|By Classof06 (Classof06) on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 11:16 pm: Edit|
Hello again, everyone:
Let me first thank everyone for sharing your thoughts regarding ECAs. I really appreciate that.
Okay, today was report card day in our area. My son, in grade 9, already got 3 Bs. As I pointed out before, he has a lot of potential. For example, he is accelerated in math (taking PreCalc, in which he got an A). The Bs are in biology, English, and French, which is accelerated as well, I think. Although he generally scores very well in the verbal parts of acchievement tests, he has always been a B student in English. The classic type of math/science oriented kid who doesn't like to write that much. I really think he has the potential to get straight As in high school, though, but obviously that is not happening. He is a responsible kid, seems to do all his homework, but somehow it seems that he doesn't do enough. He seems to have a lot of free time, always done with studying, and then he gets Bs. I want to help him, but am not sure how and how much I should get involved with his work. For those of you with very successful high school students, how much do you get involved with their work and study habits? Or do they do it all on their own?
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 11:46 pm: Edit|
IMO you should lighten up. Your son is doing very well already. I don't know what you're complaining about.
Meanwhile, what kind of ECs is he doing? How responsible is he? Does he have friends? Integrity?
Helping a teen develop into their optimal self requires paying attention to far more than their grades and their chances to go to Harvard.
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 01:36 am: Edit|
On one hand, I don't think you can turn your son into something he's not. If he's a Math/Science kid, *most* of them--not all--are not going to be English/History/Language kids as well. You need to respect and accept your son for who *he* is and not worry about some external standards.
That said, I think it's good to get him to try to live up to *his* potential. Homework is a beginning but it's only the beginning...how well does he understand the material, how much is he *engaged* with the material (back to square one already...you can't make him into something he's not).
Developing some outside interests that have the potential to be true passions is important.
I'll at least loosely go along with NSM about such questions as integrity, friendships, responsibility...a souless grind is kinda sad to behold.
|By Farawayplaces (Farawayplaces) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 01:44 am: Edit|
We took the tack in high school that the kid was on his own. I don't think pressuring and browbeating makes any sense; it will backfire.
We did try some subtle things however. First, we emphasized that grades in high school were up to him; he should set his own goals. We tried to stay positive, and said things like this:
"It would be great if you can get A's in English, because that will give you more college choice. But maybe you just can't. Just do the best you can, and we'll help you any way we can."
Our son never really threw himself into English (math & science guy), and got B's half the time. He did say ruefully during his Senior year that he'd wished he'd tried harder. But you know what? Giving him all the power over his schoolwork, never checking up on him or his assignments, made him driven in his math and science stuff. In the end, he got into his dream school without straight A's (math and science madness impressed them).
High school is a very frustrating and worrying time. But I bet it will all come out well for your son if you stay positive and let him unfold!
|By Arnosha (Arnosha) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 02:00 am: Edit|
Ok, first of all, "potential" means nothing in today's society, as only results matter in the end. No one will care about the kid's potential to attend Harvard when he is at Ventura County Community College. Let's get one thing straight:THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK.
That being said, I think you need to instill a work ethic in your kid, ignite ambition within him. Explain to him what the rewards of merit are. Find something he likes and tell him how being the best can help him get that. That will be the only way, it seems. Ignore the problem, "leave it be," and watch in frustration as nothing will happen...only your kid will not attend a good school and become lost in this world of competitive meritocracy. Thank you very much.
|By Momcat (Momcat) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:52 am: Edit|
I think that keeping the lines for communication open is the most important thing you can do your kids. You can't make him get A's English, but you can talk to him about it, and listen to what he says about it. Most bright kids will hear you, and sometimes they'll take what you have to say to heart and sometimes they'll think you have no clue what you're talking about. But you talk to them anyway.
My S is a math/science kid and this year (senior) he made the decision to drop honors English, which he'd taken his first three years. I was not happy about this at first, but it was his decision to make and after we discussed it (uh, several times) I let go of my objections and accepted him knowing what was best for him in this situation. You know what? He was right. Suddenly he loves English. Much of the credit is due to an awesome teacher that he really relates to, but I also think that the slightly less pressure that he feels is a big factor. So, support your child, share your wisdom, but ultimately they need to make their own decisions, right or wrong.
|By Legacy (Legacy) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:13 am: Edit|
Arnosha, thanks for the laugh, that idealistic attitude that "instilling" a work ethic will solve all the problems, is really a piece of work. Your simplistic solution to this "problem" (which it is not), just completely displays your ignorance about the subject. And having the audacity to say that if he gets a couple B's and goes to an average college will destine him to fail in this terrible and ruthless world is so ridiculous that I mistook it for a joke. Once again, thanks for the laugh.
|By Marite (Marite) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:26 am: Edit|
First, congratulations to your S on being in Precalc in 9th grade. It's a wonderful accomplishment, and it is even better that he is getting an A in it. I am not surprised that he is not doing as well in Biology. My S, who aced AP Physics in 8th grade and AP-Chemistry in 9th, finds that he is struggling a bit with Biology because it requires so much more memorization than Physics or Chemistry. He is a kid who loathes memorization (he now realizes that he ought to study harder).
French, too, requires a lot of memorization (all these exceptions, irregular verbs, etc...). I'm not surprised your S is getting a B in it.
As for English, you might try engaging him in discussions of his readings or assignments. What does he like or not like about the reading? Does he think it carries metaphorical meanings? What does he think of individual characters? A few times like this, and he will get the hang of how to approach the study of English.
