#7 - Juliet Silveira | Fighting Back Against Standardized Testing: Homeschooling and Education Reform

Juliet Silveira

🗓️ Recorded December 30th, 2023. 📍Casa Nina, Sampieri, Sicily, Italy

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About this Episode  

Listen to our conversation with Juliet Silveira, a mother of three, unschooler, and former educator, as we delve into her journey from teaching in charter schools to discovering the world of unschooling and alternative education.

Juliet is a consultant in parenting, education, and organizational culture, and she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master's in Education Research. We stumbled over Juliet's work on Instagram, where she is active as JulietLearns..

In this podcast episode, Juliet shares her struggles with the disparities in the American school system and her quest to find a free school that aligns with her parenting values.

We also discuss the challenges she faces in advocating for change on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok and explore the differences between European and American school systems, including the issues surrounding standardized testing and the limitations it places on Montessori schools.

Prepare to have your perspective on education transformed as we uncover alternative approaches to serve our children's needs and development better.

Clips from this Episode  

One thing that annoys Juliet is the lack of knowledge from parents about who makes the standardized tests and the curriculum and who makes money on it. As Juliet explains: “One of the unique things to the United States is that private companies facilitate our standardized tests. So we're funneling billions of dollars to private companies to create these tests. And those same private companies make the curriculum for the tests, write the teaching textbooks for the texts and create the tests that prepare the students for the test. And the taxpayers are paying for all this - to private companies. And the companies even use millions of dollars a year lobbying to keep things exactly as they are.” Juliet believes that if even more parents know this and if the states would make the tests themselves, then the money today sent to private companies could be used to make better public schools.

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With love


Jesper Conrad 


Transcript of Self Directed Episode 7

E7 - Fighting Back Against Standardized Testing: Juliet Silveira on Homeschooling and Education Reform

Please note: This transcript is autogenerated by AI voice recognition - so there will probably be some transcription errors along the way 🙂

Jesper Conrad: Okay, welcome. Today we are talking with Juliet, whom I stumbled upon on Instagram where she makes a lot of nice reels about on schooling. So I think we should jump right into it, Juliet, If you can first tell people where you're from and where you're living, and that would be a good start so people know who you are. 

Juliet Silveira: Yes, my name is Juliet Silveira. I live in Brooklyn, new York. I was born in the United States, my husband was born in Brazil and we have three daughters And right now two of my daughters they're seven and four years old. They attend a free school here in Brooklyn, But I'm one of these unschoolers that will like. For me, it's very much what my child desires or is craving. So I am not anti-school, i'm not anti-homeschool. I kind of float in this very strange place. I feel like I'm not radical enough for some people and too radical for both of my teacher friends, because I used to teach as well And I have a master's in education research. I just love reading about education. I love reading about anything. So that's me. 

Jesper Conrad: But how did it start? I mean you as an educator by training. Where did you stumble over and figure out, hey, this unschooling doing things that, alternatively, might be something for me that I want to explore. What happened? 

Juliet Silveira: Once I had my first daughter, i started to just like ravenously read parenting books And at the time I had a job where I felt very unfulfilled. And reading all of these books I was like, maybe I want to work with kids again And so I decided to go into teaching. But I didn't want to do anything to do with standardized tests. So even though, like in my educational career, my English teachers had the biggest impact on me and history teachers, i decided to teach art. I have a background in painting And then, when I got into the New York City, i worked at a chart to charter schools. 

Juliet Silveira: I was shocked and appalled by what was happening, just how the discrepancies between, like the schools where I attended as like a middle class white person and the schools where I was teaching, how the students were treated, and what was most alarming to me was all of the parenting books I was reading, like the latest research on what's cognitively healthy for kids time outside, time to move their bodies, things about intrinsic motivation none of that matched what we were doing. And then I, the more I started looking for options for my own child. I realized that that wasn't just like the schools for poor kids quote unquote. But for a lot of the public schools, like recess is 25 minutes long, no contemplation. 

