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What I Learned About Raising Kids

January 05, 2017
By Sheila Rawlings
My kids are grown now! My youngest is 25, but I still question, if I did the right things along the way.  They say hindsight is 20/20 vision, but not always.  My kids’ stories are still being written.  I think I avoided some landmines, at least I hope I have, but some well, I’m not so sure. 
 
For starters, let’s talk about creating life habits for children.  One statement that my mother drilled into me was “undisciplined children become undisciplined adults”.  I hated hearing that over and over again, but I have found that to be true.  Whatever habits and structure you create for your children, they will surely carry them out as adults.  It is for this reason that The Neighborhood Academy is committed to a structured school day, and a structured school year. 
 
Conversely, there are many adults that completely lack structure in their lives.  They can’t get up in time, they can’t get to work or school on time, they can’t keep a job, they can’t be consistent, and they can’t finish anything. 
 
When my children would sign up for a sport, or activities, they knew they were going to finish. There was no dropping out or saying, “I don’t want to do this anymore”.  No, that did not work in our house. If you start, you finish.  We are all about finishing.  Anyone can start, but the reward goes to the ones who finish, FINISH.
 
Some students try to convince their parents that our school day is too long or it’s too hard. Don’t fall for that! It’s not. It’s a full day of learning, as it should be. It’s structured to prepare students for the rigors of college, and it does.  For the students who adapt and continue this pattern, they go on to be successful adults. Let your children know they can do it, because they can!  
 
Consider this: We live in a global society.  We compete with individuals from all over the world now days for colleges and jobs, and your kids certainly will. Therefore, how we rank among other countries is now very important.  For instance, according to the Huffington Post listing of the best education systems in the world, it’s no shocker that South Korea and Japan top the list.  South Korean students endure 16-hour school days, yep 16 hours; while Japanese students after a typical 6 hours of classes, students participate in activities for two hours before cleaning the school for the next day, which equates to approximately 8-9 hours/day.  Then, all students must attend classes at least every other Saturday for half day of academics. And, approximately 60% of Japanese students go to Cram schools called ‘Juku’ in the evenings geared specifically to prepare them for college entrance exams.  Though this extends the students hours into the late evening and adds hours of homework to their work load, students have come to find this very stimulating. 
 
I say all of this because foreign students are outpacing US students as a matter of course which means that we must look at factors affecting student performance in the U.S.  Lengthy days and structured in-school time will not harm our students but will only help to prepare them to compete academically, socially and otherwise for life beyond high school.  I also say this because, this is the time of year when our kids feel burn out and they want to quit. Don’t let them!
 
What I learned about raising kids, schoolwork doesn’t hurt our kids.  The more they do the better.  If you have your child at The Neighborhood Academy, you’re doing the right thing. The discipline, the structure, the work, WILL pay off.  You won’t wonder if you’ve done the right thing, you will KNOW you did.
 
I welcome all comments and questions on this topic to sheila.rawlings@theneighborhoodacademy.org 
 
Sources: 
 
http://www.pref.osaka.lg.jp/jidoseitoshien/shugaku/g_english/shu_2_8.html . 1/3/17
Best Education in the World: Finland, South Korea Top Country Rankings, U.S. Rated Average. Updated January 27, 2013. 
 
Daily Life in Japanese High Schools, Marcia Johnson & Jeffrey Johnson, October 1996. Stanford SPICE (Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education.)