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There are many issues on this page where you may or may not agree with in my choices. Maybe my experience has been different than yours; probably, it has been. I think it is imporatnt to be an informed parent and these are issue I think are important in parenting teens these days.

Good Books for High School Students

Not Back to School: A Dancer With Many Hats in a Thankless and Undervalued Job
by Amy Cortez, Editor Eclectic Telegraph
As a parent, sometimes we feel that in raising teens we have a thankless job. Often your teen is too busy to recognize all the things you do, all the support that is there for them. Just for them. They don't ever really look at all the hats you have to wear to all the groovy dances you attend on their behalf [read on]


Topics on this Page

Rights of Young People
Granting Responsibility
Internet Issues
Teen Health
Urban Legend


Rights of Young People


Are Your School Records Private?
by Amy Cortez - Editor The Eclectic Telegraph
If you are a student at a private school or a public school you probably ought to know that your records are not really yours. This holds true for homeschooled students in most states in less you take care of this little detail. A little item called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows a school to release personal informational items such as: your name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance to pretty much anybody, including the military...[read on]

Rights of Young People
Historically, children have been and are still the most oppressed, exploited and victimized group of human beings on the planet. Children remain the most voiceless and the most discriminated against group of people in all societies. While every adult group has fought for and won basic human rights protections and freedoms (USA), children remain the only group of human beings without the same rights to equality, respect, protection from bodily harm and freedom of speech.

Trashing Teens: Some Food for Thought
Trashing Teens By Hara Estroff Marano
In recent surveys I've found that American teens are subjected to more than 10 times as many restrictions as mainstream adults, twice as many restrictions as active-duty U.S. Marines, and even twice as many as incarcerated felons. Psychologist Diane Dumas and I also found a correlation between infantilization and psychological dysfunction. The more young people are infantilized, the more psychopathology they show.

Teens Really Are Responsible - if you let them be

Teens are young adults, even at age 13. The way they learn to become an adult is by doing things for themselves. Adult things that demonstrate maturity, exemplify responsibilty, encourage independent thinking.

Driver's Edge Know yourself, know your limits.
Traditional driver's education in this country is quite simply appalling. Do you think your child is ready for the real world just because he or she passed their driving test and received a license?

Outward Bound
Our mission is to inspire character development and self-discovery in people of all ages and walks of life through challenge and adventure, and to impel them to achieve more than they ever thought possible, to show compassion for others and to actively engage in creating a better world.

Peace Corps Teens
Just like the thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers around the world who make a difference, you, too, can do great things to help others. There are lots of reasons to volunteer, including wanting to make a difference, meeting new people, finding purpose, expanding your horizons, and trying something new. The fastest and easiest way to get involved right now is by volunteering with an organization in your community. You can offer your time and services to a group or organization that is already in existence and know that your skills are being put to good use.

Earthwatch Institute
Earthwatch Institute is an international non-profit organization that brings science to life for people concerned about the Earth's future. Founded in 1971, Earthwatch supports scientific field research by offering volunteers the opportunity to join research teams around the world. Through our new teen expeditions kids ages 16 to 17 can connect with leading scientists in a peer setting while learning new skills and appreciating the power that they have to change the planet. These special teen teams focus on the same research activities and have the same expectations as our regular teams, but with more supervision and support.

Since When is Violence Entertainment?

Video game addiction
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Video game addiction, also called video game overuse, is a proposed form of psychological addiction[1] composed of a compulsive use of computer and video games. Sometimes the addiction will manifest itself as part of excessive Internet use.

Most notable are massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), and related to the also-debated Internet addiction disorder. Instances have been reported in which users play compulsively, isolating themselves from social contact and focusing almost entirely on in-game achievements rather than life events.

'Game Over' - A Feature on Video Game Addiction - Short YouTube documentary on video game addiction.

Parental Ignorance: No Longer Bliss
As the world of video games continues to evolve, parents are falling behind. As we found last year, this year’s parental survey uncovered an alarming gap between what kids say about the role of video games in their lives and what parents are willing to admit. For instance, while nearly two-thirds of surveyed parents said they had rules about how much time their children may spend playing video games, only one third of their children said they had such rules. Perhaps parents are reluctant to confess how little they attempt to control the amount of time their kids spend in front of the screen. This much is certain: too many of us do not seem to exercise enough control. The amount of time kids spend playing video games is on the rise.

Video Game Violence and Public Policy
Concern about violent video and computer games is based on the assumption that they contribute to aggression and violence among young players. That conclusion was originally based on the extensive body of research about the effects of television violence on children's behavior. Prominent organizations like the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association have all concluded that the scientific evidence shows a cause-effect relationship between television violence and aggression among the children and youth who watch it. Based on this research, many social scientists have hypothesized that we should expect video games to have an even greater impact

"You aren’t compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livelihood, even though one in every nine schoolchildren is terrified of physical harm happening to them in school, terrified with good cause; about thirty-three are murdered there every year. From 1992 through 1999, 262 children were murdered in school in the United States. Your great-great-grandmother didn’t have to surrender her children. What happened?

Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government agent called a schoolteacher?

The Underground History of American Education
by John Taylor Gatto


"The growing awareness of violence in our society, especially among children, seems to be finally waking us up. However, it would be a mistake to think that violence is the only problem. It isn’t. It is a tragic symptom of an underlying crisis that involves an entire set of values being taught to our children. We will only begin to make progress when we see the whole problem for what it is. Violence grabs the headlines, but violence itself is a result of a society that promotes selfishness, greed, and instant gratification..."


What Does One Teach a Smart Teenager These Days?
Amy Cortez, Editor -- The Eclectic Telelgraph

How about to be aware of how desensitized we Americans have become to things that are about common sense.
Our newsletter this month is brief as we are very busy getting plans together for our upcoming school year. Most of what I have been planning surrounds the idea that many of the jobs and careers that the kids we are homeschooling will contemplate are jobs and careers that have not even been considered yet. How do we "teach to that"?

People (guys as well as girls) who are threatened and fight back "in self-defense" actually risk making a situation worse. Theattacker, who is already edgy and pumped up on adrenaline — and who knows what else — may become even more angry and violent. The best way to handle any attack or threat of attack is to try to get away. This way, you're least likely to be injured.

Cyberbulying & Cyberthreats
Cyberbullying is emerging as one of the more challenging issues facing educators and parents as young people embrace the Internet and other mobile communication technologies.

Cyberthreats are a related concern. A cyberthreat is online material that threatens or raises concerns about violence against others, suicide, or other self-harm.


Internet Safety & Other Issues

Teens & Technology is it KPC?
(translation: Teens & Technology is it Keeping Parents Clueless?)
by Amy Cortez, Editor The Eclectic Telegraph
Now that summer is here, many schooled kids are hanging out getting to do what homeschooled teens get to do every day - experience life. Teens these days are far more hi-tech than our generation ever was, heck we only had 3 channels on television and transistor radios were about as close to an iPod as we got. We did our best to explore the world in our teen years, enough to scare the heck out of our parents, but today, technology can bring new wonders, but also new dangers and places where kids can get into really different kinds of situations than we did. Often teens are spending their time more in the digital world than in the real world and that sometimes makes me wonder just what "socialization" has become.

Safe Surfing Tips for Teens
First rule of smart surfing? Remain as anonymous as possible. That means keeping all private information private.

Protecting Your Online Identity and Reputation
Mark your profiles as private. Anyone who accesses your profile on a social networking site can copy or screen-capture information and photos that you may not want the world to see. Don't rely on the site's default settings. Read each site's instructions or guidelines to make sure you're doing everything you can to keep your material private.

The web site provides help, information and education to Internet and mobile device users of all ages. We help victims of cyberabuse ranging from online fraud, cyberstalking and child safety, to hacking and malicious code attacks. We also help parents with issues, such as MySpace and cyberbullying.

Teach Your Children Well: Teaching A Teen About "Teen Health"????

You really have three paths you can take:

  1. Don't tell them anything and let them find out from another teen - or some other way.
  2. Scare the crap out of them with 1 sided information.
  3. Give them as much good information, let them know they can talk to you about anything and help them make the right choices.

I assembled a bunch of information I thought was appropriate and timely for my teen. Since it is current and relavant, I've included those items here. If you approach these topics reminding your student that they are an adult in training, they are most liklely going to take the topics and the information you present seriously. I have to admit, I do expect some giggles, but who didn't giggle when they learned the real "birds and bees" story?


A Course Description: Healthy Teen Living: (.5 credit hour) Topics include teen peer pressure, dating, STDs, smoking, drug awareness, Pre-Driver’d Ed information, PSAT test prep.

Resources: is an educational website launched in July 2001 by the California Family Health Council, Inc. (CFHC) as a resource for teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 seeking information on healthy and responsible lifestyles.





A Commencement Speech - Urban Legend
Note: (This speech was spread around the internet in 1997 as Kurt Vonnegut's :Commencement Address at MIT. Classic urban legend stuff. Mr. Vonnegut did not write this speech and it was never delivered at MIT, rather it was written by Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune. In her column she wrote that this would be the commencement speech she would deliver if ever asked to. Anyway, it is still a great speech )

Read about the history of this great speech and the story behind it [here]
Download a hardcopy.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.

Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future.

Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4:00 p.m. on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters.

Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40- year-olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't.

Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

...But trust me on the sunscreen.


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