I’ve been ignoring this topic for a long time but now, it’s got me going. Schooling — that glorious and necessary function we have supported so heavily for hundreds of years. What has happened to it?
Originally it was put together to give our children the rudiments of effective communication; reading, writing and arithmetic. But what are the children actually getting today? Well, they’re getting socialized.
But what about the fundamentals of intelligent communication; reading and writing? Just recently, I was in a banking institution doing what we do in a banking institution and the sweet little girl that was helping me had to go online and type in several common words on an application. She couldn’t spell. Her supervisor had to discretely correct her errors. These weren’t long, complicated, rarely heard words, folks. They were ordinary, common, garden variety English words and she had no clue. She was at least 25 years of age.
Mind you, she was a whiz on the computer and computers have spell check, but still?
I’m getting a little long in the tooth now so give it about 50 years ago, but by Grade 5, I was gobbling up Edgar Rice Burroughs tomes as fast as I could find them as well as anything else of interest lurking in our local library and there was nothing spectacular about my brain power, either.
People, we need to teach the young to read and write and be able to do adequate arithmetic with a pencil and a piece of paper. At least enough to keep a budget and balance their bank account. But first, they need to understand good, solid English, the dominant language of our piece of terra firma. They need to be fluent in our own language before they begin on someone else’s.
They need to be articulate enough to read between the lines before they start tackling the world and its multiplicity of persons, places, sales pitches and political spins. Good English helps us understand and think critically and rationally rather than just responding emotionally to the flood of information that comes at us constantly.
So, I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: home school. If you can read and write adequately yourself, teach your children yourself. Read to them from every worthwhile book you can find.
Give up silly, let’s-keep-the-children-amused froth that has no substance. TV is on that list, obviously, but we need to be reminded constantly for too many people have not thought about the destructive inanity that bubbles forth from the goggle box.
But back to reading, a child may be only two, but the words will have meaning to it even if it cannot explain what it’s hearing. Don’t gabble at the child with a non-stop flow of gibble that just fills the space between you with noise. Shut your mouth and listen. Not to the child but to your own inner wisdom, then, when the wee tyke asks you a question, you might actually have something of worth to share with it.
And on the topic of silence, let us work as a species to make silence more popular and available than it currently is. Let’s work together to insist on quiet vehicles, chainsaws, lawn mowers, air vehicles, dogs, and whatever else is out there clanging and banging or yapping our hearing into oblivion.
Perhaps I should mention here that I’m not criticizing the teachers. Most of them work very hard at what they do. It’s the system I’m moaning about. The teachers are forced to go with what’s given to them. It’s time we turned them loose or changed the system.
Some of the happiest and most erudite children I have ever met are those that are home schooled. And by the way, home schooling isn’t nearly the daunting obstacle course people might assume. Children are learning machines.
They learn naturally. All we have to do is provide answers and good quality opportunities. And enjoy their company. That makes everything easy.
I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on my use of the word “it” in place of “he” or “she.” I am not aware of a better substitute at this time. If someone has a suggestion, perhaps you could make it available by writing to that patient soul, the person whose job it is to read this stuff the rest of us send in.
Letters to the editor is an excellent vent and I rarely miss one written by others.
We are an evolving species. We can and are shedding the ignorance of the past.
Let us continue to vent.
G. C. Robertson