Juliet Silveira: Yeah, kids are being bribed with, like you know, the dojo points and these little like there's a school nearby. That's like bribing the kids with these little desk pets. It's like these little plastic toys or it's like, oh, you can feed your desk pet if you're doing a good job. Stuff like that just really bothered me, and I also found it alarming how many of my colleagues also didn't know any of the science of child development or why. I found these things alarming. So that's how I wound up that rabbit hole. 

Juliet Silveira: I think I started reading about like Montessori first, and then, from reading about Montessori, i read about some of these other pedagogies And I don't remember what brought me to unschooling, but I listened to like the Honey, i'm Homeschooling the Kids podcast is a great one Fair of the free child. I started listening to these different podcasts And then I also met some unschoolers whose kids were like very intelligent and very normal, because when I was trying to do, the only people that I knew that homeschooled were like Amish, and you know they're. We're just so culturally different that to us they you know we're like weirdos. But that wasn't the experience I had with homeschoolers here in New York City And that's yeah. And now I'm at this free school where there's like a lot more like minded parents. 

Jesper Conrad: But? but you're on your Instagram, you're vocal about it And at the same time, you also put your face out in the reels And have you? have you had any back glasses? And I mean, what about your mom? How does? did she take the whole a? we want to do it differently. We want to do it differently. 

Juliet Silveira: I know it's two questions in one, but yeah, i think my mom, really I think I've made a lot of kind of non traditional parenting choices. I had kids at what, for New York City, women is like considered very young, like I had my first daughter at 23. So I had three kids before the age of 30. I did extended breastfeeding. We live in a very small apartment, like some people will be like Oh my God, how do you guys know, because live in a van, but my priorities are just very different And I think. But both my parents see my relationship with my children And they haven't expressed any issues with it Super openly, which is really great for me. 

Juliet Silveira: When it comes to being out on Instagram, where I'm actually even more active on TikTok, there's always going to be a lot of haters. 

Juliet Silveira: What's frustrating is that a lot of the algorithms are driven by engagement. 

Juliet Silveira: So sometimes if I put any post that even alludes to something politically, usually it's the people who disagree who will be the most engaged and then getting pushed out to those people And you're like, oh my gosh, this is not reading reaching the audience I want it to reach. But I've been very pleasantly surprised by you know, on Instagram stories you can see people who are looking at your stories, right, and there are old colleagues of mine from the schools where I worked at. They don't really comment very much, they haven't reached out to me, but they keep looking at my stories, like you know, for months I'm like, oh, this person is watching, so they're at least curious, you know. I think if they hated my content they probably want to keep looking at it. So, yeah, sometimes I hold back a little bit like because I don't want to throw people under the bus that I used to work with. You know, calling people out for policies that we did, or meetings about this, where I was silently sitting there going like, oh my God, i can't believe we're doing this. 

Cecilie Conrad: It's also like a common trap that you fall into when you become an unschooling parent to talk about all the negative things, elements of schooling and how badly it's done and how poorly it's it's handled and how it affects the children negatively And it becomes this negative talk. 

Cecilie Conrad: We talked about that a lot Our first years as unschoolers that we would very often fall into the trap of talking about all the things we disliked and we made we tried to make a hard policy of just discussing the things we like about the choice we make, not so much discussing the things that we don't like about the choice that the choice with the thing we didn't do when we didn't put the kids in school Fuck, shut up. You have to put a beat there because we have an American audience. You know we swear a lot in Europe at least in. Denmark, the chair just broke behind my back. 

Cecilie Conrad: I can sit like this. So my point is how do you balance that act of? because I think sometimes, when I try to avoid the criticizing of the schooling, i'm being a little bit false. I'm not going to say I'm a fake version, because I, deep down, i believe a lot of negative things about schooling. And then I don't say it because, yeah, i don't know. People tend to get very frustrated when I do. 

Juliet Silveira: I'm kind of only talking about what I like, about my choices. 

