Category Archives: education

Six things I wish I’d known before sending my daughter to college

It’s hard to believe, but summer is basically over.    H starts her sophomore year of college on Tuesday after Labor Day, but is already on campus, welcoming incoming freshmen.  Last year she went backpacking for her freshman Orientation Adventure, and most of the kids in her group are still her closest friends.  This year she will help lead a backpacking/kayaking trip on Catalina Island.
I’ve been thinking about this time last year.  We spent two days helping her move in to the dorm (which involved carrying a lot of boxes and making multiple Target runs, but not much unpacking, because SHE wanted to do it herself).  That was the first surprise.  I had imagined helping her unpack, putting away her things in an organized manner, hanging pictures, making the bed, etc., but in reality, she had imagined finally being able to make her own decisions about all that.  She was patient with us at first, but when I kept pulling things out of the boxes and placing them where I thought they’d go,  she finally said, between her teeth, “MOM, I’ve GOT it!”
So after a couple of meals with her, where she was obviously biding her time until she could escape to go meet her new friends, we realized it was time to go.  So we kissed goodbye, took a couple of last photos together, and watched her walk away.  Second surprise…I didn’t cry!  I actually felt excited for her and honestly, a little relieved.  We had raised an incredible young woman who was ready to take on the world, (or college, at least), and I was proud and excited for her.
I know there are lots of parents out there who are dropping off their kids for their first year away.  Whether there are younger kids still at home, or if the nest is emptying, there are many changes in store.  As the parent of an only child, it was a tremendous change for me.  Here are some of the things I learned or observed after my only child left for college.


Some kids might welcome your help with unpacking and moving in.  Not ours.  She wanted us to carry the heavy stuff and that was about it.  We teetered on the edge…It was so hard for me to pull back and let her unpack on her own.  We also caught ourselves giving last minute “advice” which I’m sure sounded to her like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah, wah wahhh wahhhwahhhh”.  But it was evident to us when it was time to leave, so our goodbyes were loving, genuine and quick.  H’s roommate’s mom ended up staying TEN DAYS after moving her daughter in, and not surprisingly, roommate’s transition to college was difficult, tearful, and she transferred away the following semester.  But DO turn around and catch a glimpse of her walking away…and remind yourself that this is what you’ve raised her to do…spread her wings.


Your communication with your child will definitely change.  They are navigating their new world filled with new responsibilities, new friends, and new distractions and most likely, telephone calls to mom and dad will not be on the priority list.  And when they do pick up the phone to actually make a call, it’s usually to vent or ask for specific help, like how to refill prescriptions or to please send them their favorite cowboy boots that they left at home.  When you’re aching to see her face, it’s easy to make a quick Skype call at night while she’s online, and you can get the visual fix of her smiling mug.


When they do call in a tizzy because they are having a seemingly horrible problem, whether it’s relationship, academic, friends, or some other meltdown, and you instantly put yourself in “Mommy Saves the Day Mode”, slow down, listen, ask questions, and let them get it off their chests.  Nine times out of ten, they’re venting, and as soon as they hang up the phone, go skipping off with their friends without a care in the world.  This was really difficult for me.  I was the problem-solver.  Anytime she had a problem, I wanted to figure it out, and show her the way.  The first couple of times I tried to do that over the phone, she became defensive and exasperated, and finally said, “Mom, I don’t need you to give me any advice, I just want to get it off my chest.”  Not that you will never get involved…when she had a nagging medical problem that she kept complaining about but wouldn’t actually make an appointment with a new doctor, I had to step in and convince her to take care of it.  But it’s actually very satisfying when you see your child navigate through a problem herself.  That’s when you realize you are not the Coach anymore, and gladly become the Cheerleader.


Your child is legally an adult, so the grades will not automatically come to you.  You also will not be able to call her doctor to find out about her health.  The grades thing was a pretty big adjustment to my husband; since he was the one paying the bills, he felt like he should be getting her “report cards”.   And speaking about paying the bills…the statements will come to your child.  So the communication between you and your child will be important in those aspects.  I would recommend having an understanding with your child before dropping them off at school about what your expectations are.


