Please e-mail Valerie Strauss with questions, comments and ideas  | Why Read The Sheet?   

Why Read The Sheet?

Q) What is this blog trying to do?
A) Help parents get themselves and their children through their formal education--while staying sane. It’s not easy. Schools may look pretty much as they did when you learned to read, write and dissect a frog, but within those cinderblock walls, it’s a new world. The alphabet is the same but the school world our kids inhabit has changed drastically.

Q) How will The Answer Sheet help?
A) By answering questions that nag at parents who don’t know where to get answers.

Q) What issues?
A) All of them, from preK-graduate school. Educational, developmental, social, psychological, epistemological and any other word ending in "al" that is pertinent.

FOR EXAMPLE:
What should my kid be learning, and when?
What’s up with the SAT and the ACT?
Why is my kid reading the same book 327 times?
Will my kid's homework always be the bane of my existence?


Q) What issues?
A) All of them, from preK-graduate school. Educational, developmental, social, psychological, epistemological and any other word ending in "al" that is pertinent.

FOR EXAMPLE:
What should my kid be learning, and when?
What exactly does the SAT actually test for?
Why is my kid reading the same book 327 times?
Will my kid's homework always be the bane of my existence?
Why can’t I understand second grade math?
Why isn't my child "gifted" like the other kids?
What are college admissions officers really looking?
What does “teaching to the test” mean?
Why can't my child sit still in class?
Why won't my kid read without nagging?
What do I do if my child's third grade friend is watching "True Blood?"
Why does school start so early for teenagers?
Will prekindergarten really determine my kid's future?
Will Advanced Placement classes really determine my kid’s future?
Should my child bother getting an MBA?
And why, oh why, do teachers assign projects that involve toothpicks?

Q) Who are you?
A) I am Valerie Strauss, and was born and raised in Miami. I earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Miami and a masters degree at Northwestern University for a masters degree. I am married to a banking securities lawyer (I almost understand what he does) who keeps me laughing, and have two amazing daughters.

Q) Why should anyone read your blog?
A) Not because I’m smarter than most of you. I’m not. Because I have covered education--lower, middle, higher--for more than 15 years.

Q) Is that all?
A) I have hands-on experience with one child in middle school, another in high school, nieces and nephews from age 9 to 22, and friends with kids in every grade.

Q) Is THAT all?
A) Give me a break, please. As the world of journalism that I have long known crumbles--or, rather, transforms--this is a step into the new media world. Wait until your job becomes obsolete.

Q) How do you know all the answers?
A) I don’t. But I know plenty of them--and I know where to get the rest. This blog will host guests who are experts in different areas. I'll ask advice from other moms and dads. And I'll ask readers--that would be you--for help.

Q) What kind of help?
A) This blog will only work if readers participate--every day. With questions, answers, experiences, comments, ideas and advice.

Q) What do like to do when you aren't working?
A) Hang out with my kids. Read. Hang out with people I like. Travel. Hang out with more people I like. Listen to music. Did I mention read? Sit by myself and do absolutely nothing.

What most worries you?: The Worldwide Web is too limited a medium for the whole list. Mostly I worry about nuclear winter, asteroids colliding with Earth and my two hilarious daughters.

My 16-year-old is a writer and avid reader who is uncommonly kind. (She did refuse to read Harry Potter until last year, when I bribed her and won a rare victory in winning her over to something I like.)

My 13-year-old is a singer and songwriter in a rock band. (She is obsessed with “Twilight” and wishes Edward Cullen were real even though he is a vampire.)

(You are, incidentally, wrong if you think I am so worried about page views that I included the Twilight and Harry references so search engines will pick this up even though it isn’t about them, or for that matter, Brangelina. Or President Obama.)

The girls attend a private school in Washington D.C.

Q) Anything else to know about you?
A) My analogies are lousy, I leave metaphors and similes to the experts, and I am sometimes prone to Melville-like digressions I will, however, fight that part of my nature while blogging.

Q) Is that all?
A) Nope. Read The Answer Sheet for a lot more.

By Valerie Strauss  |  August 14, 2009; 3:13 PM ET
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