Juliet Silveira: I talk sometimes about some of the benefits of school itself. Not necessarily my choice but that's also a fine line to walk is I'm very much an advocate for school change. I know that unschooling isn't going to be an option for a lot of families, so I'm very much making a lot of my content to push change, to help more parents like wake up to the fact that what we know with child development science is not what's being implemented, especially in America, with the policies in school. So yeah, i don't shy away from necessarily saying negative things, but I do talk a lot about what I think we could do to change things And try to rally more parents, because in America at least, the loudest kind of parents at the school board meetings are the ones that are, like you know, trying to change history textbooks and not about evolution, and you know they're very active at school board, whereas parents who are more like me, who might just be like frustrated that there's not enough recess, aren't the necessarily ones showing up to school board meetings. 

Cecilie Conrad: We're based in Europe and maybe at least a good chunk of our followers are. So, would you? I don't know how the American school system currently is like. To be honest, i just imagine something like what I know from Europe, like an average of European schools, which are very different. Could you somehow sum up how it's? how? how's it going over there? 

Juliet Silveira: So, for instance, when it comes to play based learning, i think countries like Denmark, like Germany, finland, are pretty far ahead of us. We know that children learn best through play. But in the United States, testing with the note that the no child left behind these different policies where they were trying to improve the education system, they did that by, like, pushing these standards and these tests, and then they tried to incentivize better test scores by creating things like charter schools. Charter schools don't have to follow the same exact laws as a regular public school. They have some flexibility, but they only depending on the state. They only get to remain open if their test scores are improving or that they're scoring higher than the regular public school. The idea was that this would help. 

Cecilie Conrad: How is it again? would would you explain that? So I I'm sorry, but I need to understand it. How is it different if they still have to do the testing? What's different? 

Juliet Silveira: That's a brilliant question, because is it really? 

Cecilie Conrad: I just don't, i'm just trying to understand it. 

Juliet Silveira: So, for instance, the like the charters here in New York City, you are allowed to hire a certain number of teachers that don't have a teaching license. You can make your own school schedule. So, and this is how they start to game the test scores a bit. So, for instance, the charters where I worked, normally in the regular school system the spring break happens in like March or April, something is like right before when the students take the standardized math tests. For the state The charters where I worked, their break was like a month later, so that they get that extra week of text prep time right before the math standardized test, or they can have the school day be slightly longer or shorter, or they what else can they do? like you know, if the district picked out a certain curriculum, charter schools get to do their own thing. Right, but they get to do their own curriculum. 

Cecilie Conrad: Just clarifying. they get to do their own curriculum, but they need to do the same test. Yes, That's brilliant. 

Jesper Conrad: Ironic. 

Juliet Silveira: So earlier I was at Montessori. You know, because they're charter their charter schools that can do Montessori. Well, montessori doesn't do standardized testing, so the places here that offer Montessori only offer it up until the end of, like, second grade, because starting in third grade they would have to do the tests. So, and what's happened is, in an effort to prepare for the test, prepare for the tests, academic work like worksheet work has just gotten pushed younger and younger and younger to the point where you have, like neighbors of mine who's like three year old goes to a daycare where they do work sheets and the parents think that that's a good thing, that the kids are learning that way, whereas we know that it's not a good thing. 

Juliet Silveira: And and in my experience, what I saw in schools is that kids are loathing things like reading and math at a younger and younger age, like they're disinterested in it because it's been pushed on them So that by the time they even get to the test prep years, they are already super anxious about school. They really it just drives them to hate being there. And you know, you see it all across the country, our youth mental health is deteriorating really, really fast And that's why I'm like okay, i know you guys obviously didn't love everything about the European school system, but I look over there with some degree of envy. Those are kind of the changes that I would like to see here is more play with you, look for the north. 

Cecilie Conrad: Just make sure you look to the north of Europe then the South European is very strict, yeah, with you're right about the Scandinavian and this schooling in Finland being better. Yeah, yeah. 

Juliet Silveira: Yeah, I have friends here in New York City. I friends from all over. I have a friend from France, for example, who was like fast tracked to kind of like the lower you know, oh, you're going to be like a seamstress or something in France. From a very young age, like told that they were really bad at math. Yeah, all of those. 

