"Mom, I'm so stressed," she'll say in a kind of manic panic. "If I get Cs, I'm not going to get into college." To which I respond, "Well, you may not get into Yale, but who wants to go there anyway? All the men I know and love from Yale are gay, so that would be pretty frustrating." (OK, I don't say that, but I am thinking it.) I am also thinking, Where do they hear this stuff that makes them worry that their college fate is sealed because they didn't rock the house in ninth-grade math? "Honey," I assure her, "you know enough math to get you through life. I know this because I know enough math to get through life, and I know way less than you."
The pressure these kids feel about grades is crazy. The homework they have to do is excessive. In my humble opinion, kids should learn AND do the majority of their work in school, so that most after-class hours are free for play -- exploring nature, daydreaming, doing something physical, listening to music, volunteering or watching reruns of "That '70s Show." In his fantastic book "PLAY," Dr. Stuart Brown makes a strong case for our need to play throughout life. It enables us to be happy and better at whatever we do -- including schoolwork.