Despite the fact that I didn't go to college, I've given my boys no say in the matter - they are going to college. Should they challenge me when the time comes, their alternative will be to enlist with the Israeli Defense Force. I think the boys will make the right decision given that choice, don't you?
But the way schools are re-focusing their agenda, I'm hoping they'll be enthusiastic about pursuing higher education anyway. In my day, the cookie-cutter standards were based on memorization. It's why I loathed Social Studies - who cares about the Gold Rush or the bubonic plague? How come they never mentioned the Flintstones or Little House On The Prairie?
Algebra, on the other hand, piqued my interest to no end. The mysterious X factor. Trying to figure it out was all consuming. When I learned later on that algebra isn't so much math, as it is a creative problem solving process, it explained why I'm always getting ripped off at the cash register.
But that's where the school's are headed now. Critical thinking - show me the process. It's called the "Common Core," and if your kid is anywhere between Pre-K through sixth grade, you've been hearing about it. Unless you're in Alaska or Texas where I assume survival is critical thinking in itself.
According to a parent workshop I attended, by 2014 all state testing, in forty-some-odd states, will incorporate the new format.
In a nutshell, it's read, process and react.
This sounds easy, but believe me, I've worked with a few twenty-year old kids who had trouble multi-tasking.
Go tell the boss his client's here and bring back the stack of mail.
"Whaaaat? How'm I gonna do ALL that?!"
Critical thinking. We're starting to teach this in America now? My generation is so screwed when it's time to retire.
In the meantime, here's what I've learned that can be done to prepare your kids. Read. A lot. Interact and ask questions, kind of like Dora, only you don't have to blink as much - or stand deathly still until they answer. Help them articulate and formulate their answers because by the time they're in third grade, they're going to need to write a best selling essay.
I asked the literacy coach how much handwriting and spelling counted - she said, "Not as much as sentence structure."
"But they have to clearly articulate their thoughts."
Oh. So, when Zuki writes stuff like, "I throwed him the the scinse," or "Can you buyed me u wach," we need to work on that.