Christian living- dealing with one 'oops' at a time…

Posts tagged ‘education’

Let’s Pretend…With Our Children’s Education

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Let’s pretend that Common Core won’t cause teachers to pretend that students who do not learn the skills assigned to that grade are actually proficient. Nor will it cause students who are able to go ahead, to be held back, because those skills are not a part of the core curriculum for their year.

No Child Left Behind led to a rash of teacher cheating, and good grades being given to those who did not deserve them. I know because my children were part of this failed experiment. They also learned strategies to test taking and essay writing that allowed them to demonstrate knowledge without actually having any.

Did you know that if you pick out the biggest word in a question, then find that word in a paragraph and write the sentence you found the word in down you will most likely get the question right?

Did you know that the trick to writing a good summary is to pick the longest sentence in each paragraph, write them down and then change a few words here and there to make it your own work?

Did you know that you can get up to 75% in math by writing the numbers given in the problem as an addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problem in the space provided even if none of your answers are right because somewhere on the paper you demonstrated the right process for solving the problem? (3 points for showing your work/ one point for the right answer. The students who do the math in their heads but get all the right answers receive a 25%…)

Did you also know that a child who does not know all of her letter sounds, and is still counting beans in math at the end of the third grade, in a regular classroom, can receive straight As on her report card because her emotional handicap somehow means she needs to see those grades in order to achieve? (She was pulled out of a regular classroom twice a day for thirty minutes for math and reading taught in a 15:1 setting… And this is what the social worker called being ‘grade level’ and ‘doing fine in school.’)

Instead of standardizing education (because we know that every kid fits the standard) why don’t we encourage teachers to find what works for their students and let the parents be the judge of whether, or not, the child is getting what they need. School choice and more parental involvement is a better option than any one-size-fits-all program (even to the point of the local parents being able to get rid of teachers who do not meet their children’s needs- after all, the parents do pay the teachers’ salaries in the form of taxes…).

I took my children (who were adopted when they were older) out of this system and home schooled them. All of my special ed kids graduated high school. One served in the Marines, and now works in Kuwait. Another is in hotel management and is a high school soccer coach, and the third, who was to live in a group home for the rest of her life, is now a mother of two who works part time at a hotel. If I can do this without a teaching degree, just think of what our schools could do if we pushed them to try!

Let’s stop pretending and make real changes that really work. Implementing programs that are sure to fail and paying more into a system that has not produced results is just plain nuts.

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The Minimum Wage Fallacy (And A Possible Solution)

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FB rumor has McDonald’s in NYC considering raising their minimum wage to $15/hour and the young adults on my FB feed are excited and are posting about how they should move there. Bad idea. Why? NYC is an expensive place to live and, the truth about wealth is that it is not about how much you make, but about how much you can buy with it. Let me explain.

If you make $500/week and an apartment rents for $300/ month in your area you are doing okay. But, if you make $500/week and an apartment in your area rents for $1,000/month you have a lot less money for extras, and chances are the ‘extras’ in your area cost more too. So in one part of the country $500/week is a living wage, while in another part you may need a second job to make ends meet. This is the problem with living in NYC versus upstate NY; everything costs more in NYC.

Now let’s look at raising minimum wage in general. Here’s what typically happens:

1. Minimum wage goes up.

2. The price of everything you buy goes up as businesses need to make more money to pay their employees. People are often laid off as well to cut expenses.

3. Taxes on goods increase, since sale tax is a percentage of what you pay for an item.

The result:

1. Less people have jobs and the things you buy now cost more.

2. The people who were making slightly more than minimum wage typically do not get raises, so they are busted down to living a minimum wage lifestyle again.

How to tell how much you truly make:

Bread is a great indicator of wealth, since it represents how much it takes to feed your family. If you make $7/hour and bread in your area costs $3.50/loaf then you make 2 loaves/hour. If minimum wage increases to $10/hour, but the price of bread goes up to $7/loaf you can no longer buy two loaves of bread for an hours worth of work, so even though you have more money in your pocket, it is worth less and you are poorer. This is typically what happens when minimum wage is raised, and the poor now have to work harder for less spending power even though they technically make more than they did before.

So how do we actually help the poor?

1. Encourage job growth. More jobs means more demand for employees. Employers will therefore be motivated to pay higher salaries to get the workers they need. In areas where there are a lot of workers and few jobs wages tend to be low and working conditions less desirable.

