As a parent, I think that teachers should pay attention to research on homework that says there is on average no academic benefit, but there is a huge cost in family conflict. You have enough time in the classroom to teach and provide practice time. Free family time up for what parents see best.
Dear god, by the time a kid is in grade 5 or 6 they've lost an hour a night to reading alone. In my experience homework was rarely of use - the in class practice was enough, and home time was for the fun you didn't have while in school.
After devoting so much time to education theater, do the kids even have any energy leftover to put into actual learning?
I hope your master wasn't in statistics, because you made a poor extrapolation from data.
I read because I loved it and was exposed to it at a young age from home, not because school required me to read.
What if, instead, schools simply set aside a chunk of time out of the school day for reading, maybe 15 minutes, maybe 30, and leave it entirely up to the individual kids to decide what it is that they read?
The homework is also very useful to have a chance to review topics and ensure understanding of things that maybe he missed in class due to not paying as close attention as he needed to.
It's been very gratifying to see his confidence levels improve and for him to start to self-manage his time or even decide to skip a scooter break because he was on a roll.
Clearly all of these are probably ancillary to the stated purpose of homework and are my own specific situation.
So mileage does vary on these things. By a lot.
I listed factors that will make homework harder for him. He is older, so more homework. A complex home environment, so harder to stay organized and consistent. More children, dividing parental attention. The more serious that ADHD is, the harder that staying on task becomes.
Put it all together, and homework becomes a lot bigger issue for him than it is for a normal child.
I know some people are taking offense to your comment, but the reality is that even parents who very much wish to be involved in their child's education often need a nudge on what, exactly, to talk about.
Even parents who home-school their kids usually buy academic materials to use for this reason.
Thank you for being a case in point. It doesn't matter what else I do, (see http://bentilly.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-sons-flashcard-routi... for example), I can always be accused of being lazy from the peanut gallery.
In other words, they prioritize visible effort over achieved results.
I know personally, my grades from about 6th grade on dropped a lot because I stopped doing homework. I didn't need the extra practice to excel in the subject. Funny, because I remember teachers saying it will effect my work habits if I keep not doing homework but in a professional setting I have no problem completing my tasks and researching on my own time.
I personally think homework should be assigned based on individuals grasp of the subject. If the individual needs more practice assign it, if they don't... don't. It incentives learning while still providing resources for those who don't learn as fast or well.
Students also need to write down questions about the lecture they didn't understand, which mandates some effort towards integrating understanding before practice the following day.
If the work is assigned in the beginning, what's stopping them from skimming it to make sure they understand it, and if they do, simply not bothering to watch the lectures?
Turns out, recording video lectures so that they are lively and watchable is hard.
The students loved the couple of videos I posted, but then I burned out making them - since doing that was in addition to actually being in class, grading, and working on my thesis.
So I went back to the more traditional (and ineffective setting) - one thing I regret about that semester.
However, looking back, I'd need an entire semester just to develop the materials. Of course, that was not an option.
Seems like we are missing the whole potential of the digital (infinitely scalable one to many lectures) by constantly reinventing the wheel.
Or why people still write books.
Teaching is a performance art as well.
That aside, as a graduate student I didn't have that much freedom (or didn't understand how much freedom I actually had) in making changes - and also, it was my first time as an instructor of record, so I was trying different approaches. If I teach again (currently I'm in the industry), I'll know how to direct my efforts better.
Homework is unsupervised extra practice. Extra practice is helpful if done right, harmful if done wrong. When done unsupervised it go either way.
According to research, school homework on average is neutral, but when you dig in is helpful to harmful depending on the educational support that the parents can supply. So it helps rich kids, hurts poor ones, depending on how well the parents can teach.
For a book-length treatment of the issue, including references to relevant studies, see https://www.alfiekohn.org/homework-myth/.
That book doesn't go into the university level, but there the situation is simple. There is not enough lecture time to actually teach the material fully, so supervised practice is not an option. So homework is the only option, and it is your problem if you can't figure out how to supervise yourself.
Research shows the opposite: lecture is a horrible use of limited teacher/classroom time.
So, in practice, does success in traditional school environments, even if the structure makes people think it should insulate from that concern.
The problem with admitting that the home environment is the biggest key to academic success is that it means policy actually needs to focus on improving that environment which lots of people (for different reasons) have ideological objections to. So we pretend that school is isolated from home and that if we can just configure school right, we can get results while ignoring the home environment. And we blame any failures on doing the wrong things to the school environment, not the fact that we are focussing on the wrong environment.
Whereas if they're supposed to be working on homework during that time, it will not only prevent them from cementing what they're supposed to be learning, there's not really any further recourse, and it will also immediately result in poor marks, which will then engender further trouble on down the line. Especially in the Taylorist nightmare that US schools have become over the past couple decades.
