#1 – Textbooks are great for the basics but nothing beats common sense and practical experience.
Before all the teachers and principals get all crazy, I’ve always liked school and am an A-student. BUT . . . as I get older, it seems like we waste more and more time in school. I even go to a private school and it’s not much different than public schools except that there are fewer kids and it’s not as dangerous as most public schools. But as far as what we actually do in class and how the time is spent, it doesn’t make much sense.
Probably ever person who’s ever gone to school has had to memorize things now and then. I can see that makes sense for things like speech meets or famous history speeches but memorizing isn’t really learning because for most people, you forget it as soon as you have to perform it especially if you weren’t really that interested in the subject to begin with. It doesn’t take a college graduate to figure out that memorizing is short-term and learning information lasts longer. I’m only 13. I wonder why teachers haven’t figured that out about memorizing?
My mom went to back to college about 10 years after she graduated from high school. Right out of high school, she got her hairdresser license because that’s what she always wanted to do. She worked for a few years in North Dakota until she moved to California, then had to quit so she worked in the corporate world, as they say, for a lot of years until people kept telling her she just had to get a college degree. She always said the piece of paper wouldn’t make her any smarter but finally decided to do college anyway. So she worked full-time and went to school part-time to get her paralegal degree and graduated the top of her class. The funny part was, she ended up not ever working in a law office because she was making a lot more money already and would have had to start over. And even though she was the top of her class, she couldn’t get hired because she didn’t have any law office experience. So it didn’t matter what she learned in all the textbooks, they wanted people with experience. Funny how that worked.
But back to memorizing. She tells this story a lot. In one of her law classes, someone asked how lawyers can remember all the cases they talk about in court. The teacher who was a lawyer too, said a smart person doesn’t need to remember; they just need to know where to look it up.
I really like that philosophy because I think it’s true for most things. If you’re taught how to do something instead of just memorizing what someone gives you, I think you’ll turn out much smarter in the long run. It’s like learning to play piano. If someone sits there and shows you how to play chopsticks and all you do is follow and memorize it, that’s not teaching you how to play any other songs because you didn’t learn how to read music. You only memorized that one song.
I’m really lucky that my mom and dad have taught me the things they have, especially since I started my business. For instance, just today, I got my bank statement so I had to balance my checkbook for my business. While I was doing that, my mom asked me if I could ever remember in any of my math classes if they’ve ever taught us about business or banking or something simple like how to balance a checkbook against a bank statement. I couldn’t remember any class that did and neither could she.
They teach the basics out of textbooks. That’s pretty much it. I guess they figure the rest will come in college or when we’re already in a job. I think of all the things I’ve learned since I started my business that most kids miss out on because schools don’t teach any of it.
I know there are certain rules schools have to follow to get kids through but it sure would be a whole lot better for all kids if schools could figure out a way to teach more practical things that would be useful in the real world when we grow up.
If anyone is thinking, “I wonder if his mom or dad know about this blog,” here’s the deal. I don’t get to write my blog or do any Pencil Bugs business online without my parents’ okay. Mom always knows what I’m writing and edits if necessary before it’s officially posted. Mom’s e-mail address in on my website contact page if anyone ever wants to e-mail her.