What I found most useful in dealing with my S is telling him to start reading or researching early. Kids have a way of grossly underestimating the time it will take to locate materials, read them, digest them and then write their essays.
Remember, though, that many colleges discount 9th grade grades, realizing that students may have difficulty adjusting to high school. Also, these are first quarter grades, not semester grades. Encourage your S to focus more on homework, but keep in mind that he is getting As as well as the Bs that are concerning you.
Best of luck.
|By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:49 am: Edit|
Have you talked to his teachers? After all, they are professionals who may have some insight. I found teachers do not respond well to the question "why isn't my kid doing better" because that is too often the prelude to an attack on the teacher or the kid. Rather, I found two questions seem to break the ice a bit: "Is there anything I should know?" and "Is there anything I should be doing to support your teaching efforts?". It's also helpful if you are actually sincere w/r/t these questions.
As others have said, HS is the beginning of the independence building process. That said, they are not ready to take full responsibility, especially as a freshman.
|By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:50 am: Edit|
Well, the problem only exists if he has high ambitions and doesn't understand that what he is doing may limit his choices. I tried to preach to my S that the less-than-his-ability grades were going to give people [schools] a reason to say no him, but it was essentially useless. Now in the throes of the process, I think he may have some regrets, depending on how it turns out. That's life.
In his case, he will be an interesting study to see to what degree a heavy EC schedule will excuse a less than top notch grade average in the social studies and english area, with reasonable grades and high scores in the sciences. I'm hopeful, but realistic.
"Experience is a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other."
|By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 10:34 am: Edit|
My d. is having more troubles than first child, and making "only" B's. It is obvious that she struggles (C's on tests, A's on homework = B's for the course). She does tons of work (mostly "busy work" in my eyes). She refuses anyone's help (has always been VERY independant). We so much want to help her...review what she does not understand, make suggestions, etc. primarily to get her started off on a good foundation in HS.
While it is true that Freshman year counts "less" than the others, it is still averaged into the total. Rank and GPA are still strongly affected by Freshman year (especially when college applications are submitted at the beginning of Senior year). My son's school even made the point of telling the Freshman class that "this counts".
More importantly, the Freshman year sets the foundation. Often, the study skills they develop here and Jr. High are the ones they use from now on. Freshman year grades also have an effect on their own self-image. Already my d. suggests she "isn't smart"...and will "only be able to go to local State U." She has so much time to grow, learn, find interests, etc. but no matter what we say, she feels her future is already determined!
I think Freshman (and the grades achieved) are more important than we think!
|By Kiddielit (Kiddielit) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 12:31 pm: Edit|
I think kids get into very good, selective schools with some Bs. Maybe not HYP, but excellent and selective schools -- especially if there is great strength in one academic area and a great all-around "package" of ECs, etc.
Having said that, I think kids underestimate the importance and difficulty of writing. I think Marite brings up a very good point about not leaving enough time to do quality written work. Revisions aren't just about finding mechanical errors -- often, a paper needs to go through one or two drafts or partial drafts before a student really "gets" what his question is and what he really thinks.
Colleges across the board are upping writing requirements and encouraging writing across the curriculum. While not everyone will be an Enlish/social studies lover, it is becoming more of a good bet that colleges expect everyone to write and write well.
Is there a writing lab at school that can give him some one-on-one help with papers?
|By Sac (Sac) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 01:25 pm: Edit|
Classo6 and Kjofkw,
Though you both express concern about grades, it sounds as if you have very different kids.
For the kid you see not working hard, gliding by on Bs in courses that might just take more effort, what I would suggest is that you find a way to get him the information about what his gradepoint means for his choices in the future. We had one kid like this, who got As in the classes that came easily to her and settled for less in those that took effort, and she started high school prepared to battle our expectations vs hers. We showed her the entering gradepoint average for the freshman class at a university she had mentioned (and it wasn't an Ivy, but a state school). Then we explained that this wasn't about us at all, but about what choices she would have at the end of high school. We had given her the information, now it was up to her to decide what to do about it. We didn't need to mention it again. She got it. She made the choice to work harder and ended up with a mixture of As and some Bs that got her into an even better university than the one on which she'd first set her sights.
The student who is getting Cs on tests and As on homework sounds like someone with test anxiety or study skills problems. It must be so frustrating to put so much time into the material and then end up either having studied the wrong thing or to blank on the test or not know how to pace herself as she works through it. I remember a wonderful AP English teacher who made a point not only of teaching us literature, but how to take different types of tests. This things can be learned. Even if she is refusing your help, maybe it might be worthwhile to see whether she might take a study skills course or get help specifically with these issues at a study center at school if there is one. Sometimes it's as simple as being taught to not try to answer a question until you've reread it and are really sure you understand it. (I have a son who -- when he blows a test -- invariably discovers it was because he answered the question he thought was being asked rather than the one that actually was asked.)
Having said all this, of course Bs aren't the end of the world and there are other things in life more important than grades.
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 02:19 pm: Edit|
Dadx's comment rings a bell: if these are ambitions, these are the choices you need to make.
Followed by, if you make these choices, we will support you in them.