2. Educate people from a young age about the importance of a good work ethic. Employers will pay more to keep a good worker. Further, when your place of employment is known for its quality more people buy there and they will often pay more money for the service. More money for the company means there is more money for employees’ salaries and benefits, and since every company wants to keep their good reputation, being the best means they will pay more to retain your services as well. Doing things well pays off in the end.

3. Mentoring. Encourage job shadowing early in high school and mentoring later, even through the adult years. People need to be in contact with people who have ‘made it’ to where they want to be in the world. Why? Because there are skills and habits successful people have that some people need to learn in order to succeed. They will not learn business manners unless they are exposed to them. We can all think of someone who did something really inappropriate on the job (and was subsequently fired.). The sad fact is that they probably did it out of ignorance. Mentoring also lessens the feeling of ‘why bother/ it’s impossible/ I’ll never make it’ by showing the person that there is a real person (flaws and all) who did what they want to do, and who can show them how to do it too. Many people do not want to bother others, or do not feel they are good enough to be a more successful person’s friend, so the mentor needs to be pro-active in continuing the relationship.

4. Aggressively counter the victim mentality whenever possible. My adopted son tried pulling the race card once (and only once). He had not been discriminated against (half of the police force here looks like him…), but he did not want to accept that he got what he deserved because of his own actions. Whenever possible the principle of cause and effect needs to be clearly defined so that whatever ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ exists that causes people to feel that it is not worth trying is eliminated, or at least minimized. Any real discrimination needs to be dealt with as well, harshly so others will not do the same. Being made to feel like you cannot succeed (learned helplessness) is a serious crime. (Ironically, my son-in-law (white) grew up in a situation where he felt it was useless to finish high school. My daughter (dark skinned) passed his level of education despite multiple issues that affected her ability to learn. Expectations matter.)

5. Do everything you can to discourage single motherhood. Single motherhood is a big factor in children not doing well. Fathers, even if they do not marry mom, need to be encouraged to be productive, helpful, ever-present parts of their children’s lives. If there are single mothers, support is needed. Not hand-outs, but help. Families who come up beside the mother and help her learn how to handle the terrible twos, or the sulky teen will do much to improve the child’s future. But you must come up along side the mom. Trying to replace mom and subtly implying that their mother is less-than typically undermines her authority and makes the situation worse long-term. Mom is the authority figure in this situation and, unless she is completely neglectful (in which case social services may be needed) she is the one who must ultimately be in charge of the child.

6. Encourage small business start-ups. Many poor people have skills, and do not realize that they do not need an employer to profit from them. (Heck, my cleaning lady runs two crews of young girls and probably makes more than I do!) House cleaning, yard work, repair jobs etc can result in large profits and the eventual employment of others when organized well. Paintings, jewelry and other items can also be sold on-line, so even though there are not buyers who appreciate or have extra money for these things in your community, you can reach those who are interested anywhere in the world.

Things that hurt the poor (that we think help):

1. College. College is great- if you have a career goal and know what to do with your degree when you are through. College just for the sake of going loads young adults down with debt and does not result in a job. Without a clear knowledge of where to apply with said degree and how to interview well enough to be wanted in that field many twenty-somethings return home with large loans and no way to pay them off. Some degrees require a masters, MBA or PhD to be marketable. It is good to know this before you start down that path. Others require great inter-personal skills. Introverts may not find they are a good fit if they did not understand what the job really entailed, and may not get hired because the employer was looking for a ‘people-person.’ Again, college is great if you are obtaining a skill you need to achieve your goal. College is wasted if you choose something you are ill-suited to do, or if you do not complete all the education typically required in your field. Guidance is needed for children of all socio-economic levels so they understand this point.

2. Government programs. Do you know how many times I have been working with someone who is starting to succeed and then they quit because they now qualify for a ‘program?’ Programs without mentoring are useless. Money is needed when you are poor, but so is education. Local help works so much better than a check. One of my favorite charities pays the participants for learning in credits that can be used in their store. The classes involve homework to be done before class, a video, then a session with a volunteer where the video is discussed. Most of the classes are on life-skills such as parenting, and it works. The participants improve their situation, develop relationships with the volunteers so they have someone to ask questions of when life gets tough and they have access to clothing and other everyday items they need for their family.