Jesper Conrad: Why not destroying the child? from the side Yeah. 

Juliet Silveira: And then he went to the United States and started doing coursework here and his college professors were like oh my gosh, you're really good at math, like you might want to consider this, this and this. And now he's like. I want to say he's like a radiologist or something. He works. He works in a medical office. And so they were like you know, they're rambunctious little kids And at that early of an age, be like you're smart. You're not smart, you go this way, you go that way from like when they're five, it's just bonkers. 

Cecilie Conrad: No, but how do you, how would you see it? the change I mean so personally? I mean we're on the same path in life somehow. I'm on schooling, we're on schooling three children. We have four, but one is an adult. It's hard to unschool someone who's 24. 23 23. 

Cecilie Conrad: Whatever Um, but I've kind of given up on the whole idea of schooling. So I have a problem with the idea of a curriculum as such, the idea of someone else deciding for the children what they are supposed to learn. I have a problem with the batch teaching, the batch living. I have the problem with um, with putting all the kids together based on their age. I have a problem with everything compulsory, like I like the idea of the freedom of the children, that any education, any learning, any activity basically should be voluntary, especially when you're a child. When you're an adult maybe you have some obligations, but when you're like nine you don't, basically Um. So I'm just curious as to how would you see, how would you see the American school system change and evolve into something that you know you wouldn't dislike that much or that you would maybe even like? 

Juliet Silveira: Yeah, this is where me and a lot of the unschoolers kind of diverge a little bit because, like when I was working in the charters and I wanted to switch to a school that was more progressive, it really bothered me that in order to do that, i would have to not serve the same public school student body that I wanted to serve and only serve like rich kids. And in the schooling community I feel like there's a lot of people who are like the system, we can't change it, it's inherently flawed. So I just got to do me and like, yeah, worry about your family, but there are millions of kids in this system who are gonna be there whether you choose to unschool or not. And you know, do I owe anything to them? Not necessarily, but I do desperately want to help them. So, while I don't think that we can, you know, you know in some people's mind it's putting lipstick on a pig. I say put the lipstick on the pig because you know any improvement is a big improvement for the mental health of those students. If I were to make my like dream school schedule for the US public school system, it would include like a tiny bit of structured mathematics and literacy in the morning and then the kids would play all afternoon And you would have teachers who understand like the value of play and are trained more as like facilitators, like you know, forest school teachers who can like not do top down like this is how we play, but like understand how to observe children and like see, oh, this student is really into like whittling things. 

Juliet Silveira: Or this student is really into this Like I'm going to put fuel on that fire, i'm going to give them access to this or that activity or person or material. We don't do any of that right now. Like there's like very teachers don't know their students most of the time. The time of day where you would get to know them really is like when they're doing open-ended things, because that's when you see what they're interested in. And most of the like teachers in my school, it's like, oh, we dropped the kids off for recess and now it's time for the adults to have a conversation, as opposed to like oh, wow, like this is, this student loves rubbing chalk all over the ground. So, yeah, i would have way more unstructured play for elementary school students And then I think for the How long. 

Cecilie Conrad: Why different elementary school students? How old are we used? 

Juliet Silveira: to turn Five to nine, 10. Okay, and then for the older students, i think something closer to my kids' democratic school, where they get to vote on the kinds of classes or activities that they're going to have, where you still have people that are they know more about a certain content area, like science or art. But the students are like, oh, i really want to learn digital art. Then you feel that need, that desire, instead of saying like, okay, kids, these are the subjects that you have to learn. Yeah, just giving kids much more of a say with a large, with a massive education system, you can't necessarily offer the full autonomy that unschoolers have. There's too many students to-. 

Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, At a practical level, if I had to look up 25 children instead of three, i would have to add some structure that I don't have to do. 

Cecilie Conrad: Now that it's only three, I can manage that Right. We had our oldest child in a free school in Copenhagen doing kind of what you described. We have these free schools in Denmark where you pay but the state pays something like 70, 80%, So the parents pay. But it's not that bad Right. So we could afford that at least with one child. She's markedly older than the others And there the kids got to make their own plan. 

