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Old 07-28-2010, 05:25 AM   #11
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linrose, I have one of those creatures, a teenager with AP Bio homework this summer.
I still haven't learned successfully when to "step away from the child".
Fortunately for me the assignment has nothing to do with plants or ecology because I am already doing a lot of back ground talking about the AP Art History assignment.
I'm pretty sure part of the reason why your teenager is not interested in ecology now is because you already occupy that niche.
You can't imagine how many times I get the eye roll when I yet again point out a non-native plant.
There is a softening though. Last year I had to cut down the 2 rows of self sown Anise Hyssop along either side of the driveway because the bees might fly into the car when the doors were opened. This year the Hyssop stays and we've been sitting in the car watching the bees and the Gold Finches.
The Bio has to be finished by Friday before a weekend visit to a friend (school doesn't start here until after Labor Day). fingers crossed.
Question, does she really want the AP Bio?
We made the mistake of suggesting an AP English class last year because there was a wonderful teacher even though English was not a favored subject. They added another section with a different teacher and the class was awful and a real challenge to get through. Not worth the struggle even if the grade was excellent.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:38 AM   #12
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Wow, thanks all for the words of wisdom. Raising a child is the toughest job on earth and even though she's my third it doesn't make it any easier.

Equil - I'm trying for the hands-off approach but it's easier said than done. I know she's going off to college in a year and there will be nobody to hold her hand or manage her time for her. I had hoped that this project would be a time to bond, one last mother/daughter moment before she leaves the nest. Boy do I have my head in the clouds!

I'm trying to be philosophical about it all and just let things be. I can't force anything on her, and perhaps someday she'll appreciate what I've tried to teach her. Actually she chose her schedule and AP Biology and AP Calculus were both on it. That shocked me because she's tried to skate through High School easily. She's informed me she wants to be a pediatrician so the science is a must have. I'm not sure why she chose the math. Self-torture perhaps?

will-o-wisp - ah yes, the dreaded eye-roll. Strange creatures those teenagers. About teachers, it really does matter what kind of teacher they are. She had the same teacher for 10th grade Biology as she will have for AP. My daughter hated her and thought the teacher hated her right back. She was tough but a good teacher I thought. Apparently she isn't as tough on the seniors because instead of being required to take the course, they actually signed up for it and presumably want to be there. The course work will be difficult but I think she will actually enjoy it, or maybe that's my hopeful thinking again.

Anyway we do try to instill some sense of the world as we see it into our children. My two older girls remember when one summer when I started a business making pesto that they were "forced" into "slave labor" picking and washing 30 gallon bags full of basil. I never thought they'd eat pesto again, or even anything with basil in it. Now they love it and even though they live in cities still grow a pot or two of basil on the windowsill.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:07 AM   #13
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I think teens have their own worries, which may override things they used to be interested in. They may well return to those interests and things parents taught them to value later in life, when other pressing needs (like friendships, bfs, internal struggles, etc) have been met.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:29 AM   #14
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The hands off approach is hard.... especially when there's only one left in the house. I slap my own hands when I feel the urge. I will admit to sticking post it notes on mine when they're sleeping.... sometimes that's the only way to be sure you got through to them when they open an eye and see pink. I do always add "Love Mom" to the end of what ever reminder I scribbled out. Makes them laugh. I'm the only mom they know of that does that. I put a plant tag on the toe of this last one a month or so ago.... I was out of post it notes. I got his attention. You just gotta interject a little humor into the equation when they start making poor choices to shock em back to reality with a smile on their face.... nagging doesn't work. They prioritize differently than we do and.... they do seem to like to buck the system. A few "helpful" reminders can work wonders.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midwesternerr View Post
I think teens have their own worries, which may override things they used to be interested in. They may well return to those interests and things parents taught them to value later in life, when other pressing needs (like friendships, bfs, internal struggles, etc) have been met.
I'd say you hit the nail on the head. Well said.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
The hands off approach is hard.... especially when there's only one left in the house. I slap my own hands when I feel the urge. I will admit to sticking post it notes on mine when they're sleeping.... sometimes that's the only way to be sure you got through to them when they open an eye and see pink. I do always add "Love Mom" to the end of what ever reminder I scribbled out. Makes them laugh. I'm the only mom they know of that does that. I put a plant tag on the toe of this last one a month or so ago.... I was out of post it notes. I got his attention. You just gotta interject a little humor into the equation when they start making poor choices to shock em back to reality with a smile on their face.... nagging doesn't work. They prioritize differently than we do and.... they do seem to like to buck the system. A few "helpful" reminders can work wonders.
I like it! That made *me* smile too.
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:18 PM   #17
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Loved this 1995 article by David Sobel, exploring the best ways to inspire an ecological awareness in children. Wish I would have seen it a few years ago... would have given me more confidence.

