No, really. We all look back at school through rose-colored spectacles, and remember the fun we had with our friends, or how nice it was not to have a mortgage and a car payment. We forget the grinding pressure to perform.
My 12-year-old twins had five assignments due in a two-week period, recently, and what the household went through to get all those assignments completed was like running a marathon! We had scheduling rosters for computer time, meals planned around the times when the dining table would be covered in cardboard, and a couple of late night pushes to get the finishing touches put on them.
And these kids are only twelve!
The pressure mounts, year by year, until they are doing several hours a night of assignments and study. Some of the curriculum content is of questionable value (and I am being generous when I say “some”, here) - I doubt that they will find much of it useful for earning money, developing relationships, or remaining healthy throughout their lives, for example.
However, you have to do what the school system says you have to do, because that’s the only way to get to college. And college is the only way to get a professional job or occupation. And a professional job or occupation is the only way to … what, exactly?
Why are we pressing our kids so hard in academia?
Once upon a time, a good job was your passport to a good life. Study hard, get a good education, get a good job, and you were set.
These days, that guarantee no longer exists. So why do we still push kids down the academic path?
Old habits die hard.
Instead of running our kids ragged on this treadmill to nowhere, we should be focusing on teaching them the life skills they really need.
To be healthy, wealthy and happy, all our kids really need to know is:
- how to take care of their physical, mental and emotional health
- how to make, save and invest money
- how to communicate and manage relationships
- how to go and look up information about everything else that might interest them
Doesn’t that sound like a much more humane curriculum than the one we are currently trying to drive our kids through? And one with a much greater likelihood of having their lives turn out?