kitchen table math, the sequel: Mr. Happy goes to Oberlin

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mr. Happy goes to Oberlin

at Inside Higher Ed (not for kids)


Catherine Johnson said...

Karen H sent me that link.

It's all her fault.

MiaZagora said...

I get your blog in a feed reader and my kids were in the room when I opened it up. Not cool.

Catherine Johnson said...

ok, cake is gone - VERY SORRY!

I've left the Oberlin link (to the article, which includes the photo) because I want Oberlin to have the publicity.

MiaZagora said...

Okay, after I fell all over myself trying to get that link out of the "Math Blogs" section as well as the "General Education" section, I read the article. Glad to know you haven't been taken over by a stranger and turned into some type of perverted math/smut site after all.

Yeah...disgusting. I guess Oberlin is off "the list" (as if it were ever ON "the list" to begin with - or, more accurately, as if there were ever a list in the first place), but who knows what all goes on behind the closed doors at colleges these days? Kind of like Congress...

Catherine Johnson said...

Nope! Haven't been body snatched! (And I'm SO sorry you opened that link with your kids around - BIG LAPSE OF JUDGMENT HERE.)

ditto re: Oberlin

Allison said...

If you think Oberlin is off the list for that, you will have almost no colleges in your list. Really, you have NO IDEA how much of college student life is this degraded and degrading as a matter of course.

Actually, your local public middle school is probably not much better. Here's a book worth reading by Miriam Grossman. Here's another. The first is about what's wrong with the culture on college; the second about middle school and up.

There must be sites on the web that tell the truth about schools, but I can't find any that are honest.

MiaZagora said...

Thanks for the book suggestions, Allison. Our oldest daughter is in sixth grade, but we have always homeschooled. I have been "schooled" on the conditions of our local public middle school, and, having gone to private Christian school way back in the dark ages, I remember things weren't so innocent there, either. I have friends who work with middle and high schoolers at church and, even there, I have heard how things can be. You just have to impress upon your kids how important it is to choose wisely when it comes to friends, and to be an individual rather than always following the crowd.

When a kid gets old enough to go to college, there really isn't much you can do. Just give them a good foundation, pray for them every day (every minute?), and hope they make the right choice.

Allison said...

I'm not sure I agree with you about "when a kid gets old enough for college". Now, I'm really biased by being dumb enough to go to college at 16. But this may be a word-choice thing.

But here's my take: you can be academically ready for college long before you are socially or emotionally ready for living alone among other not-yet-adults in your age group, and parents, imo, are right to decide this for their kids, rather than leave this up to the child to figure out on their own. Culture is King, and once in a given subculture, you normalize your own sense of what's normal to the mean of that subculture. You can't see outside that to know how far you are from the norm.

So you can do more to give them a good foundation. For one, you could have them NOT go to college until after they have learned to live "on their own". If I'd been a waitress for a year while having an apartment and learning to pay my bills on time, I'd have been infinitely better off than going to college when I did.

Separating the dating scene from one's living arrangements is another big way to help your kid. Either you teach them that, e.g. dating is for when you're serious about marriage, or you teach them that dating is for learning to spend time with other people, not for coupling up, or whatever your values are, but you can definitely create a climate where it's inappropriate to confuse coed living and dating the way it is confused on college campuses.

One way to do that is to have them live at home while going to college, so that they don't become immersed in that entirely different culture.

But yes, to the larger point: at some point, you do have to let them be adults in the real world, and the real world is filled with hazards. Still, the old hazards were a lot less subtle.