Whats School Like for My Teen
We learn a lot from parents. They often observe how much easier it is to talk about school with their sons and daughters after SuperCamp. Before, when parents brought up the subject of schoolwork, their teens tended to get reactionary: "Here it comes: the big lecture. It's all for my future, yadda yadda." But after camp, many of them can hardly stop talking about their school experiences.
Most of the time, young people live in the moment. Many can't connect with the idea that what's unpleasant for them today will help them tomorrow. When adults tell them their school performance is important to their future, it's probably not going to mean a lot to them. Unless they see what it's going to do for them today, they probably won't pour themselves into it.
A few teens have the opposite problem. They're so intensely focused on getting the grades, prepping for their university careers, and being perfect students that they're missing the joy of the experience. They're viewing their education too narrowly. Our interactions with teens work because we come from their point of view. The "I-did-it-why-can't-you" type of story that adults often fall back on - with the best of intentions - doesn't help teens much when they're struggling. These anecdotes can make them feel as though they don't measure up.
For many, they might make the situation worse. Fear of failure can sabotage academic performance. And what about the teen who's getting As and Bs? What help does she need with school? That depends. What's she really getting out of her education? Is she learning to learn, or is she mostly learning to get grades? High grades aren't the goal of education; they're byproducts.
Excellent grades are important - especially when it comes to getting into a great school. But a bright young person can get so focused on grades and test scores that she misses the bigger picture. Here's a better question: How well can she apply what she's learning? Can she take a paradigm from one subject and use it to help her learn another? How creatively can she manipulate the knowledge she has? Is she doing extracurricular activities to round out her education? And, especially, is she having fun? We focus on finding out how each teen sees school.
What's it doing for them? How do they see themselves in the process? Sometimes all they want is to be heard and understood - and left to work things out in their own way. Other times, talking through their experience can help them discover where something's missing - holes in their school skills that need to be filled or places where their attitudes could use a little adjusting. Instead of us telling them what we think they need, they explore it for themselves. The impact is much greater when they're the ones to identify what needs to change.
SuperCamp is held at eight beautiful colleges across the U.S. throughout the summer. Quantum U takes place at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. More information on our programs is available at http://www.supercamp.com and http://www.quantum-u.com . We also offer a unique 3-day Parent Weekend at which parents of kids in SuperCamp gain an insight into what their children are learning in their programs.
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