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 02:58 pm: Edit|
I have always been aware of my children's work and assignments in highschool. And if my son were not doing as well as he could in some subjects, I would certainly spend some time and effort to get him to bring those grades up. The high school years are often ( and hopefully) the last years a parent has to help a child in schoolwork. Once they go away to college, there really is little room for parental involvement. Many highschoolers still are not mature and could use the help. In my case, the boys have particularly had problems buckling down to school work, and had I not become involved, they would not have had the choices they did for college. My nephew and son who were both "hell" in highschool now admit that without my intervention , they could have not gone on to college at all and been involved with kids who had pretty amoral lifestyles and few goals for the future. They were both bright young highschoolers that just did not want to do the work for a variety of reasons, and I was frequently very, very involved in making them do whatever work they ended up doing. The girls had different problems. They did not learn the materials as quickly and needed additional instruction and personal attention if they were going to do well in high level courses at high school. They welcomed my involvement and by working with them I was able to get them onto their own feet by college with the base knowledge firmly in their brains along with a comprehensive understanding of how to study and organize. I don't think they would have figured it out on their own without suffering adverse grades, or missing out on learning chunks of knowledge. Two are in med school now and are fine on their own two feet but they had to be taught how to do challeging schoolwork, something I had learned on my own, and frankly, thought everyone learned on their own. I figured it out early--they had to be taught late. I did not intervene much in the earlier grades for the older ones as I believed they needed to figure things out for themselves. It was just when I saw that the consequences were getting more permanent and time was running out, that I stepped in. And that was during high school. And it did make a tremendous difference. More of a difference than any other factor.
I was with a friend's son a couple of years ago who was doing poorly in school. When I saw his bio notebook it was pretty clear why. He was a smart kid and there was no reason why he could not improve, but he had put himself into a rut that he was not able to extradite himself from. And his mother and father both believed it was all up to him. I spend about 20 hours with him, organizing his notebooks and showing him how to behave during class, taking notes even if there is "nothing to write down". In his case (as in many poor or mediocre students' cases) he needed to write things down as he studied, and I gave him some spiral notebooks, one for each subject, for him to fill with study notes. If he wrote as he studied, he could tabulate study time by how much he wrote down, rather than how long he was studying. His grades did improve, and he was interested enough to return to me for "tuneups" of his notebooks and filing system throughout senior year. He is a senior in college today, and still is in touch and attributes that intervention as key for his success in college. He really needed help, was stuck in a groove he did not like and with some direction was able to get out of it.
There are parents I know who are always on their kids' backs about academic achievement and are super, super involved. An A- is a crisis. A Bis a disaster. I don't like that lifestyle, I don't advise it, refuse to do it, but, frankly, these parents are the ones who are getting the best results overall. Yes, there are the exceptions, but the best students in my workshops are the ones with overinvolved parents, year in and out. With a few exceptions, usually notable ones. There was a thread on the achievement of asian children and parental involvement that touched on this issue and many of those comments really ring true.
|By Marite (Marite) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 03:12 pm: Edit|
Jamimom's post reminded me of some of my S's experiences in peer tutoring. Last year, he helped one walk-in student with bio despite the fact that he himself had not yet taken any. It turned out that the kid needed to acquire some study skills, to learn to read so as to be able to extract important information rather than just memorize the whole article. Note-taking is also a learned skill. Some kids just need help acquiring it. They think they can follow in class and will remember later, but of course, they don't. And then there are students, including college students, who remember anecdotes, but don't get or forget the points the anecdotes are supposed to illustrate.
High school is too early for students to be on their own when it comes to studying, especially when there are so many demands on them. Which coach, whether drama, football or band has ever said that homework came before all else? Even in college there are such things as Bureau of Study Skills, Writing Centers, and the likes.
|By Sluggbugg (Sluggbugg) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 03:19 pm: Edit|
For of you with very successful high school students, how much do you get involved with their work & study habits? It's a fair question, Classo, and I'd like to offer some general comments, not directly aimed at you or your son. This is a tough question that most parents struggle with all through h/s.
So, let's talk about what NOT to do, first. It is not the job of parents to tell adolescents who they are or to dictate their interests & tastes. It's a slippery slope between encouraging and supporting and overidentification and overcontrol. To really have a *successful* high school student, parents needs to understand the difference.
Teenagers tend to reacte to overidentification and overcontrol in one of two ways. They either accept, without question, the plans and dreams set out by parents, or they reject the standards and values of their parents and adopt an identity that opposes them. When kids go along with everything a parent lays out for them, they fail to develop their own identity. Parents can really do some damage when they impose a strict set of attitudes and behavior, rather than allowing a teenager to form his/her own.
Adolescence is all about developing a clearer picture of oneself, and when parents impose an identity, they are effectively stripping the kid of adolescence and bypassing their development toward independent adulthood. It's not a small thing, and if a parent feels threatened or angry because a teenager isn't measuring up, it's time to examine the parent's motives.
What can we do to guide without interfering? Accept your s/d as a separate person. Give him the psychological space to experiment and explore (e.g., political views, religious beliefs, romantic involvements, and occupational goals). Don't panic over a change in appearance (hair, clothes, etc.). Pry yourself away from his grades, and focus on his overall attitude. Grades will dip, and boys especially, tend to kick themselves pretty hard. They don't need our help. Keep him connected to the family, but not shackled. Give him "downtime" to zone out. Give him "uptime" to develop his own interests, and let him know that it's okay to change his mind (back to experimentation and exploration). Admit when you are wrong, and don't miss opportunities to praise.
|By Perry (Perry) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 04:42 pm: Edit|
I think it is vitally important for parents to be involved in their kids lives in every possible respect during adolescence. The real tragedy that I commonly see is that many young kids have a proclivity to make terribly unwise decisions that have life long consequences. They most often do not have the maturity or the experience to always understand the ramifications of their actions. It is therefore important for parents to intervene whenever necessary and to make every conceivable effort to ensure that they live healthy lives. I cannot tell you how many kids that I've seen that have been ignored by their parents and have ended up in truly tragic situations...