Flying home after leaving H in California my mind was jumbled with all kinds of memories, fears, hopes, and worries.  Watching her walk away from us to her French placement exam, I didn’t see a young woman going to college, I saw the 5-year-old I dropped off at Kindergarten, who told me that she was afraid but was going to “Face her fears”.  That became a mantra throughout her life, and I realized I needed to follow her lead.  I thought about my fears of losing control over her life, losing her in my life on a daily basis, and reminded myself that this is what we raised her for.  To be strong, independent, and her own person.  Then, miraculously,  I felt a huge relief.
Suddenly, I realized something that I hadn’t thought of amid all the planning, packing, and worrying.  I was going to have the freedom to do things in my life that I wanted to do…travel, take classes, read, and spend time with the wonderful guy I married.  We are living the life we dreamed of for the last few years, and even though I miss her,  it’s a pretty darn good life.


I think this is the last thing that really hit us.  And it didn’t really hit us until this summer.  During  spring final exams, when she was exhausted, stressed, and sleep deprived, we got a few more phone calls than usual.  She was SO excited to be coming home, to see “mommy and daddy”, and to sleep in her own bed.  Then she got home, and I think that lasted about 36 hours… during which she probably slept about 24.  She texted and skyped and spoke with her friends scattered all over the country, did the obligatory dinners with us, then, after three weeks of family togetherness, flew up to the Catskills for her summer job as a camp counselor.  After the job was completed, we had four days together before she happily left to go back to school.

She drove from Colorado to school in California with a friend…big step for Dad!

 J and I realized that even though “home” is with us, it’s not where she needs to be right now, and it’s a good thing.  She is discovering so many new things, about herself, about the world, about other people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year, I have some of the same feelings.  I still miss her.  I still think about her and wish I could see her face more often.  But now that I know what to expect, I have no worries whatsoever about what the year will hold…for all of us.

Aaaaaand She’s Off!!

Last week we helped H move into her dorm room…in CALIFORNIA!  She picked a school the farthest away from home she could!  It’s a great fit, and she is thrilled to be there, so we’re truly happy for her.  But it’s such a strange feeling, to go from having her here to NOT having her here.   Buying her the one way ticket to California was the first time it really hit me…I’m not going to be in her daily life any more.

She is reveling in the independence of college.  I’ve talked to her a couple of times, mostly when she needed some kind of information, but once she called just to check in.  She sounds ecstatic.  Which makes this so much easier.  

But move-in day/parent orientation was hectic and emotional.  At least on my end.  She had just returned from a 3 day orientation adventure, backpacking at 11,000 feet.  There were 8 other freshmen, plus a couple of upperclass trip leaders, so she was able to get really close to a few like-minded kids right off the bat.  We missed all the planned parent activities because we were lugging boxes from the mailroom to her room, and making a few Target and Bed/Bath and Beyond trips.

I had forgotten how small college dorm rooms are!

 But surprisingly, she fit everything she needed into the space.  She was adament that I not organize her things, so I did the jobs she assigned me…connected her printer, hang bulleting boards, and unpack and throw away all the boxes.  We had dinner together the night we arrived, and the last night we were there, and met her for a quick breakfast the morning we left.  By that time we were extraneous.  Not needed.  She was being very sweet, but it was obvious she was ready to fly, and we needed to leave so she could get started.  I noticed that we were the only parents walking their kid back from the dining hall, and realized it was definitely time to go.  So we had our last hugs in front of her dorm, and watched her walk away to take her French placement exam. 

Nothing is going to be the same.   I’m excited for her, but it’s hard to stop the worrying…I think about her constantly.  Where is she now?  Does she like her professors?  Is she getting enough sleep?  Did she lock her bike?  Is she meeting lots of nice people?  Is her bed comfortable?  After almost 19 years of living and breathing her every single day it’s hard to stop.   But we’ve raised a smart, kind, resourceful, outgoing young lady, and I do know in my heart that she will be OK.  That doesn’t make it feel any less weird, or hurt any less.  I miss going into her room at night just to watch her sleep.  I miss making her weird vegetarian/tofu meals.  I miss dragging her out of bed on the mornings she slept late (which was any day she didn’t have school!).  I even miss her rolling her eyes at me when I did something she thought was goofy.

I miss this…

But I’m staying very busy.  Going on long hikes with J and the dogs, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, trying new recipes, and buying new art supplies so I’ll hopefully start painting again.  Maybe I’ll even start blogging more often than once a quarter!  This whole experience is kicking my butt, but every day gets a little bit easier.  Slowly, but surely, I’m quitting the helicopter mom business.  But it sure would be nice if I had a closed circuit camera there to keep an eye on her!

Focusing on “Firsts”, not “Lasts”

Last week we spent fall break in California, looking at colleges.  At this point in H’s college search, we’re narrowing the list down, instead of adding to it.  There were six colleges she was strongly interested in before the trip, and afterwards, there were only two.   

