Tag-Archive for » school «

May 17th, 2009 | Author:

My grandma says that the best learning is from the school of life.   It didn’t make much sense the first time I heard that but since I started my business, I have learned more about life and business than they ever teach in school.   Some of the things I have learned with my business are pretty basic but they still don’t teach or spend time on them in school like balancing a checkbook or legal aspects of business or even the art of conversation which a lot of people could definitely use.

Many schools still take field trips but a lot of times, those are just for fun even though they say they relate to a particular subject.   Kids like them but use them as just another excuse to get out of a day of class.  Life outside of school when you are involved in a business or charity work can teach you so many valuable lessons.

Below are some topics that I think should be covered in school, even as early as middle school.   Having an introduction to these things would make more kids ready for life than just what they are taught from a textbook.   Isn’t that what school is for?  To get us ready for the real world?

  • Public speaking (and not just memorizing poetry or speeches)
  • Interviewing with the media (which would be good for job interview experience)
  • Social networking (learning how to communicate with a large variety of people)
  • Profit and loss (or at least some basic business finance)

One of my video games even teaches things that aren’t taught in school.  It’s called Runescape and it is an amazing game that teaches about economics.  School is great for the basics, but life teaches you more.

February 21st, 2009 | Author:

You’ve probably heard the saying, “everyone’s a winner.”  A lot of people think that way.  The fact is, not everyone can win.   There will be winners and losers.   It’s not realistic that everyone can win.  Think of a sport.  You play all season and at the end, there are the playoffs and then the tournaments.  The purpose of the tournament is to see who is the best overall.  They become the winner.  Depending on the sport, the winning team gets an award or trophy.   Everyone else got the experience and fun of playing the sport.  But should they all get an award?

When I was in football and baseball, my teams didn’t win.  All the players still received trophies though.  The coaches even made a point saying they didn’t want to make anyone feel bad so gave everyone something.  It didn’t bother me that my team lost and I don’t think we deserved a trophy.  Another team won.  They deserved the trophy. 

I think people are too worried about hurting someone’s feelings.  Maybe if people realized that if you lose, you just have to try harder if you want to get that trophy, then they would be better off in the long run.

If people know they don’t have to try very hard and will still get rewarded, they’ll never really give it their all.   There is no sense of accomplishment for doing nothing versus someone who tried really hard and won.

My mom said she heard the other day that the Oscar Awards even changed their wording when someone wins.   They used to say, “And the winner is. . .”   Several years ago, they changed it to “And the award goes to. . . ”    Apparently, nominees that didn’t win felt too much like losers.  Even adults who should know better still may not be able to handle “losing.” 

My school promotes this kind of thinking also.   They give out what I call “just breathing awards.”   It seems like you don’t even have to try to “get” something in return.  How does that teach anything in life?

So what’s the point?  Sometimes you’ll win and sometimes you’ll lose.  Life doesen’t always have to make everyone happy with the outcome.   My parents have taught me to try my best and if I win, that’s great.  If I lose, then I should realize I have to try harder next time if I want to win.

Let there be losers and let there be winners but everyone can’t win and it should be okay to say “you lost.”

January 12th, 2009 | Author:

#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.