These are a mix of heart pieces I have written in my personal tutoring site on facebook. I belong to the group of people tired of the ”still” assembly line teaching process of public schools when it comes to educating our children. They take away the children’s ”real” feeling of learning. They replace it with ”canned” training, to replace the previous generation of consumer goods caretakers: the lousy pay jobs that are never meant to make a living with but to scrape by until your real education of who you are and what you can do finally wakes up within you.
I know for a fact we have all the time and the resources and the intellectual capabilities with the teachers and the students for every American student to graduate high school having an expert understanding of finances: budgeting, investing, book keeping and accounting. This current system cripples our students by maintaining worthless math curriculum for the mere purpose of “thinking better”. What BETTER THINKING we really could give our kids by teaching them to be financially literate and ready to run a business, to be an accountant, to have the financial strategies to be financially wise and secure. Some day maybe the schools will decide to get our kids off the “not a clue about life” assembly line.
There is a difference between the natural education process and the “controlled channelling” education process used by all societies through public schools to ensure their baseline work force to sustain community businesses. Natural learning is holistic in the way that all senses are involved in the absorbing, experimenting, practicing and perfecting of every element of whatever process is being engaged in. Controlled channelling is predetermined chosen “pieces” of a process taught to ”create” a specific ability in a specific amount of time for a specific purpose–mainly to give students only ”basic” knowledge and enough of it to be able to work a simple job with enough competency to succeed. Public school, to me as a teacher in the system, does this very thing 80% of the time with “interesting stuff” thrown in to keep the students halfway happy and cheaply amazed. Based on amazing young people I’ve met and read about over the decades—not counting the famous ones the media finds– I believe in the possibility of young people being able to have and begin occupational training in the field of their interest/talents/gifts as early as age 12 or in grade 6. Most parents can attest to recognizing talents in their children–without the usual parental bias of “my kid is great all the time”–early on and making statements like, “Yes, you will be a college bound kid because you have what it takes. Just hang in there for the next 6 to 8 years and school will make more sense”. I am talking about “any” field of interest. It would be completely normal, as human beings are designed, to base all vocabulary, reading, math, history, geography, social studies, sciences and health on a themed occupation such as mechanics, business, medical—first aid, nurse, doctor, EMT, veterinarian, physical therapy, etc.—, animal scientist, any kind of scientist, cooking, accountant, entrepreneur, farming, carpenter, electrician, plumber, banker and more. Most people have talents for 2 or more things, so to have students study for 2 occupations at the same time in a spread out plan is not unreasonable.
My personal experience to back up my thoughts is this. My own children were capable of starting their music talents at an early age and were performing with me at nursing homes at age ten and eleven with their flute and violin. At age 13 they traded those in for guitars–yes, I weeped– and started learning complicated songs from Nirvana and Led Zeppelin among other great bands. My son at age 13 or 14 was starting early in the field of construction–although it was called “just helping out” with building things–thanks to a good friend who was a carpenter. He allowed my son to help as his boys helped him with the basics of building things around their home. By the time my son was 18 he had all the basics learned and practiced for building walls, dry walling, mudding, painting, trimming, roofing, floors and more. At 18 he was ready to work as a construction man. If the only education he had received was from public school none of that would have happened nor even been possible. My daughters did not have the same opportunities but they should have. One wanted to be a veterinarian and I asked a veterinarian one day if he would allow her to ”hang out” for a day and watch what they do. He said, yes. It was a fantastic opportunity even though she did not go that direction later. At least she had the chance to ”experience” some of it and then have more knowledge to decide which direction she would go later. I forgot to add in Part 1 that the arts–music and painting and pottery and designing–are also occupations that should be in the theme list. Home schoolers have the greatest chance to let this natural education process work in their families as long as they, too, do not get caught up in the ”channeled” education process that most ”curriculum” books follow. Public school, I think, does its best work in grades k to 4 or 5. After that, it’s more of the same at different levels and that is why we have high drop outs, and more challenges for safety and sanity, and why there are more suicides in those grade levels: because those higher levels are more like funneling mice in a maze of hallways with no real meaningful purposes for end results. Why do I write all this ? So that you, parents, will realize that the “real” education for preparing for life and for the work your kids would love to do is not going to happen solely through the public school system. You have to have make it happen at home for your kids. Know their talents and provide opportunities by connecting your child with people and places that practice what your kid’s talents are.
The term in education, “research based” is very misleading. It is for the most part a label someone can slap onto any new and improved program for the benefit of their cash profit flow. In my 22 years of teaching I have seen many “research based” programs replaced with other “research based” programs on the basis of the previous program being considered a “failure” of producing the needed results. I am certain, if I took the time to prove it, that the history of educational curriculum would show the same routine of every program having this type of a run; “Hey, everyone. THIS program is the proven one from 500 schools tested and results being fantastic. UTOPIA has been found for the brain of every single child.—-5 to 10 years later, due to the need of another cash cow and the previous generations pretty much not giving a hoot about the change–“Oh, my, folks. We are sorry to say we were so wrong about this failing program we once touted as the savior of all children’s minds and the liberty torch of all schools. It “appears” that the research was tainted. BUT THIS NEW PROGRAM…”, and the beat goes on. I write this in response to the article of Mississippi children failing the reading tests. Teachers are targeted, not the tests. I went through the teaching program in Illinois, and even here I wonder, after being sometimes influenced yet often talked down to by presenters of “ideas” in seminars and workshops for us teachers to use, why we even have o have 4 years of learning how to teach. 4 years. You graduate as a “pro”. You start working and you see other teachers doubting themselves and even “seeking” other ideas to use because of doubt. These are other teachers who have at least ten or more years on me for teaching. Something is off somewhere and I can tell you it is NOT the teachers who are off. It is the system’s consistent desire to look like the next automobile, the new package of Oreo cookies, the hippest for the next generation, totally missing the boat that it is not the curriculum that matters but the many ways of thinking that these kids bring into the school, as they have been doing for hundreds of years. That’s my “professional” opinion. Take out the time constraints, let teachers teach as they are gifted to and you’ll see great strides of improvement everywhere.