It doesn’t matter what book. I will pay them 10 cents a page. WHAT!? How can you pay your kids to learn? Well, I want my kids to get used to being paid for doing things they enjoy. Later in life (just a few years really) they will have to do it anyway. Why not get used to being paid for something they enjoy right now? This way they will know easily to avoid getting paid for things they don’t enjoy.
~ James Altucher in How I Would Unschool My Kids
What’s the point of testing someone’s ability to cram for a test if we’re never going to have to cram for anything ever again? If I can find the answer in three seconds online, the skill of memorizing a fact for twelve hours (and then forgetting it) is not only useless, it’s insane.
This morning Seth Godin asks the question “What’s High School for?” and then proceeds to give some ideas of what it can teach students.
As I read the list, my thoughts were two fold:
– I indirectly learned most of that while in a government school system, but that is not what they were intending
– The Boy Scouts of America: Boy Scout Troop & Order of the Arrow programs seem to be more intentional at developing those skills in individuals
(some of Seth’s points that I learned in BSA programs)
- How to focus intently on a problem until it’s solved.
- The benefit of postponing short-term satisfaction in exchange for long-term success.
- The power of being able to lead groups of peers without receiving clear delegated authority.
- How to persuasively present ideas in multiple forms, especially in writing and before a group.
- Project management. Self-management and the management of ideas, projects and people.
- An insatiable desire (and the ability) to learn more. Forever.
- Most of all, the self-reliance that comes from understanding that relentless hard work can be applied to solve problems worth solving.
The reason that these elements are so well taught in the BSA programs is that they are designed to set the youth (and really adults) in a safe situation, but outside their comfort zone.
They provide a framework, or sandbox & some systems of safety.
Then lots of freedom.
One thing that could improve the different BSA programs, and similar organizations, is to reminded the adult supervision, and maybe leaders too, of those indirect lessons that are learned through the course of unscripted events & what can seem like chaos.
As to Seth’s other points:
- How to read critically.
- An understanding of the extraordinary power of the scientific method, in just about any situation or endeavor.
- Personal finance. Understanding the truth about money and debt and leverage.
They can be learned in the BSA, and other, settings. That was just not exactly my experience. A difference is some teacher needs to be involved and guide the student to these elements. It’s harder for someone to learn to critically read, or to use the scientific method out of chaos.
Past High School
The skills listed are important for big wins in a person’s life, but many don’t learn the skills or develop the taste while in High School.
If you are past your High School years, there is hope.
The biggest thing you have to do is be intentional in your education & gathering of experience. The biggest suggestion I have is to find a mentor, someone to learn from, and a group to be involved with. The mentor may or may not be involved with the group. There might also be advantages to being involved with two rather different groups (one with the mentor, one without).
For some the key will be action. For others it will be learning from others, in person or through media (books, websites, podcasts, etc). Whatever is natural for you, try to add the opposite to your life.
Starting out 2011 I intend to go through a number of books I’ve been through before & then go through additional books. One additional note: All books will probably be audiobooks. When I first read The Art of Non-Conformity it took me around 20 hours; the audiobook is 5 hours long.
Here are three categories:
1. been through before
2. desire to go through
3. ?? unknown ??
1. been through before
Good To Great by Jim Collins
Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
Waking The Dead by John Eldredge
Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
[something by] Thomas Stanley – one of the many I’ve been through before
3. ?? unknown ??
I am sure there are books that will come out that I jump on, or more importantly, audiobooks. Here are some I am looking for, or area l ready out and might consider:
Jim Collins – succeeding through turbulence – [some media @JimCollins.com]
Jeff Jarvis – Public Parts – about the good from living a out in public and sharing info
Thomas J Stanley – Stop Acting Rich : And Start Living Like a Real Millionaire
Chris Anderson – The Long Tail : Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More
All in all I expect to go through 12 to 24 books over the next 12 months. We shall see how well I keep up with those intentions.
Today a copy of Scouting (magazine) came in & as I was flipping thought I pick up on this article titled “Mother of Inventing” in the What’s New area. (article not online yet)
It tells the story of how there use to be an Inventing MB – that 10 scouts earned before it went away.
Inventing MB is back and this time the Scouts don’t have to “apply for and receive a U.S. patent on an invention.”
Looking though the requirements, there is some basic knowledge, but what interests me are things like:
- Choose a commercially available product that you have used on an overnight camping trip with your troop. Make recommendations for improving the product, and make a sketch that shows your recommendations.
- Build a working prototype of the item you invented for requirement 6*. Test and evaluate the invention – [including] cost, usefulness, marketability, appearance, and function. Describe how your original vision and expectations for your invention are similar or dissimilar to the prototype you built.
- Participate with a club or team (robotics team, science club, or engineering club) that builds a useful item.
I am thrilled that the Boy Scouts of America is working towards helping those involved in scouting to go though the process of solving problems in the world around them.