Cecilie Conrad: They made a plan on the Mondays in the morning and they were together of all ages, So they would be 30 children in one class, but they would be of all ages from six to 15, no 13. And they would help each other out more than they would get help from adults. There would be two teachers and 30 children. They would make their own plan on Mondays. They would have a very long pause for eating and cleaning up and organizing and playing in the middle of the day, And the afternoons they did more like workshops and creative stuff, music, painting, learning skills with their hands, And after something like three o'clock they would play with free play until the parents picked them up. 

Cecilie Conrad: So that was like, and then they had like two months a year. They would just be in the kitchen because they would cook for each other. It was a school of 200 children, So maybe two months is too much, I can't remember but they had a lot of kitchen time, which was actually a very good thing to learn the skill. They would work with professional chefs. There were two chefs and they did professional cooking of organic food. 

Cecilie Conrad: And it was just a dream of a school, It was. we had that. 

Jesper Conrad: And if you want to look it up, it's based on a French reformist called Célestine Freine. They're called the Freine schools. I will send you a good introduction. 

Cecilie Conrad: You have two of them in Copenhagen, the beautiful schools. But what would it take, do you think, to get from where the American schools are now? and for that matter the Danish public school system. 

Jesper Conrad: We have given up on the system. 

Cecilie Conrad: No, it's just, it's not well, we have different paths in life and I respect yours And I think it's beautiful. It's just. I feel my footprint will be. I will shine my torch in another direction. It doesn't. I don't mean to say that my direction is more right than yours. I'm not going to reform the school system because I don't believe in it And I don't believe kind of feel it's so flawed that maybe we should just shut it down and start over with something we call something. But it doesn't matter what I'm, that's my take. I'm not going to fight it. 

Cecilie Conrad: I worked within the system as well, many, many, many years ago, and I think it's a far cry from the perfect school we had in Copenhagen for our oldest daughter to the public schools, even the Scandinavian public schools, which are known for being very good schools. They are still schools. They still make all the same mistakes. They have the. we have now the standardized tests, just like in the United States. The only thing is they are voluntary, except everybody forgets to tell the parents and the kids that they are voluntary, so they believe they have to do it. How do we get from here to there? 

Juliet Silveira: I think this is how we do it. That's why I have my platform is to educate more people, because parents and teachers can't get outraged about what they don't know about. So the fact that so many of our public school teachers don't know that as much about childhood development as I believe they should is a huge issue. Parents as well. I'd love to educate parents because the thing is, you could make a lot of the changes that I'm talking about tomorrow and a lot of parents would be outraged. They would be like why is it my child being drilled? There are times tables at five years old. That's what I want, because I want them to go to Princeton and have the social mobility of somebody who's super smart. So we need a lot of parent education. 

Juliet Silveira: And then one of the unique things to the United States that I don't think is the same in Europe is that our standardized tests are. Private companies facilitate the standardized testing. So we're really like funneling billions of dollars to private companies to do these tests. And those same private companies make the curriculum for the tests and they do the student teaching like they write the student teaching textbooks and they do the tests to become a teacher, to prepare the students for the test. So and they pay-. 

Cecilie Conrad: So it's a pyramid scheme basically. 

Juliet Silveira: Yes, and they also lobby Congress, they lobby our legislators again, millions of dollars a year to keep things exactly as they are. So the more we can educate parents about what is happening to me, the amount of money being spent on these tests. If more people knew about it, it would be a bipartisan issue, like both Democrats and Republicans would be like oh, our schools are spending millions of dollars for these private companies, some of them not even based in the United States, like Pearson is a British publishing company and we're using our public school dollars to pay this publishing company to facilitate these tests. How hard can it be to make like an in-state test? You know what I mean. Like what? do you need a private company for that? Nobody needs that. And the more. 

Juliet Silveira: I think we keep sounding the alarm bells around student mental health as well. Every parent hates seeing their child suffer And right now there's so many children that are suffering and people want to figure it out. And I think the lack of autonomy and this kind of like. Okay, you know my parents don't look very happy right now. They're burnt out, they're stressed out. You're telling me that if I just study hard and do all of these steps, i can be just like them. 

