Monday, June 22, 2015

Attention Lazy Parents: Whatever You Do, Don't Let Your Kids "Lose Their Educational Edge" This Summer

According to this educational parenting piece by Dr. Gail Gross in The Huffington Post, you should spend your summer making sure that your kids don't "lose their educational edge," otherwise you're the world's shittiest parent.

Now is not the time for your first grader to wander aimlessly through the woods, picking wildflowers, blowing bubbles, and catching frogs like some hillbilly redneck. These ten weeks are when you must remain vigilant, lest your children fail to reach their full potential as a captain of industry or the next Atul Gawande or Mark Zuckerberg. 

Accordingly, here is O.H.M.'s take on Dr. Gross' 8 ways to ensure your kids stay and/or become child prodigies this summer:

1. Visit your local library. As Dr. Gross says, "A family trip to the library is a wonderful source for many activities." Go to the magazine section and find that one issue of U.S. News and World Report with the college rankings. Make your child read them all to you out loud from top to bottom. Tell them that if they don't get their act together NOW, they're going to end up on acid at Bard, and that in THIS family, we are pre-med at Yale.

2. Encourage your children to connect with other children: Dr. Gross tells you to get your kid a pen pal or a book club as a "fabulous way of engaging your children in reading and writing." Don't expose them to actual living children who could throw them off their game, be a bad influence, or otherwise lead them astray. If you can, find a pen pal in Africa or India so your kid has something profound and cross-cultural to write about on their college admissions essay.

3. Cook with your children: Cooking is a good way to learn about fractions, measurements, and world cuisine. Don't just slap together a plate of nachos for fuck's sake. Take out a Julia Child cookbook and force your kids to make beef bourguignon from scratch. Yell at them and tell them that if they scald the shallots, they'll never eat lunch in Paris again.

4. Get into the act with the whole family: Dr. Gross suggests putting on musicals and family plays. Write a script about what happens to little girls and boys who don't practice their times tables and go skip rocks in a creek instead. The final act should end with your kids behind the bathroom at your local gas station, dispensing blow jobs to support their meth habit as twenty-somethings who failed to listen to their parents.

5. Spell F-U-N with family game nights: Monopoly and Life are great board games for teaching family values like becoming a real estate baron. Mix things up with a round of Hungry Hungry Hippos. When they win, smack them upside the head and tell them that no one likes a pig at a cocktail party.

6. Teach about money, stocks, and bonds: Use the newspaper, says Dr. Gross, as a teaching tool. Get out the business section of the Wall Street Journal. Ask the kids to make a collage of everyone in it and then glue it to their bedroom ceiling. Put glow-in-the-dark stars around the border of the collage so that the eerie glow of Donald Trump's face is the last thing they see when they fall asleep at night.

7. Make the most of family vacations: Dr. Gross wants you to visit places like Valley Forge or the Liberty Bell so that your kids learn about history. Drag your kid on a cross-country tour of every boring historical site you can possibly think of. When they ask to go to Hershey Park instead, grab their arm really hard, squeeze it, and hiss in a rageful whisper that roller coasters are for proletariats.

8. Play tourist in your hometown: And you don't have to travel far or spend a lot of money, says Dr. Gross! Visit the sketchiest trailer park you can find, and drop your kids off there for five hours. If they're still alive after that, tell them that this is where you'll bring them the next time they refuse to do trigonometry problems before bedtime in July.


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