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Cultural Knowledge

August 28, 2015

I thought this editorial by Natalie Wexler in the New York Timewas spot-on, arguing for the acquisition of skills alongside of in-depth explorations of topics in the pursuit of knowledge.  In my five years of parenting a public school kid in large city, it was apparent that social studies and science took a back seat to math and language arts—because the latter were tested—and it wasn’t always clear to me what was being studied in language arts. Indeed, concerns about knowledge played into our decision to pull our son from an immersion program—he just didn’t seem to be gaining the factual knowledge I remember from school, and that will serve as the building blocks for more sophisticated work in middle school and beyond.  I’m impressed with the Core Knowledge Language Arts materials available online, and am going to try one of the units with my son next week.  I’ve also looked at the engageNY materials for his grade, and the topics look great. When I opened the one most of interest, however, I got a 700 page document, much of which seemed to be how a given task aligned with certain standards!  This is not so user-friendly for homeschoolers, alas.

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