If it’s true the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result then defenders of the current school day should be confined to a mental institution.
Despite the mouldy notion of a 3pm finish becoming even less relevant than a song from Katrina and the Waves, resistance to overhauling the old-fashioned structure of the school timetable remains high.
Indeed even daring to suggest we so much as reconsider the archaic six-hour day can be met with a level of hysteria usually only seen at a Justin Bieber concert.
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Real grass still grows at my neighborhood childcare centre, in dirt which melts to mud when it rains.
A scrub turkey scratches about in the sandpit each evening. There’s a possum, too, hiding in the native trees which shade the garden-style playground. It often raids the vege patch - where kids use their bare hands to help plant and harvest carrots and cherry tomatoes.
Stray grown-ups need to look out, lest they be mown down by the junior Evil Knievels who hurtle around the playground on trikes - sans helmets.
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I’m sitting here at 9:50pm, the last of our three kids has finally gone to sleep and for the first time all day the house seems less chaotic. I have a glass of wine, some music playing softly in the background and I start to relax in this chair.
At last I’m feeling like myself again. It’s short lived, suddenly a thought pops into my mind, a question that I’ve been avoiding for days now. I push it to one side but I just can’t seem to shake it so I say it aloud. ‘How much longer before school holidays are over?’ I sigh exhaustively.
Am I the only parent out there who is thinking this? I feel terrible, I’m guilt ridden. God knows that true quality time with your kids these days is getting harder and harder to find. We’re working longer hours, doing more interstate business trips and our mobile phones are practically attached to our ears.
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I don’t hate children.
Yes, actually I do, when I’m trying to chill out at an expensive, exclusive resort or equally expensive and exclusive hotel. “Hate” is slightly harsh, maybe “vehemently dislike”.
When I’m relaxing by the beach or pool on holiday at a sublime, tropical idyll, is it wrong to be searching my phone for the number of The Pied Piper to lead little (“MUMEEEE DADEEEE WATCH ME!!, WATCH MEEEEEEEE!!”) screaming Trevor into very deep, rip-infused water?
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When you’re thirteen years old there’s a small but very definite list of things that you hate with ferocious intensity: homework and rules.
That means there are few worse things to be told when you’re 13 than, “Do your homework!” Especially by someone who is being paid to look after you.
But that’s exactly what happened in California this week, where according to Gawker a 13 year old boy threatened his babysitter with a kitchen knife when she asked, more than once, if he’d started his homework.
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NAPLAN testing is scheduled this week (from May 15 to 17) in schools around the country. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting Authority (ACARA), as well as proponents of NAPLAN, make three central claims extolling the usefulness of this high-stakes test.
First, they claim NAPLAN will tell us that the tests are important to assess the quality of teaching in our children’s schools. Second, they will assure us that the tests can diagnose academic issues our children may be struggling with. Third, they will confirm that the purpose of NAPLAN is to maintain Australia’s high levels of literacy and numeracy in comparison to other countries in the world.
ACARA and the proponents of NAPLAN (including our education ministers) will not tell you that there almost a complete lack of evidence to support those three claims.
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holiday noun 1. (often plural) a period in which a break is taken from work or studies for rest, travel or recreation.
“See,” I said to my daughter, stabbing a finger at the dictionary, as we sat in our rented beach house after she’d woken me at 5.47am with “an itchy bite”. (Thanks, whoever left the yellowing Pocket Oxford next to the Scrabble.) “Darling, a holiday is a rest and that means not waking so early.”
Ten years I’ve been doing this ‘holiday with kids’ schtick, which isn’t actually a holiday but simply a relocation of our domestic chaos. Minus entertainment (Wii, Foxtel, Textas) and essentials (highchair, the forgotten teddy).
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Nothing on this earth would entice me to have a baby at home.
Call me old fashioned, but I’m all for the protective womb of expert physicians and latest technology in a crisp white hospital environment. The risks are simply too great; the act of childbirth too unpredictable; the potential loss too devastating to contemplate.
And tragically, in South Australia we’re hearing all too much about risk becoming reality.
Hello, my name is Emma Jane and I am A Very Bad Mother. Not because I neglect my four-year-old daughter – but apparently because I don’t neglect her enough.
If you have offspring, you’ll know that being called a “helicopter parent” is the insult du decade.
It implies that you hover over your kids like a whopping great Black Hawk, and has been blamed for everything from childhood obesity to weird new European balloon laws.
The statistics are shocking. One in four Aussie teenagers between the ages of 16-24 suffers from a mental or behavioural disorder; 6500 children are using anti-depressants. And that’s just a snapshot of the For Kids’ Sake study.
But the study, commissioned by The Australian Christian Lobby and led by Professor Parkinson of University of Sydney, is wrong to blame the modern family.
The research that was unveiled yesterday was fully funded by the Vos Foundation, a Tasmanian construction company that says it’s “committed to biblical values”. It makes some significant and simplistic assumptions about modern society and the explanations for its so-called “breakdown”.
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One of The Punch’s team members has had a very bad week. Their youngest kid wrecked their fancy schmancy $1500 Apple Mac - their home computer, not their work one - and it is beyond repair.
The little rascal in question is four years old, and shouldn’t have been on the computer by himself in the first place. Kids today, huh?
So let’s cut to the chase. Should the kid be disciplined? And if so, how? No lollies forever? A good hard smack? A stern talking to?
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Gee, doesn’t Elle Macpherson look fabulous. Still so lean and tall, with her trademark tousled blonde-tipped locks falling all over her shoulders.
“She looks a woman half her age,” fawned a Daily Mail reporter over recent pictures of the supermodel, wearing a cowboy hat and swaggering through the streets of Rio.
You’ll not catch me disagreeing, Elle’s definitely still got it. But there’s a reason she has so much time to primp and preen.
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On Monday, yet another young driver appeared in yet another court room to be punished for his role in the death of yet another innocent teenager. The victim in this case was 16 year old T.J. Hutchesson of Bathurst.
The name of the accused can’t be reported. In a sense the names don’t matter: for those of us looking on, this is just another episode in a long and tragic storybook of life destroyed far too young.
In a statement appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald, mother Rachael Hutchesson did not shy away from identifying the problem: boredom and booze. This is a known issue in regional Australia, and yet there is a real paucity of frankness when it comes to solutions.
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Rise up, parents, and rub your kids’ faces in a bit of dirt.
Let them eat snails, and snot, and have their cheese sandwiches without washing their hands.
Because your hyper-vigilant cleanliness could, literally, be killing them.
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I’m lucky that only two of my work colleagues have school age children attending a Public School.
So only about four times a year will they accost me at my desk with boxes of Freddo Frogs and other assorted chocolates.
And only four times a year will I have to tell them to piss off because I’m not buying.
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I have always been a great communicator. Sometimes excessively so.
My first report card – in kindy - said “Josie talks too much.” I am known to like a good chat.
I even studied “Communications” at uni and my job demands constant interaction with people.
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My kids love playing in parks – I think every kid does.
Swings, slides and see-saws can sometimes be a God-send for parents who need a break.
Tell the kids to go off and play and if you’re lucky, there could be five minutes of freedom in it for you too.
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