Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Most Important Things to Teach

My grandmother always said that your education was the only thing no-one could take away from you.  She went through the Great Depression, and lost a father, brother, and several homes at a young age, and a husband and baby as she got older, so I think she knew what she was talking about.  My mother helped my sister and I get through college for basically the same reason.  You can lose any physical thing you can have, but you can't lose what you know.  My grandmother lost a lot of her mental abilities before she died, but I like to think she still had some of that knowledge that she treasured so much, even though she could no longer relate it.

As I consider what I need to teach my children, I believe I have narrowed it down to two important subjects.  The first subject is how to learn.  Our civilization is moving so fast, that the things that are important now are unlikely to be important when my children grow up.  Who would have thought when I was in elementary school in the 1970's that I would need to know how to use a personal computer?  Or a cell phone, microwave, or remote control?  On the other hand, who would have thought I would need to know how to take care of chickens?  These things were never part of my schooling.  I've learned them all since I became an adult.  So somewhere along the way, I was taught how to learn.  I was taught to read, to count, and to communicate so that I could ask for help when I needed it.  This last part includes writing, speaking, and listening.

The other subject, and probably the most important one of all, is to learn how to hear God's voice, and follow His lead.  The longer I live, the more I see patterns and paths in my life (hindsight, of course!)  When I follow God's leading in my life, I realize that I am prepared ahead of time for everything I need to do.  Sometimes I think I'm at a final point, but later realize that I was only in training for something better.  Writing for Suite101 seems to be one of these cases.  I have not made a lot of money on my articles there, but I learned a huge amount about publishing and writing in a short amount of time.  This knowledge has helped me modify the New York State curriculum I'm writing, making it a much better product.  I still don't know if this is the "end," but I can say that I gained more than money from my time at Suite.

So, I am now closer to a concrete educational philosophy.  At least I know what to teach.  Now if I can only figure out how!

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