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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

August 28, 2013
BIG Weekend!

This Week
Darkness Too Visible
Dear My Hypothetical Children: #YA Saves
Suki: Unschooling School
Christine: Our Sun Destroying a Comet
Lorraine: "Listen So Your Child Feels Heard"
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  BIG Weekend!

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In this newsletter we placed the articles AFTER the events.  How do you like it?  Let us know your preference.

This weekend offers multiple fun events for families.  You could start with a nostalgic evening listening to Papa Doo Run Run, the last of the summer free concerts at Main Beach.  Saturday and Sunday offer the Fly-in Airshow at Watsonville Airport and there are tons of family activities at the Begonia Festival.  One of my favorites is the sandcastle contest. 

(Photos General) Fly-in.jpgSaturday there's a family-inclusive day of board and card games for kids (and their parents/siblings) on the high-functioning end of the Autism Spectrum and other similar conditions (ADHD, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, etc. at San Lorenzo Park.  WOLFF School is providing an Astronomy Night at Little Basin State Park on Saturday night or you could take the Starlight Evening Dinner train ride from Santa Cruz to Roaring Camp.  It includes a steak dinner, musical entertainment and dancing! 

Sunday you can take a tour of the 30 acre UCSC Farm.  The Monterey County Fair runs for six days beginning today.  Of course you may decide to one of our local beaches, perhaps even one you haven't yet explored or hike in the redwoods.

Today we're bringing you dueling opinions on Young Adult literature.  Both authors offer strong arguments and opinions on the quality of young adult literature and what our teens should or should not be reading. Whichever side you come down on and how you guide, monitor, give free rein or remain neutral about what your teens are reading, I would like to hear from you!  Personally, I enjoy reading for inspiration, entertainment, knowledge, escape, reinforcement of my values, et.al. and when I realize a book I've started is too trashy, weird or too dark, I dump it! 

In a world that sometimes seems to be embracing the outrageous, I keep returning to the family as THE most important resource for healthy children and future good citizens.  We parents must be courageous; we have a huge responsibility.  Mentoring and minding our children well is where we can have the greatest influence on society.  We do our best.

Are you entering any of the Santa Cruz County Fair contests?  There's still time!

Enjoy the present! Parmalee

 

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  This Week

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THE Weekend
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Capitola Begonia Festival
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  Capitola Begonia Festival
Capitola Village
Date: Every day (Sep 1-Sep 4) from 7:00am to 8:00pm
Details: A Labor Day weekend filled with fun events for the whole family. Beautifully decorated floats, concerts, sand
City: Capitola Village Phone: (831)476-6522 view all details >>
     
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Birding Walk, Elkhorn Slough
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  Birding Walk, Elkhorn Slough
Elkhorn Slough
Date: The 1st Sa of every month at 8:30am
Details: Go on a guided bird hunt, begin or add to your list of sitings
Special Instructions: Meet in the parking lot behind Whole Enchilada
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Fall Eco Monterey Home and Garden Expo!
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  Fall Eco Monterey Home and Garden Expo!
Monterey Home & Garden Expo
Date: Every day (Oct 19-Oct 20)
Ages: All
Details: Discover the best of the best of home, kitchen and garden!
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Harvest Faire & Steam Festival
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Roaring Camp
Date: Every day (Sep 30-Oct 1)
Details: Admission is FREE for the whole family October 4-5 and children with a Steam Train ticket get to pick out a free pumpkin from ou
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  Darkness Too Visible

by Meghan Cox Burdon

Amy Freeman, a 46-year-old mother of three, stood recently in the young-adult section of her local Barnes & Noble, in Bethesda, Md., feeling thwarted and disheartened.

She had popped into the bookstore to pick up a welcome-home gift for her 13-year-old, who had been away. Hundreds of lurid and dramatic covers stood on the racks before her, and there was, she felt, "nothing, not a thing, that I could imagine giving my daughter. It was all vampires and suicide and self-mutilation, this dark, dark stuff." She left the store empty-handed.

How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.

Pathologies that went undescribed in print 40 years ago, that were still only sparingly outlined a generation ago, are now spelled out in stomach-clenching detail. Profanity that would get a song or movie branded with a parental warning is, in young-adult novels, so commonplace that most reviewers do not even remark upon it.

Read the entire article  >>>

 

  Dear My Hypothetical Children: #YA Saves

by Dania Lexis

[Trigger Warning:  This post discusses self-harm, abuse, rape, suicide, and similar topics that may be upsetting for some readers.]

Mrs. Meghan Cox Gurdon and I have dramatically different ideas of what constitutes "literature."  Also "children's books," "banning," and "parenting."

My job as a reviewer and bookseller is to police your teen's reading? I don't think so.

