I’ve been accused of being old-fashioned. No shame here, I’ll wear the title proudly. Of course, change happens and life goes on. Smartphones have replaced corded wall phones. Computers have replaced the card catalog and the GPS has eliminated the need for fold up maps neatly stacked in your glove compartment. I personally may prefer reading a hardcover book over an e-book but if I don’t get on board with this new technology it’s no big deal, something will replace the e-book eventually. Technology is always changing and at a faster rate than ever before.
Look back to your elementary years and ask yourself, what were you taught that is no longer incorporated into the curriculum you are using today? Certainly certain skills are simply not needed anymore due to the advancement of technology (the use of a typewriter, for example). Other skills, even though they are not integral for life, they are still useful and practical especially if your child is ever in a situation where technology is not as advanced, (such as in a third world country).
When planning your child’s education, I would encourage you to think about whether or not teaching them the long lost skills is important to you.
Or are they all a lost cause and no longer needed to be taught?
Writing as we knew it in school is not the same. Cursive is no longer mandatory the public school system. As homeschooling parents, what are we going to do? Teach your child cursive so they can read and understand old documents? Teach them so they can express themselves in a creative way? Some students thrive with cursive while others struggle and don’t need the extra pressure put on them. What have you decided for your homeschool?
Encyclopedia and Dictionary Skills
Ok, Google. What is the average lifespan of a parrot? Within seconds our child can know the answer. Should we teach them how to take the longer route to find what they need in an encyclopedia and dictionary by teaching them about alphabetising and how to use guide words? Parents are divided on this subject due to the vast amount of information easily accessible on the internet. Even though it might seem simple to use an encyclopedia and a silly skill to work on with your child, I would argue that it is simple for us because we already know how. Somebody had to teach us. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to show them the basics.
Many parents agree that knowing how to tell time is a basic skill we teach our children beginning in kindergarten yet how adamant are we about enforcing the practice of this skill? Digital clocks are everywhere. On our tablets, desktops, cars, everywhere. Teaching our children how to tell time the old-fashioned way helps hone in skills such as counting by twos, and fives and provides critical thinking skills in a way that digital never can. Practicing a little each day in the early elementary years can truly help sharpen their skills.
This is a hard one for me. When I look at modern resources about the solar system it is odd not seeing Pluto listed. But, with new technology, we know things now that we didn’t when we were in school. Are we going to teach our kids that it’s a dwarf planet, a moon, or are we going to keep on teaching it as a planet? I’m tempted to choose the latter but I know I shouldn’t be that stubborn!