Considerations for the 2014 School Year
Hopefully you’ve finished whatever planning you need to get started this school year. My wife and I generally sit down at the end of each month to prepare for next month’s school – but for many, school has already started. The question I was prompted with this morning was simply this – is it really productive or is it time-consuming busy work? What does your child (or if you are a student – what do you) need to learn this year? Some considerations:
1. Everyone needs to learn the basics skills of math, English, writing, and communicating…most of this can be taught to the average person by the time they are in their early teens. Where are you on this process?
2. Character – this is often one of those things you assume is just going to happen along the way. The problem is, this is not realistic thinking. Diligence, thoroughness, responsibility,…(and at least 46 more) are some of the traits that come to mind when someone brings up character. Chances are your school curriculum doesn’t have specific course work on these, but it seems evident that we all need a stronger focus here.
3. Wisdom. Wisdom is creating a worldview that sees things for what they really are – it’s God’s viewpoint. Without wisdom, our decisions will always be wrong. This seems to be paramount, but completely absent from most school plans.
4. Skills needed for the future. Skills that translate into future employment, succesful marriages, parenting, etc…this one is also completely left out of most school curriculums. Most will ignore this until they finish college. Don’t wait. Build this right into your high school program. For example, consider the major areas of business and actually start one – manufacture something or resell something made by someone else – rebrand or white label if you can (meaning, have someone else build it with your brand name on it). Learn the marketing, sales, operational, and financial aspects of running this business, and build some of your other learning into the process – such as communication skills, and character traits.
If you take the average school program – perhaps 20% of it is important, the rest is filler. We’ve been programed to think the day should be filled with textbooks and homework assignments. We should be sitting in the school room all day, reading, writing, watching something educational, or listening to a lecture. The world around us rewards busy people – but gives little credit to the person who produces amazing results in a few minutes. This year, try measuring results vs. activity. Consider stripping out anything that is busy work, stop thinking about learning as an 8 hour process done in a school room, and consider the best ways to really learn the things needed for a successful life. Then, knock out whatever course work your state requires during the pockets of time that happen in between the meaningful experiences. You might find that your school room time can be measured in minutes rather than hours.
© 2013, David Stelzl