I was recently going about my typical day, posting on Facebook here and there as I went on our regular weekend adventures and an interesting conversation came up about grade school homework.
Before I get into this “rant” I should pre-face it with a note that I am NOT against hard work. Work ethic and a strong moral compass are what differentiate those whom I want to associate with, from well, the not-so-much when it comes to networking. I’ve worked my ass off my entire life. No matter the position or job title, I’ve always worked hard. I’ve also always seemed to work or in some way put work into my career after hours even though I only had to “clock in” 9am to 5pm 5 days a week.
There has been a lot of discussions online of how our education systems in North America seem like they were made in the early 1900’s and never evolved. I will say that there are some incredible school districts and educators out there pushing the boundaries they are bound to and really striving to give our children the best possible education possible. But it’s quite apparent that a lot of what you learn in grade school (and even highschool) is related to working in a factory in the early 1900’s and working on an assembly line.
Get to work.
Go outside and have a break.
Stand in a straight line.
Remember your number.
Do it again the next day.
Sounds familiar right? Of course, teachers are educating throughout the day, and working incredibly hard to bring important subject matters to our children and opening up their minds. For the most part, I don’t even disagree with it. I think that our children are learning incredibly valuable things from incredibly amazing people. I’m sure there are parents out there who have issues with the school system, or particular teachers but I am not one of them (to date).
However, the concept of sending our young children home with homework is bizarre to me.
How have we not adapted to the new world? By the time any children in grade school reach adulthood, college and then time to start their career we know the job market is going to be incredibly different. We haven’t had a recession since the great recession (knock on wood) and even if an economic downturn does come to North America I’m not sure how much of a dent this one will leave. Everyone I know has a side hustle and nobody has just one job. From driving uber to teaching English online to students in China there seem to be incredible ways for us to differentiate our income and embrace things we are passionate about. It’s almost needed with the housing markets and constant technological advances forcing manual labor to a lower necessity.
So what are we teaching young kids by sending them home with homework they clearly have no interest in doing?
You must sign up for a job that will force you to work overtime, do something you extremely dislike, and if you don’t you won’t get paid! (Grades).
There are so many ways for children to embrace their passions and what they are interested in learning, parents should feel obligated to NOT sit their children in front of Netflix or Youtube and find them a way to learn about what they are passionate about every day after school.
Do our children need more time to learn than the 6 hours they have while at school? I’d be interested in seeing some studies to prove that they do!
If I had never taken that Entrepreneurship class in Grade 12 that showed me how to build a Microsoft Access Database and call data from it in .aspx files (Microsoft Frontpage days) I would have probably NEVER developed the passion I have for what I do! The course also was just the starting point. I had to go outside of what was being made available in the curicciulum to really learn what I wanted to learn. I did that because of my passion, and because I enjoyed learning about it.
This of course changes in the latter years of high school and post-secondary education. If you aren’t interested in Math, don’t take calculus in Grade 12, and if you aren’t interested in Business don’t try to get your Masters in Economics when you attend University.