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 05:37 pm: Edit|
This is a fascinating conversation. I'd add just one thing: ultimately, the motivation to do the work required has to come from the child. The old saw rings true: You can lead them to the water, but you can not make them drink.
|By Mstee (Mstee) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 07:10 pm: Edit|
Carolyn. So true. Tried all sorts of things with the oldest, stubborn child. He is determined to do things "his way," and still struggles as a student in college. But he is in school. I do think he could have used help in his study skills, note taking skills. We did try some things, but maybe not enough. But then again, he wasn't ever willing to accept any help.
The next child, a senior, got off to sort of a bad start as a freshman. He didn't "get it" then, and now has regrets. He is interested in colleges now that he had no idea he would be interested in back then, as a freshman, and his spotty transcript is a problem. Also, the two "c's" he got in freshman honors history took him off the honors track for the remaining high school years, although he did find his way into most of the honors math/science classes. He now realizes that he would have had more interesting/challenging English and Social Studies classes had he been able to get it together as a freshman. But he does seem to be "getting it" now. So I'm happy for him, even if it took him awhile. . .and even if he ends up at "State U," although I don't think he will. . .
So, yeah, while grades aren't the only thing, and aren't the most important things in life, I do understand your concern. Freshman year can have a pretty substantial effect on the what follows.
|By Sac (Sac) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 07:28 pm: Edit|
An added thought. Some kids who refuse to jump through the hoops just to get As, are simply bright but bored. I found it was possible to convince my daughter that the easy class would bore her and the more challenging class, even if she got a lower grade in it, would be more interesting. I did this by noting how smart she is and talking about how, when you're smart, an unchallenging class can be excrutiating. She didn't respond, but signed up for a more challenging class the next semester with a teacher who had a reputation for demanding twice as much work. And, she rose to the challenge. She liked the class and wanted to impress the teacher. She got an A in the harder class, while a B might have satisfied her in the easier one.
I don't think there is a blanket rule for how much to be involved in your child's school work.It depends on the kid. I always offer to take a look at a paper. My daughter usually took me up on this, my son never did after ninth grade. In a junior year English class at back to school night, the teacher asked how many parents were helping their child with papers. There were only two of us who didn't raise our hands. I was amazed by that: my son was competing with all these parents with college and advanced degrees. Still, I figure he is learning a lot by doing it on his own and, though he might learn it faster if I had my hand it in (it's so hard to resist!) this is his call. He's someone who takes pride in his work and would take less pride in it if he thought he hadn't really done it all himself.
|By Gianscolere (Gianscolere) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:13 pm: Edit|
we do have strict rules on parental involvement...if the schools finds out that the thought process of a paper has been altered by a parent, the student is likely to get a DC (which means he/she gets to appear before a disciplinary committee)...he/she automatically gets suspended from school...the offense will appear go on his permanent record and will be sent to colleges. the same goes for any violation of any academic intergrity rules. if we're writing an essay on a book, we can't even read reviews on that book...you know like the ones on the barnes and noble website. we also can't use cliffnotes or its equivalent...we can't even discuss book ideas outside of class!! someone got suspended doing that. they really want us to become independent thinkers.
|By Marite (Marite) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:29 pm: Edit|
Each school has different expectations and different levels of support for kids. I suspect that your teachers give students a lot of support in return for banning outside help. But that is not the case in all too many schools.
Last year, my S signed up for Honors History and Honors Literature. These were in addition to his regular classes which are untracked and have practically no homework. The teachers for both Honors classes (one hour each per week) provided no help whatsoever. They just assigned paper topics; they did not even comment on the papers once these were written, so the students received neither help nor feedback. I decided to step in and help my S with doing research, taking notes, writing outlines, and so forth. At the end of it, inspired by the plethora of writing guides produced by colleges for their own students, I decided to produce a guide for other students in our high school. I realized that not many students have parents who are as knowlegeable as I am about research and writing. Some parents asked me for a copy and I sent them one; I've told teachers about it. And guess what? The teachers have not bothered looking at it or making it available to their students. Of course, the Honors option in History and Literature has been eliminated, so perhaps they feel that a guide like mine is not necessary. But I feel for all the students who could benefit from some tips but are not getting them.
|By Classof06 (Classof06) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:59 pm: Edit|
Wow, it's so wonderful to have the views of all of you, thoughtful, experienced parents. I just want to clarify a few things. I realize that to some of you I come accross as someone who is trying to mold her child or turn him into someone he is not. This is not the case. It just so happens that I have a very bright child who doesn't necessarily get the grades and I am trying to get him out of this mode. I had a very laid-back approach to middle school and that was not a good idea. It wasn't a total disaster, but, by the end of middle school, my son had a lot more Bs than As on his report card and even 2 Cs. In view of all that, I am adopting a much more aggressive posture now that he is in high school. He is well aware of the consequences of a less than ideal GPA. He is applying himself a little more, but is not there yet. Talking to him today, I found out that his grade in English was 88. He admits that he could have studied more for biology - he has a tough teacher - and French. And, Marite, I don't think his problem is with memorization. He is good at that. I think it might have to do with organization and with the fact that the biology teacher is very picky.
|By Marite (Marite) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:16 pm: Edit|
I think our sons are not very dissimilar. My S claims that he is not good at memorization; in fact, his memory is very good for things he does care about, but he does not care for subjects that depend on memorization. Part of the problem is actually our own attitude toward understanding vs. memorizing. He now realizes that if he wants to do well in his Biology class, he has to memorize certain facts; in other words, he has to apply himself a bit more than he has.