Jesper Conrad: Yeah, what a joy. 

Juliet Silveira: yeah, Who wants to do that right? So the more we acknowledge, okay, the lack of autonomy, the lack of time outdoors, you know, the, just like you said, the lack of freedom is crushing lots of people and we are Putting our focus, you know, a lot of times we're just funneling more money into things that aren't actually helping us improve. And what's heartbreaking? I think what you said about the school in Copenhagen, where the government still pays a large chunk of money A lot of the self directed education, like groups or facilities here are really struggling to stay funded. They're really floundering economically And I believe that if, if you could get like a couple progressive mayors in certain cities in the United States to take a chance on something like a democratic school and actually fund it with public school dollars, The school is that legal on a on a city level. 

Cecilie Conrad: Could a mayor do that within the law that are now in place? 

Juliet Silveira: Yeah, you would have to get support from school boards there. You know, it's like COVID, right. Like if you really wanted to make certain things happen, you could right, like when COVID hit, all of a sudden, we we redirected all the cities like school lunch cafeterias to make free meals for people across the city. Like there's red tape. but I believe if you could get somebody who is really trying to like, make a name for themselves politically to do something like this, it's a little bit scary, but if the proof of concept is like like if you were to look at some of the teens at our free school, a lot of them are kids who suffered immensely in the public school system and left their kids that have eating disorders, kids who had, like, a caregiver, died midway through the school year, and then their teachers are like, oh, you're about to fail out of school and it's like, holy fuck, like am I not allowed to be a person While I'm in this system? like I'm going to be penalized for this horrible thing that happened to me? 

Juliet Silveira: I think if you could, should could, demonstrate that this is an actual, sustainable way to do school and that these kids do still turn out fine, i'm going to put into question like okay, so why are we spending so much money on these other things Instead of on the teachers, instead of on actually serving the students? why am I? especially because all of these curriculums, it's like the same stuff in a different format, you know, like every year after year they're like buy this new textbook. It's like how much has the textbook changed in a year? I don't understand. 

Jesper Conrad: One of the things I hear you're talking about is, as a parent, you should have more knowledge. As a teacher, you should educate yourself better on what is actually we know works from the research. And it made me to think about my travel as a parent, because I was, you know, in the public school system and Cecilia explained hey, we could put our daughter in this alternative school. And for me it was just like why? that does nothing wrong with the public school. Very classical, that is just like behavior. And I remember the shift when our oldest daughter, now grown up, she sometimes came and asked for stuff I didn't you And my normal response was go ask your teacher. Whereas with my home school children, when they asked me stuff, i'm like, okay, shit, i need to go figure that out together. Because now it's my responsibility And it has I have. 

Jesper Conrad: Since taking this choice in life, i've been thinking a lot about personal responsibility as a parent. There is something that is very easy about sending your kid to a school as a parent, because if the child flaunt flaunt I can't remember the correct name if they fail in in one of the subjects, and if you, as a parents, who have to blame, it is the school. It is someone else. So there is something about this not taking responsibility, that that I think it could be wonderful if we could help change somehow, because I think that's one of the problems. It is super easy. 

Cecilie Conrad: There is a catch there that if we start talking to the parents about taking home the responsibility you own, the responsibility of your children and therefore of their education, you might get the parents who get very ambitious about their children learning the same thing as the school system would teach them just better, where you never get out of this idea that we as the parents, or the adults or the government, can make a plan for the children and then then they will be safe. If they, if they score high on all these things, then they will have a good life and then we're all happy. I think, facing the fear that It's kind of scary to be a parent, it's kind of scary to be have responsibility of other people You never really know. I think we made up this fake system that if you do well in math then you'll do well in life. It's very obvious, if you look at it from the helicopter perspective, that that is not true. As you say, maybe, okay, you do well in math, but you have an eating disorder And you feel like shit in life. This, this, this flawed somehow that we're trying to make ourselves feel good and feel safe. I've done my part by either sending them to school or taking them home, but giving them a curriculum, making sure they learn these things Without questioning are these the things that will actually make them into young adults, ready for life? 

