With all the measurement tools, all the bureaucratic standards, and all the money that is being spent on trying to make our schools conform to those standards, there is someone who is being forgotten. That person is the Kid!
With all of our educators in administrative positions, who have a string of degrees after their names, deciding what a “good education” is and how it should be delivered, the Kid becomes an empty box among (ideally) 24-29 other empty boxes to be filled with facts, figures, formulae, and basic technological skills. We try to stuff the Kid with what s/he needs to get into college, so s/he can be crammed full of more facts, figures, technology, and politically-correct ideology, so that s/he can have a successful (i.e. lucrative) career.
When I was a Kid in school, I really didn’t need a grade to know if I was learning. I knew whether I understood what I was reading, whether I could spell or perform mathematical calculations. I knew whether I “got it” or I didn’t. And I wanted to learn. I was ready to let it in; my mind was open. I had high standards for myself, and I was embarrassed if I didn’t understand an idea, concept, or how to do something, and I would work until I did.
What does a Kid really need to know to prepare himself/herself for life? Not all of us want to be, or should be, doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, scientists, engineers, business leaders, or teachers. Some of us want to be nurses, cooks/chefs, auto mechanics, plumbers, farmers, electricians, craftsmen, policemen, and truck drivers. Still others may become talented artists, writers, musicians, or actors. The best of us get there under our own inner motivation–after we have learned the basics.
And what are the basics that every Kid needs to know?
- Reading. writing, spelling, grammar, and basic math.
History, geography, and government (including the Constitution.)
Biology, chemistry, and physics.
Art, music, literature, poetry, and world religions (including Christianity.)
Practical skills like cooking, sewing (boys, too), personal finance, and home & car maintenance.
Self-care like nutrition, hygiene, and exercise/sports.
Computer skills are an important plus. and a necessary business resource.
- A short course in survival skills would be good, too.
Some of these things used to be learned at home, but with both parents working in most familes, the Kid could grow up without knowing how to take care of himself properly if he isn’t taught in school. And that, I think, is the main priority of raising and educating a Kid.
What Kid wouldn’t want to learn all those things? Even with a basic education like this, delivered without any hidden agendas, a Kid can grow up to be a self-reliant, resourceful Adult, able to think for himself/herself, and will certainly not be an empty box stuffed with facts.