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

When School and Sports Collide!

Ordinarily, there’s no question: school trumps sports, whether it’s college or earlier in my son’s academic career. He’s in sixth grade, so we’ve got a while to go before we have to worry about NCAA regulations. Which is why it’s so darn frustrating that we find ourselves in the scheduling remake of When Worlds Collide: the collision of the last basketball game and the evening performance of my son’s school play. The game is the last…Read More

A Dress Code for School Events

It’s buried in the email from the administration, a message about the dress code for the performers in the upcoming holiday concert: Please note that girls are now required to wear dress pants for concerts (no leggings, skinny jeans, etc.). What they aren’t saying there is that this isn’t about “leggings” or “skinny jeans” but about dresses and skirts that are too short. Not only are the musician students often on a raised platform, many…Read More

Parent evenings at school

My children go to a private school here in Colorado and have done for many years. It’s expensive, but it’s been a really good choice for us and we’ve become a part of the school community, even me as a single dad. As with most private schools, there’s a lot of parent participation in school life too, including driving on field trips, planning and organizing various events, sports judging and more. Another thing that’s a…Read More

Parenting and social media = lots of missed parties

Before the advent of social media, and particularly geolocation checkin games like Foursquare, it was easy for us parents to sit in blissful ignorance of what was going on around us later in the evening and even into the wee hours of the morning. Become a single parent, get some time off each week, and it’s like a ton of bricks: there’s a world out there after 7pm and it’s full of interesting people! Amazing!…Read More

Standards of Positive Sportsmanship

My 12yo A- is now part of the school volleyball team, which is awesome. What’s not so awesome, however, is that there are apparently a lot of parents who have no idea how to be supportive of their children in competitive sports and we get to live with these idiots at almost every game. Our coach sent out an email message about his rules for positive sportsmanship and suggested conduct at a game, and with…Read More