Remember yesterday I mentioned that Maya wanted to go to Goodwill to look for inexpensive video props? One of the best skills anyone can have is to know where to look for stuff. Stuff you need, stuff you want to learn, etc. If you know how to find things you need and/or want, you are in good shape.
This principle is at the core of life learning. When people ask ‘what about Algebra?’, the answer really is that when Algebra becomes necessary – if it becomes necessary, then my kids will know where to look in order to learn it.
More and more, the ‘where’ is only a few mouse clicks away. I was recently introduced to the Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/#browse), which has posted over 2000 videos, most having to do with Math and Finance, but also Science to the Humanities. The videos range in difficulty and length, but all are clear and entertaining. Salman Khan, a former hedge fund analyst, began making the videos for his cousins who he was tutoring. He posted them on YouTube and soon they were stumbled upon by random people, who sent messages to Khan telling him how helpful they were. At the top of the Khan Academy page it says “Watch. Practice. Learn almost anything – for free.”
Now immediately upon mentioning this people have said to me, “Oh, so you’re going to start using it to teach your kids Math?” No, but my kids will know what it is and where to find it if at some point they are interested or need to know something taught there. How will they know? Because I will watch a few of the videos and they will see and hear them, and probably ask me what I’m watching. This is another form of strewing, which I’ve spoken about in the past. It might be just a passing comment on my part, and they won’t ask about it or mention it again. But it’s there. It’s available. And they’ll know where to look for it.
Here is a good video from the Khan Academy on interest. I know a lot of adults who could benefit from this, and that is the other great thing about these videos or any like them. They are like a library; accessible to anyone no matter what the age. Is it ever too late to learn this stuff? Is there a ‘right’ age? Of course not. (Hopefully you learn some of this before getting into financial trouble out of ignorance, but other than that….)