September 22, 2023

Ten things I would like my children to learn while they are at home

Ten things you should learn this school year

By Stephen Downes

This list misses the most important things I want my children to learn. I also would not give it to my children to read as there are things in there that I would not want them to be be reading.  This list does include a lot of things that we could be including in our home education. It is a good list to stimulate our thinking and to help us come up with our own list of  “ten things I would like my children to learn while they are at home”.

Guy Kawasaki wrote an item describing ‘ten things you should learn this school year’ in which readers were advised to learn how to write five sentence emails, create powerpoint slides, and survive boring meetings. It was, to my view, advice on how to be a business toady. My view is that people are worth more than that, that pleasing your boss should be the least of your concerns, and that genuine learning means something more than how to succeed in a business environment.

But what should you learn? Your school will try to teach you facts, which you’ll need to pass the test but which are otherwise useless. In passing you may learn some useful skills, like literacy, which you should cultivate. But Guy Kawasaki is right in at least this: schools won’t teach you the things you really need to learn in order to be successful, either in business (whether or not you choose to live life as a toady) or in life.

Here, then, is my list. This is, in my view, what you need to learn in order to be successful. Moreover, it is something you can start to learn this year, no matter what grade you’re in, no matter how old you are. I could obviously write much more on each of these topics. But take this as a starting point, follow the suggestions, and learn the rest for yourself. And to educators, I ask, if you are not teaching these things in your classes, why are you not?

1. How to predict consequences

Read the list here: