Learning How To Learn

As my kids get older and they are doing homework at the kitchen table or with their friends I hear the question, "When am I ever going to use this?" I love it when this topic comes up because I love opportunities to teach my kids what the real world is like.

My first response is, "You are probably never actually going to use it in real life." That really gets them going as they wonder what the point is. Inevitably I end up sharing these points in some format.

  1. You need to learn how to learn. I guarantee that in life you will have to learn new things. Starting a new job. Moving to a new place. Interacting with people from different cultures. There are countless opportunities in your life where what you already know doesn't help you. Do you know how to acquire new knowledge?
  2. You need to learn how to study in a subject that you aren't good at. If you hate math or English you can probably find a job that isn't reliant on those skills. However I guarantee you that you will have to learn something that you don't like. Do you have skills to muscle through a topic that you don't like to learn what you need to?
  3. Even if you are the smartest person in your class in a subject, there is still more to learn. Mastery of a subject takes decades and the smartest people in the world in a particular subject will tell you there is still more to learn beyond what they know. What is the next thing you are trying to learn?
This is where schools drive me crazy, they are missing explaining to kids why it is important they learn these skills. Not teachers mind you, they are amazing people that are called to something few are able to do well. I'm talking about school systems and their curriculum requirements stating that at a certain grade they should be able to recite specific historical facts, comprehend X amount of words, complete the appropriate number of math problems in a specific time and read a passage appropriately complex for their age to recap the contents. The public school system was created during the industrial revolution as a factory to be able to produce the appropriate number of widgets, I mean workers, to be able to work in a factory. It feels too much like memorizing facts rather than learning to solve problems. If you can get an answer from Google or Alexa in 3 seconds what do you need to know that for? Do you understand how compound interest works and why it is important? Do you know how to compare the total cost of a mortgage to make sense of what is right for you? Do you understand how emotions play a part in our purchasing habits so you can make the right decisions? 

Life is more than reciting facts. There are new skills and knowledge needed to be successful today. What are you learning?

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