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Are kids today ready for the future? ?


A college freshman thinks it's OK to write checks until her checkbook runs out of them, regardless of how much money is actually in her account. An 18-year-old leaves a sign on an open register at the juice shop where he works that says, "Be back in 15 minutes." After switching majors seven times, a 23-year-old finally leaves college with a degree in a field she doesn't like, $14,000 in credit card debt, and a student loan payment schedule that will follow her until her own kids go to college.

These are all shocking but true stories of real young people who met the real world completely unprepared. This spring, as more than 3 million high school seniors walk off the graduation plank and into the unknown waters of adult life, twice as many parents will wonder, "Is my kid ready?"

We'd like to think so, but the truth is: Probably not. The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates only 34 percent of high school graduates are actually prepared for college. Economists say that over the next decade, the U.S. workforce will need 22 million college graduates but will fall short by 3 million. Even with an unemployment rate above 8 percent, many businesses say it's still hard to recruit enough qualified workers.

As most high schools don't offer a Real World 101 elective, it's up to parents to arm their kids with life skills that will ensure they don't wind up living on the parents' couch.

So who are the parents of the prepared 34 percent, and what are they doing right? As author of the book "Real World 101: A Survival Guide to Life After High School," I frequently speak to teens about what to expect. Overwhelmingly, I've found that kids from lower-income families in which both parents work are most ready to face real life.

On the opposite side, many kids from well-to-do backgrounds are often byproducts of enablement, their well-meaning parents "easing their path" by handling all the rigors of real life for them. But coddled kids are the ones most likely to move back home.

Regardless of a child's economic background, there are things all parents can do to prepare their kids from a young age to face the real world:

1. Involve your children in the family finances.Provide opportunities for your child to work either inside or outside the home. Teach your kids to first save a generous portion of a paycheck, then allocate the rest responsibly. Parents who disclose their own household budgeting decisions tend to raise kids who ask for less and appreciate more.

2. Encourage real work from a young age.Children as young as 5 are capable of making and packing their own lunch. By 8, they can sort, wash and fold laundry. By 12, they can earn money babysitting, washing windows, pet sitting or doing yard work. While it might seem "easier" or "more nurturing" to perform a simple task for your kids, allowing them to do it themselves empowers them with self-confidence and independence.

3. Take them with you.As you go about adult tasks – getting your oil changed, buying a car, meeting with your accountant, shipping a package at the post office – bring your child along and point out the steps such processes involve. Show them the reality of how much real life costs so they're not blindsided when they find out that car insurance and dry cleaning actually cost money!?

4. Engage in adult conversations.The average teen spends SEVEN hours a day with an electronic device. Enforce daily unplugged time and practice conversational skills through family dinners and activities that will prepare kids for how to interact with adults in a job interview.

5. Hold off on the bailout.How often do we hear of parents who rearrange their day to drop off that forgotten homework assignment or left-behind lunch? A child is much less likely to "forget" when forced to face real consequences, just as a missing mattress quickly motivates a child to make his bed when he gets it back. Tough love is usually healthy love.

6. Teach your kids gratitude.Kids quickly discover that Mary Poppins is not a built-in feature of a first apartment. But why wait that long to teach them to appreciate others? Require your children from a young age to hand-write thank you notes. To verbally acknowledge the people who serve them. And to understand that a parent's service is a choice, not a duty.

Raising self-reliant children might seem easier said than done. But if parents commit early on to demonstrating principles that will make everyone's life a little easier in the end, they can rest assured their kids will be ready to face the real world. And that when they return home to the couch, it will be for a visit and not for life.

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Autumn McAlpinis a local writer. She pens a weekly column for OC Moms called Cracking Up, in which she chronicles her crazy life as a mother of four.

Craig L. Barnes Rm: PA 015

Somewhere over the rainbow !!!
Somewhere over the rainbow !!!

Craig L. Barnes M.S., M.A.

Special Educator, Intensive Reading Specialist

Conference Periods 7 & 8: 1:05 to 2:40 daily

Phone Ext. #6196, Room 015


Intensive Reading Clinic (IRC):

Students are generally admitted to this course because of very low standardized test scores, language processing problems, residence in the US more than five years with limited language acquisition, reading ability four or more years below grade level, and are at risk to meet graduation requirements. Daily attendance is vital for progress.

IRC students will stay in class for two semesters unless the student is reading at or above the 6.0 grade level at the end of the semester, classroom performance dictates that another placement would be optimal, and the literacy team at the school site agrees to the move. A student may also move out of the program if end of the semester test scores and classroom performance suggest that the program is not meeting the student’s needs.  It is expected that most students would move from this class to another less intensive reading class.

GOALSThe direct goals of the Intensive Reading Clinic are as follows:


  1. Instruction in phonemic awareness, as needed to teach students to use oral and visual feedback to identify subtle differences in vowel sounds.
  2. Instruction in symbol imagery (visualizing symbols/letters), as needed to develop sound-symbol awareness, knowledge of phonics rules, visual memory of words that are not phonetically predictable, and fluency skills.


  1. Instruction in concept imagery (the ability to rapidly create mental images for language) to enable students to comprehend oral and written language material.

Reading In Context (Guided Reading)

  1. Students read leveled books/material to practice decoding and comprehension skills.  The level of material becomes more complex as students improve in their reading, accuracy, and fluency.

Written Language

1.  Students develop writing composition skills for expository paragraph and multi-paragraph writing after mastering verbalization skills.

Classroom Organization:

  • Students are placed in groups of 1-5 students who have similar language processing profiles.
  • Each group of students has a folder which includes a specific lesson plan being followed for the day, a Daily Progress Chart, a Behavior Checklist, and a Student Progress Chart.
  • Trained classroom staff members follow the steps of the appropriate and designated reading program.
  • Teachers document student performance on a Daily Progress Chart, and Behavior Checklist.
  • Students keep track of their sight words and vocabulary words on index cards.
  • Students are evaluated for progress at the end of each semester.

EVALUATION:  Student achievement in this course will be measured using multiple assessment tools including but not limited to: 

Gray Oral Reading Test-4; Given in September, January, and June every year.

These tests are given as a pre-assessment to determine the language processing strengths and weaknesses of the students for program selection and grouping.  These tests or others are given as a post-assessment to show growth, determine grades, and help make decisions regarding exiting this reading class.

Strategies for Success: Grades 9,10,11, &12

This course is designed for students identified as needing RSP support,through an IEP in a variety of skills and academic areas. To benefit students must exhibit appropriate and effective learning and school behaviors. When students exhibit these behaviors, a better teaching and learning environment is the result. 

Daily direct instruction in English and Math for a minimum of 20 minutes will increase their academic success in general education classes. Students will receive additional support through Pre teach, Re teach, review of concepts, modeling and teaching strategies as tools to access and successfully complete the work required of them in their general education classes.

California Teaching Credentials

Specialist Instruction Credential in Special Education: Clear

Resource Specialist Added Authorization: Clear

Multiple Subject Teaching Credential: Clear



Three amigos out in the sticks looking for "critters".
At a Literacy Teacher Workshop in American Samoa, on the island of Olosega.
Craig on Olosenga.jpg
2018 Arizona trip; Lyre snake
2018 Arizona trip; Lyre snake
Our newest pet "Shelly"
Our newest pet
This is me !
This is me !
The Leadership and Public Service Pathway ROCKS !
Leadership and Public Service ROCKS !
Summer fun....
Summer fun....
Craig L. Barnes Rm: PA 015 Locker
10/22/12 11:32 AM