One thing I learned about California…specifically the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.  They don’t have enough roads for all the cars.  Seriously.  Driving  the 45 miles from Santa Clara to San Francisco took almost three hours.  The last 90 minutes were spent crawling the last 10 miles.  Luckily, we finished up our marathon driving with a day and a half to relax (aka:  shop) in San Francisco, and fit in a couple of nice meals. 

Since we realized the last three times we were in San Francisco we ate at the same places (Boulevard, Slanted Door, Bix), we tried a couple of new places.  Chaya, a French-Japanese brasserie at the Embarkadero, that we loved.  Warm and intimate, with amazing sushi and a nice wine list.  It was a really nice evening. The fact that we were able to stay awake throughout a leisurely dinner made it even better, since that morning we started in Los Angeles, then toured U.C.  Davis, Santa Clara University, and survived the marathon drive to San Francisco, so we were exhausted.

Crunchy Tuna at Chaya… bad photo, incredible dish!

 The next night we walked around the block to Fish and Farm, which although it didn’t have the ambiance we felt at Chaya, had unbelievable food.  Even the salted butter for the warm rolls was superb!  Fish and Farm serves locally sourced Seafood, Meat and Produce, sourcing most from within a 100 mile radius.

Pan Seared halibut with heirloom tomatoes at Fish and Farm

 Even though neither of these places were on the “top 100” list of San Francisco restaurants, they would have topped most restaurants in Nashville.  The Nashville restaurant scene is getting better, don’t get me wrong, but I think there are only a small handful here that serve consistently good, unique, and local or organic food. 

But back to the college search process.  It’s all very exciting, looking at great schools, in great cities, with great academics…but it’s a nerve-wracking process for all of us.  With the common app, it’s a little bit easier to apply to multiple schools, but when the pool of possible colleges and universities gets so big, it gets overwhelming.  H really wants a school with smaller class sizes.  She loves being able to get to know her teachers, and doesn’t relish the thought of being in a class with 150-400 students.  But on the other hand, the small schools often don’t have the breadth of opportunities, and since she changes her mind about what she wants to study about once a month, she would like to have multiple choices, in case her first choice doesn’t end up being her passion.

I’ve been impressed with how thoroughly she has researched her possibilites, and her enthusiasm for exploring all aspects of the decision.  She has narrowed her list from 14-15 to 7 schools.  From Washington, DC to California, she has pretty much covered the United States with choices.  Anything but in the south, or close to home, which I’m O.K. with.  I don’t know if it’s because she’s an only child, or because she has traveled extensively, and lived in the same city her whole life, but she is ready to fly.  When the applications finally get sent, and the acceptance/rejection letters arrive, it will definitely get interesting.  Right now, even though I am trying not to be a helicopter mom and let her drive through the application process, I know I will be relieved when the last “submit” button is pushed. 

But I am trying to relish these days.  Everything is the “last time”.  Her last “first day of school”, her last Friday night football game, her last ACT test, her last homecoming, etc.  She’s decided to do senior spring break with her friends this year, so for the first time, we’ll do spring break separately.  That means we had our last “family spring break” last year without even knowing it!  When J and I hiked Little Green Mountain in North Carolina this morning, we realized the next time we hike and play the alphabet game (a tradition we had with H for years) will probably be with our grandchildren.  But instead of focusing on “last”, I’m trying to focus on “firsts”.  The first time we let her stay home overnight alone, the first time she makes her own meals,  the first time she moves away, the first time she comes home for the holidays.  We will have many “firsts” ahead.  The first time she brings a boy home will be exciting (hopefully!), the first time we drive away and leave her in her dorm room will be…I don’t know?  Sad? Exciting? Both?

Preschool graduation

senior photo

Last night we met a few new couples whose children are out of college: working, volunteering, or attending graduate school.  Listening to the pride they had in what their children are doing made me realize that we are not going to be finished parenting our daughter when she goes to college.  Her choices and her possibilites are endless, and it will be so much fun to experience all her “firsts”, even if from afar.  There is no way to explain how fast the years feel like they’ve gone, and I’m sure one day when she has her own family she’ll understand why I am so melancholy these days, but I feel so blessed and fortunate to be experiencing it all. 

Stepping Back

Tuesday night I attended college night at H’s school.  We feel fortunate that she is at a school with an incredible college counseling program.  Now that she’s in 11th grade, the “counseling” portion of it is beginning…with a vengeance.  She’s doing SAT tutoring, in preparation for her first test in December.  She went on a college trip through her school last summer, and visited nine colleges/universities in 4 days in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.  We are planning on visiting a few in March before our annual ski trip for spring break.

