Archive for November, 2008

It was conference week at school, and fortunately we were able to get a “two-fer” — back-to-back meetings with our 7-year-old’s second-grade teacher and our 4-year-old’s preschool teacher.

They both praised our childrens’ exemplary academic work, which is always nice to hear. But what struck me more was the focus they put on classroom behavior and interaction — and it’s one of the main reasons I think public schools are moderately more beneficial than private schools, and infinitely more beneficial than home schooling.

Don’t get me wrong, I think home schoolers have noble intentions, and they may well offer more focused individual instructions to their kids. I have no doubt some of them are outstanding teachers, and great role models to boot.

But I’m convinced they’re missing a key element of education: Socialization. In public schools, you learn how to deal with a variety of people, from different cultural, socio-economic and religious backgrounds. You’ll agree with some of them, not with others. But you’ll get a variety of experiences, and exposure to hundreds of scenarios. (Our kids go to a school of about 460 kids, the second-largest elementary school in our district.)

Public schools aren’t perfect, and the fact that they’re larger means they can’t always provide intense, individually-focused instruction to every student. That’s their weakness. But they more than make up for it, in my view, with the depth and breadth of experiences and opportunities they can offer to their students.

I just don’t think home-schoolers can match that, nor can private schools, which by their nature are less diverse. So, I suspect, we’ll be keeping our kids in public schools through their high school years.

After that? College, hopefully. If we, or anyone, can afford it by then.

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I have been this week, anyway, with covering the 2008 Iowa state volleyball tournament, and while it’s a high-energy gig, it’s not the same as spending time with the family.

Some would say I’m turning soft. I wouldn’t see it that way. When I don’t see our 7-year-old for two days straight, and will probably end up with four straight, that’s a problem for me.

Hey, at least I’ll have some time off around Thanksgiving. A chance to reconnect, as it were.

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sleepzzzzNighttime sleep battles are nothing new, but I think we’re reaching new heights with our 4-year-old.

Part of our problem, to be frank, rests with our day care, which has a 3-hour (yes, 3-hour) quiet time every day, from noon to 3 p.m. We don’t get there until after 1 p.m. because of our new preschool, but that still gives our 4-year-old up to 2 hours of nap.

That’s way too long, in our view, and it keeps him up until 11 p.m. or later. We’ve tried to address the issue with our day care, because our kids typically don’t nap at when we’re home with them on weekends.

Hopefully it’ll resolve soon. Kids 4 and above, in my view, don’t typically need lengthy naps. And we (my wife, particularly) are tired of the late-night bedtime sessions.


On another front, we were talking politics Monday night, and our 7-year-old asked who we favored. We mentioned our choice, and noted our reasons.

Here was his take on the situation: If he were running for president, he’d lower taxes for everyone, because then people would have more money to spend on things. He’d also end wars and have people “talk things out.”

It’s not a complete platform, but it’s a good start. I know I’d vote for him. He was a little dejected, though, that he can’t run for president right now.

You never know. It could happen.

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