50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education

Charles J. Sykes, Author
Charles J. Sykes, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (177p) ISBN 978-0-312-36038-2
Reviewed on: 08/20/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4668-3127-8
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Expanded from an original list of 14 first broadcast on his Milwaukee, Wis., radio talk show, the latest book from Sykes (Dumbing Down our Kids) equips parents to help tween- or teenage children find success in life beyond school. Taking on the education system's ""modern bubble-wrap mentality"" of ""no losing, no disappointments, no harsh reality checks,"" Sykes takes a hard-line but humorous approach to instilling the discipline, morals and good sense that keep kids from becoming ""sulky, self-centered, spoiled brats."" Consider Rule 19: ""It's not your parent's fault. If you screw up, you are responsible""; or Rule 14: ""Looking like a slut does not empower you."" Rules are largely rooted in common sense (""Change the oil""), traditional values (""Don't forget to say thank you"") and the wisdom that only time can bring (""Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could""), and get fleshed out in punchy, chuckle-worthy commentary. Though he can be harsh (""You are not a victim. So stop whining""), Sykes helpfully points out that ""Grown-ups forget how scary it is to be your age,"" and also that ""You are not perfect, and you don't have to be"" (illustrated in an amusing story about Mother Teresa misapplying a bandage); parents will appreciate Syke's no-nonsense style, but teenage readers may find him condescending (see Rule 21: ""You're offended? So what? No, really. So what?"").
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