HAVEN - Deep Ecology - The Council - David Sobel

Quote:
While children are studying the rainforest, they are not studying the northern hardwood forest, or even just the overgrown meadow outside the classroom door. Lucy Sprague Mitchell, educator and founder of Bank Street College of Education, spoke of the "here and now," the local forest or urban neighborhood, as the basis for her curriculum with six through nine year olds. It is not until children are thinking logically and abstractly enough that she would embark on the "long ago and far away." It is hard enough for children to understand the life cycles of chipmunks and milkweed, organisms they can study close at hand. This is the foundation upon which an eventual understanding of ocelots and orchids can be built.
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The whole issue of the Earth Week curriculum was a big eye opener to me. The interview patterns suggest that kids who had spent a week or more working on environmental issues were fully taken in by them. The Earth Week group made choices that were heavily weighted with concerns about the earth, the animals, homeless children. The non-Earth Week classes made choices about playing, about families, about having fun. I think we need to be careful about this kind of curricular brainwashing with children this age.
Quote:
If curriculum focused on saving the earth doesn't work, what's the answer? One way to approach this problem is to figure out what contributes to the development of environmental values in adults. What happened in the childhoods of environmentalists, some researchers have asked, to make them grow up with strong ecological values? A handful of these studies have been conducted, and when Louise Chawla of Kentucky State University reviewed these studies she found an intriguing pattern. Most environmentalists attributed their commitment to a combination of two sources, "many hours spent outdoors in a keenly remembered wild or semi-wild place in childhood or adolescence, and an adult who taught respect for nature."
He suggests an age-appropriate model for learning ecology:
Ages 3-7: Empathy
Ages 7-11: Exploration
Ages 11-14+: Social action
He also suggests "no tragedies before fourth grade".
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Old 07-30-2010, 01:15 PM   #18
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At 17, it's a bit hard if you haven't tried to involve her earlier. But you can try. Gee, when I was in a biology class in high school, there was nothing much like that. I mainly remember the dissecting sections, which I sort of liked! I'd been fascinated as a little kid by some aspects of nature. Nobody encouraging that...I just loved the places away from the buildings, roads, concrete, etc. Vacant lots had to do in some areas, other places I lived had real nature close-by. Years later, I read a book, which planted the seed. Life got in the way, but the seeds were planted...they just grew really slowly!
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:03 PM   #19
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We have a pre-teen who entered a phase I would like to see her move through swiftly. Helping them navigate through these phases is frustrating. I admittedly have difficulty knowing when it is best to step away from the child.

Power struggles are no fun for parent or child.

Calliandra, I enjoyed David Sobel's article. Thank you for sharing it. Our conviction to continue exposing her to the great outdoors is once again reinforced. We have found our little one to be less likely to balk over planned family activities when encouraged to invite a friend.
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:58 PM   #20
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I like the post-it note on the forehead idea. If only mine slept here once in awhile!

If 17 seems challenging, I agree that pre-teens are completely befuddling. I don't even want to remember that age.

She's always been involved, perhaps without knowing it, with the natural world just because of our environment and my interests. We've lived many places, mostly rural with acreage except 2 years in the suburbs in Ontario. She's been riding horses and around animals since she was very young. We've collected leaves together and identified the trees around us. I think a lot of her understanding has been absorbed through our rural lifestyle. I do think this will show itself to her later in her life. But right now she has a project to do and is more interested in going to the fair, swimming in the creek, going to bonfires, and enjoying the last weekend of summer with her friends.

I do believe the last quote from Sobel when he says that people who embrace environmental values later in life have a remembrance of a wild place from childhood. I'm definitely one of those people. I never had a mentor or someone who had love for nature early on in life. Those kids are fortunate in my opinion.
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