Yesterday, at some unearthly hour, while it was still dark, I was running with my friend Kate and she asked me what I thought was the most important stuff for children to learn in school. It was too early for me to have my tactful and carefully thought through filter up and functioning so I was able to boil it down pretty quickly to three things:
They need to be able to read and write.
They need to be numerate enough to handle shopping, saving, rents and mortgages, figure out if something is a good deal, that kind of every day, useful stuff.
They need to believe in their own ability to learn anything else they need to know.
My sons, especially my middle one, are madly into "Star Wars" at the moment, and we are working our way through the entire saga, in order of production. I must confess to not being very interested in sci-fi, but I need to have some understanding of the plot in order to be able to converse with my children at the moment. My little boy has happily written a number of freewrites on Star Wars and yesterday we pieced them together and polished it up. He checked spellings of names and I showed him how to indent a paragraph. While the subject matter would not be viewed as conventionally educational, the end result was a fine piece of written English, a quick lesson in presentation and a happy, engaged and proud child with something to read out to daddy over our evening meal.