The Face of Rejection (updated)

Most adults, including myself, have the same fears: fear of public speaking, fear of rejection, fear of failure, etc.

I'm not sure how and why it happens. Recently, I've noticed that my son is beginning to lose some of his fearlessness. The ability to go up to anyone and ask anything without fear of rejection.

Not sure if this is some biological instinct that gets triggered at the age of 10. Maybe it's an instinct to be careful of adults because 10,000 years ago another male adult would have taken your bison meat and stolen your wife. Again, I'm not sure.

But, what I am sure, is that I don't want my kids growing up fearing rejection and failure.

So I devised a little experiment to teach my son about rejection. Something I'm too scared to do myself. Obviously, because I don't want someone to take my bison meat and steal my wife.

I took my son for a walk around the cafes in Fulham and told him to go up to random people that he found interesting and ask them to take their portraits. His initial reaction was, "No way!" I asked, "What's the worst that could happen?" He replied, "They can say no." We discussed this possibility and agreed that that wasn't a big deal.

We agreed to a script: Hello sir/madam! Do you mind if I take your portrait for a project I'm doing?


At least they were alive and in person. Next, I told him that he needs to take pictures of people he doesn't know and he must get up close and personal. I showed him how by taking his portrait.

He went around and asked eight people to take their portraits. Four happily agreed and four said no. When he came back, I asked him how it felt to be rejected. He said, "It was no big deal." 

We went out a couple of days later to take some more pictures. We repeated the same experiment. The only thing we added was they needed to ask the person they were photographing for their name and a piece of advice.

Alan . "Never speak ill of anyone" Played in the FA cup 3rd Division 

Alan. "Never speak ill of anyone" Played in the FA cup 3rd Division 

Didn't speak English.

Didn't speak English.

Robert . Refugee in world war two. Described the war as terrible. "take every opportunity that you get" & "Get a good education"

Robert. Refugee in world war two. Described the war as terrible. "take every opportunity that you get" & "Get a good education"

After Yusuf didn't want to take any more pictures,  Sulafa was taking some random pictures of flowers and a father and daughter asked her to take their portrait. We rushed to the local print store and printed them a copy of the photograph. 

street photraphy w kids 034.JPG


Homeschooled Children Smell Like Salami

I have seen it over and over again. Some well intentioned person asks my children which school they go to. They respond, "We are homeschooled." To this, the person looks at them like they were raised in a leper colony and says "Oh! that's interesting." Interesting is another way of saying, "Why are you ruining these poor children?"

The term "homeschooling" is a loaded term. It's usually synonymous with weird or socially awkward. It's for kids who don't wear matching socks and smell like salami.

So I tried an experiment, I told my kids next time they are asked which school they attend, they are to answer, "We are Worldschooled."

That evoked a very different "Oh!" A much more positive "Oh!" Usually followed by, "So where have you visited in the world?" This does two things: It makes the kids really proud and it forces the questioning parents to think, "Crap! I need to take my kids on some trips."

I propose we dump the term "Homeschooling" for the much more accurate and infinitely cooler, "Worldschooled."

6 Things a Husband of a Homeschooler Should Never Do

  1. DON'T add to her stress 
    DO figure out ways to relieve her stress
  2. DON'T Compare your children with other children
    DO compare your child to their own abilities 
  3. DONT Ask her why the house is not clean or why the food is not cooked.
    DO cook/clean yourself or hire somebody to do those things
  4. DON'T sit in front of a screen when you come home because you've had a stressful day at work...You have no idea what stress is
    DO take over from her and let her have some decompression time
  5. DON'T ever question money she has spent for homeschooling stuff
    DO spend less money on your next toy instead
  6. DON'T be a wall flower when it comes to your kids' education
    DO figure out what part of their education you will own

Disclaimer: I know these DONT's well because I've done/do every single one.

Self Organizing Kids (v.02)

Self managing children and sane parents

reasons for doing it:

  • -teach children to plan their week
  • -de stress mom/primary homeschooler from having to worry about what the kids every day
  • -give the mom/primary homeschooler time 
  • -teach children responsibility
  • -give the primary homeschooler the ability to visualize the week
  • -managing the kids expectations

what you will need

  • -a wall
  • -post it notes, 4 colors
  • -2 hours on a Sunday
  • -everyone involved. including the father 

how it works
-primary homeschooler(in this case its mom) writes a card for every activity that the kids have to do that week. 1 activity per card. The back of the card has the acceptance criteria for that card. for example, each you're not finished your math work if there is more than 2 mistakes per page.

note: the key to this part is that the mother is talking while writing. this is meant to be a conversation, not a quiet ativity.

note: each child has a different color post it note.

-write & explain every trip that the the kids are plannig on doing this week on a separate color.

-ask each child which items that want to "accept" into that week. there will be a conversation around why they dont want to do those items. they only take items that they want to do for that week. (kind of unschooling)

-ask each child if there is anything *they* want to during the week. add any items they want to do.

note: at this point there may be allot of stuff. that is ok.

-put it all together.
  - put the days at the top
  - put the trips that the kids are going to do
  - now tell the kids to take their activities and put it on the day that they plan finish it on. encourage them to talk through their thought process. if they decide to do everything on the first day to get their "work" overwith, talk them through this. at this point, you will probably need to "split" items into smaller items. this is reaaaaaly important. you are teaching your children how to break down big items. if the child is younger you might need to pre size the activity into bight size chunks

day 0 
we setup the board and a surprising thing happened. it was sunday night around 8pm when we finished, and they both insisting on starting right away. 

day 1
we woke up to our daughter sitting at our foot of the bed saying she wanted to start the.

my older son broke down

week 1: mixed results

  • +kids did allot of work sunday monday
  • +the kids new what the week ahead would be like and were part of the planning 
  • -didnt do much work tuesday wednesdsay, thursday
  • -cards on the floor became unruley
  • -items were to big, we didnt teach the kids how to split items into management chuncks
  • -only did the easy stuff
  • +removed reward as insentive
  • - too much stuff, parents got over excited, setup the kids to fail, less items going forward

week 2 improvements:

  • -cards hung up
  • -introduced points systems
  • -daily hulk
  • -more coaching from parents on how to manage the week
  • -introduced goal graph
  • -introduced behavior penalties
  • -gave the kids less to do, setting up to succeed
  • -introduction of the wildcard
  • -observation-: son did all the easy tasks. hard tasks remained on undone for 2 weeks in a row
  • -waiting untill monday to setup the weekly board. bad practice, shoud stick to the ritual. not sure why but it felt wrong to delay it

week 3 improvements

  • -introduction of character points(similar to harry potter)
  • -observation: daughter much better at single tasking than son. son starts many things at once
  • -introduction of wip limits  to help teach yusuf to finish task
  • -observation: yusuf did no work for 2 days while he was racing though harry potter. areeg is losing patience with him and insitisted that he do some work. broke the rule of not telling him to do anything.
  • -trips, trips, trips are really hurting the cadence in my opinion