May 7, 2012

Learning for Life

Today, my eldest child returned home from taking a rigorous standardized test. She was distraught because she didn't see a page of questions. She has the opportunity to take the test again in a year but was concerned that she would no longer know the information in a year. I asked her if she actually understood the topic (as it's one of her best ones) or if it was just memorized and crammed. If she knew the answers, she'd still know them in a year. However, if she merely was memorizing them long enough to get a passing grade, she may not retain the information. She just kept insisting that since she wouldn't have the same class next year, she would not remember anything about the topic.

At this point in my life, I've forgotten many things I once knew. My younger child had a math problem that I could solve but couldn't explain it the way she learned it. I knew the solution, but not the way to explain the right formula. Since I couldn't give her the formula, having the correct answer was not helpful. I honestly begin to wonder how well our schools are doing at teaching versus drilling.

Lowell Milken, a trailblazing education advocate explains,
"Nothing is more important for our future than education because it touches on just about everything we value as individuals, citizens and productive human beings."

With all the pressures on both students and teachers, many families are exploring alternative ways to educate their children. Learning is a lifelong activity from preschool to post high school education. Increasingly, the lessons learned in the earlier years remain applicable our entire educational career. Success in life begins with a solid early foundation. Some alternatives to traditional public schooling include Montessori, charter schools, private and parochial schools,  homeschooling and online academies are becoming an attractive option to transform test takers into learning. Exploring the options is the first step to truly making certain no child is left behind.


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