read the
Koran; early history of
Arabia to 7th century;
relationship of Islam to
Zoroastrianism, Judaism,
Christianity, and the
surrounding cultures; the
political vacuum in the
Middle East
Essay on why so many
Jews rejected Islam; essay
on why Islam was able to
grow and expand so
rapidly; essay on the
ethical contradictions
within Islam compared to
Judaism and Christianity
Islam as a closed system;
how Islam induces
fanaticism; its comparison
to Christianity; why
Christianity is more open
in spite of church
bureaucracy; Islam and
creativity; the reason for
Islam declining as
Christianity rose
Islamic abstract art; how
lack of representational art
diminishes creativity; draw
abstract designs in the
Islamic style; Islamic
mandalas; paint
representational art of
Islam; compare to Persian
and Mogul art forms
7.50 9.50 The great theologians, St.
Augustine, St. Gregory,
Averroes, Avicena,
Maimonides, St. Anselm,
Abelard; show their depth
and breadth of vision; the
weakness of having
orthodoxy to defend; the
Holy Roman Empire and
its relationship to Islam,
India, and China;
Charlemagne and his
Essays on the "proofs" of
the existence of God and
the ontological arguments;
essay on the humanizing
role of the Church while it
bureaucratically decayed;
essay on priestly celibacy
and its implications; write
your own ideas about God
The dominance of ideology
and bureaucracy over
ethics and truth, the
preservation and distortion
of the teachings of Jesus,
the fundamental power of
the teachings of Jesus in
spite of the negative
Compare Byzantine with
Western religious art and
paint a synthesis of the
two; paint a synthesis of
Christian, Chinese, Hindu,
and Muslim art of the
period; begin study of the
7.75 9.75 St. Thomas Aquinas and
the rise of the Holy Roman
Empire; the feedback
produced by the great
schism; the decline of
Byzantium relative to the
newly emerging West;
Roger Bacon and the rise
of science; the apparent
cultural superiority of
Islam, India, China, and
Write essay on the
theology of St. Thomas
Aquinas, indicating the
holes in his arguments;
essay on Thomistic ethics;
the schism analyzed in
theological and
bureaucratic terms, why
schism was so important to
Western progress
The relationship of rational
theology to mathematics;
the church as an arbiter of
power between barbarian
states; the moral authority
of the church in a world of
brute force; the cathedral
as the synthesis of Western
technology, art, and
Study and do detailed
drawings of major
cathedrals; plan to
implement construction of
cathedral design; begin
construction on scale
model in stone
Gever Tulley's 50 Dangerous Things are not truly dangerous. But doing them with your children may be early steps in the creation of dangerous children. At this stage in the decline of the west, there is no greater need than the need for the dangerous child.

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