Are your kids signed up for daydreaming?

<p>With all of the stress of the season, and all of the "does this look good" and "what more can I do" posts, I thought some of you might enjoy reading this article. I think MIT is actually putting some of this into action. Do you think other schools will or should adopt the new MIT philosophy?</p>

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<p>That's an interesting article, especially mentioning MIT as it does. Thanks for sharing the link.</p>



<p>I firmly believe that emphasizing these are the main reasons my kids have done as well as they have.</p>

<p>I noticed that the Columbia app also had a very small space for ECs, and discouraged extra additions. They do also have another small space for awards. I applaud the changes MIT has made.</p>

<p>The UPenn app has the same small section for ECs and awards. Son used the "Tell us something about you that isnt obvious form the rest of the ap" section to cover a major EC because of the limit elsewhwere....though, they only gave him 300 characters to do it. (about the length of this post)</p>

<p>This is a great article, probably because it confirms what I have been saying here for some time! We need to let our children be children. We are talking about child developmental issues here. Organized sports, piano lessons, summer enrichment programs, college visits with 12 year olds and to what end?</p>

<p>One of my favorite memories growing up was playing baseball. Little League? No way! We played in an abandoned farm field down the street from my house. We only needed ten or twelve neighborhood kids to get a game going and we did at least once a week. We hand mowed the infield. There was a shallow drainage ditch in the outfield. A homerun was onto the railroad tracks. And there was a long one story shed down the right base line. If the ball rolled off the roof toward the field the ball was in play and if it rolled over the peak it was foul. Home plate was immediately in front of an old manure pile beside the barn. And what did we learn? To pick sides fairly. To accept the frequent bad bounces. To handle the close calls at home without an ump. To laugh at loosing a ball in the tall outfield grass. To share bats and gloves. To have fun with friends. To know that baseball was really just another GAME and not a competition.</p>

<p>I see far to many parents and students today who see hyper-achievement as something desirable and good. Why should being president of the debate club be preferable to having fun with a best friend at the local coffee house after school? Why are hours of sax lessons and a seat in the All-State Orchestra viewed as a superior accomplishment to forming a band, composing music, writing arrangements, producing a demo CD and getting a gig opening for a touring band playing in your area? Why should the APSpanish look better on the transcript than Mass Media and Broadcasting for a student who wants to help produce the school's community access TV show?</p>

<p>I have always considered daydreaming--and, more broadly, generous amounts of unstructured time--to be an essential part of education. </p>

<p>Nice to know that Marillee Jones agrees with me. </p>

<p>Back in the late 90s, a U of Michigan Institute for Social Research sociologist, Sandra Hofferth, did an extensive study of trends in children's free time. Free time had fallen substantially and significantly between 1981 and 1997. In particular, the amount of "outdoor unstructured free time" had fallen by 50% in that time. I imagine things have only gotten worse since then, with high-stakes testing and no-child-left-behind mandates. The amount of homework for young children has increased greatly in many places. Remedial test-oriented summer school programs are being pushed on a number of young kids. </p>

<p>One of my personal heroes, Susan Ohanian, a longtime public school teacher (and Teacher of the Year winner), used to support compulsory education, but now she says: </p>

<p>*Nonetheless, with the current curriculum madness, I drop my support of compulsory schooling. I can't support forcing children to endure an oppressive behaviorist curriculum that demeans and diminishes them. I can't support forcing kids into schools that have abandoned kindergarten playhouses, school music programs, P. E.. I can't support forcing kids into schools that award prizes for reading books.</p>

<p>I won't support compulsory attendance until schools adopt a Happiness Index.</p>

<p>Philadelphia child psychiatrist Robert Kay has a solution I like. Compel kids to come as far as the school playground. Then it's the teacher's job to entice them into class. *</p>

<p>She ironically points out a New York Times story about how McDonalds and KFC are sponsoring research to determine "whether cows are ever happy, whether pigs feel pain, and what do chilckens really want?" She then poignantly remarks:</p>

<p>The fact that it is inconceivable to imagine the current U. S. Department of Education or any politician sponsoring research to find out answers to such questions as: "Are 7th graders ever happy? What do 8th graders really want?" should give parents and teachers pause.</p>

<p>from: <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Originaloog, I want to thank you. Your posts have helped support a huge change in how I see my children and their lives (notice I said THEIR lives, not "Our" lives). Thanks.</p>

