Back to College Starts with Walmart’s Best Plans

If you’re a diligent reader of this blog, you’ll be saying “hey, wait a sec! your oldest is in 12th grade, not college! what the deuce are you talking about with back to college?” And you’d be spot on. I’m writing about the cheapest wireless plans, perfect for families — or students! — on a tight budget. The phone of choice: The slick Nokia Lumia 521, available at your local Walmart for a bargain $49.88….Read More

My daughter’s now on her Senior Solo

One nice thing about my children going to a private school is that the teachers have the leeway to do a lot of things that would be frowned upon, logistically impossible or a violation of policy in a public school. Heck, we’ve been at the school for so long that we’re are now used to celebrating offbeat saints and holidays too, including Santa Lucia, Saint George and Michaelmas, with special guest Saint Michael (of course!). You’ll…Read More

Back Off, Helicopter Mom!

I was sitting at my favorite coffee shop a few days ago and couldn’t help witness the parenting drama play out in front of me, the extraordinarily overt demonstration of what is popularly called “helicopter parenting”. Let me start with a photo I took (and then blurred out the faces for privacy) so you can see how things were set up: On the left side you can see a tween boy working on a small dry…Read More

Watching the slow motion train wreck…

There’s a certain point in parenting when you need to accept that you are no longer steering the rudder or controlling the prop and that the best you can hope for is that you’re still in the front of the ship in the navigator’s seat instead. “You’d do best to turn left here, cap’n, to avoid the reef” is about as good as it gets once your children hit their teens. I’ve always likened parenting…Read More

Back to School: Keeping Kids Active & Healthy

School is still a few weeks away and it’s beastly hot as August arrives, the hottest weeks of the year. In this heat, it’s easy to become a complete couch potato, fan on high, snacks piled on the table and the TV blaring away, consuming those spare neurons and wasting hours on end. But while that’s fun once in a while, day after day it’s a recipe for a really difficult transition to school starting…Read More

Of Solo Parenting Time and the Quadratic Formula

One of the greatest challenges with being a single parent to multiple children is finding the time to have solo, one on one time with each child. As they get older it’s possible that their own schedules enable some solo time by dint of the siblings being at other people’s houses, but it’s tricky with my three because while my youngest loves having friends over for sleepovers, at 10yo she still only sleeps if she’s with me or her…Read More

Got a Young Scientist In the House?

I was nerdy as a kid — no surprise there — but had no idea that there was a bigger picture than my family and my school. Still, I never entered the local science fair (if there even was one, I don’t recall ever hearing about it even though I was in the honors program for junior high and high school) and kinda wish one of my kids was growing up to be a science…Read More

The Morning After The Big Basketball Tourney

My son G-, 13yo, can’t seem to decide on a single sport. In the summer and autumn, it’s all about lacrosse, then when winter hits, he’s back to basketball as indoor sports seem a whole lot more pleasant when it’s 15F and windy outside. He’s played both competitively for years and we’ve been blessed to have good coaches who focus on winning, but also focus on the boys having fun and learning both sport fundamentals…Read More

GradSave Makes it Easier for Family to Contribute to 529 Accounts

I have three children eventually heading to college. My oldest, A-, just turned 17 and picking colleges and college life are constant topics of discussion, so managing the cost of college is always on my mind too, as you’d expect. Years ago I set up three 529 accounts and set up auto-deductions so that they’d grow regardless of how the stock market did. They’re not huge, but each should cover at least the first year…Read More

Computer Programming in the First Grade Curriculum

One of the many news sources I read to stay up-to-date on world affairs is The Guardian, a popular newspaper out of England, and this headline caught my eye over the weekend: New national curriculum to introduce fractions to five-year-olds. Read on just a bit more, and reporter Richard Adams explains that the final version of the new UK National Education Curriculum also includes 5yo children writing computer programs. Now maybe it’s just me, but…Read More

It’s Time to Have More School, Less Summer Holiday

We’re already four weeks into summer vacation and my children are off with their Mom on the annual few weeks at her family’s house at the Lake of the Ozarks. A few weeks where I am suddenly a bachelor and, as always, it’s a mixed bag of freedom and missing my minions. It’s also a time for me to be able to think about how our lives are going, how they’re doing on their individual…Read More