> Taylorist nightmare that US schools have become
Schools have migrated toward standardized testing uber alles, not homework/classroom grades. Are you referring to the grade-level standards that don't allow students to progress at their own pace below grade level? That's not really a matter of homework vs not -- if a student can't learn the standard material in 6hr/day, then they either need to do homework, "fail" at school, or escape.
What? This sounds BS. If you don’t practice what you learn in school, how will you ever master it? Eg. How will you learn integration if you don’t do some practice problems?
The brain needs lots of downtime to properly learn new skills, and if you're trading downtime for studying, at some point you're going to get negative returns on investment. This seems to happen somewhere between 40 and 50hrs/wk for cognitive tasks.
There's also a growing body of evidence that play, hard as it may be to define, really has an enormous impact on learning, as well as mental health. One of my favorite anecdotes is by Richard Feynman who was completely burned out when one day he, for the fun of it, tried to calculate the wobble of a plate being tossed in the air, and this changed his attitude with long lasting effects on his work. http://sistemas.fciencias.unam.mx/~compcuantica/RICHARD%20P.... (search for "throws a plate in the air", though the whole book is a fun read)
I'm convinced, though I've not seen much research on the topic, that physical movement is essential to learning. Something related to stimulating the entire nervous system, or possibly just related to increasing non-circulator fluid exchange in the brain. Hell, it may just be a chance for certain areas of the brain to have downtime, while the centers related to muscle control take their turn. But if you're making this trade off, it'll start to have negative returns.
And then there's sleep. You're doing yourself a great disservice if you switch an hour of sleep for an hour of studying, your long term retention will go to shit, and the odds of you remembering some fact 3 months from now will greatly diminish, which mostly defeats the purpose. This may be the biggest problem with giving homework to highschoolers, who tend to have the habit of both procrastination and staying up late.
So, yes, I can see homework having almost no academic benefit when a student is in class all day. I can already see issues with my daughter in Kindergarten. There's so much pressure to teach too much content, that her school has made huge tradeoffs around play and exercise during the school day. I certainly don't want them forcing even more work on her, especially as she's getting old enough to start to have chores and other responsibilities that have nothing to do with school.
I really don't recall many people mastering anything in normal school. Besides the few whizzes, most people are just bouncing about trying to figure out the easiest way to get an acceptable grade (for various definitions of acceptable, which mostly depend on your parents), and then forget it all by next year.
Some exceptions around math/physics, and people notoriously have difficulty with those.
"master" is a very strong term to use for anything going on in education...
Some students, despite being in your classroom, are really being homeschooled. For example, my wife and I both got extra assignments from our parents. The parents aren't just helping. The parents are teaching. You aren't trusted to teach.
Other students have parents that trust you to teach. Your job is to teach, and these parents expect you to do it. In theory, they are correct.
Should my 10-yr-old learn coping strategies for anxiety? absolutely, but she should also be learning some Canadian and World geography, be able to multiply numbers beyond 8x8, practice word and logic problems and understand that computers are not just cell phones and ipad applications.
If we relied solely on the public education system it would be questionable if any of these were covered.
- Geography Now: https://youtu.be/DxxZOsfsIUM
- Crash Course Computer Science: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNlUrzyH5r6...
- 6.004 EdX: https://www.edx.org/course/computation-structures-part-1-dig...
- Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, Sid Meyer’s Pirates, Railroad Tycoon, bunches of kids games teach geography or arithmetic
Whereas there isn’t really a good digital experience you can build to teach brain-management skills... or is there?
Don't know about online courses for things like emotional health, but I see no reason there couldn't be.
Giving it a second think, a lot of CBT is skills-based, so I think I’d like to agree. Though, I suspect that such a mooc for anxiety does not yet exist
> learning some Canadian and World geography
Social studies is not part of the multi-state standard, but part of (for example) Washington State) standard
> multiply numbers beyond 8x
is a 3th-grade standard
> practice word problems
in the standard
> and logic problems
This sort of "math enrichment" subject area is a major gap in public education.
> and understand that computers
this is hit-and-miss and mostly ignored by standards, but the standard does get into some pencil-and-paper type algorithmics
Of course, quality of instruction varies school by school.
that being said, I am concerned that some parents expect that teachers are also doing the 'parenting' side of things which may be unrealistic. I think that in most public schools (the one I went to) some parenting needs to be executed by teachers otherwise a small handful of kids could derail any teaching getting done in the first place.
What if teachers ALWAYS "parented", and as societies grow more tolerant and diverse this obviously doesn't scale (parents disagree with teachers on what should be taught). Thus we decide on this image of teachers giving knowledge and means of learning, while parents give morals and social structures. But has this image every existed in practice? How do we know it is even achievable?
