The Triumph of My Pedagogical Method


Northwood High School grades came out today. My son got A’s in all of his classes. He won’t know that himself until Saturday night because he’s currently incommunicado at Children of the Corn camp, but the honors classes at Northwood are anything but a slam-dunk A, even for the best students, so we’re very proud of him.

Boy doing math problems

He’s become a lot better at managing his time and plotting out academic strategies, down to the level of selecting the right background music for study sessions. He’s still not as proactive with his teachers as I’d like him to be, but behavioral modification takes time. You can offer ideas, but until an idea and the kid’s readiness for the idea converge, nothing happens. Years may go by.

For example, he just recently started setting up more study groups with his friends, a mere four years after I first mentioned to him that study groups were a big help to me when I was in school.


I’m considered the parent in charge of academics at our house. I used to spend quite a bit of time with the boy up through junior high school but now that he’s in 10th grade, I don’t really do much. Or actually, I do the same thing I’ve always done, which is to say, ‘Let me know if you need any help with that,” the difference being that he rarely asks for help anymore.

My wife has never been totally on board with my approach. “You can’t just say, ‘Let me know if you need any help,'” she says. “You have to help him.”

I say, “You’ve probably already noticed this yourself, but if a person doesn’t want your help, you’re not going to be successful in helping him, no matter how smart or wonderful you are.”

“Blah blah blah,” she says.

I’m scoring this semester’s report card as a triumph for my pedagogical method.

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