Tag Archives: 21st century education
June 17, 2011

Kid Wisdom

Glow Worm Cave, North Island New ZealandFriends and wisdom show up in some of the most unexpected places.  I’ve recently  discovered a terrific Facebook group, Families on the Move, and this poem appeared there over the weekend from Mojito Mother.  (I’m captivated simply by the name and her blog: Mojito Mother — Putting the MOJO Back into a Mother’s Life.)

Raising kids is hard, at least if you want to do it well.  Teaching them, mentoring them, knowing when to dial it up then dial it down. It’s a balancing act, and all of us struggle to figure out how to do it right. I remember almost 15 years ago when my god-daughter (who was around 15 at the time) observed “I think Mom needs to set more boundaries for me. I need them.” It was one of those notes-to-self moments.

Now, all these years later, you’d think I’d know something after wearing the  MOM badge for over twenty years, but three kids and a step-daughter, and I’m still learning. This piece from a child’s perspective hit at just the right time for me — funny how fate works it out that way sometimes — and I  thought it should be shared.

Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have asked for it.

I”m testing you. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it…. it makes me feel more secure.

Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk to me in private.

Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.

Don’t be too upset if I say “I hate you.” It isn’t that I hate you; I only need your attention.

Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn that way.

Don’t take too much notice of small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I want.

Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.

Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when they are broken.

Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I am not always accurate.

Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.

Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose my faith in you.

Don’t put me off when I ask you questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.

Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to understand.

Don’t ever think it beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm to you.

Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult for you to keep pace with me but please try.

Don’t forget that I love experimenting. I couldn’t get along without it, so please put up with it.

Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of love. But I don’t need to tell you that…. do I?

– Anonymous

August 9, 2010

College Education in the 21st Century

“Is it Worth It to Go To College?” from MSNBC

A 21st century perspective on the cost of education and the real world realities for college graduates.  Are college loans the next financial crisis on the horizon?  Interesting perspective.

Sir Ken Robinson, one of my favorite TED speakers, talks about tapping into the creativity and passion of kids, then supporting them as they follow that passion into their college and professional training.

At the Techonomy Conference in Lake Tahoe late last week, Bill Gates shared a similar perspective, saying that “Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.” Bill Gates at Techonomy on Education

Perhaps we’re at the front end of a trend here, where more is not better, and most expensive is not best.  Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?

Check out Robinson’s forward-thinking perspective on TED or on his own website.  Good stuff!  Sir Ken Robinson on Education

January 18, 2010

Making Connections . . . and Making It Matter

Some days, magic just happens, and I’m reminded why we’ve embarked on our 21st century roadschool adventure.  Today was one of those days.

It’s Martin Luther King Day, and I knew we wanted to make it matter, but in a hands-on-real-life-to-me kind of way, not the worksheets and I Have a Dream posters they’ve come home with in years past.  And as I suspected, they’d paid attention in school, so knew the basics cold and could recite them perfectly.  But there’s so much more to the story . . . Like, why did it matter?  When in the context of history did Dr. King march?  And what does “march” mean, anyway?    Why did he do it . . .why did he need to do it?  What was the world like then, and how have things changed…or have they?

We tackled it all, starting with a brief review the timeline of historical events…the Civil War, then WW II, then the Civil Rights Movement.  They immediately remembered Dorie Miller, who they came to know in our WW II work, the black man who saved so many, including his commanding officer, during the attack, but was passed over for recognition because of his color.  We talked about hatred, and drew the connections between the Klan and the Holocaust, another dark period in history that they came to know so well during our WW II study and our subsequent visit to the Holocaust Museum in DC.  We then watched Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech on YouTube, and talked about standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial — as we just did on our last adventure — and picturing the crowds outstretched before him.  We watched Walter Chronkite announce his tragic assignation, and talked about the media’s role in reporting these historic moments, then looked at pictures of the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, just minutes from my hometown and family members they know and love.  When we saw Jesse Jackson standing with Dr. King, we talked about his role in black history, and pulled up segments from election night 2008 in Chicago, when Obama was elected and all America — and the world — watched his speech from Grant Park, a spot we’d just seen when we visited Chicago a couple of short months ago.  We watched Jesse Jackson weep as Obama spoke of change, and looked back at the young pictures of Jackson standing with King.  They drew the connections of hatred, and discussed the similarities between the Klan, the Nazis, and today’s terrorists.

We watched videos of Congressman John Lewis, talking about the role of young Americans to question their nation, their leaders, and their future, when they believe wrongs are being done.  I watched them closely as they listened to Congressman Lewis remind them that it’s young people — folks just like them — who actually force change in this country,and in the world.  They heard him, and were empowered.

Then we spent the afternoon watching the movie, Remember the Titans.  A family favorite, this time we watched it with a different eye.  We heard the reference to Dr. King, and talked about it.  We considered what it was like for a black coach to move into a white neighborhood, and talked about what motivated the owner of the diner to refuse service.  And mostly, we talked about the transformation of the story’s main characters as they — just as Dr. King discussed — discovered the content of the character, not the color of their skin, of their fellow team mates. And we noted that, just as Congressman Lewis had said, it was the young people of the community — not the adults — who forced the change that brought unity and quelled the hatred.

We brought history to life today, in our own little corner of the world, and we connected it to the places we’ve been, the stories we know, and our own life experiences.  We explored social justice, global connections, and our place as community stewards.  It was a good day.  Somehow, I think Dr. King would’ve approved.