Last weekend, my eighth-grade son’s soccer team, The Inferno, played their last game together.* Eh, maybe it’s really not that momentous in the grand scheme of the great world, but this is their sixth year playing travel soccer, and it’s been one heck of an enjoyable ride. [Read more →]
Adults lament it all the time and I have lamented it here: Kids watch too much TV and generally look at screens too much. Researchers have quantified their screen-viewing in all kinds of worrisome ways: Too much screen time may even inhibit their ability to read emotions. It’s bad, people. But what is perhaps really bad is that the behavior, as with most behaviors of the youth, is so unself-aware, so mindless. Does it have to be that way? [Read more →]
As I wrote recently, I’m fascinated by what influences people to be who/what they are. Perhaps in the same vein, I’m also curious about how what we learn transfers to other situations. There is a robust body of research studying learning transfer; it’s elusive to pin down how what we learn in one situation can be applied to another.
You know that old equation that goes something like this: hard work + dedication + dreams = success. An updated version has emerged: hard work + dedication + dreams + parents = success. Really, that version is hard work + dedication + dreams + parents = success + parents. Parents have gotten into this thing on both sides! You don’t have to be Poincaré to notice, though, that if you minus [parents] from both sides of the equation, you still get the original formulation. [Read more →]
The reality is that I did not walk seven miles uphill both ways to school in three feet of snow, even in June. Neither did you. But things were different when we were little, weren’t they, you 30- and 40- and 50-somethings? Things were certainly different when it snowed. [Read more →]
If you’re of/in a certain stage/mindset/class, you’re thinking about where your kids are going to go to college. More likely, you’re lying awake at night wondering how you’re going to pay for it, perhaps tinged with a nagging feeling that maybe you shouldn’t bother. [Read more →]
I was warned that this title would discourage almost all readers. So be it. The fact remains, that if you are ever lucky enough to play a character, say a dwarf fighter or a halfing rogue, in a good ol’ Dungeons & Dragons game, you definitely want Peter Jackson to be your DM.
Christmas 2014, forever to be remembered by me as the year of complete dissolution of internal ideological opposition. A bunch of presents were purchased and exchanged in my house that I did not approve. Yet, it will be the year not that I gave in, but the year I realized I had been giving in for a long time. [Read more →]
So, to me, these two dudes – and I wanna stress that they are dudes — in my house seem to be at the video games a lot. I thought this would never happen to me. I thought I would steer them to loftier pursuits. But there they, at FIFA and Minecraft. I have this awful feeling their brains are leaking intellect because of video games. I particularly worry about the brightness of their literacy lights. [Read more →]
Part 10 (of 874) in an occasional series about how standardized tests are destroying education.
The Denver Post reported recently that thousands of high school students in Colorado refused to take standardized state tests. Activism? Test fatigue? Obstinancy? Whatever the case, I like that we’re hearing the student voice, which is often absent in the many conversations about testing. [Read more →]
You probably are out there writing like a maniac every day of your life. A good friend of mine, on the Website 11trees, recently posted a smart blog entry describing how much he wrote in one day, what he viewed as just an average day for a “knowledge worker.” In this one-day writing diary, he calculates that he comes in at 2,500 words, a number he uses to make this point: “We write more words every day than many college or high school students write in an entire term.” [Read more →]
Maggie Simpson has the baby with one eyebrow. Humbert Humbert has Clare Quilty. Randall Patrick McMurphy has Nurse Ratched. Seinfeld has Newman. Randy “Macho Man” Savage has Hulk Hogan. Perhaps you think about, on those dark nights, who you might hate the most in the world. For me, it’s easy: My pre-kid self. [Read more →]
So we got rid of cable about a year ago. The kids are not alright. Of course, they’re bitter about it, and maybe rightfully so, because I’m not convinced any of us are better off. You know, you get rid of cable to live a more intellectual life, to get more in touch with yourself, with your family. But is any of that happening? [Read more →]
Part 9 (of 874) in an occasional series about how standardized tests are destroying education.
Perhaps it’s surprising considering the U.S.’s supposed death spiral in mathematics, but we like numbers. We like the idea of pinning exactitude on things, on, you know, the right answer. And numbers lend themselves to lists and rankings. We like lists and rankings, particularly school rankings. From magazine stories about colleges to Websites about grammar schools, school lists abound. But what those lists and numbers don’t tell you at all is what kind of experience your individual kid will have at a school. Along the way, they may be committing serious, mean-spirited damage to lots of communities where real kids are trying to learn. [Read more →]
You’ve likely heard a lot about the Adrian Peterson debacle (including a good piece on this site), but I’m not weighing in here on abuse, or whether he’s justifiably doing what was done to him, or even on the various dummies who’ve gotten some press time because of this. I’m not writing about all that. [Read more →]
On NPR the other day I heard Graham Hill talking about the project LifeEdited. That prompted me to watch his TED talk about his idea, “Edit Your Life.” Hill talks about his own efforts to edit his living space, and proposes how much simpler, and, surprisingly, better, our lives might be if we made do with a lot less. [Read more →]