The Education Pressure Cooker- Stop the Insanity

There’s a buzz around our community about the pressures that students in our community are under.

There is some illusion that only the most “well rounded”  4.something gpa holding, captain of varsity sports and spends summers in southern Uganda curing ebola gets to choose the college they want to attend.

This same line of thinking leads to kids as young as 8 studying for standardized tests.

Parents enroll their children in additional Saturday schools, enrichment programs, and curriculum specific tutoring.

They are disappointed in a C. They are most happy with A’s.

They repeat stories of “Their child needs to live up to their potential and that if their kids just worked harder, they too could get better grades”

That sounds like “No winning or pleasing that parent 101” to me.

Education

Better grades = better test scores = better college = better life?

What expense are you willing to pay for that result?

Are you willing to put your kid’s passions aside so they can become the best version of what you want them to be?

It’s time to look hard in that parenting mirror and make some choices.

Decide to truly support your children in both their strengths and weaknesses, passions and dislikes or decide to continue the rat race to push your children towards society generated definitions of success.

The irony is that we live in an area of highly successful, hard working, and really stressed out adults.

We know better. It’s time to do better for our children.

You ready for high school?

Our school year ends in May and I’ve started encountering “You ready for high school” more and more lately.

I confidently say YES!

Over the past few years I’ve deliberately taken a hands-off approach to his schooling. He manages his own time with homework.  He manages his own grades. And this year as his extra curricula activities have increased, I’ve had him start managing his own calendar.

It takes a village and sometimes part of that village is the kids themselves.

And you know what? He’s doing it. It hasn’t been perfect but there’s no better time to learn these skills than when the risks are low.

Academically he’s signed up for a pretty challenging course load for 9th grade. I think it’s going to catch him off guard a bit. He’s used to getting his work done in school and I don’t think that’s the way it works when there’s no study hall.

highschool

He’s also going to take Latin. His father and I met in Spanish class and were fluent at the time but hey, this is what you get when you raise kids to think for themselves.

He has grown (6’2” what?) and matured so much that sometimes I just can’t believe I get to parent him. We haven’t run into the “miserable emo teen” phase yet.  But, man has his ability to lawyer represent himself in situations have nearly surpassed my ability to counter point him.

I still say I have the quickest wit in the house…..that’s mostly true but it’s getting close.

He has composed music for over a year and wrote me a piece for my birthday. It was titled “Oxbow Lake” and if you know what that is, makes it all the more special and profound. I play it often.

His father is what I call a “universal” in that nearly everyone who meets him, likes him.  Our older son didn’t inherit that (younger one did). He got my somewhat socially awkward and yet strong confidence that confuses people so it’s a 50/50 when people walk away if they want to talk again or NEVER again. He’s also very much like me in that social status or popularity matters less than zero to him. He knows who he is and stays true.  It’s been helpful in Jr. High and I think it will continue to work for him in high school……and life.

Watching him become more HIM has been a gift.

So, yeah, we’re ready.

Self Imposed Censorship

My brain likes walls. This isn't a political statement.

I’ve never been the type of writer that imposes deadlines or mandates on how often I decide to put fingers to keyboard.

Part of being creative in nature is using different avenues to express my mind….and writing just hasn’t been the road I’ve chosen for a while. It’s not that I haven’t been active on other social medias, I have, but this space has sat in time out for quite a while.

At this point, I know more former bloggers than current and while I do miss their words…I understand their need to just let go.

I’m not there quite yet but I do feel like I’m in a place of transition.

I used to put words down freely to the wide open internet space in a mostly anonymous way. That feeling of writing in the shadows was a big draw for me.

And then there is just continued life blockades.

As I become more connected with people in my community, the more guarded I feel about my words and the implications of them. This last year I’ve felt my words creating a wall from the inside. Not letting the words out.  This likely stems from keeping people at an arms length…..it’s a coping mechanism from my childhood that lives on.

I want to share about parenting a really strong and stubborn headed child (looks at mirror) or the transition of my older son (who initiated my online writing 8 years ago) into high school.

High school. Sigh.

As my children grow, there is also a need to protect them as their own people without their mom constantly posting stories and pictures of them.

I want to talk about having a thyroid disease that took out my brain for 6 months last year. Spoiler: I’m not one who does well working on 60% brain function.

I want to talk about how I’m becoming more involved with politics and there’s been quite the learning curve to all things government for me….but I’m getting there.

I want to talk about smaller and more frivolous life impacts like social engineering, a new house remodeling project, and how rabbits in my garden still piss me off.

I’m not sure why today was the day I decided to put more than a sentence together. That’s the way creativity works. You never when the creativity train decides to go.

I’m less concerned with how often I post but I am working on removing the self imposed censorship….maybe this is the start.