I know I didn’t do this kind of preparation when I was in school.  In fact, I don’t remember thinking about college until Christmas of my senior year.  One of my girlfriends and I decided we’d go to MTSU.   Then, the spring of that year she decided not to go to college.  So I decided to enroll at David Lipscomb College.  Two years later I wanted to major in communications, so I decided to transfer to the University of Tennessee.  *Note, “decided”…not in the vocabulary of today’s current high school students.  They actually have to apply, write essays, get recommendations, have 4.0 averages and take honors and AP classes, as well as do sports, volunteer, start clubs, write for the school newspaper, and God knows what else.  At Tuesday night’s college night, H received her Planning Handbook, a three ring binder chock full of 13 divided sections, from college search information, website access, testing, college visits, interviews, resumes, application process, essay writing, and financing.  On top of my daughter’s extremely demanding academic schedule, her extracurricular activities, and leadership roles, now she has more information to digest.  While the colleges I “decided” to go to were not on any lists of great schools, even though I graduated in the top 10% of my high school class, and graduated “with high honors” from UT, today I might not get in because my ACT score is well below the average for UT freshmen.

It makes my stomach hurt.

So, my mommy mode kicked in.  I have been on multiple college search websites, College Confidential, College Prowler, College Board, etc., trying to narrow down the lists of schools so that H can have a more manageable list.  Some stretch schools, some safety schools, and some in between.  I signed her up for the SAT in December, so she can take the ACT in the spring, and then decide which one she wants to concentrate on to retake next year.   H is my only child…I’m kind of a control freak…so it’s what I do.  But, Tuesday night, H’s counselors emphasized that we should be stepping back…letting our daughters do the research, fill out the forms, register for the tests. 

Step back.  Whew.  It makes perfect sense.  She has to learn to do these things on her own.  She already does a fabulous job in those things that I don’t get involved with,  so I know she can do it.  But when I start stepping back, what am I going to do with myself?  I am H’s mom.  It’s who I am.  It’s what I do.  I’ve cuddled, encouraged, kissed boo-boos, made lunches, cooked nutritious dinners (even learned to cook tofu when she became vegetarian),  comforted, cheered, driven around,  prayed with and for,  advised, worried, planned, shopped, and basically lived for her the last 17 years.   I’ve loved every minute of it. 

But I can’t go to college for her.  Hopefully all those things that have been so much a part of who I am will help her become who she is.  But she can’t become who she is unless I step back.  I will still encourage, cheer, and pray for her.  I will probably always worry about her.  Maybe I will advise her…if she asks.   It might be a little painful, but watching her become her own woman will be a magical thing.

Like Quotative — is it Proper English now?

Have you, like, noticed that there’s a new word that everyone, like, uses all the time? It’s everywhere, and I hate to admit it, but I even find myself using it. It’s pervasive…not only from teenagers, but on television, in the movies, even in books.

“Like as a quotative — has spread like wildfire, with no ethnic or social confines. Over the last 25 years, the use of like to report quoted speech has swept across the English-speaking world. Nowadays a stretch of conversation may sound like this one:

He was like, “Where do you wanna go?”
I was like, “I dunno.”
He was like, “Okay.”
I was like, “Where are we going?”
He was like, “Don’t worry about it.”

Within the US, it isn’t just white or middle-class speakers who use the like quotative. Regardless of ethnicity or social class, virtually every young person uses it at least some of the time. And it’s not just young people any more, as the following two examples show:

When they said no one could figure out the Holy Trinity, I was like, “Why not?”

It was like, “Arthur, the deal here is we’re gonna listen to you but I’m makin’ my own cartoon.”

The speaker in the first example is Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, and the speaker in the second is filmmaker Robert Altman. Wilson was born in 1945, Altman twenty years earlier. (Wilson was quoted in an interview in the New Yorker, Altman in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.)” See full article here.

The headmaster at H’s school, Ann Teaff, is on a mission to eliminate the use of like as a quotative, or at least reduce it, among the student body at her school. The following is an excerpt of an essay Teaff wrote last year, that was published in the Tennessean.