<p>I remember when my daughter was 5 and she was enrolled in Kids Are Music, Daisies, gymnastics, etc. and one day I was taking her to gymnastics while she was in tears because she didn't want to go and I thought to myself "What am I doing? This is CRAZY!" So I took her out of everything and we just did things for fun...playing baseball in the park, playing tennis and soccer in the cul-de-sac. She loved sports but not competitive sports, when it stopped being fun to her and became all about winning.</p>

<p>And when she started high school, we really had to "strongly disagree" with her counselor about NOT taking all honors and AP courses. My daughter is a good student but she worked hard for her grades. I remember saying to her counselor that daughter was two years ahead in math and that was good enough...she didn't have to be two years ahead PLUS HONORS or AP!! I told the counselor that I still thought she would get into a college!</p>

<p>BUT, with all this "bucking the trend," I remember my daughter when she was 15 asking me if she was a failure because she didn't take all honors or AP classes or have a spectacular EC like all the other kids and I thought how sad it is when we live in a society where a 15 year old can think of themselves as a failure. </p>

<p>So, it has been somewhat of a fight against the mainstream where we live but my daughter at 17 knows that she's not a failure (far from it) and so far she's been accepted to a couple of colleges. SO, it can be done. And you're right, Originaloog, I had SO much fun playing baseball with my daughter and her friends in the park even when the batter would have to duck to keep from getting hit with the pitcher's (usually me) balls!</p>

<p>There's an easy solution, and it fits right in with our CC approach.</p>

<p>Ready? Here goes.</p>

<p>Daydreaming 101, a for-credit course (sign me up) or
The Daydreaming Club, an acknowledged EC activity (imagine the function of the president/daydreamer-in-chief.

<p>Hey I must be really smart, I sure goof off enough for it :rolleyes:</p>

<p>seriously, I really support what MIT is doing.</p>

<p>Dadofsam, when I had my sophomore read this article, his comment was that he wanted to be the founder and president of a daydreaming club at his school, as it could really showcase his interest and leadership in this area.</p>

<p>Over30: Sure; a sophomore SHOULD be quicker on the uptake than I am.</p>

<p>Mine does it enough to teach it!</p>

<p>In my French lycee, we did not have ECs. Unfortunately, the teachers of the classes that used to bore me would comment on my livret scolaire (school report/transcript )that I daydreamed in class. When I applied to an American college, my interviewer seized upon that comment and expressed deep concern. Luckily, I got admitted. :) Whew!</p>

I liked your post a lot. I have a theory about all the organized sports too. When I was a kid EVERY kid got to play sports (which were played in the street, with no grown ups of course). Even if you were the most uncoordinated kid on the block (eg. me) you still had to play because they needed bodies. Consequently we got exercise! Now only the star athletes play sports. They used to be the kids that organized all the street games, and now they have been siphoned off. That leaves the other 70% of the kids home watching tv - hence part of the problem with childhood obescity. Kind of makes you long for the good ole days.</p>

<p>The saddest thing was once, when my son was reading some old book about sports, (he was very young and I can't remember the author but he wrote lots of little books about sports stories) he said to me, "Mom, did you know that long ago kids could just walk through their town and go to a field and play baseball with no coaches?" Broke my heart. (My son only ever sat on the bench for every sport he ever tried.)</p>

<p>David Elkind is a psychologist at Tufts who wrote "The Hurried Child" 23 years ago. He subsequently wrote about the impact of overprogramming and such on family life-as well as on miseducation of children. Thank goodness someone handed me "The Hurried Child" when my eldest was 2. Not that he was a child who could be hurried, but it sure makes it easier to let your kids be when the ramifications of doing otherwise are so well articulated for you!</p>

<p>My #2 son smiled when I showed him the CSM article. 2 days ago he submitted his Penn application and for the "300 characters about what else we need to know about you" brief answer he wrote about what he does on a Friday night (no European History note cards involved, except before finals). He may not get in, but we all felt that he needed to show all sides of himself, and happily he incorporated his main EC passions elsewhere. </p>

<p>It occurs to me that this thread and that about the "sullen son" are looking at the same issue from different perspectives. How do you meaningfully and respectfully guide your child to develop passions and enthusiasm and love of learning and of life?? </p>

<p>On another thread Momrath talked about "helping your child become an interesting person"..I think this is it. It is not about acheivement, it is about the child having interests, being interested and being interesting.</p>

<p>Ooh.. thanks for sharing! :) :) :) </p>

<p>I used to think I was failure for not having spectacular ECs and then I went through a stage where I did things superficially and things went bananas and now they've been reset and that's a good thing. :) </p>