Day 9~ Education that goes beyond reading and writing

I think it’s important to really think about what you value in education for your teenager.  Up until high school there is a mass accumulation of skills and knowledge.  Junior and senior high school is the beginning of their personal synthesis and involves much more than just textbooks and homework.

Our messy education…

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1.  I want them to learn what is useful.  Communication, mathematics and creating.  I think that pretty much sums up what someone needs to learn to survive in this world.  Firstly, my children must know how to communicate beyond acronyms in texting and how to express emotion without relying on an emocon.  Secondly, we live in a cash based society where counting and collecting are necessary.  Lastly, creative expression is the language of the soul.  Any artistic endeavour like music, drawing, photography, poetry, painting is necessary to holistic learning.

2.  They need to be able to self solve.  Problem solving is an internal muscle and I can attest that it comes easier for some than others.  This muscle has to be flexed and challenged.  For a parent often this is a tough one because it means letting go of your control.  Guidance vs. advice.  Should I spend time studying or going to the party?  How am I going to earn some money for  __________?

3.  I want them to care about their health.  A person is made up of flesh and blood and sometimes we leave this part out of education. Exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and good hygiene become skills we as adults take for granted.  Teens are learning how to own these.

4.  They need to know what they believe in and why.  I’m talking about their faith culture and where their truth comes from.  Our family believes in God and the work of Jesus Christ so I teach about that through our choices and actions.  Social justice has been on my heart a lot lately and I’m just trying to figure out how our family is going to live this out.  It’s a challenge when we live in an affluent area and see very little injustice done in our social circles.  It’s hidden well.  Teens are so optimistic about helping others it is a shame to not involve their ideas and thoughts.

5.  Teamwork is an important value.  In my opinion the best way to learn this is to be a part of a social group that does not involve sports.  Yes, I am getting really cynical about organized sports.  I feel it breeds competition and a cutthroat mindset, not collaboration which is exactly what team work is. For the value of physical exercise and discipline, we allow our kids in team sports but for that reason alone.  The best place for learning teamwork I’ve found is musical groups or artistic productions. These foster trust, mutual appreciation of each other’s talents and include the value of having accountability to a group.

Our kids go to public schools because that is what works for us.  I respect those who homeschool and my wish is that people within these two philosophies would not constantly try to defend or convert others to their position.

When our children are adults all that will matter is how we cared and loved on our child and their education.  I’m just happy that there are options to do both systems compared to when I was going to school.

I confess, we dreamt of taking our family around the world, homeschooling them and showing them the world versus reading about it, but we realized that it is a very privileged and costly thing to do.

It didn’t happen for us, nor did we really try to.  Besides that, I think happiness is adaptive and that after 3 months on the road the novelty would have wore off and I’d be craving a closet not a suitcase.  That is just my personality.

What would you add to these values of education?