A child is learning from EVERYTHING. Is it truly reasonable to expect that teachers aren't "parenting"? Even if they expressly attempt to focus on intellectual pursuits only, that is just showing a different set of parenting lessons (potentially about lack of accountability, or the division of social mores from everything else). Likewise, if the teachers have turned to this absent form of parenting, are we correct in assuming that other parents aren't doing their "jobs"? (After all, it's never MY kid that isn't getting parenting, it's everyone else's).
I don't have solutions or suggestions, but I want to raise the idea that maybe it's not "who" is or is not parenting, because everyone is, all the time, even if trying NOT to "parent". If so, then simply trying harder to ensuring parenting only happens from parents, and DOES happen from them, is doomed to failure, incompatible with the operating of developing minds?
This is precisely why, as a non-religious parent, I actually appreciated attending a Catholic school and sent my son to a non-denominational Christian school. It wasn't about religion, but it was about being in an environment where elements of characters were also emphasized.
If you are an adult (or even the responsible older child), and you are supervising one or more children when their parents aren't present, you have to do the parenting side of things. It's not optional. Like, literally not optional, not merely morally not optional—if you are in that position you are standing in the place of a parent, whether you intend to be or not, and whether you do it well or not.
Isn't this exactly what teachers must do, by law? This is what the term 'in loco parentis' means - they are acting as parental substitutes.
- the parent has 1 or 2 or 3 kids, the teacher has 20 or 30 at the same time;
- the parent spends plenty of time with kids, the teacher spends 45 minutes, and that's supposed to include teaching and examining;
- the parent knows the child for years, the teacher may meet the teenager for the first time;
- the parent can use a wild scale of rewards and punishment, the teacher... pretty much nothing, other than verbal feedback.
So you can see it is quite unrealistic to expect the teacher to do the same amount of parenting as the parents are supposed to do.
(By the way, in my experience the best behaving kids typically have at least one parent a teacher. I suppose it is because that parent has no illusions about how much parenting a school can do, and therefore does not try to outsource parenting to the school.)
But to answer your unrelated question: Of course, responsible adults, which includes teachers, should help them as well as they can.
Unfortunately, try as they might, only parents can do a parents job. Really, it comes down to providing a good family to as many kids as possible.
Divorce, broken families, single parent homes, foster care, etc... They all fall short of what a good solid Mom/Dad home (with a good relationship between Mom and Dad) can provide a kid. That's where we should be focusing.
Oh, and while I'm at it: World Peace.
*edit - Unfortunately, we can't do anything about people dying or getting sick. But short of that, people really need to be responsible about the situation they are in when they bring kids into the world. And then they need to take care of those kids.
If you want a plant to bear fruit, you have to nurture it for a while, and you will never be able to browbeat it into producing fruit before it has developed the facilities for doing so.
Part of effective parenting is resolving the dependency tree for healthy attitude/behavior in your child.
Half-OT, but you're making a textbook logical error in interpreting the science you're citing. This is an observational study, making claims about associations, yet you clearly indicate a causal effect in your words.
I do wonder now what I should be doing to prepare for parenthood. I feel that perhaps it's not the sort of thing that can be distilled down into an easy to read 200 page paperback.
Your kids will turn out how they are going to turn out. Instinctively, you'll love them and want to keep them alive, so don't worry about that. Other than that, do what you think is right and hope for the best.
Parenting is very much an art, but like all art, there is definitely a science backing it up.
Your analogy is a good one, but it goes a layer deeper than I think you realize.
"Parenting science" is like "nutritional science" in that, based on what you can get out of the popular sources, it is almost entirely bullshit. It's also similar in that the science has continued to make progress, but you never really hear of it because very little of what's being discovered is the kind of thing that will sell books or attract advertisers.
That is not to say that observational research may not be valuable. Both nutrition and and parenting could, in theory, be developed into sciences. But until then, the fields are just collections of (often unreproducable) observations. They cannot provide general principles for say raising kids, in the same way that fluid dynamics can provide general principles for building airplanes.
I'm inclined to agree with it, myself. It's true that these are messy problem domains, and that does make it harder to conduct and draw firm conclusions from scientific research. That inhibits progress, but it doesn't render the whole enterprise a lost cause.
Here are two good places for parents-to-be to start:
I can recommend books too, but they're at home so I'll have post later.
> Don't eat too many calories.
> don't emotionally destroy your kids.
That's like saying "Just follow the law, and you'll have a good life."
Really kids just want someone to love them and teach them how to be a person.
This is basically my philosophy. My wife and I have an acknowledged goal of releasing a fully functional human into the wild in about 8 more years. That means teaching him how to be a self-sufficient person. There's a lot to it, but for me it distills down to giving them the confidence to fail, encourage their interests, and setting/adjusting boundaries.
Kids need to fall, need to be able to solve things without parents nearby to be able to grow and make responsible decisions.
