Exciting News – Four Birds Lives!

Hello readers!

First of all, apologies for my long absence.  I have been working full time for the last 9 months and agonised probably for too long about making the decision to quit my PhD so that I would have more time to actually work on Four Birds Education.  This absence is now over officially.  I am back.  I now have time to spend working on this website again on a regular basis.

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Understanding Psychological Projection

Psychological projection is close to the top of my list of things I consider to be essential knowledge for everyone to know and understand.  While you will typically find no shortage of psychologists ready to point out to you that you are projecting, the clinical application of CBT tends be that this comes off as condescending if not mocking.  However, my definition and understanding of what psychological projection is has been shaped by my own experiences and as such is at significant variance with mainstream psychology.  In this essay I will explain the official definition, then explain my own definition and expand on this to point out the deficiencies that I see in the official definition.  I will conclude by pointing out the benefits of psychological projection.  So this article is something of a critique of the existing definition and an expansive piece for those wanting to learn and discuss the topic in more depth.

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10-Hour School Days, Progress or Totalitarianism?

King in Prussia William I was building an army, an army that his son would later use to attack Austria and Poland with, to achieve this goal he concluded that two years military service was not sufficient to drill a man into an obedient soldier, instead, he needed at least three years of drill so that he might be competent for military service.  Three years? You might say, “what does a soldier need to learn that takes three years to train?”  The answer is that a soldier needs to be so obedient to suggestion from his commanders that he would immediately march directly into gunfire if ordered to.  If someone told you to step into the way of a field full of exploding cannon balls, would you obey them?  The situation is not one of “your country is being attacked and your family and friends threatened” rather, you are in an army attacking other people and threatening other people’s families and friends.  What would you do?  Generally speaking, most people would decline such an order, however, after three years of military schooling, the typical Prussian soldier found ample “courage” to step out into the firing line of enemy cannons when instructed to do so.

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Emotional Strength

Could you ever imagine having a conversation with someone about their house, specifically that their house was on fire and would soon be burned completely to the ground?  Yet, after informing this person that their house was on fire, they responded with something along the lines of, “sorry, the idea of my house being on fire is just too distressing for me to deal with right now and I would appreciate it if you would stop upsetting me by telling me about it.”  How would you react to such a situation?  Presumably many people would laugh at such a scenario, however, what if I were to tell you that such a scenario is actually surprisingly common?  How many people do you know who actively avoid having a discussion about important issues that directly affect them?  Consider people who seek romantic partners that are no good for them, they are essentially walking into a house on fire yet when a friend brings this too their attention they respond not with gratitude but as though they were being personally attacked by this concern for their well-being.  How many teenagers put off homework and assignments until the last minute?  How many adults put off important chores and tasks until something breaks or they are forced to start paying the consequences?  How few of these people heed any advice offered to them?  All of this ties into an idea that I conceptualise as emotional strength.  I call it this, because it is like physical strength, if you go to a gym you can get much stronger than you naturally are simply by exercising your ability to handle strong emotions. Continue reading

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Update

Greetings everyone,

Sorry for the lack of updates over the last month. I have had to deal with two immediate deaths in my family as well as the news that the person who was the single greatest inspiration for me to create Four Birds Education has cancer and may never get a chance to see this endeavor get off the ground. I had debated whether or not I should explain my absence or not but I think it is important to let people know that I am serious about this endeavour and have committed to pushing it forward even though the person who most inspired me is no longer in my life. I have spent a lot of time over the last month thinking hard about what is important in life and what I would like to achieve with Four Birds Education. Having started this project feeling uncertain where I wanted to go and how far, I’ve decided I would like to push this project firmly and not be apologetic about it: we, as a society, have a crisis in how we treat children, treat each other and most importantly in how we treat ourselves. Self-loathing has not merely become accepted in our society, but open displays of self-deprecation have become trendy. My vision for Four Birds is to help teach people to appreciate what matters most in life is not money nor fame, but our relationships in ours lives with our children, our friends, our families and ourselves.

My goals this month are to finish off all of the essays on this web page, sort out my ABN and post some more content. Next month will the exciting phase of trying to promote and sell this business. So stick around, big things will be happening around here.

– Jason

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Erica Goldson’s Valedictorian Speech

Erica Goldson astonished her teachers and peers with her graduation speech about the public education system and the warped values pushed onto children by the state.  Her courage, wisdom and integrity is inspiring.  If the audio in the video is too difficult to follow the complete transcript of her speech can be found on her blog here.

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Homeschooling in Australia

When I tell people that I am working on a business that promotes and supports homeschooling one of the first questions people ask me is how many children are homeschooled in Australia.  Typically I can immediately bring up statistics for the USA where estimates vary from 2 to 3.5 million children are currently being homeschooled.  This represents roughly 5-10% of school aged children and is a fantastic achievement for American parents.  But getting figures for Australian homeschooling is an entirely different matter.  In this article I will be discussing briefly about some aspects of homeschooling in Australia: number, media perception, reasons for and common prejudices towards homeschooling families.

A Word About Numbers

This is an extremely difficult question to answer.  One article I read cited the 2001 Census, recording 30,000 children were homeschooled at that time, but I have not been able to find this information on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website.  Another study estimated 15,000 and this figure is on Wikipedia, however, this study is almost 15 years old now and it was a projection based on a limited sample size.  ABC news provided the figure of 50,000 in an article dated January, 2012 while a homeschooling website estimated the figure to be as high as 80,000.  So that is the extent of what I know and it is very sketchy at best. If the next census had a question specifically asking if parents homeschooled I do not think this would help as many families either homeschool illegally or they object to the government knowing every detail of their family life.  The short answer is that no one knows for certain, probably somewhere between 30 and 100 thousand but growing rapidly.  The number of children in government regulated schools was 3,589,986 for 2012, so that puts the estimated percentage homeschooled between 0.8% and 2.7%, so not such a far cry from the current US numbers after all. Continue reading

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