3. Subsidized housing. It is not the subsidy that is the problem, but the fact that it tends to put the poor in one place. Poor people need access to people who have succeeded, or they will not likely learn how to succeed. There are many ways to de-segregate the poor (and it should not be forced, or there will be resentment). Churches are a great place for people to inter-mingle, as are sports and other community activities. For self-destructive behavior not to be reinforced there must be access to role models who live differently. Placing the poor in one area does minimize crime in other areas, but exponentially increases its likelihood in the places where life is seen as ‘futile’ and trying hard is ‘useless.’

We need to be pro-active when it comes to the poverty problem.

Schools in poor neighborhoods would do well to invite professionals who came out of the neighborhood to speak to the children often so they know it can be done. (And these people know how the children think so they will be more effective in reaching them than you or I would.)

Less traditional teaching methods and out-of-the box thinking must be used to encourage the children to achieve. Anything that is not working must be replaced. Children from environments that do not emphasize the need for school require different approaches than schools that are full of children whose parents reinforce the need to do well. Home school resources have addressed every type of learning style (and then some) in order to make learning fun and effective. Let’s allow the teachers access to what is already available as well. Let’s also allow volunteers from the surrounding communities to help. One-on-one attention for a struggling student is priceless.

Schools also need to keep the teachers excited and motivated. Burned out teachers do not teach well, and children who are not sure why they are even in school are tough to work with. Teacher rotation, encouragement and training by teachers who have been successful with children like theirs may be necessary. (Listening to Mrs. So and So who taught at the prestigious private school may not result in knowledge that applies to this population of children.) (School choice may also help with this.)

Another idea is to capitalize on what the students do know. In our area many of the less-successful-in-school children know two languages poorly. We need translators, and they have a head start having spoken both languages from birth. Offering classes that clean up their grammar and spelling and lead to a job translating in the courts, hospitals, tourist areas or even the UN would be helpful. (I was astonished that, in a largely Hispanic area, the federal court translators we saw on a field trip were not Hispanic. This is likely because, while we have many, many bilingual citizens there were likely not many that could pass the required test.) In other areas children grow up loving cars (mechanic, engineer, design classes), art (typically graffiti) could lead to graphic design courses etc. We need to get creative and real before these children’s talents are lost and they do not know what to do with their lives.

These are all just ideas. It is up to you to decide what will work in your community and make it happen.

Why I Am Not in Favor of the Common Core

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As you know, if you have been reading my posts, we adopted three children who were already in school, but definitely not learning. We decided, after trying public, private and supplemental tutoring that home schooling worked the best for us. Why? Because individual attention, when a student is behind, trumps any other form of education. The student needs to back up and learn at their own pace, which is sometimes painfully slow.

Thanks to ‘no child left behind’ my third grade daughter, who did not know her letter sounds and was still counting beans in math, received straight As. (No kidding.) When I asked why, the teacher patted her on the head and told me that children like her (with emotional issues) needed to see those grades for their own self-esteem. Those grades did not help her ‘self-esteem.’ Even though she was doing poorly in school, she was smart enough to know her report card was a joke. Any incentive grades could have made in her learning was now gone. (And she was competitive with her brothers who received ‘real’ grades on their report cards.)

Any national standard will leave children like mine behind. The teacher will need to keep the children on pace with the curriculum and it will be a disincentive to slow down when the children are struggling, and at times whole classes struggle. A friend of mine called me frustrated because he had a class of third graders that did not have their sight-words (the, did, for, run- things you should be able to spell automatically without sounding out) memorized yet. He had to go back and teach the basics before they moved on. This meant that this class would not finish where previous classes had, but they needed the basics. To try to stay on track would have resulted in them being even further behind.

Where we live today the high school students can pass a class titled ‘Algebra,’ but since the math teacher needs to catch them up they may not learn as much as the children who were surrounded by students more motivated to learn. The problem is the children, and their parents think they learned, and succeeded in Algebra. When the child gets to college and fails in math, they will not understand why, and likely be frustrated enough to quit. Common standards will only result in more of this, not less, as schools will have to look like they are following the standard. It is better for a child to succeed at a lower level, knowing that they know what they know then to believe they have achieved and have skills when they do not.

Further, every community has its own flavor and needs. America should be diverse. One community may wish to focus on farming, since that it what they do, while another is overjoyed there is a CAD lab in their school. Let’s let us be unique. One of America’s greatest assets is her diversity.  Let’s not put anything in place to stifle this.