I started a family almost 15 years ago, and I'm still wondering myself. On the one hand, I can see firsthand how competitive the world is - much more competitive than it was when I was growing up - and I figure the least I can do is prepare my kids for the tidal wave of adulthood that's going to crash into them in another ten years or so. I'm encouraging them to participate in (and supporting them in, even though it's starting to break the bank) as much extracurricular stuff as possible, so their college applications look good, but on the other hand, I worry about stressing them out so hard that they don't feel like they ever had time to enjoy being children. As a parent, I feel like I'm walking a fine line between preparing them for the world and protecting them from it.
Unless you have had regular interaction with the 0-3 set and how people raise them, you won't know what you're getting into, and you won't have the right perspective.
n.b., I think it is something that can be written down, to a large extent, but you won't find it in the "parenting guide" section, you'd find it in the clinical guide texts for professional nurses and parenting educators.
For example, were you fat as a teenager? OK, make sure your kids have good eating habits. Notice this is not: put them in crossfit, feed them only vegetables.
A single parent is not enough. No matter how much you love your kids... being alone with them all the time will drive you crazy. You need another adult person to share the burden, to provide feedback, to make a joke at the right moment and remind you that there is life after parenting.
Time spent with your children is more important than the toys you buy them. (Though some toys are better than others. That would be a long debate, but the short version is "Lego good, Barbie bad" i.e. the toy should be there to teach your child some skills, not just to be admired for how expensive it was.)
Be there to provide encouragement when your child succeeds at something, and comfort when it fails. Try to encourage your child to try new things, but don't push. Sometimes a child fails at something, and then a few days or months later succeeds; that is natural. Sometimes children evolve in "jumps"; for a few months you don't see any progress at some specific area, and then a huge change happens overnight.
Your children will try to manipulate you; probably before they learn to talk. That is also natural. Resist the manipulation, but don't get angry.
Always reward progress with praise, even very small progress. Be specific with the praise, i.e. describe exactly the progress you celebrate. For overcoming difficult problems, offer rewards.
In teaching, I am a fan of Montessori education: set up an environment where learning happens naturally, and then learning will happen. For example, your child is more likely to learn drawing, if they have pencils and paper always available; more likely to get mechanical skills if they have mechanical toys; and more likely to be good at computers when they have access to a computer. (Computers, that is a separate long topic. But again: don't use them as a device for playing shooting games or chatting online, rather use editors or encyclopedias etc.)
As my RPG-playing friends say: "If your child could do something alone, but you are doing it for them, you are stealing their experience points." Teach kids new skills. Yes, at the first time they will be clumsy and likely do it wrong. That's natural. You are investing in the long-term outcome.
The children will copy what you do. That is a f-ing huge responsibility! But also an extra reward for finally getting your own life in order.
Don't ever believe that the school will fix something. The teacher cannot be a substitute parent; they have dozens of other kids in the classroom, lessons to teach, exams to administer, and most importantly a ton of paperwork to fill.
Accept that sometimes you won't do things perfectly. As long as you avoid the worst mistakes, you are still doing a great job.
...you are right, I could probably go on and write 200 more pages. :D
Don't treat your child "like a child", treat them like a small person. What I mean by this hopefully will come through in my other points.
Just like every person is a little different, so it is for children. Don't be afraid to try other techniques if something isn't working for your child. A recent example of this in my case is helping my daughter with spelling. It took us a while to determine the best way for learn in this particular case.
If I need my daughter to do something, or I tell her no, I always try to provide an explanation as to why. This isn't easy, but so far it has been fruitful.
By the same token, she can always ask why and I always try to provide an explanation. Now that she's older, if she has a question about why something happens or works, we try to investigate it together by various means.
Don't be afraid to explain complicated concepts to your child, even at a very early age. My wife thought it was pretty funny that I was trying to explain that the string on a balloon is a tether and why you might call something a tether rather than a string. Early on it's not clear how much they absorb, but it seems to have worked (at least for my daughter).
Always let them know that how their opinions/feelings are important, even if you have to explain that they have not understood something correctly. In other words, don't just dismiss what they think or feel just because they are children. I try to use these as teaching moments. Occasionally you will be the one being taught. I think this concept in particular has made my daughter an outgoing person, and one who generally thinks about things before she speaks (well, for a nine year old anyway). One good example of this was when she was five or six, we had some pretty extreme flooding in our area. There was a news story on the local news station about one of the rescuers themselves needing to be rescued during an operation. I chuckled about that and pointed it out to my wife. My daughter who was sitting next to me made this observation: "Maybe he's new". I had to agree with her, once I stopped laughing. My point is she made an astute observation that I had not considered, and one that was extremely plausible.
