Letter: Not all learning is in school
A response to Glenn Beaton’s column proposing year-round school as the way to solve our educational position in the world:
First I would say that I am always concerned when someone calls for an increase in time dedicated to a part of a child’s life that clearly is failing those same children in many ways.
The reason that Glenn had to use the example of the family farm of a century ago is because the educational model that he proposed has been left behind by a paradigm shift in education that is now coming full circle with the Internet generation of students today.
You state that children “Don’t often work anymore at all…” which you propose to fix by dedicating even more hours of their life to the current system. I see this as a glaring example of a component currently missing from our present educational plan.
I would like to share what my son learned this summer while not in The School.
• He learned to drive on the way to his job at a tree farm.
• He learned to drive a skid steer and not injure himself or anyone else.
• He learned that there are people outside of school who can educate him.
• He learned that unless he practices the Spanish that he has been studying in school, there are many people who won’t be able to teach you, and they have some much knowledge to share.
• He learned the pain that comes with working hard, and he learned the excitement of having his own money and being a contributor to society.
• He learned how to manage his money, and save, and he saw the look on a banker’s face when he asked for some of that money back to buy his first vehicle.
But this is where it get interesting for me — by using the tool that is his second right hand (YouTube), he learned how to replace the shocks in his vehicle, and that in itself is an example of that very paradigm shift in education that I spoke of earlier.
I have four children, all grown except the youngest, who turned 16 last summer and started his sophomore year in high school. This is our 23rd year in our local schools, and one of the things I have learned is that you simply can’t put the whole educational burden on the school’s shoulders. I have seen and continue to see the most dedicated people trying to help these children in areas where my knowledge is lacking, yet they themselves learned so much of what that they know outside of school. In Re-2, we went to a four-day school week a couple of years ago and I, for one, think it was the right direction.
Mark Twain once said, “The path to wisdom begins with the carrying of a pocket knife,” and I really feel that children don’t flourish, as none of us would, if we spend too much time in a place that has zero tolerance for such things.
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