While it is true that many colleges discount 9th grade (I know Princeton does), some study habits get laid down that year; and of course, if a student does not do well enough in 9th grade, it will affect his ability to take courses that are challenging and interesting in later grades. Your S sounds bright. He seems to need a bit of a push to avoid becoming an underachiever--a not uncommon occurence among bright students. Perhaps you can appeal to his pride and ask him to do the best he can for his own sake as well as for the sake of being able to take the more interesting courses down the road.
|By Jjj (Jjj) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 10:39 am: Edit|
Most of these responses are on a thought provoking and philosophical level. Just to throw in something practical: My son was similar to 66's and near the beginning of his 9th grade year I set aside an "enforced" period of time every weekday evening during which he was required to be studying or reading. By enforced I mean all TV, computer, phone calls etc. were off-limits. He seemed almost relieved as he was a procrastinator by nature. His grades improved - he graduated near top of class and a NM scholar.
|By Driver (Driver) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 11:15 am: Edit|
I agree with Jii. Someone up above on this thread said "you can lead the horse to water, but you can't make him drink," which may be true for horses. But with a kid, you can eliminate a lot of the distractions, making it much easier for them to concentrate on the "water." Unplugging the phone and the internet connection for a specified work period will mean less "instant messaging," online gaming, and aimless surfing while real work is supposed to be going on. You can always plug it back in for work-related research. And if you don't address this in 9th grade or the beginning of 10th, it's often too late, both from the standpoint of a really great final GPA, but more importantly, because it's much harder to change their work habits once their attitude has solidified. This almost always more of a problem with boys than girls, because of the "maturity gap."
|By Momstheword (Momstheword) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 11:34 am: Edit|
While I understand the intent of rules like Milton has in place (and the schools that are certainly are grappling with the fact that parents are overly involved in essay writing), I don't think it's academically sound to teach students to work in vaccuums, to not discuss literary works with peers or even read reviews. Each person shouldn't be reinventing the wheel. What's wrong with springboarding off a peer's idea and building upon it with your own original thought? Citing Issac Newton, who said something to the effect: "If I have seen farther than others, perhaps it is because I have stood upon the shoulders of giants."
In other subjects too: For every self-educated math guy like the one in India who worked in a cave and made discoveries about Fermat's thingie, there are a number of math wizards who collaborated and made great contributions in the field of math. So using a "vacuum process" to try to build a student who will be in an academic community, who will be part of a continuim (sp, seems somewhat counterproductive to me. It seems to be an overkill response to charges levied against Steven Ambrose or Doris Kearns and the parental involvement issues.
Where is the gap in my thinking here?
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 11:59 am: Edit|
No gap that I can see, MTW.
Fwiw, I think 9th-grade is far too late to start with the "no distractions" during homework rule. We started in 1st Grade: no TV, no music...the Internet wasn't much of anything then.
Not only did this approach make for better school work, it sent the message "This is important." Also, it made it such a habit that it was routine expectation, not something to argue about in middle school.
|By Driver (Driver) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 12:17 pm: Edit|
In our school, students are encouraged to get together to work out their math/science problem sets. Great prep for college, because that's exactly what they do there. And most great scientific advances these days are the result of collaboration in problem solving, it seems to me.
It's a little different in writing humanities papers, if only because so many students have trouble finding their own voices when attempting a subjective, yet qualifed, personal interpretation. Discussion of literature or philosophical topics would, I would hope, be encouraged outside of class. However, it seems reasonable to say that the actual writing of papers should be done alone, and that the critique of drafts should be done by teachers, to ensure that the student's work is truly his/her own. But you can't totally exclude a parent from basic stuff, either, such as proof-reading or saying: I don't see what your thesis is, maybe you should re-state it.
I can understand a teacher discouraging students from reading outside reviews of a book on which they're supposed to be formulating their own thoughts...it can be difficult enough for a young person to come up with their own ideas, without throwing in the opinions of what are, essentially, professional literary polemicists. However, an interesting assignment both my kids had in high school English was to find a review with which they disagreed -- and then argue the case against it.
|By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 01:11 pm: Edit|
As my S takes college courses, the one refrain we hear is " form study groups." Granted, these are math and sciences courses. Social sciences and humanities courses, however, have sections which are a form of study group insofar as students discuss their interpretations of readings. Sometimes, papers are assigned after a section has been held, so that students can incorporate insights generated during the discussions. Of course, the writing has to be their own.
|By Phd22 (Phd22) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 01:46 pm: Edit|
To "Arnosha" who said there's no potential once a kid is at community college, and to the rest who think high school is a do or die situation-
My daughter was an AVERAGE student in High School. (When I say average, I mean 2.5 GPA, no AP classes.) She actually went on to community college. She has grown tremendously since high school graduation, and is really a different person. My point is coming. During her 2 years at community college she excelled: in academics,activities,and life in general.
She is now a student at YALE, and will go on to medical school.
Even though her High School records were far from what the entering Yalies had. She transferred because her college achievements (yes, a community college) were amazing.
Moral of the story:
If your children do not live up to your educational standards in high school...it's ok. If they do not get into a great school right after high school..it's ok too. They can work their butts off and transfer to their dream school.