Back to always providing an explanation, sometimes I don't say no, in particular to activities where she could be injured. Instead, I try to get her to analyze the situation (and help if necessary) to see if she can accomplish her goal in a safer manner. For example, I have a four wheel cart to move stuff around on. She wanted to ride it like a surfboard in the driveway. By asking her what would happen if she falls, she saw the wisdom in wearing knee and elbow pads, gloves, and her bicycle helmet (which she had for riding her scooter). I don't doubt the falls on the scooter while wearing pads helped her make her decision. By the same token, one day when I came home from work, her hands and chin were scraped up. She was reluctant to tell me what happened, but I got her to tell me that she got on the cart without her pads and fell off. I told her that's why I thought she should wear the pads (and that she wasn't in trouble). Kids will be kids after all.
Try to expose you children to new things. When you do, make sure there is some interaction. For example, just this week, I got my daughter to start doing a little astronomy. I recently bought a dobsonian mount telescope because it would be easier for her to use. She wasn't too interested until I told her that she was the one who would be pointing the telescope. I showed her what to do and let her point it at whatever she wanted to look at, helping a little along the way. Now she wants to get out whenever it's clear, despite the bugs (summertime...).
Don't be worried what other parents think. Feel free to listen to their advice. Also feel free to ignore it.
I don't know if any of this helps you or not, and I certainly have forgotten to mention some things, but it's worked for us so far. I can't say for certain (obviously) that going this route has made my daughter the person she is. All I can say is these are some of the concepts my wife and I have applied and that my daughter is an intelligent, thoughtful, outgoing person who has made me a better person just by knowing her.
I'm not surprised by the existence of the article, it's as inevitable as my curmudgeonly response. I'm surprised NPR stooped to publishing it.
I found this shocking and also dangerous in the long run, people are getting used to surveillance might also accept it by the state.
Obviously those products exist (and probably do in Germany too) and I'm sure that parent who got in trouble was a real incident. Nonetheless those of us actually raising children in this country don't actually do that stuff. Chill.
In Germany a court just ruled that a three year old can go alone to the bath room and their parents don't have to check on them. The child set the bath room under water and someone wanted the parents to be liable.
Also some years ago, I saw a video from a school parking lot, where the hundreds of pupils where dropped off by their parents. So instead of building several schools close to the pupils, they build one big school, to which almost no pupil come alone.
In denser cities, though, you do tend to see neighborhood schools instead of larger, more centralized schools.
This seems like a failure at city planning. Anyways shouldn't there be a school bus?
Other kids got dropped off and picked up by one of their parents, and, in retrospect, I imagine it was a convenience decision for everyone involved. For one, it probably meant everyone got to sleep half an hour or so later.
This has probably only become worse since then, since the trend seems to be toward people wanting ever larger houses with ever larger yards, thereby making everything even more spread out.
Come to think of it, it's no wonder kids have apparently started opting for staying at home and playing games online with their friends rather than getting together in meatspace. It's probably getting to be just too inconvenient to get together in meatspace.
Seems like the alternative is to declare the 3yo liable for the damage, which is absurd. Water like that can cause a lot of damage; it's not like they tipped over a glass on the table.
No. That's an alternative (though not a particularly sane one.) The other alternative is to accept that it's not always socially useful to give people someone to sue for every misfortune.
The judge said that the parents are not obligated to surveillance their child 24/7 in the flat as it would hinder the development of the child.
The alternative to parental responsibility is that property owners simply ban unsupervised minors from the premises. They represent too great a risk to be tolerated in the absence of legal recourse for whatever damage they might cause.
The idea that having children should be treated as a strict liability tort is...unusual.
Without that treatment, the damages would need to stem from some other tort by the parent (such as negligence by failure to reasonably supervise), or a tort by the child with a rule that parents are liable for the children's torts.
> Someone has to pay for the damages, and it would not be sensible or just for that someone to be the owner of the damaged property.
That's who usually pays for damages not resulting from some failure of a legal duty, so I do think see why a child being involved would change that.
> The alternative to parental responsibility is that property owners simply ban unsupervised minors from the premises.
Well, that's an alternative, and a fairly common one where it's not fundamentally incompatible with the purpose of the property.
Yes, but that isn't what I was saying. "Having children" is not the tort. Damaging others' property is the tort. The parents are liable because it was their child that caused the damage. The child is their responsibility. What the child does, they did.
> or a tort by the child with a rule that parents are liable for the children's torts
Yes, exactly this.
> That's who usually pays for damages not resulting from some failure of a legal duty...
The legal duty which was failed in this case is the duty to not damage others' property. (You do have that, right? Or are property owners simply expected to absorb the cost of accidental damage no matter who was responsible?)
> Well, that's an alternative...
I argue that it is the only viable alternative. Why would property owners voluntarily accept liability for the actions of other people's children without some form of compensation? But we don't want this alternative, because it means 24/7 surveillance and stunted development—not out of legal obligation but simply because unsupervised children would have nowhere to go.
