January 25, 2020

Thoughts and Discussions About Education in Society

My thoughts surrounding education. Not just homeschool, but also educational topics as they would relate to public schools, charter schools, and private schools. Discussions about what it means to be "educated" in our society today. May also cover topics across age demographics for grade school, high school and education at the university and collegiate level.

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Are We Pushing Our Kids Too Much

Here’s another update I’m sharing from a friend that recently posted it on Facebook, Kelly Phillips Erb. Apparently, I’ve got a number of friends who are sharing some really great stuff on Facebook lately right? This update focuses on whether or not we should be pushing and accelerating our kids through their educational years as fast as we are. Or, perhaps not deciding one way or another, but making sure we’re conscious of the reasons we’re doing so and understand the ramifications of that effort in the long run. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Graduation DayToday, I overheard parents discussing how they are putting their kids in summer school so that they can graduate early. The plan is to stack college credits in high school so the kids (and they are still kids) can get through college in three years and start graduate school early. The one mom said, “She’s going to compete, she’s going to get it done.”

I don’t purport to be an expert on parenting. Goodness knows, I have made and continue to make mistakes as a mom. Just like all of us, I’m learning as I go.

But I want to tell you a story. Many of you know that I started school at age 4 (after loudly complaining that my brother got to go to school). I skipped a grade. I left home at age 14 to attend a residential high school. I started college at age 16.

I was always the youngest (except at law school, thanks Ambreen). I was always trying to prove myself. I was always rushing. I wanted to keep finishing early because I wanted to start the next chapter as quickly as I could. And I don’t regret any of those things because every step along the way – even the mistakes – made me who I am today.

But I do want to say this. As a mom, the thing I want to teach my kids more than anything is to ENJOY.EVERY.MOMENT. Don’t rush.

All of that speeding ahead? Yes, it gave me some opportunities – but I’m not so sure that I wouldn’t have found them anyway. The things I missed? The school trips? The parties? Hanging out after school? Lazy summers? I can’t get those back.

I have resisted efforts to skip or rush my kids. The most we relented was letting Ames take an accelerated math class. I have good kids and they are doing well in school. They enjoy playing sports and attending clubs at school. In summers, we’ve been traveling, not taking classes (Kate excepted but she did that on her own as an online class). I know that achievement is important and I try hard to balance their own appetites for success with the understanding that they also need some time to have fun and be carefree. The stresses associated with adulting will come soon enough.

Studies prove that we don’t laugh as much as adults as we do as kids. We’re not as active. We don’t take as many risks. Somewhere along the way, we lose all of that. I think about that a lot now that I’m older. And I intend to let my kids be kids for as long as I can.

* Edited to make clear (as in the comments) that I’m not suggesting that skipping and accelerated classes are bad ideas. Skipping was the right choice for me and my kids are taking some of those accelerated classes. There may be valid reasons – like avoiding college debt as Miranda Marquit points out – for some of these choices. When it comes to my family, I just want to make sure those reasons include something other than just being first.

Kelly Phillips Erb and an attorney with The Erb Law Firm PC, in suburban Philadelphia, PA, where she focuses on tax law for individuals and businesses. Erb is also mom to three children, so she can add “dinosaur expert”, “cupcake baker” and “princess dress designer” to her resume.

Are you pushing your kids to get double-credit for classes and courses in college and high school? Are you letting things happen on a slower, perhaps more organic level with that accomplishments and educational goals? Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Finding More Info About Colleges and Universities

SchooLinks Website

As much as I can’t believe it, I’ve got a child that’s just a few years away from pursuing higher education at a college or university. It was quite an reality-check when we received the first piece of mail addressed to my son from a college. I’m guessing the next reality check mail will be when the AARP offers start coming to the house as well.

I received an email from someone through the site that let me know about a new website called SchooLinks that helps parents and students gather more information about all the opportunities that are available to us as we enter into this journey of the next stage in my son’s educational life.

I’ll be honest, frequently I wonder how my life would be different now if I had the online resources at my disposal for this type of research and self-training that’s available. My opinion is having more information at your fingertips is never really a bad thing. So, I had Kara from SchooLinks write up a little bit about the website to share with you all and just throw it out there for you as a resource to use for your family.

Education is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. It shows them how to think as individuals and allows them to grow into the person that they’re meant to be. We are lucky enough that where we live allows our children to have a free education, however, what about when they want to pursue higher education and college tuition starts to skyrocket?

Our nation is experiencing a widening achievement gap between students who have the potential to be successful in college, but are unable to afford the price of a college education. Many of these students have enjoyed a free education between grades K-12, and have been academically successful. These same students have the ability to perform well in college, however, their own education will now cost them thousands of dollars that they don’t have. Sure, there are many scholarships available, however it is extremely difficult to find a scholarship that they are actually eligible to apply for. As parents, we want to provide our children with the best education possible but a $40,000 price tag is enough to make us think it’s acceptable to settle on education.

SchooLinks is an EdTech start-up that is on a mission to bridge the achievement gap and get students into colleges they will be successful at without putting them over their heads in debt. Our children are unique learners, so why should they be restricted to where they go to college because they are unaware of their options? SchooLinks introduces prospective college students to a network of worldwide schools, thus opening them up to countless educational opportunities. Simple tricks such as chatting directly with an admissions officer significantly increases a student’s chance of getting accepted to their top choice, and SchooLinks makes this possible with thousands of schools around the world. Furthermore, features such as Scholarship Matching pairs students with scholarships that are suitable for them, which cuts out countless hours of fruitless searching that has frustrated students for years.

If our children are the future, why should they be limited to where the advance their studies? SchooLinks wants to eliminate the notion that it’s okay to settle on your education. Reasons such as “It’s too expensive.” or “I don’t know what other options are out there.” will be things of the past, and your children will be able to afford and attend the college that is the best fit for them. Lets build a stronger and brighter future and get our children linked up with their future Alma Mater, today.