There is hope.
|By Momstheword (Momstheword) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 01:50 pm: Edit|
It makes sense that the writing has to be their own. But with regard to schools who discourage discussion with peers, yikes. (Theoretically, I guess, you could get your competition thrown out of school and then out of contention for your college spot by whispering in the hallways as he walked by some random quote from Cliffs Notes that he untintentionally processed.) I am thinking about this because my D's school has some new rules about plagiarism which seem to be very broad axed. I would think the unintended result could be to limit the exchange of ideas.
|By Mstee (Mstee) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 02:18 pm: Edit|
Agree with Thedad re the computer/TV type of rules. Start before 9th grade... ideally before the age of 10, I would say. It can really ugly if you try to start some of these rules with a rebellious 7th, 8th or 9th grader. Out of desperation, I would unplug the keyboard and hide it from my son. Smartaleck 9th grader would retaliate by doing weird things to computer programs that I and his dad used when he got back on. I decided to stop fighting that one and let him figure it out for himself. Which he finally seems to be doing as a senior in high school.
Re Phd22's post: I have a friend whose daughter went to CC and transferred to Harvard. My friend was rather surprised (and delighted). And I know scads of people who have gone to CC and then to Berkeley. CC is not the end of the world.
|By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 02:30 pm: Edit|
Our school makes use of writing guidelines developed by the District of Springfield, PA. Below is the link to the section on plagiarism that your student could find useful.
|By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 02:33 pm: Edit|
The dean of humanities of a CC once told me that many of his students are kids who are somewhat immature or who have encountered personal problems (broken homes, etc...) and thus need emotional support even more than academic assistance. If they are bright and can overcome their problems, it is not surprising that they can transfer to elite schools. Community colleges also serve a fair share of bright high schoolers.
|By Sac (Sac) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 05:20 pm: Edit|
I agree with those who say the rules on use of tv, computers, phones, etc have to start before high school. I'd add that for the rules to achieve something so that, by high school, you don't need them, they should allow some room for the child to make choices. In other words, we never had a rule that said: you need to finish your homework before you watch tv. We did have a rule that said: no more than ( ) hours of electronic time a week. It was up to the kids to figure out how they wanted to distribute that time between tv, computers, electronic games, etc. and over what days. Once they proved they could do this, they had learned to make some choices (new Star Trek coming up on Tuesday, so I better not use up my time playing Nintendo on Monday, etc). The skill they need to learn is time management, which includes organization. If you set the rule for them and continue it through high school, who is going to hide the computer, or stand over them at college and say: no instant messaging until you read those 50 pages of Egyptian history? I'm reminded that when we first visited my son's high school, the tour guide told us how wonderful it was that someone in the school office called one student every morning to get him out of bed, since he always overslept! I actually cringed at the story. This kid had graduated. Who was going to get him out of bed at college? (Well, I'd guess he didn't sign up for any morning classes)
As to community colleges, they are one of the aspects of the American system I most admire. There are not many other countries that give so many chances to late bloomers. Also, there are students who do not put any effort into learning subjects that do not seem applicable to their lives. Community college is great for them, as well, with its options more practical learning. My daughter, who is a college graduate and working full time, is using evening courses at the community college to help her decide whether to go on to graduate school and to narrow down the field.
|By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 05:35 pm: Edit|
I've had my share of students missing exams (at 10 or even 11!) because they overslept. Last year, one student who'd overslept even asked if the lecture he'd missed could be given all over again. He was very disgruntled when he was told no. Maybe that was the same student who was rung up by his high school every morning? Sheesh. Before I was ill, I used to go to my S's bedroom and roust him out of bed. Now, mirabile dictu, he no longer sleeps through the alarm and manages to get up on his own.
My S is also learning to budget his time. If he has a program he really wants to watch, or evening classes, or afterschool meetings, he knows he needs to start on his homework in enough time to accommodate these activities. We don't ban anything; we also don't insist that homework must be finished before he can relax. Sometimes, it's important to take a breather and tackle the problem afresh.
|By Sac (Sac) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 08:53 pm: Edit|
Yes, as much as I have to grit my teeth when I hear Friends go on, or see the joystick in his hand when I know all those college essays still remain to be written...I have to remind myself that he needs some space between his last class and his homework. My teeth are getting ground down, this year, though.
Marite, I hope you're feeling mostly tired but not worse than that. Perhaps it sounds too much like a silver lining in every cloud, but your son seems to be gaining some fast maturity out of the situation. Maybe he'll even be doing his own ironing by the time he goes off to college!
|By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 09:12 pm: Edit|
I am doing much better, thank you. I am trying not to backslide into being supermom. As for ironing, I gave my older S an ironing board and an iron to take to college. I suspect it has not been used once in nearly four years!
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 01:05 am: Edit|
My D laughed at that.
|By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 10:01 am: Edit|
This is the same S who described himself as "neat" in his housing questionnaire. Neat he is not; but at least he is clean. When I was in college (before co-ed dorms), a guy was reported to the Dean of Students for taking a shower in a girls' dorm. the dean's reaction: "At least, he is taking a shower!"
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 12:05 pm: Edit|
|By Mike (Mike) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 05:07 pm: Edit|
At a tour of Whitman a student told us about a student who didn't get up for class but never missed again after the Prof brought the whole class to his room.
|By Driver (Driver) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 05:22 pm: Edit|
That's one of the best college stories I've heard.
|By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 05:44 pm: Edit|
Hmmm.... That class of mine had 250 students--bigger than many a dorm.
|By Curiousmom (Curiousmom) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 07:30 pm: Edit|
Could you tell us which CC your D went to?
And What did she do to persuade Yale that she had so completely transformed herself?
