Archive for the 'Education' category

My KidsClub Kids

 | January 8, 2009 8:56 AM

Kids ClubAt KidsClub I teach grades 4 and 5 boys.  This group is the smallest which is not surprising.  I think it is around this age that boys start finding religion a little “feminine”.  For example singing and dancing during worship is not something that boys are eager to do.

My class has four regular attendees, Christian, Jacob, Martin and Tristan.  It has been a bit harder for me to connect with them than my Sunday School grades 4 and 5 boys from several years ago.  This is because I do not know the parents, I have less time with them and it’s hard to hear them above the din of all the other kids.

Yesterday was a better day with the boys as I got them to interact more with me.  KidsClub suggests various activities for the groups and yesterday those activities worked well with my boys.  First they played a memory verse game and then I had them write down their five favorite things which somehow they really enjoyed doing.  I also asked them to tell me their favorite restaurants.  Here are their responses.

Name Favorite Things Favorite Restaurant
Christian PS2, transformers, GameCube Hometown Buffet, American Diner
Jacob TV, Wii, my room, toys Old Spaghetti Factory
Martin video games Cold Stone Creamery
Tristan scooter Cheesecake Factory
me ThinkPad, MacBook, TV, iPod Touch, bed Palace Buffet

I asked the boys for their favorite restaurant because I was thinking of taking them out one on one for dinner so I could get to know them better. But Ji Seon thinks this is not a good idea, that the parents might think I am some kind of child predator. The negative consequences of an aware society.


International / Asia Pacific
Elite Korean Schools, Forging Ivy League Skills
Published: April 27, 2008

Two rigorous South Korean prep schools have achieved a spectacular record of admission to U.S. colleges.

This New York Times article doesn’t really surprise me based on my experiences, the experiences of my parents’ and the experiences of other second generation Koreans who were academically successful. Koreans believe that getting into a top university will make all the difference in one’s adult life and while this is somewhat true in Korea, in North America not so much. Koreans are willing to sacrifice sleep and any form of pleasure to achieve this.

It is 10:30 p.m. and students at the elite Daewon prep school here are cramming in a study hall that ends a 15-hour school day. A window is propped open so the evening chill can keep them awake. One teenager studies standing upright at his desk to keep from dozing.

And, oh yes. Both schools suppress teenage romance as a waste of time.

“What are you doing holding hands?” a Daewon administrator scolded an adolescent couple recently, according to his aides. “You should be studying!”

Still it is quite amazing the success rate of these prep schools.

This spring, as in previous years, all but a few of the 133 graduates from Daewon Foreign Language High School who applied to selective American universities won admission…

Their average combined SAT score was 2203 out of 2400. By comparison, the average combined score at Phillips Exeter, the New Hampshire boarding school, is 2085. Sixty-seven Daewon graduates had perfect 800 math scores.

South Koreans seem to have a special affinity for the universities of the United States. I meet Korean students all the time and they are not here for just the elite universities, they can be found at all levels.

South Korea is not the only country sending more students to the United States, but it seems to be a special case. Some 103,000 Korean students study at American schools of all levels, more than from any other country, according to American government statistics. In higher education, only India and China, with populations more than 20 times that of South Korea’s, send more students.

Strangely enough this year Harvard decided not to accept any of these elite students.

This year, Daewon and Minjok graduates are heading to universities like Stanford, Chicago, Duke and seven of the eight Ivy League universities — but not to Harvard. Instead, Harvard accepted four Korean students from three other prep schools.

And finally many Koreans can relate to this.

Ms. Kim developed fierce study habits early, watching her mother scold her older sister for receiving any score less than 100 on tests. Even a 98 or a 99 brought a tongue-lashing.

“Most Korean mothers want their children to get 100 on all the tests in all the subjects,” Ms. Kim’s mother said.

Can’t wait to send my kids to these schools. 😉


Considering Homeschooling

 | March 20, 2008 9:01 PM

I have been considering homeschooling for awhile.  Recently we talked to the third homeschooling family we know and they suggested some books to read.  Based on those books I actually ended up borrowing a few others from the library and began reading “The Homeschooling Book of Answers.”

One of my biggest concerns is socialization.  Here is how one of the authors in the aforementioned book addressed this issue.

I define a socialized child as one who easily and cooperatively fits in with other humans, someone who has the skills to live in society…  Do children learn to be social beings in a confined, same-age group of other children?  Studies have shown that children learn to socialize in a positive way by spending time with people who love them and have a compelling interest in helping them learn to be a part of society.  They learn this skill by being with people of all ages and by following the models of the adults around them in a healthy way…  My experience has shown that children who have been with their families as their primary teachers are truly socialized.
– Michelle Barone