The measurement for whether school is successful is — drumroll — if the kid does well in school. Think about it: You have never read research that says what kids do in school causes a person to have a good adult life. Neither the school or the teacher has long-term impact on outcomes. So we make up stories about why school is important. Based on no data. To make ourselves feel better. Read more

Women went to work outside the home to create a more equitable society. But the more equitable a society is the more clearly women want labor divided by gender. Where are we today?

In a study in 2022 women in a very selective college assumed that when they marry they will be responsible for the children and household chores. They expect their spouses to “help with chores”, but not have large responsibility.  Read more

I didn’t teach my kids handwriting. I assumed they would learn to write when they had things they wanted to say on paper. I assumed that would come soon. I have 50 volumes of handwritten diaries going back to preschool, and writing was my lifeline from drowning in a dangerous family. Read more

In the middle ages in Europe, animals were held accountable for human laws, and many animals were put on trial. The most common punishment was hanging, but there are records of more brutal versions of animal capital punishment. For example, the man who robbed a bank and was burned alive for the crime alongside his co-conspirator, the mule. Read more

My first encounter with moneyball was in high school. The boy I had a crush on was playing fantasy baseball so I played too. I had four months to teach myself everything about baseball before the draft. Read more

We tried out a new piano teacher. And as an introduction to the teacher’s studio, he sent me the recital program from last spring.

One thing I noticed is that each student’s age, school and grade are listed. I read a little more closely and I can see the kids are ranked by how far along they are in their piano studies (most advanced at the end of the program.) And you can tell who is really talented by who is young and advanced. Read more

Nicholson Baker is one of the first writers who blew my mind in the minimalism department. His first novel, The Mezzanine, was about a guy who went up an escalator. That’s it. His next book, Vox, was about one single phone call. (Though to be clear, it was phone sex. I was a bookstore clerk when the book came out, and it was at the top of our most stolen book list for months because people were too embarrassed to buy it. Read more

The title of today’s post was a title of one of the sections of Time magazine’s issue about questions. My first thought when I read the article was my mom’s answer when I asked her why she married my dad if she didn’t love him: “When I was in college you had to get married after college,” she said. “As a woman, there was no other way to be part of the adult world. I didn’t want to move back to my parents’ house.”

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Scene at the Grocery Store:

Neighbor: I hear you’re not in school anymore!

Nine-year-old: Yah. My mom’s teaching me.

Neighbor: Oh really! That’s nice.

Nine-year-old: Not really. She’s not really teaching me anything. Read more

A school in Manhattan just announced they would stop giving homework to kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The letter home to parents said kids should play instead. And added, “In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there have been a variety of studies conducted on the effects of homework in the elementary grades and not one of them could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success.” Read more