For the first couple of weeks in August, we went to Aspen for music lessons. The Aspen Music Festival is huge, and famous, and drives up the price of hotels in Aspen (as if they can be driven up any further.) So we stayed in a town nearby, Snomass. It’s a ski town in the winter but in the summer, it’s a corporate training getaway.
The only kids there were mine, and at first I was on high alert to keep them on good behavior (read: no fighting in the hotel restaurant) but then I realized that the corporate training was fun, and people were laid back and happy, and they could put up with anything from my kids.
I watched the training for the week we were there, and I got to thinking that the adults had total control over their learning environment, and they were engaged and happy whenever we saw them: exactly what we should be doing for kids and their learning.
Then I saw a book someone left in the lobby: Emotional Agility. By Susan David. I got excited. I thought it was a book about education, and I had the thought that omnivorous readers have when there is a book with no owner: Do I want to take this home? But the subtitle says: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life. So basically, the title says you can do anything you want in adult life if you get emotional agility.
But what about kids? Surely if you need these skills for adult life we should be teaching them to kids. But that’s too difficult. Corporate training is way better at teaching soft skills to people because corporate trainers assume adults are motivated to learn, so there are no grades. The need for grades in school comes from thinking that kids don’t want to learn. So it’s too hard to teach skills like emotional agility.
I didn’t take the book but I kept the idea of corporate training rolling around in my head.
Then I saw research from Vista College about how sleeping better improves your learning experience. It’s a smart thing for Vista to publish because it shows parents that school is focused on teaching things that really matter in life. But the interesting thing about the infographic is that it assumes kids have learned poor sleep habits during their primary education. And now they need to unlearn the poor sleep habits.
So much of secondary education and corporate training is unlearning bad habits of school and relearning how to take care of yourself—both getting enough sleep and developing emotional agility are self-care skills. And so is grit, which his impossible to teach in a school setting.
The first priority for education should be to teach skills for self-care—those are the skills that create a platform for life-long learning. When corporations complain that people are not prepared for the workforce, we can see what is lacking by looking at what they spend money to teach employees. The most popular courses in corporate training are personality type, team building, emotional intelligence, and resilience.
We spend so much money figuring out which type of education creates successful adults. School administrators largely ignore any research that cannot be implemented in the common core, with a grading system. Corporations have the freedom to implement the training that has been proven to have the most return on investment, because corporations compete for employees based on satisfaction and engagement.
So, if you want your kids to have high engagement and high satisfaction, base your homeschool curriculum first on corporate training curriculum. It’s proven, it’s based on real data, and you don’t have to invent the tools by yourself.