Cecilie Conrad: I think that question is never being asked, and the thing I never shared, didn't share before in this conversation about the perfect school we had in Copenhagen, is that this school was under attack from the parents. It was not the government, it was not our laws, because we have the free schooling in our constitution. It was the parents. Exactly what you said before, like why is Adam not reading yet? Now he is eight and the parents start panicking and they want the textbooks and the worksheets and the results. And these amazing teachers said leave him be, he will read before he's 15. But they couldn't. You know they would lose all their customers if they didn't somehow comply, and it was a very, very, very hard thing to keep this school on track. So when I asked you, what do you think we need to do or what would it take I am worried about, can we educate all the parents out of their own fear? 

Juliet Silveira: I think it's also really interesting. One of the questions I posed on one of my TikToks was like who is responsible for trying to educate parents? Because right now it's like we educate postpartum women. You know, call the hospital if you're bleeding too much, and beyond that it's nothing Like, not even like, oh, make sure your baby like moves, like the amount of instructions or lack thereof that I was given by my pediatrician on very basic things is like alarming to me. 

Juliet Silveira: But I do think, like I said, i don't think we're going to go like full free school model from kindergarten onward. I do think there will have to be some structured academics. But in terms of things like supporting children's social, emotional intelligence, i think we can do a tremendously better job than we're doing If we become more comfortable having difficult conversations with parents and making education about basic child development more common knowledge, and we're already doing that on social media. The number of like gentle parents on TikTok conscious parent is exploding. People are starting to the neuroscience is starting to be more common knowledge. This idea that spanking kids is damaging, that when your kids Kids is illegal. 

Jesper Conrad: And Denmark Not in the states. 

Juliet Silveira: Yeah, Not in the states. It's legal in schools in the United States Can you come into the next century. 

Jesper Conrad: No, but it's so fun Sometimes, you know that. No, no, but Denmark we are like sometimes we're looking to the states for all our fashion and different stuff And it's like, oh, they are the four runners. But on some things, on Hollywood movies and stuff- I'm shocked. 

Cecilie Conrad: I didn't know that. 

Jesper Conrad: No, i knew. No, no, no, no, shit Yeah. 

Juliet Silveira: Yeah, and it actually made me. 

Jesper Conrad: I was. I've been thinking about this because I looked it up When was it stopped being legal in Denmark and in France? And I looked into some of the different numbers and it just made me think that if you are raised with spanking and I don't that with spanking it's of course more correction. I still believe it's wrong, but I don't feel that the people go around and beat their children up, you know. But if you are raised with solving a problem is done by force, that gives a wild adult. What happens in the mind of an adult? How it's like that is. It cannot be good. I cannot see being good in any way. Yeah, but that was a side track, sorry. 

Cecilie Conrad: No, it's not. I mean then we? I'm also an anarchist, So I don't really believe in democracy and policy because I don't know, I don't see the results that I would like to see. But if I should believe in it a little bit, maybe we should start there. I mean, how can violence be legal in a modern state like the United States being so proud of themselves over there being like we're like I don't know, best in the world with everything bigger, better, faster, more, And could you please stop spanking each other? I mean, it's just like the Stone Age. 

Jesper Conrad: I can't believe it. 

Cecilie Conrad: Spank your wife? No, so why is it legal to spank? 

Jesper Conrad: But you're relative under the age of 18. And Denmark. it only was like 20 years ago They stopped. 

Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, but OK, it was legal, but nobody did it. They just forgot to change the law. 

