15 year olds are asked to have their future all laid out (Because we all know what the fuck we’re doing, right?)

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What do you want to be when you grow up? Pick now!

Recently, The Toronto Star published an article called, Low-income ‘streaming’ in Ontario high school alive and well, report says.

Streaming was a process where students were separated into groups or, streams. Lower streams comprised of low-income families, recent immigrants and minority groups. White, middle-class (The reference to a middle-class emphasizes this was in the past) made up the higher streams.

In 1999, when I started high school, streaming was said to be gone after several studies proved the method was doing more harm than good. Now, students choose what ability level they want to take for each class. The arts and health are open but math, English, French, science, history and geography are divided into applied, academic or locally developed. The French Immersion program differs slightly. Locally developed courses can be described here. There is a pre-conceived notion among not just students but our society that Applied classes are easier.

Theoretically, this way a student can choose a class they feel matches their ability level and teachers can plan their lessons and collect educational resources accordingly. However, if a student or their support/peer system (if they have one) doesn’t recognize the student’s true potential, they may choose and applied class. The problem with this is, applied credits can hinder their future post-secondary and career wise in the long run. Quite the decision for a kid to make, a lot of pressure.

People for Education released The Trouble with Course Choices in Ontario High Schools.

“This report shows that students taking applied courses have a reduced chance of graduating from high school. It also shows that, worryingly, the schools where a large proportion of students take applied courses are most likely to have lower average family incomes and lower levels of parental education.”

I’m not a fan of the current education system but I am in no spot currently to suggest another method. What I do know is kids need to really understand the impact of their classroom choices. It’s already absurd to expect our children, at fourteen, fifteen, to make decisions that will impact them for life. However, it is their choice, let’s help them realize what is actually best for them.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Imagination doesn’t need batteries


I don’t think a child’s imagination is given enough credit.

Though touted by marketers as a toy-gimmick, it is something that occurs naturally. We’re told we need to be stimulating our young minds constantly. Yet, somewhere along the line family bonding lost to big company gadgets. Imagination needs batteries and expansion sets.

I live in a low-income neighbourhood, school bus stop chatter consists of the need of children needing their own TV, computer and gaming system in their room; separate from the ones in the living room.

Somehow I got by playing with spools of thread for dolls and making board games out of cake boxes. Necessity breeds creation, creation grows from imagination. It is for free. Of course someone wants to sell you something that is already free. This doesn’t mean you have to buy into it.

Listen to your little one playing by them self when you get the chance. The storylines, songs and character voices, those all flowed from their own 100 per cent free mind.

Related: Check out strombo.com‘s  Let Your Kids Get Bored; Apparently, It’s Good For Them 

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Clumsy feet

Confused on how to get from Building A to Building B, I followed the footsteps someone else left imprinted in the Ontario snow. With faith I allowed them to lead me, and it was a success. I laughed at the thought of someone trying to follow my footprints. They’d be lead in circles, through dangerous paths, stumbling where things got topsy-turvy and they may even trip over the indent of where I fell on my bum. It kind of scared me to think someone would follow my clumsy feet. Then it hit me, that’s what my little one IS doing.


I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com