Being a Better Parent, Raising Teenagers

“Spending Quality Time With A Teen” is Not an Oxymoron– When You’re Volunteering Together

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When my kids were much younger, I was asked by a friend if I’d like to
join The Junior League in our suburban town. I was flattered she would consider me, but after looking at the membership requirements (i.e. time commitment)  I almost laughed in her face.
Going crazy trying to squeeze in freelance writing work and keep my house managed with two kids under the age of six, I couldn’t imagine also having the pressure of performing  a certain
amount of required service hours and getting kicked out if I didn’t. How did my friend do it with two young children herself? (Um, on second thought, I think having a nanny and housekeeper
probably helped her a lot…)

Fast forward about eight years, and another friend is asking if Allison and I might want to join her
chapter of the National Charities League Inc., a nationwide …

Being a Better Parent, Kids and Money

A Scary Lesson in Door-to-Door Sales

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NO SOLICITORS. Those are two words my Girl Scout troop doesn’t like to see when they go door-to-door selling cookies, but I’m finally going to
print them out on my label maker and post them by my own doorbell today, and hope that in the future, the football players, Scouts, Campfire Girls and other well-meaning kids will simply
email me, as some already do, when they want to sell me something. Because there’s just been too many not-so-well meaning door-to-door salespeople in our area lately, and I’ve had

You’d think I’d have had enough long ago, since I’ve hung up on probably thousands of telemarketers (or fought with them– remember the Gay Marriage telemarketer?) and I’ve had every nut in the candy dish knock
on my door since I’ve been a work-at-home mom for almost 15 years. One memorable snaggle-toothed saleswoman slurped her bottle of miracle cleaning product …

Raising Teenagers, Travel With Kids

A College (Re)Visit

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This past weekend, we took  Allison (and Emmie) on our first “official college
visit” as a family. Allison had already been on another, with her aunt, but this was the first “taking a child to see a college in which they’re interested” for the rest of us.  I thought I
would feel really old but at first it didn’t seem like that—a lot of things brought back memories of our own college days for Andy and me and it really did seem like it was yesterday. It was
fun remembering and answering the questions both girls peppered us with as we walked from point to point on our group tour. But we were reminded several times that it really wasn’t yesterday,
and I’m surprised the girls would even consider us as a source of reliable college information.

For example, when Emmie asked me, “What do students do about …

Kids and school, Movies

“Race to Nowhere” Revisited: Two Innovative Approaches to Homework

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So glad that the film, “Race to Nowhere”, is still in wide circulation and that it came to our town three times in the last week, twice at our
high school and once at a local church. The documentary, which I’ve written about before, touches
on all kinds of things that are very relevant to today’s parents– over-stressed kids; restrictive teach-to-the-test teaching methods that don’t teach kids to be problem-solvers; an unrealistic
approach in America toward “college readiness”; in-school cheating; and teen suicide, among other topics. Love the film or hate it, it definitely gets discussion going about things that
definitely need to be discussed. When I saw the film again last week, many parents stayed for a panel discussion that followed and probably wished that part of the program could have lasted
longer. …