Common Core stands to lessen the overall knowledge of our country since everyone will have studied similar things. Someone should know Shakespeare well, while others studied Van Gogh. There should be a place where computer scientists thrive (like Silicon Valley) without the future farmers wondering why there is all of this programming stuff in their curriculum. (True farms benefit from some computing, but not the level the parents of Silicon Valley employees, or their children who have grown up thinking in C, would enjoy.) Having everyone learn a little of everything makes no one an expert in anything. Further there is bound to be some great stuff that is left out, or an agenda that begins to permeate our country that exists without critical evaluation because it was introduced at a young age and no one is taught to question it. (And everything should be questioned. I once took a course proving that Calculus exists. How many people have just taken it for granted that it does? We need a few people here and there that know why and how it works, rather than just doing it to get the answer right on the paper… but, as most successful adults can tell you, we do not need many of these people, because most of us who have taken Calculus have never used it again in our adult lives. The point: All knowledge is good, but not everyone needs the same knowledge.) Let us keep our diversity and find a different way to ensure than all children learn.

Photo by Matija Barrett

Benghazi- Using Everything to Teach Your Children

Photo by Matija Barrett

Photo by Matija Barrett

We home school, so when the news on Benghazi broke it became part of our lesson plan. In our home, everything is an object lesson. It is not just about the facts, but what we can learn from them. Here’s how it played out in our home…

1. You never, ever tell a lie especially when you know it will have a negative effect on someone else’s life.
People seem to forget the lie about the video landed a man in jail, with his reputation besmirched, as he became the person who caused the death of four men through his negligence. It doesn’t matter what his reputation was beforehand. He did not deserve this. Words have consequences, and for this man, a You Tube video that garnered little attention and likely would not have amounted to much now put him into the public spotlight and a jail cell. Why? Because someone lied.

2. When you realize you are wrong, you correct yourself and apologize.
Even if someone thought this really was about the video, when it became clear it was not about the video you come forward and fix your mistake. It is obvious now that it was never about the video, and, as far as I know, no one has done anything to rectify this lie. Instead, the game plan seems to be to pretend this never happened. Pretending a mistake did not happen is not how an upright person goes through life.

3. You do not leave people under your authority in harm’s way.
If Chris Stevens was a child, this would be abuse. He was placed in a dangerous situation, with inadequate protection, and his reasonable requests to the people in charge were denied. If this had been a business, it would be shut down. My daughter hit the nail on the head when she likened the situation to David sending Uriah to the wall then pulling back his reinforcements.

4. If you cannot provide what a person under your authority needs, you do not put them into the situation.
Chris Stevens was an American, and a homosexual. He was sent to an area where there are people who wish to kill both. Calling the residence something other than an embassy because it is not up to regulations is not going to protect this man. CYA is not ‘right,’ and in this case it got people killed. An upright person, one who is worthy of being in charge, worries more about their people than about getting ahead. It should never be about whether or not you can technically get away with it, it is about whether or not it is right to do.

5. When there is a problem, you send help, all the help you can.
No one knows when a situation will end, or what will turn then tide. Everything available should have been co-coordinated and sent. Two ex-Navy seals did a miraculous job holding people off, until they were overcome. What could a few more do? We will never know.

6. You plan for the future- all possible futures.
While there are situations that one cannot foresee, an attack on an embassy in a Muslim country on 9/11 was entirely foreseeable. (O.K. Technically it was not an embassy, just a house with an American in it who officially represented the U.S. -C.Y.A. always looks stupid in hindsight, remember that.) By saying the closest help was 20-24 hours away what you are saying is that you had no viable plan for saving these people who you knew were in harm’s way. This is disgraceful and unacceptable. What was so important in Benghazi that it was worth the lives of four Americans?

7. “What does it matter?”
When people are dead it always matters. It matters to loved ones, and to the people who are under you who want to be assured, as they continue their employment, that they do not become one of the dead. When dealing with death it always matters. This is why we do autopsies. This is why we have hospital ethics committees. This is why we investigate when a body is found. We want to make sure that whatever happened will never happen to another person again. And if your job is to protect these people, and the system you set up failed, you need to know why, and you need to fix it. It should be your top priority, so it never, ever happens again.

