"Children learn whatever you teach them, whether you've intended for them to learn it or not. "

School Issues

John's Most Recent Articles

School Discipline in Steady Decline

Posted on 2/12/2019

I receive a steady stream of missives from teachers, ex-teachers, and other folks who have insider knowledge of America’s schools. They all say the same thing – classroom discipline is falling...

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Public Education Myths and Facts

Posted on 2/6/2019

As regards nearly every public policy topic these days, myths abound, but few mythologies rival that of public education. A sample: <b>Myth: Smaller classrooms promote better...

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9-Year-Old Daughter Says She Doesn't Like School

Posted on 11/28/2018

Q: Our 9-year-old daughter recently announced to us that she doesn’t like school, doesn’t want to go, and doesn’t want to do the work. We’ve been unable to get a coherent reason out of her and...

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Determinism Muddies Parental Judgement

Posted on 10/24/2018

As the current school year kicked off, I began hearing the same-old, same-old report from teachers and principals: children who have never lied. At least, that is what the parents of said children...

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What's a Young Teacher to Do About Discipline?

Posted on 9/4/2018

As another school year begins, one of many pertinent questions is “Has the per child or per-teacher (it doesn’t matter) rate of verbal and emotional abuse by teachers on students increased...

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The Great Pre-K Debate

Posted on 8/28/2018

It has long been known, but only spoken of in hushed tones by university professors sitting in darkened rooms wearing Fat Elvis masks, that pre-Kindergarten “jump-start” (aka, “push-down”)...

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Parents of Unmotivated Teen Should Stop Stressing

Posted on 4/25/2018

Q: Our 17-year-old son is flunking his junior year in high school. Flunking is not a possibility; it is a definite, a done deal. He has passed the point where he could turn this around. He’s very...

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Don’t Go Down the Road of ADHD Testing

Posted on 4/17/2018

Q: Our son, age 8, did fine in school in first grade, but has struggled in second. We’ve taken your advice and not helped much with his homework other than occasional and brief “consultations.”...

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Weighing the Options of Repeating Kindergarten

Posted on 3/28/2018

Q: Even though he had an early-August birthday, we started our son in Kindergarten this past Fall at a private Christian school. They did some testing prior to the start of the school year and...

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Are College Visits Necessary?

Posted on 1/3/2018

Q: Our 17-year-old daughter wants to begin visiting colleges. She’s a high-school junior this year and this is when the college visitations begin. We’re feeling like the Grinches Who Stole...

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Recent Questions

When Food Issues Become Power Struggles

Posted 2 weeks ago

I asked a question about my 8 year old sneaking sweets - we have since carried out your suggestions - but it is not working. She looks for other ways to get sweets. We allowed her to buy some cup...

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Curing the School Blues

Posted 2 weeks ago

My second grader claims she hates school and her teacher. What can I do to help her love school and be positive?

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Kindergarten bathroom blues.

Posted 3 weeks ago

My 5yr old just started kindergarten and refuses to use the bathroom. There is one right off her classroom, but she won’t use it. Now, this is a child that has never had any issues using public...

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Encouraging Friendships

Posted 3 weeks ago

We have recently moved from US to Singapore for 3 years with my husband’s job. My 11 and 5 year old have made lots of friends and are settling in. My 9 year old son is happy to go to school and...

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7 yro needs a check up from the good old Dr.

Posted 3 weeks ago

I am starting my 3rd year of homeschooling my son who is now a 7 year old 2nd grader. And this year I’ve added my 5 year old kindergartener. I have struggled with the 7 year old obeying me...

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Morning Routine

Posted 3 weeks ago

Hi there. I have twin boys who turned 5 the end of July. They are starting school September 5. I want to establish a good routine for the mornings. I have been a stay at home since they were...

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Field Trip

Posted 4 weeks ago

My son is 13. He is in 8th grade. The school he is attending goes on an intercession trip once a year. We did not allow him to go last year because of immaturity and he has stomach issues and has...

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Continuing Challenges with 6-Year-Old

Posted on 8/5/2019

Our 6-year-old daughter will go to school in a month. Some doctors say she has ADHD. We take much effort to prepare her for school as she is falling behind on knowledge that is required for...

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Premature Worry

Posted on 7/30/2019

Hello. I adopted my son, now 5 1/2, at birth, and I am a single working (teacher) mother. He is close to my brothers and my dad and has never expressed a desire for a dad and when asked, will...

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Trouble with Transitions at Preschool

Posted on 7/10/2019

A follow up to my previous question... we have had several informal conferences with the director of my 3 y/o son’s preschool. It seems like everything is fine until he is asked to do something...

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