Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"But I Got the Grade...."

My Mercedes is struggling with getting into a schoolwork routine.  One of the things she had to do on a daily basis is math.  She's a little behind right now, but she's got the concepts down pat, and I'm so proud of her for that. 

The other day, I was talking to one of the neighborhood kids, who informed me that she didn't need to learn math because she'd already gotten the grade.  So learning it doesn't matter.

Is THIS what the public schools are instilling in our kids?  Once you get the grade, you're done? 

I do think it is.  I was reflecting over my formal education, and I can't even count the number of times I've heard people of all ages say basically the same thing. 

Adults saying (with pride, no less) that they've never picked up a book outside the schoolroom.  Never mind that the point of taking English lit was to learn from it as well as enjoy it.  They got the grade, and besides, Lord of the Rings is now a movie series. 

Moms who brag that they can't even balance a checkbook because they didn't bother studying math in high school.  And they got good grades, no less.  But that was 25 years ago....

We're shortchanging our youth and ourselves if this is the attitude we have. 

Why bother learning then?

Why bother trying so hard to educate our children, if it's just about "making the grade"?

I've spent a lot of my time pointing out to my kids that I make my living doing math (I'm a bookkeeper and executive assistant).  I have them shop with me at the grocery stores, and discuss how to figure out what a good deal looks like.  I've capitalized their budding businesses so they would learn what a profit margin is.

I let them see me read (and I am a big reader - if I don't have a book in my hand, I'm probably working or sleeping).  I talk to them about WHY I read.  I enjoy it!  I learn how other people think.  It's a magic carpet ride to other cultures, times, and places. 

I let them see me keeping my personal journals and blogging.  Is writing clearly important?  You bet!  I've talked to them about the importance of being able to make an intelligent, thoughtful business proposal. 

It's not about the grades, at all.  It's not about the test.  It's about instilling a love of learning that will last them all their lives.  That's an attitude that no grade can replace.   And that may not be measurable. 

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