One doesn't have such a duty, otherwise we wouldn't have specific torts at all, you'd just jump straight to damages.
> You do have that, right?
No, the closest thing to that is general negligence, where you owe a duty of reasonable care. Damages resulting despite exercise of reasonable care (other than where a strict liability tort exists) do not generally create legal liability.
> Or are property owners simply expected to absorb the cost of accidental damage no matter who was responsible?
If no breach of a legal duty occurs that produces the accident, yes, people are, in general, expected to absorb damages.
> I argue that it is the only viable alternative.
But the argument you make for that position is inconsistent with the results in reality.
So your legal system does recognize a duty not to damage others' property.
I think it is safe to say that flooding the room is a good example of not taking "reasonable care".
> If no breach of a legal duty occurs that produces the accident...
Irrelevant, as we've already established that there was a legal duty which was breached.
> But the argument you make for that position is inconsistent with the results in reality.
Only if you start from the position that parents are not responsible for damages caused by their children, which is itself contrary to reality.
That's pretty much the US model, too; young children are unlikely to be subject to tort liability (under common law, there was a firm cutoff at 7 years for negligence, with a presumption against liability up to 14; now in most jurisdictions it's a balancing test of age, experience, and intelligence.)
And even where a child is liable, they are likely to be effectively judgement-proof and many jurisdictions have fairly limited provisions for parent liability for minors torts (California, e.g., has a quantitatively-limited amount of parental liability, for liability from willful misconduct.)
There may be some cases where there is a negligence action against parents for reasonable care in supervision, but it's not clear that the duty the would be judged that much differently than in Germany.
Except the ones that are?
I've never done this but I imagine the reason would be to spot times when the teachers are abusive towards the children, not to ensure everything is perfect.
My response if always "Screw you, yes there is. But you went to business school." You can pay someone to fix your injuries, or broken pipes, but you can't pay someone to raise your kids.
When my son was born, I went into it with the knowledge of three highly rated books on Amazon I had picked at random.
My wife went into it with years of experience dealing with difficult kids. She worked at a feeding clinic at a research institute, helping parents figure out how to get their kids to eat their vegetables.
I'm so grateful. My 2 year old helps fold laundry, says please and thank you, and knows to put away his toys before bath time.
I don't know what I'd do if I hadn't married this woman. I don't know where I would have gotten the skills I have now.
This is both literally factually wrong and basically correct in its underlying message.
There are, of course, very many books on parenting and very many being published every day. What there isn't, though, is something correct, clear, authoritative, comprehensive, accessible, and easily filtered out by the layman from the noise of all the stuff published which meets none of those criteria.
Perhaps more on point, there's no general education on parenting.
But, yes, I absolutely do think it's a good one.
Actually, you can. It's called a nanny. If you prefer a cheaper version, it's called au pair.
It is less frequent now in the west, but in many countries kids are raised by nannies or relatives. Kids get very attached to their nannies- see Mary Poppins. It is a fictional tale, but it shows you how it was also the case in the West.
If your expectations are limted to keeping the kids alive and transporting them, your are thinking about a butler and a chauffeur. I would strongly recommend complementing them with a nanny. A good butler can help you select a nanny if you are not sure on which qualities you should hire.
When my son was younger, we had a part-time nanny (about 15 hours/week) who was simply wonderful. She was always "present", focused on enrichment, and truly loved our son. Even though she hasn't been our nanny for many years, we still keep in touch and occasionally get together.
I've also seen the other side, where a nanny or au-pair is literally just an adult ensuring the kids are alive at the end of the day. Definitely one case where you'd want a solid reference!
I have also had a great experience - as a kid. There was a strong emotional and learning component. I have very fond memories.
Note that's long been a line used when people are selling stuff they know doesn't work, because people don't do much of anything with total consistency and regularity, so when the inevitable failures occur, you've pre-biased the buyer of your woo to find an excuse to blame themselves, rather than the snake-oil you sold them.
Even if it's not knowing fraud, any parenting approach that doesn't accommodate and specifically address the reality that parents are fallible isn't going to work with real people very well, even if it might work for the mythical beasts it must be designed for.
"Kids are like dogs, you reward and encourage behavior you want and punish and discourage behavior you do want."
"Kids are like dogs, you reward and encourage behavior you want and punish and discourage behavior you do NOT want."
If you think that is bad, wait until you have to speak with some 20-year-old's mom who is thinking that her kiddo should be getting an A for C-level work and you have to get litigious about supporting your grades. I had to write a policy into my syllabus saying that I won't (and, IIRC, legally was not permitted) to talk with other folks than the student about grades and assessments.
(I catch myself doing this frequently: that couple's marriage is in trouble—they're not even talking over dinner, that driver is on his phone scrolling through Facebook probably, etc. Those stories may be true but there's perfectly reasonable alternatives that would look exactly the same.)
