There are three main things that students should be learning in school. Unfortunately, in the increasingly test centered focus in education today, it seems like all of the attention is given to the first category only.
1) Information and how to learn. How much information do we really retain from school once we leave? And how much do we really need it? Anyone needed to know the chemical symbol for potassium lately? Or how about who was president in 1902? I know I haven't. But I knew them when I was in high school. School is not always about the literal information that we learn, but that we are discovering how to learn. We are exposed to a lot of different topics in school. Some of them we gravitate to and use for the rest of our lives, some of them we leave alone. But they are all important.
2) Social skills. You might want to skip this part home schoolers. How many jobs rely on a person's social ability as much as their head knowledge? Many of them do. Is school the only place that students can learn social skills? No. But I think this is one of the great opportunities for learning these important skills. Parents would be wise to quit trying to protect their children from every possible bad scenario that exists and let them be around different kinds of people and situations.
Momma isn't going to be around to protect her children forever. It's best that they start learning how to handle themselves on their own. I grew up at various times going to private schools, public schools, country club type schools, and schools in rough neighborhoods. I definitely feel like those experiences prepared me for dealing with just about any kind of person out there.
3)Toughness/Preparation for life after school. The objective of school should not just be to learn the most information possible and get out of there. There are many other good lessons to learn, such as overcoming obstacles, having to work hard to get something you want, dealing with failure, etc. These lessons can be just as valuable as book knowledge.
So, if you are a teacher, educator, or even parent, don't let yourself give 100% of your focus on category one only. Gathering information is very important, but it should not be the only thing that students are learning at school. Eventually, they will be out of school and on their own. Do them a favor and get them prepared for more than just helping your school test score ranking.
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