The best "big picture" plan for our family that I have come up with to answer the question how to best educate our children to prepare for an ever-changing future and a global market is as follows. I note that I have no clue if this is good enough but it feels right. This is an answer to my blog post earlier this week: How Then To Educate Our Children?
These are in a random order. It would be too hard to put them in some kind of priority order except for religion.
1. Teach my children about God and our family's religious beliefs which we feel will help them develop as people.
2. I am providing my children with a strong foundation in the Three R's. First oral communication, then reading and reading comprehension & a bit later, analytical thinking of the written word, and lastly, strong written communication skills.
Despite what experts say I feel, from experience, that the order that children learn best is: oral communication, communicating about their experiences or what was viewed (videos), reading and communicating what they read from the written word, and lastly, written communications about any topic and lastly, written communications of information that are original thoughts from their own mind.
2. Teaching my kids to question and think and analyze what they hear/read/see and are taught. Critical thinking skills. This includes forming one's own opinion, being an independent thinker, not being overly influenced by groupthink or peer pressure and lastly, being more of a leader than a follower.
3. Homeschool the basic subjects as required by state law to keep our homeschool legal so we are not investigated by the state or told by the government to put our kids in school, or worse, have our kids taken away from us by the state. This means we may teach things that our family doesn't feel are top priorities but they are necessary.
4. If our children's desired career requires college degrees to educate content to fulfill college admissions requirements and hopefully let them into 'good schools' for that career field. Also included is SAT prep to try to get decent/good enough test scores for college admissions. Yes this is "playing the school game" but if our society still requires certain degrees for certain fields then we have to 'play the game'.
5. Realize my children's natural talents or interest areas. Allow superior opportunities for learning content in the areas that my children want to learn. Take advantage of our freedom and flexibility in our lives to do things that schooled kids (sadly) don't have the time or opportunity to do due to school attendance and homework.
6. Have a certain amount of American cultural literacy.
7. Know history enough to realize it is important to know history and to learn from it yet to realize the topic can never be thoroughly ‘know’ that lifelong learning can be done just in the pursuit of learning more about history.
8. Teach my children how to research a topic, how to teach themselves by reading. Have them understand a person can never be 'done' learning as there is too much to know. Maintain a curiosity about a topic (don't kill the excitement in learning) so when they are teens and adults they can always know how to research and learn in whatever areas are necessary or just fun to learn about.
9. Teach my children morals and values; teach them that striving for good character is worthy. Living by one's character will help them all their lives.
10. Teach my children basic social skills and etiquette that we feel is basic and good. This ranges from proper behavior to how to be a good friend to how to deal with stress.
11. Teach my children basics of technology (PC, email, Internet) yet don't over focus on specific applications since programs, technology and platforms are changing so rapidly, what is learned today may not even exist when my kids are 25 years old.
12. Teach my children American history and why this nation is unique and different than other nations. Teach about other countries not in a negative way per se but explaining what makes this country different and letting them come to a conclusion about which they think is a better place to live or which country has ideals and opportunities that seem best to them. Teach my children what it means to be a good citizen. Teach our family's history and why our ancestors left their native lands and chose to live in this country.
13. Teach my children about politics relating to #12 and see which political belief systems lead to the best opportunities or would allow the best kind of life for people. As part of being a good citizen, teach the importance of voting in our elections.
14. Teach my children they have a voice and may affect change if they so desire. Teach them how to be an activist.
15. Know that gaps will always be present. Teach my kids that they don't know it all even if they do all the assignments I give them or if they read a certain number of books, that there is more to learn. Knowing one's ignorance and being humble is better than being a "know it all" as they are even more ignorant than people who know there is yet more to learn.
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