There is little doubt that the world of education is changing before our eyes. For most kids, K - 12 is failing to keep their attention. For those that graduate, College is too expensive. For those that graduate from college, there are too few jobs.
The experts are in ferment. Is the answer to double down, test more, focus on the 3 R's and make school more like a business? Or is it to use new social technology and to open it up? Or is it to change the pedagogy? Who will win? What is right? The answers are not clear yet. But parents of young kids today cannot wait for the experts to settle this. They have young who need answers now.
So what can we do? I hope to show you in my next book, You Don't Need a School to get an Education, that there is lot we can do without "School". You don't have to wait until the experts are setted - if they ever will be. You can do some things that you can be sure will help your kids, now!
As parents we can set our kids up for a great life. It's all in our own choice and power. We need no school or instutution to do this for us.
Once, all parents knew how to do this but, since we have let institutions take over our lives, we have forgotten how. Once we put the job up as the centre of our lives, we also lost the time and energy to do this.
But now at least 50% of European young adults don't have a job and will not get one. At least 35% of North American young adults either cannot get a job or are underemployed. Many potential new parents are in a great place to take back their power. Many grand parents are in a great place to help.
Many of us are learning that they can make a good living and NOT have a job. Many are finding that they can get back time in their lives. Time that is essential to raising young children. My first book - You Dont need a Job - shows you what is going on.
All we have to do is to remember what all parents used to know. What we do and how we are in the first 3 years of life sets up children for their lifetime.
Here is why.
If you want a satellite to get into orbit, you have to get the "Initial Conditions" right. Too fast and it escapes into space for ever. Too slow and it falls back to Earth.
All systems are like this. They are determined by Initial Conditions.
Humans have such a trajectory. We too are very sensitive to the kind of start we get in life. This start powers all the rest of our life. It drives our ability to learn, to cope, to be socially able and even our health. Here is what it looks like. It's a trajectory:
This is what this means. At 2 years old, we see two children. One can understand 300 words. The other can understand 150. Not much of a difference. But now look out over the next 15 years.
The 150 word child gets stuck and does not develop. This has nothing to do with school. The child is challenged before they arrive in school. Every grade 1 teacher knows what I am talking about. They can spot these kids in a few days. These children find learning very hard. They find concentrating very hard. They find behaving socially very hard.
It is exceptionally difficult to change this trajectory. A hard pressed teacher with 30 kids in her class has not much of a chance. Most of these kids get stuck at a grade 5 level. You don't believe me?
This is what it means for society. Most Americans struggle with comprehending the meaning of the written word. I only have data for the US but I doubt that if there were stats for British or Canadian kids that they would be any diferent. School as it is does not help most children.
The 300 word kid cannot be stopped. All this is easy for them. No matter how good or bad the school, they are going to develop well and fast. By grade 10, they are at a developmental stage of a 2nd year university student.
School has nothing to do with these two diverging outcomes. What sets these different tracks is all set at home. Set at home by parents. It is what we do as parents that sets the initial conditions. The critical period is from the moment we decide to have a child until they are 3.
Here is another look at the trajectory for development that I hope will show you more clearly what happens.
Here is the master chart for human development. It is very much like finding the right "speed" to find orbit. The key curve to get right is the curve at point 3. The period from 0 to 1 to 1 and to 3 is the critical phase.
No matter what school is like. No matter what the world is like. If you get this phase right, the your child will be able to cope with anything that the world puts in front of him or her.
This is why your child's future is in your hands. For you are the key influence in this period.
Over the next few weeks, we will look at all the factors in the early years that will help any parent have a great chance of giving the child the best possible start in life. It's all going to be about the environment that you create.
We will look at what you can do before you get pregnant. What is the ideal frame of mind and body. We will look at when you are carrying the baby. We will look at the first three years after the baby is born. We will take a holistic view. We will look at your relationships, state of mind, what you eat and do. We will look at the culture that you set at home. We will look at how you interact with the baby in every way.
I offer this up, not as the best dad ever. I was far from that. But as someone who has made a study of the best science on the Early Years and on Human Development. There is a growing field here that is like the field of Human Health that I discuss in book 3 - You Don't need Medicine to Get Healthy. This field of human development also looks back at evolution and at how we are designed to give our children the best start in life. As we explore this on the blog, I will introduce you to the many people who know far more than me and who can help you more than I can.
Want to come along?