Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
French President François Hollande has made a promise that kids are likely to love–as part of a sweeping package of changes to the country’s education system, Hollande proposed a ban on homework. “Work should be done at school, rather than at home,” Hollande said. Time.com has more:
He also proposes reducing the average amount of time a student spends in class in each day, while stretching the school week from four days to four and a half. It’s a bid to bring the country more in line with international standards and to acknowledge some of the current system’s shortcomings. Even the homework isn’t just an empty populist gesture — it’s meant to reflect the fact that many of the lowest-performing students lack a positive support environment at home.
Monday, February 6th, 2012
An excerpt published in the Wall Street Journal is making the social media rounds, prompting reflection and reactions on the question of whether French parents are “superior” to American parents because they teach their children to be independent and to respect “adult time.” Last year, the newspaper garnered widespread attention for publishing a controversial excerpt from Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” which argued that the Chinese parenting philosophy produced smarter, higher-acheiving children than the permissive American parenting culture.
Author Pamela Druckerman’s book “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting,” will be published this week. From the excerpt:
France is the perfect foil for the current problems in American parenting. Middle-class French parents (I didn’t follow the very rich or poor) have values that look familiar to me. They are zealous about talking to their kids, showing them nature and reading them lots of books. They take them to tennis lessons, painting classes and interactive science museums.
Yet the French have managed to be involved with their families without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren’t at the constant service of their children, and that there is no need to feel guilty about this. “For me, the evenings are for the parents,” one Parisian mother told me. “My daughter can be with us if she wants, but it’s adult time.” French parents want their kids to be stimulated, but not all the time. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are—by design—toddling around by themselves.
Image: Girl wearing beret, via Shutterstock.