Take Your Kid to College Day

Blogging is going to be slow-ish for the next couple of weeks. One kid has school break this week, and the other is off the following week. My brain is also busy making post-April plans.

Jonah had to come to classes with me yesterday. He put on some jeans without holes in the knees and packed up his backpack with drawing books and Harry Potter. He was very excited. We decided that he would stay in my office for the political theory class. I think he played this game for an hour and a half. Then he came with me to the media class. He wanted to come to media, because it's in the cool classroom with the great multi-media displays and the rising tiered seats.

The class lecture was on political socialization — how we gain values and views about politics and society from the news and entertainment shows. We discussed how people learn about politics, how the impact is different depending on SES, and what people choose to listen to. Then we debated the impact of the E! channel on popular images of minorities and women. And what Ed, Edd N Eddy does to a kid's brain.

Jonah, who is 9, kept raising his hand to participate in the class discussion. I let him talk once, but I cut him off after that. We really didn't need to hear a nine year old's opinions in a college class. But I was rather surprised that he felt comfortable talking in a college class. Some students in that class have never participated all semester.

I have mixed feelings about this incident. Partially, Jonah is just a product of a two-PhD family. He's used to giving opinions and participating in conversations with grown-ups. Those skills will serve him well in life. On the other hand, punk kids should know that they are just punk kids. There's a thin line between confident and obnoxious.

6 thoughts on “Take Your Kid to College Day

  1. I think my kid would do that too, except she might be too deep in Harry Potter to notice there was a conversation going.


  2. When I was 13 I went with my father to his law school class (he was a student at the time, late bloomer). I decided then and there I could never sit through Property and would not be a law student (I saw student with crayons, coloring, as this was way pre-internet. How people pass Property is beyond me nowadays). I did homework and enjoyed hanging out in the library afterwards. It was interesting to see how hard my dad worked. I think its pretty awesome to take a kid to a college or grad school class…they learn that school is for adults too and is serious and can be really interesting. 9 is pretty young…impressive kid!


  3. Good for you! I went to college with my mom when I was in 4th or 5th grade. She was going back to get her bachelor’s in education, to teach early childhood ed. Given the speciality, they ignored me during class but treated me nicely in the hallways afterward … neither like a prodigy nor a punk. In retrospect I admire their respectfulness. These days my almost 8-year-old loves coming to my office, in part because I have adjacent research space with super-nice computers. I took him to a presentation given by a star student one night last week, and while he mostly focused on eating the free snacks and sodas served, he did quietly pay attention and at one point leaned over to whisper a clarifying question. When I whispered back the answer, he gave that “of course” nod … very collegial. Thumbs up to kids of 2 Ph.D. families.


  4. When Nick was 8 or 9 I took him to a class–children’s lit–and he participated a lot. I tried to cut him off but the students (a particularly recalcitrant group) kept not participating, and he kept wanting to…eventually I tried to use it to shame them. I asked them if the reason they didn’t answer my questions was that they were pitched too low? Like to an 8-year-old? Their response: No, he’s just really smart. Um, thanks, but it’s your job to participate.
    (Lately, though, he stays in my office and reads or plays on the computer.)


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