We've been quite permissive by the standards of this board -- no e-restrictions, just the occasional "do you have homework?"
And now I'm wondering . . . .
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 08:05 pm: Edit|
Mike's Dad - I'm liking Whitman more and more with everything you tell me about it.
|By Mike (Mike) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 11:08 pm: Edit|
Marite: Whitman has no classes over 5O and the Frshmen writing class he reffered to is never over 20. By the Way Carolyn While only ranking 34 on the US news ratings WHitman is the 19 most selective among LACs.
Our Rules with Mike have been simple Try your best and we will be very happy parents.
He is a pessimist and always warns us about impending bad grades. Last year he thought as many as three Bs. We have never given him any rewards for grades even though it is very common among his peers. Best friend gets $100 at 3.5 or above. We gave him a CD player before the grades came out to make sure he understood it was for hard work not for grades. The semester report came a week later with a 4.0.
|By on Monday, November 17, 2003 - 07:41 am: Edit|
|By Phd22 (Phd22) on Monday, November 17, 2003 - 03:25 pm: Edit|
It wasn't really persuading Yale that she had transformed herself. Meaning it wasn't just GPA, and class rigor. It was her accomplishments that stood out. She taught herself 2 languages, retook the sat and scored 500 points higher (1400), volunteered internationally, got amazing recommendations from the dean of students at the CC and from the faculty,and so on. If it was based on grades alone, I know for a fact she would be at the University of Texas(still a great school by the way) instead of Yale. She always had the smarts to do well in high school, she was just too involved in the social aspects and never studied or put forth an effort..thank god things changed. Good luck to your son or daughter.
BTW,,A friend's son transferred to Stanford last year from a CC..Anything is possible...it is never too late!
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 11:40 am: Edit|
My nephew transfered from a CC to a local school to a "name" school, then was accepted to a early admin Med school program. He was very well prepared after all of those years of school. He did end up with 7 years of undergrad but, you know, he is now a resident and will soon be a doctor. When he finally settled down, he was quite successful, and none of the school seemed to hold the CCs against him. They seemed to love the reformed sinner.
My girls have also used CC to bolster themselves and get certain requirements out of their way in college. One is now in med school and the other hopes to go to med school. They would have found the going much more difficul without CC.
|By Momoffour (Momoffour) on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 01:28 pm: Edit|
Jamimom- how many kids do you have?
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 10:35 pm: Edit|
I have 9. I took in a niece and nephew due to family problems (mother died, father unable to cope with kids,--my husband's brother) They are the 2 grads--1 a resident, finished med school, the girl in her 2nd year of med school. They came to me with a whole host of problem. I then have 4 of my own. Then I took in 3 "littles" not as directly related to us, but with a similar family problem. Those we adopted. They too have emotional, behavioural and learning issues due to benign and not so benign neglect before we too them.
So my situation has been different from most of yours with your kids. Mine have some problems. I work with kids who are like your kids, and they are a true pleasure. My four, though they do not have psychological issues were not ideal students. Two of the boys are hell raisers, the girl a diligent, hard worker with high grades but low test scores. I wish I had some options that some of you have. I have spent most of my time dealing with problems quite removed from those on this board. I find these problems to be relaxing and enjoyable because your children and most of those who post here and true delights.
|By Momoffour (Momoffour) on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 11:04 pm: Edit|
WOW! You are amazing. I admire people like you very much. I almost took in my cousin's child when social services took him away from my cousin because she is a drug addict and an alcoholic, but then my aunt, his grandmother, took him. He is now in college and doing well. Not the case for my cousin sadly. My son has some behavioral problems and just today I checked out of the library a book that was recommended to me 'From Defiance to Cooperation' by John F. Taylor Ph.D. Do you know of this book or have others you can recommend that might help a kid who struggles socially? Thanks.
|By Homeskulmom (Homeskulmom) on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 12:39 pm: Edit|
Momoffour and Jamimom:
What process did you use financial aid for the children you took in? My husband and I are also raising a high school junior whose own family cannot take care of her. We are very concerned about her ability to pay for college, as we cannot pay and her family can't pay either. But our income looks big on paper. Any advice?
|By Momoffour (Momoffour) on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 02:04 pm: Edit|
We did not get as far as actually taking in my cousin's child so I don't know what we would have done about college expenses. The day to day I'm sure we would have absorbed out of our pockets. If we had legally adopted the child than I would think the colleges would have examinded our incomes and determined aid or not. If we just had custody than I would think they would look at his situation differently, but I am only guessing.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 09:42 pm: Edit|
Momoffour - I don't know that book but can I borrow your copy after you're done? My son (13)has already given us some rocky times and I dread the high school years with him.
Jamimom - wow! 9 kids. That is an amazing accomplishment. What is neat is that your warmth and caring really does come through in the answers you give kids here at CC.