“Precise wording and beautiful language lay the groundwork for our country, and we still hold precious our forefathers’ words. Language has the power to change hearts, to end wars, to inspire, to challenge. Yet as adolescents increasingly use shortcuts to express themselves, it is at great cost to vocabulary and grammar.
I was surprised to learn that like has new place in the dictionary. A colleague recently showed me its placement in an elementary grammar textbook. Will students soon be contemplating how to fit like speak into a sentence diagram? Like is now acceptably used as an adverb (I, like, almost died!), as a quotative or shortcut introduction to a quotation (I said, like, no way!).
It can also be used to paraphrase a sentiment (I was, like, what was he thinking?) Most often, though, like is used as an interjection. Like has replaced “um” and “er” as a way of stalling while we prepare our thoughts.
Although some may consider like speak merely an annoying trend, I argue that its movement into mainstream Americana is cause for concern.
A Wall Street Journal suggested like speak makes language more colorful and fun. However, the reporter writes, “when you ‘fun-up’ language, you trivialize thinking, fueling the already unhelpful suspicion among young teens that someone who talks seriously is ipso facto boring.” How unfortunate to think that the eloquent speeches of Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and others would, by that definition, be labeled “boring.””

I just wonder how my grandchildren, and their kids, will communicate in the future. With text messaging, instant messaging, and email, they barely ever have to write anything with a pen or pencil, they shorten their words and phrases to initials (OMG, LOL, ROFL, etc.), and now they’re inventing new uses for words that make no sense whatsoever. We don’t speak like the Quakers did anymore, but is “proper” English morphing into something we won’t understand in 50 years?

Wearing uniforms to school

My daughter loves to put together outfits. For several years now, she has spent a huge amount of time picking out clothes to wear, or planning which outfits look cute enough for whatever occasion is on the horizon. Bedtime always included time for “picking out” the clothes for school the next day. She says she wants to major in fashion, and even takes her sketch pad on trips with us to draw the ideas she has for cute clothes.

So she decides that she wants to change schools…to a school that has a very strict uniform. Go figure.

Today was the first day of school. Last night I went up to say good night and she had her clothes all lined up. Skirt, oxford cloth shirt, knee socks (they had to be the exact right length), shoes, and headband. The shoes and headband are pretty much the only way she can “individualize” her look. She can wear either Wallabees (she won’t even touch those, so that’s not an option for her), or white athletic shoes. Not a lot of options there, either. But, when we were in Paris this summer we walked by a sports store on the Champs Elysees, and she found the cutest pair of white patent leather Nikes.

So this morning we took pictures of her in her uniform, all cute and everything, and drove her to school (5 minutes instead of 30…yeah!). She didn’t tuck in her shirt, because she thought someone had told her that was O.K. But just to make sure she texted about 6 friends this morning, but no one got back to her. We drove up to the drop-off, and all the girls were walking to class with shirts tucked in. So now, instead of making an “entrance”, she walked in with her backpack, her computer case, and both hands frantically tucking her skirt in. Hopefully they’ll give her a break on the demerits since it’s her first day.

Good luck, my sweet girl!

Is this the way it’s going to be?

H starts school tomorrow. Which means that last week she finished up her summer reading and started working on the written portion of the assignment. As usual, she waits until the veeerrryy last minute to do it. Sunday afternoon I came into my office and she was emailing all her files to my computer so that she could print them out. Something wasn’t right. Oh yeah.

“Do you want me to proofread for you?”

“No, Mom, I’ve got it.”

What? Not that reading over her assignments is something I enjoy, or particularly want to do, but she always asks me to do it.

She finished up her business, loaded up her laptop, and left.

Then, as soon as I sat down, she was back.

“Mom, close all those files for me, O.K.?”

And she stood there while I closed them all.

Later, she brought down the “project” to show me, with her fancy cover sheets and plastic report cover. I reached for it. She pulled it back.

“Let me read it!”

“No, that’s o.k…”

“Please, I just want to read it.”

(I had read two of her books so I wanted to see her take on them).

She looked at me in the eyes, stuttered a little, and said,

“I don’t want you to read it. I’m happy with it, and I don’t want you to suggest any changes.”

I guess my baby’s growing up. Welcome to High School.

Changing Schools…and leaving friends

My daughter is entering high school next year. She’s been at the same school since kindergarten…9 years. It’s a wonderful school, and we have had an incredible experience here. It’s a private school in an urban setting, very diverse population, the academics are incredible, SAT scores high, college acceptance rates recognized nationally, etc. She decided last fall that she wanted to take a look at another well respected school here in town, an all-girl’s school. She’s very intrigued by the single sex aspect of the school. She toured and visited classes last fall with a couple of the high school students and fell in love with it. So we applied, thinking she’d still have several months to think about it and if she got in, would then make her choice.

