Wednesday, July 4, 2012

3 things

I recently had a meeting with a homeschooling mother of four, community organizer and business co-owner.  She had just come home from a conference for science teachers.  Many colleges had speakers presenting and the common thread from all of them was this.  Today's high school graduates lack these things.

They lack basic skills. Skills like making their own beds or using a washing machine.

They lack the ability to problem solve.  They give in very quickly when they meet obstacles.

They lack critical thinking skills.

I have been thinking about these things over the past couple of days.  Especially the first one.

Coincidentally, another homeschooling friend of mine has three boys, including a teenager!  They do all the housework and can cook a fine meal.  They learnt how to do this when the mother hurt her back and couldn't move well for about 6 months.  She has been better now for a year but the boys still are doing the housework.  She has an immaculate house.

There is a lesson here.  Mom can't do everything.  She has to be in balance too.

I have been thinking about how people learn to have resilience.  What makes us persevere when the going gets tough.  Maybe it is belief in what we are doing.  Being invested.  Having purpose, fed by passion so we can see past the obstacles to the big picture.  What makes kids take a deep breath and push through difficult work?  How do we get them to see the big picture?  (Feedback needed!)

And as far as critical thinking goes, I am not sure if it pays to have critical thinking skills at school.  You master regurgitation of what the teacher wants to hear or thinks is important and you provide what you need to get an A. You master the rubric. You master thinking 'in the box'.  Check.
Critical thinking is thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false. (Wikipedia)
As homeschoolers we are in a unique position, always being with our children.  I am always asking my children why they think something is the way it is.  I ask them if they really believe this or that? Is there another way we could do it?  Who do think made that rule? Are you stopping yourself from doing something because of some arbitrary barrier in your own mind?  Do you know something or are you just assuming it?

...and of course there are great curriculum guides for this such as The Fallacy Detective where the authors, Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn teach you how to detect faulty reasoning in 38 easy lessons!

I think I need that book.

1 comment:

  1. During my meeting at Western Connecticut State University, Grace was told that most students (at least those in the meteorology department) are lacking the ability to write proficiently. I am so grateful that many of these challenges will be met through the Project this year and that our children will be prepared to accept the challenges they will face not only in their academic careers, but throughout their lives.