I was recently at an event with kids and what passed the time was listening to their parents comment on the children.
The gig was calling bingo numbers at a community event. The kids were about eight years old. They were each responsible for looking at one card during the game.
One of the boys didn’t know all of his numbers from one to 75. In fact, every time 63 was called he’d shout “Yessss!” only to have the kid beside him say, “That’s 73, dodo.” The other kids laughed at him and he brushed it off but I could imagine it was somewhat embarrassing.
Later, one of the boys was talking to another when an argument broke out about what month it was. To try and show up the kid disagreeing with him, the boy began to recite the months — randomly, and not in order, though he meant to list them as they fall in the calendar.
Fast forward to grownup time when the parents were typing away on their cellphones, seemingly uninterested in what the kids were doing. At one point two adults did chime in (the dad of the number-mixer-upper and the mom of the calendar kid) to mock their children, roll their eyes and blame the school system.
Based on their words (and actions) they seem to rely on schools to educate their kids while providing no coaching at home. Actually, cancel that: the kids were proficient in iPhone and iPad.
But if I were the parent I would insist my kid knows basic numbers, months of the year, days of the week and other common knowledge pieces before sitting with an electronic device for hours on end. Sure, you could argue there are games and apps that teach a kid but why not spend that quality one-on-one time face to face with a child rather than relying on something else to teach him or her?
I’ll admit that studying Shakespeare and poetry in high school was boring as hell and hasn’t served any purpose for me 17 years after graduation.
It’s one thing to have your kid involved in every extra-curricular activity known to man (which seems to be quite common these days) but social interactions and physical activity are only part of the learning. Sure, you can be thrilled with your kid who’s a star athlete but how proud will you be if someone trips him up with a trick question like, “What month comes after April?”