Harvard or Bust

Last night Mr. Understanding and I attended a talk by renowned psychologist and author Michael Thompson. Most of you, especially if you have boys, probably have a book or two of his on your shelves. The subject last night was “the pressured child”. Stressing your kid (and you) out about college appears to be pandemic, even from the tender age of five. Only a third of children attending school enjoy it. And apparently, by the age of ten, children have slotted themselves into their roles for life; by then, you know your limits and where you line up in the pecking order. As he succinctly put it, are we preparing the path for our children or paving it for them? I have probably bungled his message but you get the gist. If you ever get the chance, go see him give a talk.

Question of the day: how much do you help your children with their homework? My kids have all outpaced me in math so my answer is: very little. Sink or swim, babies, sink or swim!

Bonus question: how did you view yourself at age ten?



Filed under Family, Reading

4 responses to “Harvard or Bust

  1. Hi Expat. Wow. I have a lot to say about this subject. I’ll try to condense:

    (1) I don’t believe in “gifted” programs. In our school district, the “gifted” programs are artificially created upper eschelons to make themselves feel superior.
    (2) Homework: Absolutely no doing it for them. They will sink or swim, and sometimes they learn a lot from sinking. That said, I make sure they DO their homework. Every night we sit down at 7:00 p.m. and make Georgia do it. She has to be in charge of the final product.
    (3) There is nothing wrong with your kid being in that sweet spot that’s just above average but not genius. These are the kids that are emotionally well adjusted, and confident, and not stressed. These are the leaders, in my view.
    (4) At age ten I wanted to be a CIA operative.

  2. SarahP

    With my older one, I review his homework once done and tell him to make corrections (math) or ask him to read it aloud to see if it sound right. With my younger (he’s in kindergarten) I have to sit with him and help him sound out words for the “stories” he has to write. If I don’t sit with him he chases me around the house saying this is the right letter for this sound, right? It’s just easier being there. (But I don’t correct his spelling)

  3. Raftbuddy

    Very little.

    Have never had a clue about #1’s homework (once a fellow mom said to me, “I am so glad the country reports are over” and I said, “They had country reports?!!”. She manages herself. With #2, assignments were often wadded in the bottom of the backpack until this year, yet I limited myself to harrassing. With high school, he has finally become a self-motivated scholar (I hear with boys it takes longer, true here). #3- I just tell her to do it because she is a procrastinator.

    I have friends who heavily edit all essays of high schoolers (and their college kids via email) and who help with the art with grade school book reports. I won’t go there.

    I tell my kids, “I have already done grade school, junior high, high school- this is for YOU.” That said if they ask me to look at something (seldom), I will offer my opinion, like “I don’t understand this”, or “One paragraph does not constitute an essay.”

    When I was ten I thought I either wanted to be a blind person with a guide dog or be a teacher for the blind. I liked to walk around with my eyes closed.

  4. Winnie

    Age 10. Hmmmm… that would be about 57 years ago. Since I can’t remember who I was yesterday, this is a distinct challenge. I think I remember assuming that I’d probably live forever and that cause and effect were distant relatives. I have since found out otherwise on both accounts.

    As for homework assistance, you’ll have to ask Mr. U. I’ve forgotten that too.

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