About

MISSION

This blog exists to encourage adults to better understand and be more involved in the lives of early-adolescent children (10-14 year olds), so that these children may actually enjoy their chrysalis-like transformation into adulthood. I want to connect with people who deeply desire to help early adolescents grow up well, “more than fine, more than just bent on getting by, more than just ok.” (Switchfoot

THE AUTHOR
AK final portraitMy name is Andy Kerckhoff. I married my best friend in 1993, a cute girl I met back in 1984 at summer camp when we were 13. She is now a full-time mom, part-time tutor, and a much better parent and teacher than I will ever be. She inspires much of my thinking.

IMG_4373We have an 18-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. Our son is an active student, soccer player, and electric guitarist. He’s got a great sense of humor too. He keeps us on our toes. Our daughter has severe physical and intellectual disabilities. She can’t walk or talk, among other serious issues (epilepsy, restricted diet, etc.), but she lives a full life, loving others well. Our family life is demanding and frustrating, but is rich in love and joy. We are never lonely or bored.

AK Teaching final

I’ve been a full-time educator since 1993, working in Texas and Montana in my early years.  I now teach Global Studies to 7th grade students at an independent school in St. Louis, Missouri. In the summer, I teach a couple of summer camp courses. In the past I have been the principal of an elementary school, a camp counselor, an English teacher at an alternative high school, and a middle school coach (basketball, track, and cross country).

The views expressed in this blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or anyone else associated with me.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER

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CONNECT WITH ME ON GOODREADS

Email me at:   andy@growingupwell.org

 

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What is Early Adolescence?
Adolescence ChartThis stage in life, known as early adolescence, is a time of transformation for children in grades 4-8, who range in age from 10-14.  They are searching for meaning and value in their lives, often very successfully.  However, they often struggle with conflicting identity issues, weak self-esteem, and significant peer pressure, in addition to struggling with their academic, athletic, and other performance-based activities.  Early adolescents are trying desperately to understand themselves, their world, and where they can fit in successfully and happily.  It is a time of great turmoil for some, while for others it is a time of great excitement and wonder.  For most, it is both an exciting adventure entering a larger world and a terribly anxious time of uncertainty.

 

This video poem defines a middle schooler pretty well.


 

 

 

 

18 responses

11 08 2009
Jim

This is an outstanding, important website that will be a great resource for parents, teachers, and anyone involved in the lives of 10-14 year olds. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights and provide a venue for others to learn, provide insights, and share information.

11 08 2009
Malinda

I am so excited you are taking the time to write this blog. I am confident it is and will continue to be a blessing to all who partake in it and share their experiences through wisdom, victories, and defeats. Thank you for setting aside your time to help us focus on what we all truly desire: to love our kids effectively.

12 08 2009
Graham

I’m encouraged by your willingness and vision to help adults exert their influence well during the important preadolescent years. I hope that many teachers, administrators, parents and coaches avail themselves of this resource.

12 08 2009
Graham

All the best on the first day of school! (I remember well my butterflies on the night before as a teacher.) Feel free to send me feedback on Tumblon and what would make it even more compelling to educators: graham at tumblon.com.

14 08 2009
maggiewalk

I really appreciate your writings and look forward to hearing more. I am also thankful you are influencing a lot of our young people by teaching them. Our kids need as much positive influence as possible. . . .

16 08 2009
Landon Burke (Former Student)

Wow, this is sure one cool site you got going here, Mr. K. Good work!

2 09 2009
Kate

I would just like to say that for the past 9 years I have been inspired by your family. Rarely do I meet people who balance time for spouse, kids, work and play as well as you all. Excellent job on the website!

12 12 2009
Agitha

I would also like to say, you did a great job on the website.
Your family is an inspiration to me and my daughter, Lolia.
God bless
Agitha & Lolia

15 08 2010
Mike Weinberg

I’m a new blogger and pretty much a social media neophyte. I am particularly interested in your great blog because i am an adult who appreciates help raising kids and your content is outstanding. Jumped on here today and saw your post and the stats you shared. Congrats on a great year! So here’s what has me curious: why do you choose to remain so anonymous? with such helpful and appreciated content, why not do a touch of promotion? Twitter? As a sales guy / sales coach, i can’t help but wonder how many more people would be exposed to this great, valuable and super-helpful blog if it had just a bit more exposure. — and those compliments have nothing to do with the fact that my daughter will show up in your classroom tomorrow for the first time 🙂
Here’s to a fantastic impactful school year and another wonderful year for growingupwell.org!

21 08 2010
wildcatteacher

Well, I am taking the plunge into Twitter thanks to Mike W and my Fandango brothers. Thanks for the push.

23 08 2010
a mom

Love Mike’s comment:)

1 11 2010
FIlm Student

Hello!
I am a college student about three years in, working towards a degree under TV/Film to become a film director. Currently, I am working on a project that involves the creation of an original PSA (Public Service Announcement) for a Media Scriptwriting and Storyboarding course. I wanted to tackle the overuse of texting these days among teens and young adults because it is a very prevalent I encounter daily. Whether it’s in a class that other students are hiding their cell phones behind their desks texting away or if it’s with some of my own friends, totally engrossed in their digital conversations of mispelled and uneducated word choices, I believe that texting is engulfing normal conversation far too much and bringing about social problems from its daily abuse for unnecessary reasons. Don’t get me wrong, it is truly an incredible technological innovation, and I partake in my fair share. I just want to make the public more aware that it should be used in moderation, as your article “Texting vs. Talking” addresses smartly. If you could please give me a way to contact you so that I may use your site as a resource in my PSA project with your permission, I’d greatly appreciate it! Thank you for taking the time to create such a great website and helping make the world a better place for parents and children alike!

5 11 2010
wildcatteacher

I am happy to allow use of my articles for any educational purposes, as long as the source is cited.

2 01 2011
2010 in review « Growing Up Well

[…] About […]

13 03 2012
28 06 2012
Kenneth Kerckhoff

That there is my boy. He used to love to run and play on the small farm I had grown up on. He’s learned much, and is a great dad!

3 07 2012
Beth Piel

As a former elementary teacher and the mother of two children, I really appreciate the opportunity you are giving to others to understand a little more the life of an adolesent. Times have changed and adults need to be open to learning how to communicate and assist children as they go through this developmental stage of life. Thank you for what you do.

25 05 2014
Andy Kerckhoff

Beth, Thank you for the kind comment. I will be redesigning this blog soon and will be adding more content, now that my book project is complete. I appreciate your support very much.

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