3 Things I Will Make Sure My Kids Do When They’ll Start School

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 11.17.2011 (5:00 am) | Write a Comment  (3 Comments)

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Today I’m posting something that is related to technology and investing but is still fairly different from what you would usually find on here. Why? Because I’m passionate about the subject and would love to hear your thoughts on this. Education has always been seen as critical not only for society but for each of us individually. You could argue that while it is one of many factors, education is by far the biggest differenciator between those that succeed and those that struggle, both for individuals and countries. You would think that it because of it, education would be a huge area of focus around the world. It is to some extent but it is a major challenge for everyone involved.

All around the world, billions of dollars are spent trying to improve education and some of the most brilliant and respected individuals such as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Andre Agassi have all been putting a lot of their time and resources into education. Yet, for all that has been done, there remains so much to do. Why?

Lack Of Resources: Despite the billions of dollars being poured into education, it seems as though it is far from enough. Getting the best education is insanely expensive and right now it’s impossible for every kid to get access to the best.

Teachers: There some incredibly inspiriing and successful teachers that are able to not only have an impact on a kid’s math, history or English skills but in the end that translates into lives that will never be the same. Unfortunately, those teachers, like everything else in life, are in the minority.

Too Big To Change: The reason the government is so innefficient is in big part because it is big, not flexible and unable to adapt quickly. While there are some exceptions, I would say that most schools around the world suffer from the same issues.

Lack Of Involvment By Parents: More than anything else, problems and lack of success in school generally has its roots at home. Parents that fail to get involved in their kids education, helping them to enjoy school early on, have some discipline and success but also creating a favorable environment is without a doubt a major reason why education is failing us.

Missing Some Subjects: Many important subjects that should be reviewed are simply ignored. There are probably a million different reasons but I think they are all very poor ones. There is no reason for kids to never learn how to build a budget or other simple but essential notions.

While I do have control over some of these elements when it will come to my own kids, they will still be largely in the hands of the education system and while I will do my best to choose the best schools and be involved, that is not going to be enough in my opinion. There are 3 other key things that I plan to do with my kids in order to help them no matter how slow or inefficient the education system will turn out to be.

Using advanced learning technologies: Learning used to be a very simple process. You would show up to school with a book, some blank sheets and a pencil and would then listen to a teacher basically read out the book. Things have certainly improved since then and many teachers use video or even powerpoint occasionally. That is still at least a decade behind and things have changed in dramatic ways in the past decade. If you have not heard of Khan Academy for exemple, you might be very interested to see what they are working on, it’s head and shoulders above anything being done in almost any classroom. Fact is that kids have changed, what they like and don’t like has as well. Making learning more fun and more interactive seems like a win-win. I think that is one reason why many of the most innovative startups these days are focused on teaching.

Finance: It’s absolutely crazy to me that most of us do not learn the basics in school. What is a budget, what are taxes, how much do you save if you start early. What is debt? What are the benefits and downsides of using credit, credit cards, of getting a mortgage, etc? How can you build an investment portfolio from a very young age with as little as a few thousand dollars. What are stocks, bonds, etc. I think every single kid should get some type of introduction to all of those subjects and the society would be dramatically better off. I consider to have known a lot more than most other kids but still would have been much better off with a better understanding of the impact of understanding the compounding effect or the trust cost of debt at age 15 instead of waiting a decade later?

Programming: Even a decade ago, the only people that needed to be able to do programming were IT workers, usually only engineers or programmers. How things have changed. These days, it seems like being able to program is useful in just about every sector. Think about it.. From finance, to blogging to education or other sectors, IT is becoming a critical part of all of those sectors. I agree that in most cases you can certainly get by without knowing it. But having some type of basic knowledge will help you a great deal in being efficient, improving processes, being more productive, etc. I think that tendency will continue to accelerate in the coming years.

What Else Is There?

What do you think our kids should be learning or doing that they’re not and how do you plan to or how do you help them get there? There is obviously no right or wrong answer but I’d love to get your thoughts on this and any additional ideas or input. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Comment by Sophie — November 17, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    That’s interesting! I have to agree with your 3 key things. Here are my ideas!!

    – Being practical: how to cook, how to iron shirt, how to grow a plant, how to save money, how to use a computer, a phone, an ipod, how to swim, how to do camping, etc
    – Teach the etiquette: thank people, open the door, being polite, give the chair to older people, etc.
    – Teach that mistakes and failures are good. When kids are young they just try things and fail until you learn. That’s the beautiful quality, kids are naive and will be persistent even with mistakes and failures.
    – Teach to be confident and humble. I wish I had learned to be more confident on myself earlier in my life. I think it is a great quality to have before starting school. Also, being confident goes with humble, because being too confident can be disastrous in life.
    – Develop their emotional intelligence (react in stressful situation, being empathic, being aware of the environment, develop people skills, etc.)

  2. Comment by IS — November 18, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

    @Sophie – All great ideas, thanks so much! I actually think that discussing privacy would be great too. I’m not sure young kids understand that whatever they write, publish or post on the internet will stay there and could be used against them at some point.

  3. Comment by Sophie — November 21, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

    You are right!! It’s incredible how young kids have already cell phones!!

    With cell phones, they can send pictures or text msg that are circulating so fast between friends or ennemies…

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