Case in point: yesterday's Wall Street Journal carried a column of Mrs. Gurdon's titled "Darkness Too Visible," discussing the "dark" themes that many young-adult books currently deal in - and, in the process, using a lot of words - and sentences - that mean something very different to me than they do to her.

For example, Mrs. Gurdon claims that "As it happens, 40 years ago, no one had to contend with young-adult literature because there was no such thing."

In YA parlance: O RLY?  Because, depending on how you slice it, young-adult literature - in Mrs. Gurdon's words, literature aimed broadly at people between ages 12 and 18 - has been around anywhere from 100 to 600 years.   The Ohio Library Council starts the clock in 1919, when Mabel Williams was  appointed as the first young-adult librarian at the New York Public Library, and mentions that the term "young adult" to describe literature has been around at least since 1937.  Maryland's Salisbury University offers a class in the history of YA literature that goes all the way back to Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and names such enduring YA classics as The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and Little Women.  Author David Lubar starts counting from J.D. Salinger, whose 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye is literally required reading for thousands of American teens.

In any case, even assuming Mrs. Gurdon's math is correct, her argument - that YA novels with "dark" themes like abuse, self-harm, and suicide are not only dangerous but pearl-clutching-ly scandalous - makes no sense.  Gurdon points out that "the argument in favor of such novels is that they validate the teen experience, giving voice to tortured adolescents who would otherwise be voiceless."  This is a fair point; a great many teenagers suffer abuse, depression, and self-loathing of the worst kinds, and feeling that someone understands, even if that someone is fictional, is preferable to feeling like such a freak one doesn't deserve to live, let alone be loved.   Read the entire article>>>>

  Suki: Unschooling School

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This morning, like every other public school mom or dad in the neighborhood, I dropped my daughter off for the first day of sixth grade.

You may think that I'm joking, or that I'm referring to our homeschool program. But no, it's simpler than that: My daughter has decided to go back to school.

Longtime readers will remember that I had to take my daughter out of kindergarten because she simply couldn't hack it. School was such a bad environment for her that her teacher had no idea she could read. She was so distressed that she regressed in all areas of her development. By the time she came home, she was suffering from the stress.

And so was I. I had no idea what homeschooling even was. I'd thought of the first day of kindergarten as the first day back to my "real life." I'd drop her off in the morning with a kiss, pick her up with a "how was school today, honey?" and expect to hear about the wonderful things she'd learned.

Instead, we had to figure it all out together. At first we were angry with each other. I was confused why such a smart girl would not be able to do well at school. She was confused why no one could understand what she was so clearly saying with her body, if not her words.

But homeschooling saved both of us.... Read more >>>>

 Suki Wessling writes about parenting, education, gifted children, and homeschooling at Avant Parenting.

  Christine: Our Sun Destroying a Comet

(Photos General) SunDestroyingComet.jpgHere is an amazing sight. I found it on Spaceweather.com, which is one of my favorite science websites. The site is a summary of what is going on in our solar system. Certain groups follow it very closely - like astronomers and ham radio operators. Astronomers  - yeah - pretty obvious. Amateur radio operators follow it because solar explosions change how far radio waves will travel. Sometimes I can't reach from California to Oregon, but I can hear Russia or Antarctica. It's all about the skip.

A video sitting on this site now shows a comet going close to the sun during a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The comet goes too close and disappears. Bad timing. http://www.spaceweather.com/images2013/20aug13/cme_comet_anim3.gif?PHPSESSID=vjsaq5nr6f5l3al2kqod1aki27

The site also shows sunspot info as well as CMEs. You can find out if you will be seeing auroras over your home. There are lots of good links on the bottom for other science sites. Just rummage and enjoy.

Christine is a scientist and mom.  You can find more of her essays here.

  Lorraine: "Listen So Your Child Feels Heard"

(Photos General) LorrainePhotoforWeb.jpgAugust's Secret: "Listen So Your Child Feels Heard"

When your child is cranky this week, ask yourself, "Does he need for me to pay some special attention to him? Is this why she are whiny, complaining or irritable?"

Children cannot articulate what they need like we can. Often we must look for deeper, hidden reasons when they are disagreeable. Go through the HALT acronym and see what's fitting: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Hungry and tired are easy to fix, but angry and lonely could need your special remedy of talking it out and spending uninterrupted 1:1 time with your beloved. More than anything else, your time and attention is what your child deeply desires.

I know that you are crazy busy. But do not use this as an excuse to skip fleeting moments that you and your child can treasure together. When you make devoted, uninterrupted time a priority, you ensure a lasting bond with your child after they leave home. This is TRULY the most vital investment of your time; it saves you therapy bills, delinquency, rebellion and will contribute to your family peace!

Send me your results and stories: AskTheParentMentor@gmail.com.

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