And as for community colleges - I must confess that my MBA program allowed me to take a few classes at our local community college. I thought they were excellent, actually a few were better taught than some of my "real" MBA classes.
|By Mike (Mike) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 12:26 am: Edit|
13 in the 7th grade was Mike's worst year. Every year since has been better so don't plan for a bad HS. School bullies and a lousy principal, were at the heart of the problem. 8th grade the kids in Mike's class decided to end the school tradition of picking on 7th graders and the toughest kid in school made it stick. By HS he started to learn new social skills and found a lot more kids who shared his interests. Every year has been better then the last.
|By Farawayplaces (Farawayplaces) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 01:43 am: Edit|
I agree--the 7th grade is not a "measure of the man." In 7th grade our son decided to be *different*. He grew his hair long and wore weird clothes. We cringed as the parents of clean-cut jocks looked askance at us. Then he got to high school. In l0th grade he developed a burning interest in math and science. He passed the conformists right by--reading books on his own, asking to take independent study. Now he's a hardworking freshman at a great college. We look back and think now that those painful middle school years were a part of his focus and drive, and the beginnings of his courage to be an individual. Don't lose hope, Carolyn! Try your best not to alienate your middle schooler--those years will pass!
|By Lata (Lata) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 08:25 am: Edit|
I THINK YOUR SON IS DOING VERY WELL..AS A STUDENT MYSELF SOMETIMES THE STRESS FROM ALL THAT WORK MAKES ME NERVOUS..THEN TO FINALLY PULL AN B OR A- AND MY PARENTS AREN'T PROUD IT DISENCOURAGES ME A LITTLE...TELL YOUR SON HE'S DOING FINE AND YOU'RE PROUD OF HIM..THEN EXPLAIN TO HIM IF HE CAN PULL A B THEN HE IS CAPABLE OF AN A OR EVEN AN A+...
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 02:10 pm: Edit|
Actually, for my son, 6th grade - his first in middle school - was the worst for bullying. Then he grew 5 inches (!) over the summer and 7th grade was better. He's now 6 foot 2 inches in 8th grade and bullying is no longer a problem.
He is basically a good kid BUT he's the type of bright kid that can see the opposite side of any argument and loves to debate both his teachers and parents when we make suggestions or requests. It can be exacerbating at times, especially because his logic is sometimes impossible to argue against. At one of his teacher's suggestions, I've already put him in touch with the debate team advisor at the high school where he'll be going next year. She thought maybe we could channel some of his skills into a more, um, productive direction.
|By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 05:38 pm: Edit|
Carolyn ,forgive me, but I just totally cracked up reading the description of your son. First the height of him in relation to bullying, what a correlation! But the funniest part for me was about his, uh, strong willed nature. The debate team sounds perfect. We do not have debate here. However, my fifteen year old daughter could give your son a run for the money cause she, too, is very, let's say, strong willed, persistent, assertive, etc. She challenges everything we say. She is analytical in nature and her arguments make sense and her assertiveness will suit her well as a young woman in society but in parent:kid relations, it sure can get trying at times. I'll think of you the next time I am involved in an interchange with her, likely tonight for all I know.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:08 pm: Edit|
Too bad you don't live closer. We could introduce them and let them debate themselves to death.
Like your D., my son is amazingly logical and analytical and he also has a way with words that can slice your brain clean open in two seconds. At times I am literally knocked speechless by the speed of his tongue.
Ironically, my older one is the exact opposite. Sometimes I wish she'd be a little less conforming and more assertive. Then again, if
I had two like my S. I'd probably explode into a million insane little pieces.
|By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 09:50 pm: Edit|
OMG Carolyn, I could have written the same paragraph as your last one above!!! My older one is soooo easygoing and complies with what I ask and so forth. I never have found anyone to not like her or not get along with her or ever have an argument with her. She is assertive and can be a leader but is just more easygoing. She conforms to adults' requests readily and she is the kind of kid a teacher would love to have (not really referring to the academic part though that too). I am always telling people basically what you said there at the end that just think I could have two teenage girls challenging me every second and all that goes with that. I realize now that my older one is the one who is not the norm. She has never ever had to be disciplined or ever been disrespectful. But the behaviors of the younger one are more akin to what some other parents talk about. I realize I could have two kids talking back at me!
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 10:34 pm: Edit|
Yes, that describes my daughter to a "T" I wonder if it has to do with being the older child? Let's put it this way, she's the kid who has been winning the good citizenship awards since pre-school. Dont get me wrong - she has her grumpy spells (like earlier this year when she was very stressed about school) but the few times she has lashed out, she's almost instantly apologized.
My S. always has a reason why the things he doesn't want to do should be done differently or not at all - and he never apologizes (but boy can he drive you crazy insisting that YOU apologize to HIM).
True story: when he was three, we took him for swim lessons. The teacher was going crazy trying to get him to open his eyes under water. Class after class, he refused. Finally she asked him one last time why he wouldn't do it. He looked at her in all seriousness and said "Well, I have powerful X-ray vision. If I open my eyes underwater, I will burn a hole in your pool and all the water will drain out." The teacher just looked at me and said "Maybe you should forget swimming lessons." A year later, when he was four, he taught himself to swim in a weekend with no assistance. I've always wondered how he got that X-Ray vision thing under control. : )
|By Momoffour (Momoffour) on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 08:59 am: Edit|
What a hilarious story. Thanks for a morning laugh.
|By Garland (Garland) on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 09:19 am: Edit|
Homeskulmom: Kudos to you for doing a good thing. While I am not a financial aid professional, I counsel students in a college program and advise on FA matters. According to my training, a student's FA goes to the parent's income, not that of the family who takes him in. At most, the food and board you provide would be "in-kind" income added to his parents' income when computing the FAFSA. Your income is not used. To some extent, this will be interpreted by the aid administrator using professional judgment, but the prseumption is that aid goes by the parent's income, not the family which is taking care of him.
I don't have a website to refer you to; I learned this at a professional workshop. This echoes the notes on the FAFSA form for questions 59-84, which deal with parental income. They emphasize tht the questions refer to *parental income* and include the phrase "note that grandparents and legal guardians are not parents".
Best wishes--I admire people like you and Janimom enormously!
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