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Why It’s Great To Be A Woman In Iceland And What Parents Can Learn From This

Why It’s Great To Be A Woman In Iceland And What Parents Can Learn From This

Being a woman in the 21st century should be quite great, taking into consideration all the fights for equality women have won throughout history. Yet, there are still certain battles and stereotypes to be fought in order to create a society of respect and equal rights for everyone, and women from Iceland seem to know just how to do this.

False gender expectations

From their early years of childhood, girls are taught to be quieter, to not engage in demanding physical activities, and to be more demure altogether. They wear pink skirts and ribbons, play with dolls and learn how to cook, knit, and do other household chores. They are more encouraged to take care of their looks and not to aspire to achieve great things and take leadership roles.

Their teenage years are wasted in useless struggles to conform to the impossible beauty standards imposed by the media and in trying to reach this unachievable ideal of a perfect woman.

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Just when they reach a certain level maturity and gain confidence, new challenges arrive at work. Many fall victim to sexual assaults or feel underappreciated while still earning less than men in the same positions. When they start a family, there is a constant juggle between excelling at work and taking care of the entire family.

Gender-blind courage

The problem is deeply rooted and programmed in each person’s mind from the moment we are born. Therefore, if we want to take responsibility for creating a better social environment for future generations, we must start from the foundation, which is family, and continue through the educational system in order to create healthy environment where both genders will thrive.

The Iceland model seems quite successful, taking into consideration that it is a country with 80% of women working, 65% female students, and 40% female MPs. A truly inspiring educational approach in Iceland serves as not only an example of female empowerment, but a human one, as it is not concerned with teaching children how to be typically male or female, but how to be fully independent and strong individuals.

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As Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir, the founder of Laufásborg nursery school in Reykjavik tells the Guardian, “We are training [our girls] to use their voice. We are training them in physical strength. We are training them in courage.”

Raising their voices

Another great lesson we can take from Icelandic women is how to teach children to fight for their rights. This particularly affects girls as they are stereotypically the “weaker” gender and are taught to be quiet and not to stand up for themselves.

As a protest against gender pay gap, thousands of Icelandic women left work 14% percent early on Monday, October 25, 2016 to show dissatisfaction with being paid 14% less than men. In doing so, they serve as role models for future generations of women and men who will understand that both genders are equal and, as such, are indispensable to society.

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Lessons on respect

There is a lot more to be learned from this country and passed down to our children about respecting one another. Iceland has a history of female rights movements that started in 1975 with 90% of its female working and domestic population taking to the streets to show dissatisfaction with unequal pay rates and the small percentage of women in the parliament. These movements created a social climate where five years into the future, Iceland became the first country in the world to have a democratically elected female president.

As years went by, new legislation concerning gender equality was passed, placing Iceland at the top of World Economic Forum’s gender gap index. Yet, they won’t stop there. There is still a fight for equal pay to be won.

Other countries should start copying the Iceland model in education and women empowerment. Parents should also do their part in teaching children of both genders that we are all born as equals, that we contribute equally to society, and that, as such, we should all be paid equally and have equal chances and opportunities to realize our potential.

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Educating children how to aspire towards a world without stereotypes or inequality will eventually lead to a better social climate for everyone, where fulfilled and respected women and men will create a more promising society.

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/ via images.unsplash.com

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Ana Erkic

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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