The only people they know how to talk to are their parents.
I believe it. This gets brought up often here, but when you drive through residential neighborhoods you don't see kids playing or travelling to their friend's houses anymore. Either people are having way fewer kids or they aren't allowed to do things autonomously anymore. This undoubtedly correlates with rising obesity. But instead of blaming lack of play, they blame junk food.
I recently drove past a middle school (12-14 yo) and shuddered at the sight of each child walking straight from the door to their parents car, one at a time, like prisoners. When that car pulled away the next car stopped at the same spot before the next child was dismissed. Just a few years prior, all kids were released simultaneously.
I think this is eroding our society.
More and more kids are driven to school each day. The school bus was another socialization place for kids that is gone.
So you're falsely equating an adult's fitness regimen with a child's (kids don't care about showing their abs).
The article ID in the link can be used in the text only site.
I had a flatmate who talked with her mom every night. Literally every night. For hours. She was just close with her family. It wasn't like she was at school or anything, we were both grown adults with working lives.
Sure, if mom is still supervising, then that's a bit awkward...
The margins for "error" - i.e. achieving suboptimal grades and cultivating interests outside of "school stuff" - have shrunk since I was a kid.
This is, of course, in addition to the need for parents to acquire bragging rights about their children.
I'd love to see these policies tested, e.g., have five high school kids with class scheduling issues attempt to resolve them themselves, and another five have their parents call, and compare how the process goes.
E.g., one year:
Me: requests A and B
Friend: requests A and non-honors B
hour 4: Me in non-honors B; friend in gym.
hour 5 (only hour honors B is offered): Me in A; friend in honros B.
Based on a few years of observations, I'm almost certain courses were filled using some variant of this algorithm:
for each student s sorted by student number:
for each non-filled course c in hour 1..n:
if(s wants c and not in c): assign s to c and continue to next hour.
for each non-filled course c in hour 1..n:
if(s wants c' and not in c' and c is like c'): assign s to c and continue to next hour.
Things got better each year but never in a way that would suggest someone finally decided to pick up an algorithms textbook.
I suspect by now they've purchased something that works or else managed to prove P=NP and the solution is billions of if statements fixing special cases the teachers/students complained loudly enough about...
We are raising kids lacking conflict resolution skills who can't discuss and would rather coerce someone who doesn't conform to their ideas.
Articles and posts like this are chock-full of anecdotes and head-nodding, but short on studies or other data to even correlate against. Seems like this "crisis" has been happening for a long time.
Is there a longitudinal study on children who have been "helicopter parented?" vs those who were raised "free-range"?
The paradoxical thing for me is that much of what I’ve achieved has come about because I was forced to do things on my own and fend for myself. It built a lot of “character” but at the same time I’m not anywhere near happy or content.
Also, you teach them basic safety things, and then name it when they've mastered it; e.g. "You know how to look both ways, you don't need to hold my hand crossing the street anymore." or "You can cook on the stove by yourself now because you know how to be safe around hot things." They are getting independence, but doing so knowing that their parent is concerned about protecting them from dangers they cannot address themselves.
With those two things, a child is unlikely to feel neglected or unloved, but can still develop a sense of independence.
This is a tough one because I think how we parent is super-strongly influenced by our experiences as a child. I think the keys here are to make sure she knows that you love and support her no matter what and that's as much of a given as that the sun will rise in the east AND to support her on doing things for herself.
It's one thing if you're there to provide encouragement or a bit of help doing something vs. telling her to get it done and walking away. She'll learn the least from having everything on a whim or you doing everything for her. If the answer is "no" discuss why. Be fair and not capricious. Kids are smart. They know the difference between a parent that doesn't care and a parent that's setting limits.
The former is definitely my approach. I never just dump her into a situation and ignore her, nor do I do everything for her. For example, cleaning up around the house is a joint effort. And arguments and power struggles are always followed up by reconciliation and reassurance that I still love her despite us being angry at each other.
My biggest struggle is not knowing whether a punishment or correction is too severe (because all of the ones I received were), so I tend to be more lenient in a lot of situations where maybe I shouldn’t be.
Test scores, or minor misbehaviors, or other things, can disproportionately influence someone's future, to extents that are not realistic or human. Children, left to their own devices, will have trouble surviving in a world that runs on rules that don't actually make sense. Parents can sense this, so they try to protect their children, and they play by the rules that they see. There's no advantage to being fair, to doing things the "right" way, because the message has already gotten out that the rules are arbitrary. It's not important what you know, it's important that you pass the test.
Or, as they say, "best predictor of future behavior is past behavior" (very horrible sentiment).
If you don't want parents being overzealous and a bit crazy about their children, stop making society so damn competitive and inflexible. There are so many pitfalls someone can fall down just by accident, just by being human.
