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My son is five years old and, heretofore, I have done my best to encourage rational thinking and the development of his conceptual faculties. I was hoping for some advice on this front or perhaps the reccomendation of a good book or some sort of literature on the subject.

asked Oct 13 '10 at 18:53

Damian's gravatar image


retagged Oct 14 '10 at 13:38

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rationaljenn ♦

Good question! I'll give a brief answer, but in addition, I've invited folks from the Rational Parenting List and OGrownups to answer.

(Oct 14 '10 at 02:13) jasoncrawford ♦ jasoncrawford's gravatar image

The major school book publishers are all guilty of putting out books with many erors and inaccuracies. In general, teachers do not catch these, or are indifferent to them. Lesson materials produced by the teachers themselves are frequently worse. When a child is presented with material that doesn't add up, he automatically thinks it is his fault. Our educational system not only fails miserably to educate children, it destroys their sense of themselves as intellectually competent, and it does this without trying, through a process as terrible as the stunting of a child's body as in "The Comprachicos." I suggest that there may not be any sound options for public schooling, and about one in a thousand private schools would prove adequate. People anticipating having children MUST consider the possibility that they will have to home-school. Sorry, sorry world. P.S. I did Montessori (2), public, and private schools.

answered Nov 07 '10 at 16:40

Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Mindy Newton ♦

edited Nov 07 '10 at 16:42

With regard to education, I particularly recommend you read about the VanDamme Academy and Montessori methods. As an example of what proper education is like, this video is a good representation. In it VanDamme explains that a better way to start teaching life science is with a chicken foot as opposed to the cell as many school do. Another example is a story Richard Feynmann told about his father teaching him what inertia was. Here is the video. It is important to maintain a good hierarchy of knowledge, the root of which is the child's perceptual knowledge. This way the child can more easily integrate new knowledge and maintain a good connection to reality.

If you don't have a good school in your area and can't home school, you can still try your best to keep you kids grounded in a good hierarchy of knowledge.

answered Oct 14 '10 at 18:45

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incrediblemulk ♦

That is an enormous, and enormously important, question to those of us who are trying to raise our children to be rational adults. As Jason said, there are two email lists for Objectivist parents to discuss this topic (I am the manager of OGrownups, and non-Objectivists are permitted to lurk on that list).

There are a number of us who blog regularly about parenting and we each write about the approaches we take, trials and tribulations, successes with our children. In case you're interested, here are a few Objectivist blogs with parenting or education as a semi-regular topic:

(If I've left anyone off, please let me know!)

Also, my friend Kelly and I have a joint parenting blog and podcast called Cultivating the Virtues where we explore parenting with Objectivist principles using discipline tools/techniques from Positive Discipline.

It's hard to summarize briefly all of the things I think are necessary to the raising of a child so that he embraces rationality and the other virtues. I think lots and lots of practice being independent, experiencing pride, being productive, etc. is essential. Children need guidance from loving parents and other adults in their lives. They need to gain practical skills (such as reading and math and learning how to think critically) that they'll use as adults, and they need to gain moral skills, too. I'd be happy to provide links to particular blog posts if you're interested.

So, no definitive parenting book that approaches the subject from an Objectivist perspective (yet!). In the meantime, the ongoing conversations (online and in real life) have proven to be so valuable.

answered Oct 14 '10 at 09:42

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rationaljenn ♦

edited Oct 15 '10 at 09:52

Hi Jenn. There are thousands of books published every year, but you hit on one that is missing and needed! Maybe this is your cue to be the trailblazer. Thanks for all the other links too.
I think the crucial thing is to bring full consciousness to your principles and values, then think about how they should be and could be put into practice while raising children. It's very challenging to avoid falling into emotional or habitual responses, I've found.

(Nov 07 '10 at 23:06) QEDbyBrett ♦ QEDbyBrett's gravatar image

The Ayn Rand Bookstore has a section on parenting. (Full disclosure: Most of the material there is from my mother.) Their education section may also be useful.

You may also want to try joining the Rational Parenting List (also run by my mother) or OGrownups.

answered Oct 14 '10 at 02:18

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jasoncrawford ♦

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Asked: Oct 13 '10 at 18:53

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Last updated: Nov 07 '10 at 23:06