It’s been an extremely difficult choice for her (and for us). She has a few very close friends at her current school who she will have to leave behind. She’s also leaving behind the opportunity to play varsity basketball in 9th grade, since her current school has a very small high school basketball team. She’ll have to try out for a much more competitive team at the new school.

When she got the acceptance letter, she was shocked to find out she only had 12 days to decide whether to go or stay. It’s been a very emotional, stressful week, as she weighed the pros and cons of making the change, in addition to a very full academic load and her athletic commitments. She made several phone calls, returned for a second “visit” at the new school, suffered a stress induced migraine (we think), begged J and I to make the decision for her, (which we did not do), and in the end, decided the only reason she had for staying was because it was familiar and her friends were there. She feels very lucky to have the chance to experience either school, but decided to think positive and make the leap. She’s had a few tearful conversations with her friends, made vows to stay in touch, but on the most part, she is excited, although not a little bit nervous.

There are those who believe in positive thinking, and there are those who may be more realistic. We’re in the positive thinking camp. If H thinks this is a positive change, and goes into it with that attitude, then I believe it will be. There may be disappointments along the way. Sure, there’s the chance she won’t make the basketball team the first year. That’s O.K., she is a very hard worker, and if she decides she wants it, she’ll work extra hard and try out again the next year. If her friends don’t stay in touch as much as she’d like, she will make new friends.

I appreciate the people we know who have supported H in this decision. The admissions director at our old school who shed a tear or two with me and assured me that H would be missed and that we were always welcome back. The parent’s of H’s friends who were sad she was leaving but understood that we made this decision based on what we felt was right for her. H’s friends who have promised that they will stay in touch.

Will things change? Sure they will. They will change whether she stays at the old school or not. I am so proud of her for making this decision. For taking a leap of faith to something she’s not familiar with. For taking a chance. If no one ever took chances, where would they be? There might be regrets. But for sure, there will be new experiences, new opportunities, and if she doesn’t try them she’ll never know what’s out there.

For those who have expressed negative opinions. That is your right. You have the right to any viewpoint you have, and decisions you make for your family. But this is our daughter, and our family, and we are making the choice we feel is right for us.

All girl’s high school interview

H had her interview today for the all girl’s high school. I went back and forth with what to tell her to prepare her for the interview and in the end, I decided just to tell her to be herself, shake the hand of the interviewer, say “yes ma’am and no ma’am”, and try not to say “like” every other word. I think that was a good plan. She felt very confident and comfortable, and the interviewer had wonderful things to say about her after it was over. We still have mixed emotions about the whole thing. I think I’m very comfortable with her changing schools. I feel like a change would be good, but J still has reservations. He’s so loyal and feels very comfortable where she is. We’ll just wait and see whether she gets accepted and then deal with the decision at that time. H is leaning towards making the change.

Here’s info from a study of almost 5,000 alumnae from all girl’s schools:

• 91% cited preparation for college and academic challenge as very good or excellent

• 88% would repeat the girls’ school experience

• 83% perceived themselves to be better prepared for college than female counterparts from co-ed high schools

• 93% agreed that girls’ schools provide greater leadership opportunities than co-ed schools; 80% had held leadership positions since graduating from high school

• 13% intended to major in math or science, significantly more than females and males nationally (2% and 10% respectively)

I just like the idea that the whole boy aspect is eliminated from the classroom. No distractions from the learning process. Plenty of time for that in college…

Credit Recovery Classes…Give me a Break!

As if our public schools in Nashville need more tools to help kids graduate who can’t read or write…

Nashville Public Schools have a program called “credit recovery”. If students fail a core class they can retake it if they stay 2 1/2 hours after school two days a week. So they can retake two classes by staying after 4 days a week. This is paid for by taxpayers…hourly wages for teachers, extra bus transportation, and snacks. Amy Frank, a teacher in a public high school here, wrote an op-ed column today about her misgivings about this program, and I agree. There isn’t enough time in a regular class to cover the standards for a class, let alone the much smaller amount of time they have in the afternoon. Sometimes students are promised a passing grade just for showing up!

Students who don’t do well in a class will often decide early on that they will retake it in credit recovery because it’s easier, thus stop trying during the regular class. This leads to disruptions in class and poor participation. In sixth grade at my daughter’s private school, the kids were allowed to “make up” half of the points missed on a test or project by correcting the papers, but by 7th grade, that option was taken away. Kids need to learn accountability, responsibility, and for Pete’s sake, if they don’t know the material they shouldn’t be allowed to pass!