> The research found, on average, children were playing outside for just over four hours a week
When I was 5-10, a typical day for me was spent alone or with friends outside, from sun up to down, with zero adult supervision. There wouldn't even be an adult who knew where I was going or where I was. They simply gave me the responsibility of returning home before the sun went down, and over those years I always did, mostly because I was hungry. The only exception was one day when I traveled too far, realized too late that the sun was going down, and collapsed from exhaustion trying to get home. My family searched for and found me during twilight. I learned valuable lessons that day.
I recently looked up my childhood home on Google Maps to see how far I would go, and I would regularly travel within about a 3-mile radius. The surrounding area was heavily wooded and mostly vacant.
I would see a black bear probably once a month. My parents just told me to make noise as I traveled, to keep them scared off of my position. I knew never to play with their cubs. I knew never to run from them. I knew to stand ground and be loud and aggressive if I was ever approached or charged by one.
I fell off my bike and skinned my knees probably 40 or 50 times. I have many memories of limping my bike home on foot for a mile while sobbing in pain, and then squeezing my dad's hand as hard as I could while he poured hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol over my bleeding knee. Every time this happened, he would just tell me I was going to heal up fast and get right back on the bike.
A common route for me was to ride my bike along the side of the highway a few miles to a corner store so I could buy chips or candy, or visit a waitress my family knew at a local breakfast spot for some free eggs. Nobody ever stopped their car and tried to "rescue" me. The people at the shops knew how I got there, they were not concerned.
When I was about 10, my family moved to a rich white suburb outside a major city. Their policy of letting me be independent and go wherever I wanted unsupervised continued, but in this new town I was regularly approached by adults asking if I was lost, strangers asking where my parents were, and adults on golf carts with walkie-talkies reprimanding me and sending me home for no particular reason.
I found their concern for my well-being incredibly insulting. I was insulted that they thought I couldn't handle myself, and later I was insulted by the way I realized they were judging my family and my parents. As a result, I was downright rude to a lot of them, and kind of earned a negative reputation. Ended up getting blamed for a lot of vandalism despite never vandalizing anything, and causing problems between my family and other local families, simply by locals assigning blame to me for all kinds of things based purely on my reputation of being out unsupervised a lot and being rude to certain adults.
So I got a taste of both worlds just by moving. I don't think the problem of over-parenting is restricted to time and trend. I think it has a strong geographical and cultural component, too. I suspect that if I went back to my hometown, I might still find kids unsupervised, riding their bikes and skinning their knees in the summer. I've also heard from people outside the country that this helicopter parenting thing seems to be largely restricted to the US.
Here's an idea. Why not have "how to be a parent" classes taught in high school or college?
I did, in a particularly subtle way, until I realized it and stopped. I never physically performed the homework task, but I prodded my kids to get it done. As it turns out, the homework was so easy, that literally the only challenge was motivation. By supplying them with the motivation, I was effectively doing the work.
Nowadays, if asked for help, I go into teacher mode, and start asking them questions or providing a gentle nudge towards figuring out something themselves. They know that asking me for help will generally make their task harder, rather than easier. ;-)
>>> Here's an idea. Why not have "how to be a parent" classes taught in high school or college?
Because we don't know what it consists of.
But actually do homework for them? No.
The poor kids (myself included) don't even necessarily have a person at home asking them anything about their homework, and so often don't do it at all.
The kids with the tutors tended to have test scores that underperformed their homework scores. The teachers usually attributed this to abnormal stress levels due to the student being an over-achiever, or it was hand-waved as "he's just a poor test-taker", etc. A lot of them were given additional time to complete their tests as an accommodation.
The kids who didn't do their homework tended to have test scores that dramatically outperformed their homework scores. The teachers attributed this to a slacker mentality, the student "not applying themselves", the student not respecting the teacher's curriculum, etc. In my case, I was repeatedly threatened with not even moving on to the next grade due to homework, despite never getting anything less than an A on any test, and repeatedly demonstrating that I knew all the material really well, and having all of that acknowledged by the very people threatening the hold me back a grade...
That was a bit of a tangent, but yeah, a lot of kids have parents either doing their homework for them or proofing/correcting it before the teacher ever sees it. A lot of kids have parents doing entire projects for them using what is clearly hundreds or thousands of dollars in materials and equipment. It's a common thing, or at least it was in my districts growing up.
Tracking has a lot of ominous implications due to bias, and has been abandoned to a considerable extent, but teachers still unavoidably treat different kids with different expectations. And "involved" parents can influence those expectations.
Teachers are busy and overworked. I'm sure they try their best to put kids in the correct group for each subject, but you could easily end up in the 'wrong' one with no malice on the teachers part.
My mother was a school teacher and when she found out that I wasn't in the higher group for English she fought tooth and nail to get me up there. She knew exactly what could happen in those lower groups.