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Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:18 AM

High schools try therapy pets, 'recess,' no-homework nights to lower 'epidemic' student stress

MT. PROSPECT, Ill. (AP) The four-legged member of the counseling team at the high school in suburban Chicago waits patiently, as a crush of students fills the hallways. Her tail wags with the first pat on the head, then another and another.

"Puppy! Ohhh, puppy dog!" one teenager croons, as he affectionately tousles the ears of the 18-month-old golden retriever. Junie began her role as a "therapy dog" at Prospect High School less than four months ago.

It's just one of a number of ways high schools across the country are trying to address what some call an epidemic of stressed-out, overwhelmed students.

Some schools now offer yoga classes or teach relaxation techniques in the classroom. Others, from California to Minnesota and New Jersey, are instituting homework-free nights or are offering a bit of free time between classes the equivalent of recess for teenagers.

In Maine, at least two high schools have converted classrooms into "wellness rooms" staffed by volunteer professionals who offer massage therapy and other stress-reducing treatments for students, with parental permission.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/pets-recess-high-school-stress-relief

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Reply High schools try therapy pets, 'recess,' no-homework nights to lower 'epidemic' student stress (Original post)
The Straight Story Jan 2013 OP
hobbit709 Jan 2013 #1
JohnnyBoots Jan 2013 #5
malaise Jan 2013 #2
hobbit709 Jan 2013 #3
malaise Jan 2013 #11
kentauros Jan 2013 #6
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #9
malaise Jan 2013 #10
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #13
malaise Jan 2013 #14
redqueen Jan 2013 #4
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #7
The Straight Story Jan 2013 #8
L0oniX Jan 2013 #12
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #15
Nevernose Jan 2013 #16

Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:21 AM

1. Maybe if they got back to actually teaching the subjects instead of stressing tests.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:38 AM

5. I think that combined

 

with diet has a lot to do with it. Teaching for tests causes kids to lack critical thinking skills.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:28 AM

2. Seriously I had no idea what stress was either in high school

Last edited Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:04 AM - Edit history (1)

or at university.
Maybe it was the fact that our parents simply set standards and left us to deliver or maybe they told us our life options early.
One more thing - my parents didn't give a rat's ass whether we loved them or not - they told us often that their only job was to ensure that we could be independent adults who knew how to survive. As they aged and we grew up, they were delighted that we actually loved them.
Now I see parents obsessing about their children's love and most of their kids are clueless about survival on this planet.

Something has gone terribly wrong.

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Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:34 AM

3. That's it.

The day I turned 18 I was told I was on my own. If I got my ass into trouble it was up to me to get it out. they would help if I needed help but I wasn't getting any freebies.

and compared to what my mother went through in Vienna during the war, we don't know what stress is. She taught me that no matter what happens, you keep going because the alternative is to curl up and die.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:42 AM

11. My parents hinted that we were guests in their house

very early. It made us want to get our own - they were right.

My mom was in England for WW2. They knew stress.

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Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:01 AM

6. Well, to be honest, I had plenty of stress at university.

You don't really know stress until you've gone through an art class critique. We had them for midterms and finals. That is, you stand in front of the whole class with all of your art to date, and they (figuratively) take them apart! Sure, it's supposed to be "constructive criticism" but that wasn't always the case.

Of course, the after-critique parties were legendary

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Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:59 AM

9. just two or three generations ago

the way of life was simply surviving. Intellectual pursuits and having loving relationships were considered luxeries people couldn't afford. Even couples didn't show love for one another. The man worked. The woman brought up the children and cooked dinner. The children worked on the family farm and went to school. And nobody showed anybody any affection. I've seen the affects of this kind of lifestyle in my father, my father in law, and even in my mother in law. Not very happy people. Not saying all people brought up that way are unhappy, but the ones I personally know who grew up that way are. My father in law is a very emotionally detached person. He can even be cruel sometimes. Doesn't have a good relationship with anybody. He is alone and although he can't seem to change who he is, not sure he really wants to, I can tell as he gets old he seems to regret not having anybody around. In the end of a person's life if it is the love they remember, not the fact that they knew how to be independent.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:40 AM

10. My parents were loving

and my mother worked - we were a happy family - no one loves a hug like my mother. True dad could not cook.

