Sunday, January 3, 2016

Grown and Flown article on Kids and College...Did they get it right?

How to Say Goodbye When Your Kid Returns to College

Parents Living with Teens article commentary by Lisa Cooley

Did they get it right?
My experience with Eli leaving for college bore no resemblance whatsoever to this author's experience. And that's OK.
While it is true that having a kid in college means saying goodbye over and over again, Eli is by no means "not at home" when he is here. After a difficult semester of missing us and observing many collegial ridicularities, he is home willingly and happily, and his same old self. We share him with his girlfriend, but that has only meant expanding our family by one, not losing him to someone else.
I was a bucket of tears all day long when we left him at school. I went back to where we were staying and absolutely dissolved. It felt like grief -- compounded by the fact that he was really sad, too. I probably did it all wrong, but my parenting style has always been seat of the pants, more coming from who I am than what is perceived as the right thing to do.
Francie (15) told me yesterday that I'll probably not have any emotional reaction to her leaving, being used to it. I told her in no uncertain terms that I fully expect my head to explode.
You gotta just be yourself. That's the best thing for your kids, I think, in the long run. Exposing vulnerabilities, moodiness, weakness....I don't see a down-side.
What has pulled me through has been his increasing enjoyment of college, and my own continued work. Skype has helped a lot. I didn't think it would -- I thought seeing his face would only make me feel more keenly the fact that he isn't here. But through the Skype screen he is still funny, relaxed, cheerful and he still goes off on computer science stuff that leaves me behind, to the point where I glance at the clock and wonder how much longer I have to pay attention.
It still hurts that he isn't still here all the time. But it hurts less. I don't cry every time I think about him, which I did all of September and October. (I know this is making me sound like an extreme nutjob -- I'm just saying, my response to him leaving comes from who I am and my nutjob nature is well-documented.)
But then again, you and your family probably don't relate at all. And that's ok. Don't worry about the shoulds. Do what you can.
Your thoughts?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Atlantic Monthly article on Education; Did they get it right?

Parents Living With Teens Article Review by Linda Bav

Can Schools Be Fixed?

Atlantic Monthly, 12/30/15


Did they get it right?

No Daniel Greenbergs, no Sir Ken Robinsons, No Sugata Mitras, no John Holts or Ivan Illiches. No one advocating for creating all kinds of different schools for different kinds of kids, where kids even as young as 6 can choose what, when, and how to learn. No one promoting Cindy Gaddis' ideas of an alternate time-frame for Right-Brained learners to learn academic subjects. No one insisting that we need to focus more on the arts and on practical skills like growing organic foods, cooking, sewing, appliance repair, making solar panels to generate free electricity, etc. No one insisting that kids are not standard, and that we need to both help kids pursue their own goals, AND teach them the practical things that can help lift the poorest families out of poverty - which comes back to knowing how to grow food, forage for wild, edible plants, produce free electricity, repair broken things, etc. ....

Actually, I did see one quote that mentioned the importance of teaching good communications skills, empathy, social and emotional skills and creativity, etc. That's a good start. But if we want our kids to excel in reading and mathematics, we need to stop forcing those things on kids who are not ready or interested yet, and start giving them opportunities to do all the life-activities that really engage them, that will lead them to want to read and perform mathematical calculations for their own purposes! And then, reading and math (and science) will not be "subjects" that we feel compelled to test or measure kids in, because those subjects are, after all, just a means to an end! But the public schools are still focused on making those skills - and high scores on tests in those skills - the end in itself.

--Linda Bav 
Editorial Committee, Living With Teens

Do you think they got it right? 
Comment here...let's talk about it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Are teens really so bad at time management? Or is there something else going on?

Here is yet another post about how teens can plan their time effectively. It would have been no use to me, in high school or college. These plans presuppose that the teen is interested and motivated. You can't get motivated to do something you don't care about, however wonderful, new and shiny the method is.

When our kids procrastinate, consider that they just aren't interested; when you remind them, and they resist, consider that what you're causing is simple anxiety, and worse, a deflating sense of self-respect.

What would happen if we allowed kids to choose challenging tasks for themselves, and gave them the support and resources they needed to pursue it? What would happen if they were motivated enough to push through the hard parts?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Talent and Determination: How do we bring it out in ALL students?

Imagine what happens when diligence, determination and talent collide! Ken Robinson calls it "the element"...some call it "flow".

The thing it our responsibility to create an environment where all kids get a chance to find out where that collision takes place?

Do ALL kids have some kind of ability that sets them apart?

We're all taxpaying parents...don't we deserve a system that works for ALL our children, instead of the ones whose talent, diligence and determination is obvious to the adults present?

Interested in your thoughts on this.

Almost theeeere.....almost theeeere....

In the culminating moments of Star Wars: A New Hope one of the pilots strains to see the target that will, when hit, result in the blowing up of the Death Star. But he misses. "It didn't go in," he says, with a voice of serious dejection.

Sometimes bloggers talking about parenting their teens come so close....but it doesn't go in.

I don't know if you can see this link -- you might have to "like" the page. But it's worth it for this article. She gets some of it right. For example:

"...think about if your anxiety over them struggling in the early years to do homework is more about YOU as a parent--"A GOOD parent can make their child do their homework." "I'm a good parent because my child is smart and does what she's supposed to." "My child is a true leader!" "Look how smart and creative he is...!" Take a moment and think about this. We ALL fall into this as parents--thinking the "grade" we'll get in Parenting 101 is based on how our child behaves. And this is what gets us into those jams...those struggles...those conflicts to "make our child do their homework" (or anything else we really want them to do!) that can leave afternoons and evenings a total wreck. Because really, we cannot control our children."

Take a look at the rest of the text. Where does she get it wrong? It seems full of sound advice. But where does she lose her grasp of the argument about not controlling kids?

Interested in your thoughts!