Forty seven;

Now that I’m back in Perth, it’s time to make the most of the days I have left before I begin summer school in January. It’ll be an intensive 11 weeks jam packed into 4.5 weeks and I’ve had a few wide eye responses when I said I’m going to be doing two units (you’ll know if I survive or not mid February).

Until then, I’m packing my days full of wake boarding, paddle boarding, walks/runs along the beach, catch ups with friends, picnics and finishing as many books as I can.

Are there some books you can recommend? 

Weapons of Mass Instruction;

In April this year, after reading this post by Zack, I purchased a book called “Weapons of Mass Instruction” by John Gatto, someone who had taught in public schools for 30 years before resigning from the out of date compulsory schooling system.

In the book, Gatto asks, “do we really need forced schooling? Six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years. And if so, for what? We have been schooled to think “success” is synonymous with “schooling””. He goes on to show dozens of examples of successful people who didn’t finish high school, some who didn’t even attend (think George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Richard Branson and Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad).

Compulsory schooling teaches us to be consumers, to listen to instructions and to follow, not lead. In most parts, I was crying reading this book, thinking finally- here’s someone saying there’s more to life than to get straight A’s, go to a good college and settle into a decent job. There are other paths than compulsory schooling because it’s not for everyone.

For me, my brain switched off from this system the minute I started high school. The work wasn’t stimulating nor was it interesting. The only two classes I enjoyed were Art & Sewing where I was able to shut off and let my creativity free (and surprisingly to this day, this is still where my passions lay) so when I wasn’t in these classes, I would be at home “sick”.

I was lucky, I left as soon as I turned 16, much to my parents disapproval. If only back then, my parents or myself knew a little something about the Montessori approach to education. Taken from the Perth Montessori website:

“A Montessori education is a method of education founded on knowledge of the development of the body and mind of the child as identified by Dr Maria Montessori.

Dr Montessori (1870 – 1952) was a person of great depth and insight. She was Italy’s first female doctor before stepping into the field for which she is so well known: early childhood education” (you can read more about it here & here). 

If you’re a visual person like myself, maybe this video will be better at showing what the Montessori education is about.

It’s good to know there’s schools out there that offer an alternative approach to education such as the Montessori method & Steiner Education system.

What are your thoughts about the traditional school system? Did you enjoy it?

July reads;

How’s this for an awesome book collection & sitting area?

If it’s not clear enough, I love reading and I’m not shy to admit I enjoy my fair share of self-help articles and books. I’m all about self-improvement and being the best version of yourself.

This month, I’ve bookmarked some articles that I really enjoyed reading and I hope others can benefit from the following articles.

1. ‘Workout to wake up‘ by Kelly Baker found on the Body & Soul website.

I am so guilty of skipping exercise after a long day but I think this article has summed up my life perfectly. The more I refuse to exercise, the more tired I get.

2. ‘We should rename ‘free time’‘ by Karen Salmansohn at the blog Not Salmon

3. ‘The ‘Busy’ Trap‘ by Tim Kreider, opinion post found on the New York Times website

and another favourite…

4. ‘The disadvantages of being a perfectionist‘ by Sarah Marinos at the Body & Soul website

– – – –

Happy reading!

Brain Rules;

It was one of those classic situations. I was out looking for a book to buy a friend and went home with two for myself (and none for my friend!) One was the ‘Eat right for your (blood) type‘ by Peter D’Adamo and the other one was ‘Brain Rules‘ by John Medina as shown above.

I finished the first book months ago (when I first visited a naturopath in November as posted about here) but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finished the second. ‘Brain Rules’ is made up of 12 chapters so I wanted to have time to read each chapter, one at a time and have the time to absorb it aswell.

These are the 12 chapters outlined in the book:

– Exercise: Exercise boosts brain power

– Survival: The human brain evolved, too

– Wiring: Every brain is wired differently

– Attention: We don’t pay attention to boring things

– Short-term memory: Repeat to remember

– Long-term memory: Remember to repeat

– Sleep: Sleep well, think well

– Stress: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way

– Sensory integration: Stimulate more of the senses

– Vision: Vision trumps all other senses

– Gender: Male and female brains are different

– Exploration: We are powerful and natural explorers

If there’s any book that I would highly recommend- it’s this one. Yeah, the first principle is a fairly obvious one about how exercise stimulates brain activity but it’s also one that isn’t taken into consideration in work or study environments. How often are you under the pump & exercise is the last thing on your mind? I sure am guilty of this one but have made it one of my biggest efforts to include a walk here & there and the results are HUGE.

I was quite devastated however, to learn that although a number of people in the science and medicine field know that female and male brains are different and every brain is wired differently, this isn’t applied to the way we learn.

Take it upon yourself to read this book & understand the way brains work that is described in a simplified way.

Secrets to living longer

We have grown up knowing what we’ve been told by our parents, our teachers, the newspapers and all the other media. Most importantly, what is and isn’t good for us. How would you feel if you found out now, twenty years later, most of the things you’ve been told were wrong?

Bring in the Longevity Project, a study that was put together by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin in 1921 that followed 1,500 children for eight decades. In that study, the people that lived the longest didn’t necessarily eat their greens, go running daily nor did they live happy, positive lives.

Just reading the reviews online, I’m curious to know what other things I’ve been told are in fact, myths.

You can buy the book from Amazon and read the reviews here. I know what book I’m getting tomorrow!

Where is home?

I’m reading a book at the moment called “What makes us tick” by Hugh McKay and it’s about the ten desires that drive us. I just read the chapter about the desire for ‘my place’ and I can’t help but relate to the chapter in so many ways.

I’ve grown up thinking I had to have one home but after living in three countries, and traveling through dozens, I can’t help but state I have multiple homes. There’s so many places in the world where I feel comfortable, places I can escape to, places I like to think as my own. And you know what? That’s normal.

So no more choosing between this or that, there’s so many different places in the world that define who I am.

What and where do you call ‘home’ ?

Farewell Borders!

If there’s one place that represents the past three years at my current job, that place is Borders Bookstore. I go there at least once a week on my lunch break, sometimes more. I love seeing what new books have come in, what books I need to buy & what other things I can add to my wishlist.

This morning the sad news came: Borders is shutting down. It’s quite funny the timing of it all. Borders is shutting down the same month I finish up at my current job after three years and it’s like that chapter of my life is coming to an end. I didn’t even wait until my lunch break to go today, I rushed out at 10 am (the good thing about work being so flexible). I picked up a few things, no doubt I will definitely be back again to get a few more things.

I picked up two notebooks and a book to read. I really couldn’t help myself when I saw this New York notebook! What perfect motivation for me to get saving! I haven’t read a book since the beginning of the year because I’ve been so busy with uni but it’s finally time to start reading for pleasure!

“What makes us tick?” sounds really interesting as it goes onto explain our desires to believe in something, to connect, to be useful, to belong, for more, for control and for love. Those chapters pretty much sum up my life at the moment so I’ll let you know how the book goes!