Fish or Go To College?

Why not both?


“Cody is comfortable with distance learning technologies. His island school adopted them out of necessity more than a decade ago. He also is comfortable moving between the island and mainland, again, a skill born of necessity. He doesn’t see why he can’t fish when the fishing’s good and take courses online in the evenings.”

Read more from the Working Watefront article here.


The Perfect Place to Raise Your Kids


Perfect Place HouseSomeone near and dear to me recently confided how disappointed he sometimes is, that he can’t give his kids the same kind of small town, close-knit, free-wheeling, and outdoorsy kind of childhood he had.

I get it. I totally do. He is sentimental about afternoons in Packerland watching M*A*S*H (cause homework, what homework?),  summers without schedules, fishing streams mere minutes away, low parental supervision, and the joys of grape Bubble Yum and Country Time lemonade. I get it. I was there.

I think that place also existed in a particular time, but I’ll set that thought aside for now, and instead write to suggest that he maybe not feel so bad about not providing the perfect childhood place. Because here’s the deal: while that was a youth he loved and longs to share, he’s got to remember that not everyone who lived there, loved it.

I didn’t. I mean, I didn’t…

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Cooperation Over Control.


The Road To Better Relationships Always Starts With You.

The linked article from Inc. asks, “Are you a control freak?”

 Whether in the work place or in the community, our anxieties can sometimes run amuck.

“Irrational thoughts abound in our high stress world: If I don’t get this contract, I’ll get fired. If I’m not home by 6:00, I’m a terrible parent. If I don’t get that raise, I suck at my job.  All of these thoughts might be true, but probably not…rather than tackle our own irrational thinking and massage it into more realistic thinking, we attempt to control the situation, usually by trying to control other people.”


The Road Ahead


I couldn’t be more proud of my son. It’s seems surprisingly fast, but next year he will be entering high school and beginning a new chapter in his life. One of my three children, he was always a good student in elementary school. Actually, a great student. According to his grades, he has been doing everything he needed to succeed. It’s not uncommon for him to make the honor roll, and as a parent this has helped quiet any fears I had about his eventual transition to high school.

It seems that a child who makes the honor roll is prepared academically for high school and meeting the needed requirements, but I soon found that the fine print of standardized tests say otherwise. The requirements for a smooth transition from elementary school to high school came as a surprise to me and has me concerned for my children’s future. As a parent, there is always more I can be doing for my children. Yet, I feel the importance of these tests was not communicated effectively between multiple parties, in turn creating avoidable confusion.

My son is thinking about his education, his future, his dreams, and his goals. I don’t want to imagine that the beginning of his high school experience, and the beginning of his transition to becoming an adult, starts with him “not being prepared”. Looking ahead, I see the fine print of requirements growing. There seem to be more options and avenues for students to pursue in high school, but it seems complicated how these options meet the requirements for transition, and later, for graduation.

I’m ready and willing to work hard with my children to navigate their educational careers, but there is needed information that doesn’t seem to be common knowledge between administrators, teachers, parents, students, and the community as a whole. I’m willing to work hard because I know I am not the only parent with these hopes and fears for their child’s education. As an island parent, I’d like to see more effective communication, ensuring that needed information can better become common knowledge and reflect the common stake that we all hold in the education of our children.

A Deer Isle-Stonington Parent 

Choosing The “Right” Education For My Children


As a mother of a four and two year old (and expecting number three), I have had to make some difficult decisions and realizations about education possibilities. I grew up on the island and went through most of the school system, so I know how limiting it can be for some. Having experienced boarding school and college out of the state of Maine, I knew that I wanted my kids to have more opportunities than what is offered here.

 Knowing the limitations, I enrolled my daughter (the four year old) in the pre-K program at The Bay School in Blue Hill, as well as in a local daycare. Growing up on the island, and then moving away for a while, I know how hard it can be to live here and not be accepted as another islander. Having her in an island daycare allowed her to make friends here and start connections. But, I wanted more/different experiences for her, which is where The Bay School came in. I like outside of the box, hands on, and physical experiences. I believe that being exposed to different things growing up opens your mind, builds dreams, and allows you to handle situations outside of your comfort zone better.

 After her being at The Bay School for a year, my husband and I had to make the impending decision of where to send her to kindergarten. The factors of money, commuting and what is best for our daughter were our three biggest weighing options. I have gone back and forth between The Bay School and the island elementary school more times than I can remember. I am afraid of my daughter being ostracized from the island people if she is sent to The Bay School. But, is it worth sending her to the island school just so she can have friends here because this is where we live? Are education and experience worth more than people connections? Is the twice a day commute worth it? Should we pay money instead of sending her to school for “free”? Which school would she be happier at? Will it make a difference in the long run? These are many of the questions my husband and I tossed back and forth.

 We finally decided that the experiences, and different viewpoint of educating would be really good for her at The Bay School. Our final decision has been reinforced by how our daughter comes home from the pre-K program happily singing songs, talking about the wonderful food the kids helped cook and she actually tried. Who knows if this is something that will benefit her later in life, or if we will even continue with it after kindergarten. It is a year by year decision, and only time will tell.

– Lydia MacDonald


Hey Mom, Can I Get a Facebook Account?


Actually, my child first asked for Instagram. Uh oh.  I knew Facebook and Twitter, but wasn’t sure how Instagram worked and I had no idea whether it was OK for a young teen.  I was flooded with questions and anxieties.  How was I going to decide which social media was appropriate?  How would I protect my children from cyberbullying?  How would I make sure they weren’t being an online bully?  And what about that guy who was recently arrested on charges of sexual assault against a Hancock county minor?  Didn’t he meet her through Facebook?  What if my child posted something that would get him in trouble at school – or, worse, raise a red flag later when she applied for jobs.  But if I didn’t allow Instagram, wouldn’t my child be isolated from peers and unprepared for navigating social media as an adult?

I admit, it was tempting to put all of these issues aside and let my child simply sign up.  “Everyone else is already on,” I heard.  Google to the rescue. It didn’t take me long to type in “Is Instagram OK for a 13 year old?” and find plenty of information and a variety of opinions. We ended up going with Facebook instead, but only after reviewing and signing a social media contract that spelled out our expectations (see links below).  It took some negotiating to come up with a workable agreement, and I’m probably not as on top of regularly checking the accounts and content as I should be…. but it’s a start.  While our teenagers think we are on the overprotective side, they have been content with our current guidelines.

Here are a few of the guidelines we kept in our agreement:

  • Parents have open access to kids’ accounts.  (They have to share passwords and logins)
  • Privacy settings are checked to ensure only friends see posts and photos.
  • They are only allowed to “friend” people they know in real life.
  • They need parental permission to accept a friend request from anyone over 18.
  • And three big rules for content:

1)   Don’t post anything you would not want your parent or the school principal to see.

2)   Don’t post anything on social media you would not say to someone’s face.

3)   No cyberbullying.  Period.

I’m sure our family will keep revisiting these decisions as our kids get older and new forms of social media emerge.  And we’ll learn from the voices of other parents.

How are you managing social media with your kids? Have you found any useful tools or strategies?  Comments and conversation are welcome!

Parent of a Deer Isle-Stonington Student

Looking for more information on contracts for teens? This article is helpful and offers some advice.