Is that as far as it really goes? I don't think so. Literacy explores to every aspect and facet of our lives. Sure reading, writing and counting are fundamental but there is a lot more.
We live in a world today where change is a given. Everything is changing. All the time. We hear talk of bees dying by the thousands. We hear talk of global warming and climate change almost daily. Technology is changing so fast we could be technological dinosaurs by the time we are thirty if we don't make an effort to stay technologically literate.
The word "entrepreneur" and all it's derivatives is now heard almost daily too. Millions of people have given up working for a boss and are becoming entrepreneurs because they want to make a difference and they can't do it as employees. But for all of this, what is there for our children that educates them in these areas?
- Do they learn about global warming now and endangered species in school? (Ecological literacy)
- Do they learn about health as in depth as they should? (Health literacy)
- Do they learn how to start and run their own business? (Business literacy)
- Do they learn about technology other than watching movies and playing games on smart phones and tablets? (technological literacy). This is a pet subject for so many of us and would even cross over into Social literacy where children learn to interact with others and manage relationships
- Do they learn how to manage their money and investments? (Financial literacy?)
- Do they learn how to make a difference? (Charitable literacy)
We can't expect schools to teach children about all of these aspects to the extent that they would become experts, but if we gave them the required basic literacy they needed in these and other areas I have not even mentioned I have no doubt that they would leave school much better prepared for their adult lives and with a much better understanding of the goals and purpose of their lives.
Many of the aspects I have mentioned are addressed to some extent by existing curriculums, but are not referred to as a form of "literacy". This is fine. Its not about semantics. I do not believe that the depth of material covered is anywhere near sufficient to have a lasting effect on children for the course of their school career and life after school.
I recently read that Elon Musk has started a new school and his children are being taught at this school along with children of other employees at Space X. In an interview, Elon Musk stated that we should be teaching our children to take things apart as opposed to putting them together. This way they can gain a better understanding of how something has been put together but also at the same time they can find ways of doing it better. After all, doesn't improvement come from doing something which has already been done, better?
For the most part, driving this change right now is up to us as parents but perhaps we should be joining together to build better curriculums faster.
I also read an article recently which asked the question about how we as parents can prepare our children for jobs which do not exist yet but which will exist when our children graduate. That along with changing the curriculums are fundamental to building educational value which will truly ensure our children are prepared for the future as best as possible.
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