Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Believe it or not, I have been thinking on some things lately. (I try to only do it rarely!) I was thinking about this CLEP test in American History and it's got me wondering about the definition of education. What do we want our kids to know? What do they need to know? Is being able to state the circumstances and the date of Bacon's Rebellion an essential life skill? Can you do it? Odds are you may have memorized it for a test and then promptly forgot it again. What is the point of that? I think that knowing general trends and large events in history is good but I wonder how much detail one needs to know. I heard once that Albert Einstein did not memorize anything he could look up, trying to free brain space for important things. I'd like my kids to know a trade/way to make money, how to manage that money, how to manage a home and how to manage their own health. However, in order to get a degree and have a better chance at getting good employment, they have to jump through the educational hoops and that means learning some useless facts and then promptly forgetting them. What exactly is the point of that? Is that education?


Donna said...

I sooooo totally agree with you! The things that are on these test are unbelievable!

Kelli said...

You are so right. It is insane how many things we "learn" (if by learn we mean memorize for a test then forget about as soon as the test is over) that do us absolutely no good in life. Oh well, if the educational world were perfect we would never had the basis for the game show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" ;-}

Amy said...

Oh, AMEN! You preach it, sister! My mom & I have these discussions periodically too. One reason I really started reading tons of stuff about 'Unschooling'. Like you said about NOT memorizing what you can look up..........teaching our kids HOW to look up/find answers to stuff they need to know. Anyway, I won't ramble, but will just say AMEN again....I totally agree with you!!

Don Berg said...

Consciously defining education for yourself is crucial to what you do as an educator (parent or otherwise) because you automatically have some definition based on your experiences, even if it doesn't make any sense.

Here's a quote from my definition of education page: "The proper definition of education is the process of becoming an educated person.

"Being an educated person means you have access to optimal states of mind regardless of the situation you are in.

"You are able to perceive accurately, think clearly and act effectively to achieve self-selected goals and aspirations.

"Education is a process of cognitive cartography, mapping your experiences and finding a variety of reliable routes to optimal states when you find yourself in non-optimal states."


Don Berg



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