What are we training our kids for?

This excerpt is from the book ‘The Homeschooling Handbook’ by Lorilee Lippincott, 2014.  It is an excellent reference for all things homeschooling, and contains lots of lovely case studies from families who have successfully embarked upon this journey.

This particular chapter refers to a speech from Sir Ken Robinson on education in 2006.  For those that aren’t familiar with Ken’s work, I would highly recommend that you watch some of his Ted talks.  You are in for a treat.

He talks about a very important idea that relates to the fact that we don’t know what kind of a world we are training our kids for.  Right now, we know that computer coding and security are growing fields for future employment, and we know that nurses are currently in demand, but if our children are only starting school now, what world will they live in twenty years from now?

When I look back, I can clearly see twenty years ago, that the world was very different to now and there is no way I could have predicted the changes we made.  Twenty years ago, for us, we didn’t all have personal home computers, cell phones for children, televisions that screened 24 hours a day, social media accounts and 3D printers that printed tools for the astronauts in the space stations to fix satellites.  It is a very different world to now, and twenty years isn’t very long ago.

The education system was originally designed with the end goal in mind of workers skilled to a particular level, able to undertake a certain kind of work.  Those days have long passed.  It is now not possible to predict exactly what skills our children will need to fulfil jobs in their futures.  The jobs they will undertake possibly haven’t even been invented yet.

“Do our kids need more advanced math, better computer education, better environmental training, or do they need wilderness survival and disaster training?  We really don’t know.

But instead of this being a reason to stay awake all night immobilised by fear, this can free us to pursue a deeper kind of learning.  What Sir Ken Robinson points out is that we need to be teaching our children creativity.  Instead of teaching them the knowledge for their future lives, we need to be teaching them the skills so they can adapt to whatever life brings”.

Well said Lorilee and I agree with you.  There are certain skills that if children really grasp these during childhood, they will be well adjusted and adaptable for whatever future awaits them:

  • How to learn
  • Curiosity
  • Motivation
  • Ability to deal with change
  • Self confidence
  • Self-starting (and ability to finish what they start)

Obviously, the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic are important forms of communication and definitely still skills to learn, however a lot of those skills can be learned at the same time as the skills listed above are being honed.  If your child embarks upon any career in their future, the skills listed above are all skills that will assist them achieve success.

When we choose to educate our children at home, we have the freedom to alter the curriculum to ensure that the skills above are being developed well alongside the core curriculum subjects we decide are important as a foundational base of knowledge to build upon.

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