298: How to Stop School from Screwing Up Your Kid, Part 1 | Podcast Episode 298

This episode almost didn’t make it.
Not because I don’t think it is wicked important. I do think that.
But because I worried about hurting your feelings.

Ultimately (as you’ll hear in the first five minutes or so) I decided to bring it to you, because from everything I’m seeing, school is broken.
In the long-term, I hope we can work together to fix it.
But in the short-term, we need to make sure that it’s not screwing up our kids.

Plus in Parenting News: This TED talk by Allison Legerwood, “A Simple Trick to Improve Positive Thinking.” Much-needed and much appreciated!

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Today’s episode is sponsored by the amazing Janine Halloran, expert in teaching kids coping skills, and an incredible resource she has created to help your child handle it when the going gets tough!
Listen to today’s show to find out how to get 15% off your order, and then
Click copingskillsforkids.com/okay to check out Janine’s Coping Skills for Kids Cue Card Decks.

(Here is the link to the show notes for this post: weturnedoutokay.com/298)

So, I have been reading a lot of John Taylor Gatto recently. The basis for this episode – and for this four-part series, which will unfold in the coming months – comes from his amazing book Dumbing Us Down.

In this episode I address one way that school can screw up your kid: by emphasizing Indifference.

In Taylor Gatto’s words, school teaches kids “to not care too much about anything.”

But we really, really need them to care.

For their own survival, but just as important, for their happiness and sanity.

As much as you can, give kids the time and space to care. If you can see that they are playing, or doing something that is completely absorbing them, tried to give them as much time as they need to finish it out.

Schools accomplish the feat of taking caring humans and making them indifferent by (in part) training kids to come and go at the sound of a bell. They can’t finish what they start, except, as Taylor Gatto says, “on the installment plan.”

Give your kids as many opportunities as you possibly can to start and finish things that are important to them.

To take as long as they need over a book.

To build, and knock down, and build again, with Lego or other blocks.

To run back and forth down the hall with a scarf.

To feel the green grass beneath their toes.

Help them care, by giving them the opportunity to dive deeply into what they care about.