8. A leader needs to communicate.
Even if you believe everything that can be done has been done, you need to communicate that to the people you are accountable to. They need to know the situation has been resolved, and that someone cares. Caring may seem like a little thing, but it shows the people who place their lives, and their loved ones’ lives, in your care that they can trust you. People who care understand a families’ need for closure, and to know that their loved one did not die in vain. The people who continue under you need to know that everything will be done so that this never happens again.

So how can we apply this to our own lives?

1. We watch our words. While we try to avoid all lies, we realize that lies that shift the blame to others are especially heinous.

2. We take responsibility for our actions. When we realize a mistake has been made, we fix it. This is especially important in jobs where people’s lives depend on you. In healthcare, if a mistake is left uncorrected a person may die. As an electrician, a house may catch fire etc, etc. You never, ever ignore problems like this and hope no one notices.

3. You do everything you can to ensure the safety of those who depend on you. If your child claims they are being mistreated, you investigate. You do not leave them at the mercy of a bully, or a pedophile etc because it is an inconvenience. And you trust the child to know when he does not feel safe.

4. If you know the situation is not safe, you do not leave someone there. You do not leave a child in a daycare you do not trust. You do not leave your dog outside without water in 100 degree weather. You do not leave a baby unattended by the stairs and hope nothing will happen. You do everything in your power to ensure the safety of those who rely on you.

5. When there is a problem, you get help. You do not refrain from calling 9-1-1 because you might be embarrassed. You do not refrain from seeking medical help because you are afraid of the outcome, or that the doctor might think you are a bad parent. You get help because help is needed and you care more about the lives of the people who rely on you than you do about your feelings and reputation.

6. You plan for the future, even the ones you do not want to face. You buy smoke detectors and practice safety drills. You have flashlights, batteries and back-up power for when the electricity goes out. You purchase jumper cables and have insurance. Why? Because even though all of these things are a waste of money if nothing ever happens, they will be invaluable if something does, and as responsible people, we plan for these events.

7. You examine the things that go wrong in life, and try to keep them from happening again. If you lose a job, you try to ensure your next job will be more secure, either with a better company, or by obtaining more skills (or by not doing the foolish thing that caused you to be fired…). If someone gets hurt, you fix the step, melt the ice, etc. You do not allow others to suffer the same injury if possible.

8. You let people know you care. You show them the fix, comfort them during their time of loss or convalescence etc. Doctors are told that most lawsuits do not begin when a person is hurt, but when a hurt person perceives that no one cares. This applies to teachers, mechanics, waiters etc. Mistakes will be made, but if the person knows you care they can trust that you will do your best to make things right and that is all most people are asking for.

These are just rules of basic living. I think that’s why this scandal, more than any of the others I have lived through, bothers me so much. The other scandals were mainly stupid and involved being incredibly short-sighted (too short-sighted to be in the positions they were in), but this one, this one violates so many principles a decent person should have internalized by just being alive, by just being a parent, by just living in this world, that it causes me to question deeply just how morally bereft our society is, especially when many people have a hard time seeing why this was so wrong…

Let me summarize, in case you missed it:
Our government put our representatives into a situation where we knew there would be people who would want to kill them. They did not provide them with even the minimal security an embassy should have, but instead called it by a different name so they would be exempt from the need to protect them. They then had no plan to help should trouble come. (Or, would not allow that plan to be implemented.) They then stopped the people who were willing to go to help from doing so. Then they lied and told us about a ‘spontaneous protest’ and a video. If we find out this was all to ensure someone got re-elected, it just gets so much worse… How do you not see something wrong?

25 Ideas for Home Schooling Teens

1. Adult Education Courses– There are many adult education courses given in most communities. Check with your local colleges to see what may be offered. Some may be for an entire semester, while others may be much shorter. Many are fun or useful. Swing dance, medieval weapons making, cabinetry and other interesting things may be offered, so it is not always traditional academic fare.

2. Volunteer– Many places could use an extra hand, and may teach your teen useful skills along the way. There are the traditional places such as the church, hospital, nursing home, soup kitchen or Habitat for Humanity, but the local bee keeper, small engine repairman or dog groomer may also appreciate some unpaid help.

3. Hobby Shops– Hobby shops often have classes that teenagers may enjoy. My children have taken lessons in pottery, dichroic glass fusing, wood working (using a lathe) and jewelry making. I am currently drooling over a glass blowing class, but the youngest is not yet 16 (the cut off age), so we are waiting.