College Road Trip: Day 1 – UC Santa Cruz

We flew into San Jose, California yesterday to a lovely spring afternoon and started by figuring out how to pick up the car that Ford’s loaned us for the trip, a C-MAX Hybrid. In an ironic twist, it’s the same color, “Candy Blue”, as a photo I posted a few days ago on Facebook showing the vehicle. It’s a really bright blue. In fact, when we saw it my 16yo A- immediately fell in love….Read More

Poised and ready for The Big College Road Trip

After discussing it for months and months, tomorrow my 16yo daughter A- and I are flying out to San Jose, CA and driving down the famed Pacific Coast Highway (aka “Highway 1”) from Santa Cruz to San Diego, visiting colleges along the way. She’s just finished up 10th grade, so my goal with the trip is a) to have fun and b) to have her step foot on a variety of different college campuses so…Read More

Creepy teacher behavior, or not?

I get letters… Here’s one that came in to my inbox last night that I read out to my 1oth grader and she agreed, “definitely creepy”. Here’s what this Mom asked: I have a question about e-mail between high school students and teachers. My daughter’s teacher gave out his work email and work contact information at the beginning of the year. I found that helpful. Yesterday, after finals, my daughter told me that he wrote…Read More

How being bullied affected my childhood…

Like a lot of children, I was bullied as a kid. Fortunately, it was really only one kid and it was for a relatively short period of time during 7th grade, then he set his sights on some other hapless victim and I proceeded along with my own childhood. Still, I can vividly remember school finishing up and me dashing to my bicycle and pedaling furiously home to get back to the safety of my…Read More

Half-birthdays? Is this for real?

At my kids school, they celebrate half-birthdays when the children would otherwise have a birthday during summer, and that makes sense to me: the in-class parties (at least for the earlier grades) are quite fun and often meaningful, with parents and siblings invited in for the short celebration. Being born in August, I should know this one pretty well, along with the problem of kids being on summer holiday during when I’d ostensibly have a…Read More

My letter to fellow parents about sex, drugs, and alcohol

Let me set this up: my son’s in 7th grade and so far things are moving along smoothly, with us parents having created a reasonably respectful community where we can talk about things, socialize on occasion and generally help nurture each other’s children as we all go through the first steps of our children’s adolescence. But there’s more going on when our children hit the teen years, and the pressures and opportunities for mischief get…Read More

Lice reported at school! Eewwwwww…..

This has to be one of the very worst email messages to receive from your child’s school, hands down: Dear Gr. 3 Parents — I am writing to inform everyone that one case of head lice was reported in the class today. I have attached our Lice Procedure doc. Everyone should check their child’s head for lice tonite if you can. Please let me know immediately if anyone else has this issue. The #6 procedure…Read More

Kids have to lose occasionally

Had a fascinating conversation with my 8yo daughter K- while driving to her first ballet performance audition, about winning, losing and participation. You should know that my children all attend a school that doesn’t honor winning a competition, but instead honors participation in events. No letter grades until high school, and everyone’s feelings are carefully nurtured so that they all feel like they’re a success, even if they’re the runner who dropped out of the race…Read More

Summer Grilliance + Class BBQ = Great Dinner

If you’ve read GoFatherhood for any length of time, you’ll know I think that it’s tougher to be a boy than a girl in modern culture, and doubly so in school settings. Schools have ended up being designed for more prototypical female behaviors and preferences and the destroy/break/run around energy of boys is increasingly viewed as a disease that needs to be cured, typically with diagnoses like ADHD and drugs like Ritalin. As a result,…Read More

School overrides teachers grades because parents complain?

I’ve written before about my concern that in our zeal to ensure no-one ever feels badly about their accomplishments that everyone gets a trophy and wins a medal we’re actually creating a generation of children who can’t actually handle the win/lose realities of adult life. All the warm fuzzy thoughts about valuing everyone, everyone’s a winner, etc, is great, but with the exception of a few odd pockets here and there in the world, my…Read More