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.