4. Lectures– Museums, colleges and other community organizations often have guest lecturers. Check the local paper and/or the college websites to see what is being offered.

5. Seminars– Many times there are seminars given for the general public. Get Motivated is one of these. They bring in big name speakers. In between the speakers are commercials for other high priced learning opportunities, but if you know how to say ‘no’ to what you know you will not benefit from, then this is a great way to hear some truly remarkable people speak.

6. Church events– Most churches allow everyone to attend their events.  By investigating what each church is offering your teen may see concerts, comedians, take a course on financial responsibility or improve their Bible knowledge.

7. Toast Masters– If your teen is scared to death of public speaking Toast Masters offers a gentle, supportive way to gain confidence. There are Toast Masters groups in most communities.

8. College Events– Many colleges bring in entertainment and allow members of the community to purchase tickets as well.  Most of the time the performances are cheaper than you could see them elsewhere, and your teen gets to check out the college, without the pressure of an official visit.

9. Hikes– There are many interesting hikes to take. Plaques along the way often teach history without it seeming like you planned a history lesson.

10. Mining– Many areas have gem or other precious metal mining for a price. Some also have places where ‘rock hounds’ can dig for free. Use the internet to find places you may dig in your area.

11. Road trips– Your teen should now be doing much of their work independently. If they can complete their course work, then a trip is not unreasonable. Combine education with fun by visiting museums as part of your tour. There are also fun historical places like Pops by Oklahoma City on Route 66 where you can get any kind of soda imaginable.

12. Use movies to teach literature- Learning what onomatopoeia is may not be fun, but it is more fun when you get to watch your favorite movies and look for it. Also many movies are remakes of classics. For example the Lion King is Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and She’s the Man is 12th Night. Google whatever classics you are currently studying and see if Hollywood has a modern remake to compare it to.

13. Use food- Teens are always hungry. Build cells by cutting open a bun, spreading cream cheese and adding other toppings for organelles (a friend of mine’s suggestion).  Frost a cake and decorate it as a contour map of Egypt. Reinforce adding or dividing fractions by doubling or halving the recipe.

14. Use Pinterest- Pinterest has great ideas, especially for crafts. I started looking, and now my daughter goes on herself, gives me a list and does what she likes independently.

15. Order kits- You can do almost anything at home, just follow the directions carefully. The last big project we did was basket weaving.  My daughter now wants to make a carpet ball table.

16. Home Improvement– Many building places offer free classes and suggestions on how to improve your home. Get the kids involved. One day they will have a home of their own and these skills will benefit them. Recently we made mosaic tables, and placed a mosaic dragon on the kitchen floor. My son is now starting to landscape the yard, with the freedom to use some of his own ideas.

17. Cooking classes– As I said, teens are always hungry. Cake decorating is also an option.

18. Interesting science experiments– Search the internet for things that are ‘cooler’ than what you usually do. If you have boy, things that blow up are typically a hit. dissection kits and other interesting activities are also available through sites like Home School Science Tools. Our favorite was making elephant toothpaste!

19. Sports– Many teens are welcome on adult leagues, and classes in Tae Kwon Do, Zumba or golf are also age appropriate now.

20. Music and Drama– Many areas have community bands and theater groups. They are fun and low pressure. If your teen has talent in these areas they may enjoy joining one.

21. Book clubs– If your teen is a reader they may also enjoy joining a local book club. They are a great way to meet interesting people and share ideas.

22. Job Shadow– To help your teen figure out what they want to do in life you may want to set up opportunities for them to observe a day or two on a job they think they would be interested in. Most people will gladly allow them to do this.

23. Allow them to Explore their Own Interests– This is a time for them to develop hobbies that will enrich their lives. Currently my son is looking into blacksmithing, while my daughter is trying her hand at photography. 

24. Part time jobs- Part time jobs give teens practice being responsible and hard working without mom looking over their shoulder. If nothing else they teach your teen exactly why they do not want to leave school early and try to live on minimum wage.

25. Do things with them- They are now approaching adulthood and it is time to start establishing a more adult relationship with them. Take them out to eat, to bowl or anywhere else there is a lot of down time where you may talk. Ask their opinions, listen and try not to over-react if they do not think as you do.

Photo by Matija Barrett

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