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Negativity Bias in Family Relationships


Negativity bias is a term used to describe the tendency of the human brain to notice problems or threats more readily than positive or beneficial situations. One theory on why this tendency exists is that it has historically had survival value. If, while sitting around the fire, we hear a stick break in the darkness nearby, some may dismiss it as harmless, and others may assume it is a wild beast looking to eat them. More often than not, those who panic are wrong, but the consequences of that are minimal. When those who dismiss the potential threat are wrong, though, rare as it may be, the consequences are deadly. Those who more frequently noticed dangerous situations were more likely to survive and pass on their genes. 

This pattern of focusing on the negative while ignoring the positive can have a devastating effect on our relationships. If we are not aware and active in countering our negativity bias, we may end up with the majority of our interactions with our children or other

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University-Model High School for the Liberated Youth

University-Model High School

Did you know that George Washington Carver was the local “plant doctor” before he turned 13? Or that George Washington was a land surveyor in his teenage years? Or that Laura Ingalls Wilder began her teaching career prior to her 16th birthday? These teens were not much different than ours today. They were passionate about something, yet they had the freedom to pursue their passion.

You’ve been hearing a lot from us about…the Makarios Path to Self-Directed Learning...How we Approach Education at Makarios…breaking the Repetition Cycle so often found in traditional education...and the similarities between Finland’s top-ranking education system and Democratic Free schools. And these are all great examples of this model’s success, but what about the high school student that has struck out on their own, or (gasp!) dropped-out of school?

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5 Things You Should Know About Your Kidís Brain throughout Childhood

As a parent, you have the privilege to watch your child grow and mature throughout life. It starts with hearing their first heartbeat to holding their tiny hand, supporting them through their first crush, cheering them on through their graduation from college and beyond. You dream of their future and do your best to help them be successful. No parent wants their child to suffer or be unprepared for their life, right? One of the major components of success as an adult is that the foundation was laid in your childhood to know how to think, plan and cope with life. I wish I had taken the time when mine were little to understand the importance of their brain formation and development. Continue Reading

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Parent Teacher Conferences at a Democratic Free School?

Parent Teacher Conferences at a Democratic-Free School? Our students have thoughtful, caring, proactive parents. Some of them are new to (or even puzzled by!) this unconventional way of doing school; others feel that it fits like the glove they’ve been waiting for.  Many of our parents have spent several seasons in a homeschool or unschooling mode, while some have been on a quest for alternative education in forms of self-directed learning, hack schooling or project based learning.  Whatever the case it is our pleasure to meet them exactly where they are along their parenting journey in a way that will benefit their student. After all, they know them even better than we do—their insights are unparalleled!   This connection between staff and parents takes a variety of forms. For example, we began this semester with “Parent-Teacher Conferences,” a time for parents to sit down with a couple of staff members and have a formal mid-year check-in about their student.    Continue Reading. continue reading
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