Juliet Silveira: Well, here in the United States, remember, i made the comment about the school board meetings and who's showing up for those? A lot of the people showing up for those are people that spank their kids. It's like you know religious extremists who Yeah, there's a lot of science denial in the United States And even when it comes down to that, like I don't know how many studies you need to prove that this is harmful, but there's a bajillion of them, just like we have. Like, the thing about what people I think don't understand when it comes to punishment or incentives is that it might work in the short term, right. So like when you bribe children into compliance, it does look like it is working right, because you're like oh my God, i'm just a sticker if they sit down. And now they're sitting down. When it falls apart is when you now expect them to sit down and you don't have any stickers, or you spanked your child, so now they know to fear you, but you send them to my art room And they're not listening. And this has literally happened to me before as a teacher And I'm like you got to listen to me. This is what we're doing, and they're like what are you going to do to me. You can't hit me. They literally said that to me And I'm like oh great, you know, like this is a child who will only respect an adult or respect an authority when they are threatened, and otherwise they're like fuck you, lady, i don't have to listen to you. They don't have, they don't understand why you would want to comply, like what's in it for me, right? So that's. 

Juliet Silveira: I think people lose sight of what we want long term for children. Like you said, like what is the real goal? Is the real goal to go to Princeton and make a million dollars? Or is the real goal to arrive to adulthood with, like, a strong identity, with strong mental health, with, like, good interpersonal skills, with an idea of what you want to do to contribute to the world, as opposed to, like this was the prescripted way that I thought you could contribute to the world And this is what you have to do. But I feel dead inside. What do we really want for young people growing up in our communities? Yeah, and it's. It's hard, like I I sometimes avoid putting things in my profile that would turn off people that spank their kids or do this, because I kind of want to like see how far they can get into my content before they're like oh, i'm not supposed to like you. 

Juliet Silveira: You believe in like liberation and stuff like, because some like video I just posted is getting traction again, where I'm talking about my kid like talking back quote unquote to me And somebody was like somebody left a comment like well, are they ever going to live in the real world? And I asked them back Yeah. 

Juliet Silveira: And I asked them back. I was like, oh, do you think my child needed to obediently, you know, respond to my yelling at them without question in order to be prepared for the real world? And they said that's not what I said. And so I asked but what do you mean? Like, what do you think your comment meant Right? And they never responded. But it kind of. I think it gets the gears turning a little bit sometimes if you can ease people to it, get people talking, be more curious as opposed to. it's really hard online People can be really hateful. But I do think that the tides are turning. Yeah, i hope so. Let's hope so. I'm sorry. 

Cecilie Conrad: I just can't. 

Juliet Silveira: let's hope so I yes we have to Like slavery right Or Jim Crow, like how enormous those systems were and how ingrained they were in our society, economic like, at every level of society. And there were still people who, in the face of that, were like no, i'm not doing this, i'm not going to be enslaved, or I don't you know Rosa Parks, like I'm not going to sit at the back of the bus That takes such enormous balls and or vulvas. And if we, we just need more of that, i think people are too complacent. They're not as outraged as they should be about what our status quo is, and the more outrage we can grow, the better chance we have of actually making changes in the system. 

Jesper Conrad: The sun is sitting here and I think that's a perfect place to to end our conversation. 

Cecilie Conrad: Not the same thing. Maybe it was a little short, but no sunset right now And beautiful place in it. Let's be a little outraged. 

Jesper Conrad: Let's be more outraged, and thank you, and Julia had wonderful to talk to you. Even though we are on the more, much more radical side, there is definitely a need for for people like you and for the, the people who want to reach out to you and connect with you. Can you please list where the best can do that before we end the call? 

Juliet Silveira: Yes, So my name is Juliet J U L I E T. I believe it's like the English spelling instead of the French spelling, So my handle on Instagram is Juliet learns. It's the same as on TikTok, Juliet learns. I do parent coaching. I do talks in schools. You can also email Juliet learns at gmailcom to contact me And, yeah, I'm all for stoking more outrage and educating parents in a way that you know is trauma, informed and conscientious and not trying to put people down. I really want to support our expansion of our knowledge and and change things. 

Cecilie Conrad: And learn the plan. 

Jesper Conrad: It was wonderful connecting with you And thank you for your time. 

Juliet Silveira: Yes, so much. 


#6 - Peter Gray | The Psychology of Play, the Benefits of Free Play for Children
#8 - Robyn Robertson | "Honey, I'm Homeschooling the Kids"


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