That said my parents did not obsess over us or our assignments.

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Response to malaise (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:55 AM

13. I'm certainly no helicopter parent

My autistic son who struggles in school still does his homework on his own. When he asks for help I help him. They pursue their own interests. My son joined the school wrestling team this year. He won a couple of matches but lost others. It made him feel good to win a match but didn't bother him to lose one. His team was very supportive. That is one way I think things have changed for the better. You don't have a bunch of macho PE coaches anymore yelling at the boys and making them feel inferior if they can't do a pull up. At least not in my son's school anyway. My daughter is an artist and is studying to become a veterinarian. She just turned 18 and we are affording her some more freedom. She gets to eat what she wants. She just opened her own checking account, and she went up to the bank all by herself and went through the process by herself. She is responsible for deciding if she is sick enough to stay home from school and responsible for making sure she doesn't miss more days than she is suppose to. She has to set up her own doctor's appointments. But when she asks for help I am right there for her. I think she has great confidence that as she goes out into that big, scary world that she can go out there and learn to be independent but that there will always be someone there for her when she needs help.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 02:20 PM

14. You sound like a good parent

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:29 AM

4. The world has changed a hell of a lot since the 50's

It's changed a lot since the 80's. It is changing faster all the time.

So any 'why, back in my day...!' posts are simply off base.

Kids are growing up a lot faster, in a dying world which they face a bleak future in... due to the decisions of people who came before them.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:21 AM

7. my daughter's friends are in an advanced high school degree program

If you take enough advanced classes you can get a high school degree that reflects that so you can look good for colleges. The down side is to get the diploma you have to take really, really hard tests at the end of the semester. My daughter has taken several advanced classes but was not really interested in the diploma so she doesn't have to take the tests. Her friends are always completely freaked out when it comes to taking these tests. I feel bad for them. Her school offers yoga as one of its PE classes. My daughter took it last year. They still had to do regular PE things like run and do difficult exercises, but on Friday all they did was lay down on their mats, listen to relaxing music and meditate. Those were the good days that really allowed them to destress. I have two kids in school right now and it is a very stressful time to be a student. I have fought very hard to make sure my son who struggles in school keeps a positive self image.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:41 AM

8. It is the same with homeschooling now as well in many ways

My daughter is stressed a lot over the state tests, she has to take the same ones all regular school students do.

She is in 6th grade and studying algebra and geometry among other things, all for the test. They grab a subject/chapter and expect you to take mastery tests every other day and move on to next chapter/section.

She takes several tests every single day to prepare her for the big tests - students fail those tests and schools lose funding so that is their core focus (money money money).

She is burnt out at this point. The kids in the public school here I know are as well and most are failing these tests or just barely passing them and not retaining anything because the focus is not on long term retention or understanding but testing (and both parties are to blame for this).

My room mate started college this month and what is funny is my daughter has helped him with his math homework "Oh, I did that last year". I didn't do what she is doing until 10th grade or so (contour mapping and surface areas, etc).

I can't imagine how stressful if would be if she was in a large class and loaded down with tons of home work.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:54 AM

12. "epidemic' student stress" ...give me a break!

Try going through high school knowing you are going to get sent to Vietnam 1/2 year after you graduate.

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 05:48 PM

15. geez just because they aren't going to war doesn't mean they aren't stressed

Kids in Africa are a more stressed than kids here in America. That does not mean our kids aren't stressed. They are just stressed about different things. Our kids are stressed because they want to do well in a public school system that does not help them succeed. They are stressed because many colleges aren't accepting as many applicants. Not as many kids can afford college. Not as many kids can even get an apartment on their own if they can't get into college. The 1%ers own everything and are trying to force our future working class into serfs. Cost of living is up. Wages are down. These kids do have plenty to be stressed about.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 06:01 PM

16. My kid sometimes has 9 hours of homework

She leaves for school at 5:30, gets home at three, and does a minimum of three hours of homework. At least once a week she's up until midnight doing homework. Tears are common.

What some schools are doing is actively damaging children.

I've tried to talk her into transferring to the school I teach at (and would have far less homework), but, to her, going to school with her dad every day would even worse.

I'll also point out, for those who don't think that teens have stress, which population of Americans have the highest suicide rate.

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