THE BLOG
12/11/2013 08:50 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 10:53 GMT

Are We Really Educating Our Children With the Knowledge They Will Need in This Tough World?

Albert Einstein once said, "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."

As the father of four young boys I often feel anxious about how well they will do when they finally leave the nest and don't have mom and dad to protect them from the harsh new reality that is life in the real world. As a child I often challenged my parents to explain why on earth I needed to know about the periodic table of elements, the inside of a frog, or what happens when you mix Potasium with water. I didn't care what a verb, adjective, pronoun or connective was, or the definition of Pythagros's Theorum...and today I still don't. That was 30 years ago, but interestingly my kids seem to be asking me the same questions? Naturally, I have responded in the same way that most responsible parents do..."because it is important to know these things silly". Now I find that I am asking myself again.... "Is it really?".

To put the record straight.....Yes! I do believe that these subjects should be part of a good education for our children, but I do question the 'importance' part and whether our education system is evolving quickly enough to include real world knowledge that our children will really benefit from. The stuff that IS important...the stuff that will make a difference to their adulthood. I think it is time now that education curriculum's include a new mandatory subject, called "Life Experience". This subject would include chapters on things like "Banking", "Insurance", "Plumbing", "Auto Mechanics", "DIY" and "CPR". Imagine if when you left school, you had a basic knowledge about pensions, mortgages, current accounts, savings accounts, credit card APR, loan interest, life insurance, home contents, what a car radiator does, how to change a flat tyre or unblock a drain, or how to assemble an IKEA shelf? (Although that last one might never be achievable despite the education). For a start, you would probably choose a career that you are more likely to enjoy, and you might even avoid making mistakes early in life that are likely to affect you when you retire.

The fact is that there are a number of experiences in life which result in us calling it "the REAL world". With a little basic education on real world subjects, our kids might actually thrive earlier in life and set a precedent for redefining the cliché?