Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2017

Teach preparation early in life

By Jim Turner | Jul 20, 2017

To the editor:

Every few years I hear of an educational theoretician that says homework should be abolished. There was even a point in my teaching career when I went along with it. The kids were so busy with sports and extracurricular activities that homework seemed like too much of a burden for some of them.

A young person’s schedule can be so full of practices and rehearsals that they don’t get around to homework until late at night. They lose sleep and get stressed out, etc.

These are all valid points, and points well taken. But homework has one unassailable value: it teaches young people the value of preparation. Not just preparation in the sense that you turn up in school the next day with the completed homework assignment but prepared in every way possible to meet the standards set by the teacher and exceed them if possible. In other words, to strive for excellence in all that you do. There is no substitution for preparation and the lessons learned from the lack of it are some of the most important lessons you learn in your school years.

Preparation means making sure you are prepared for the test. That you have practiced your oral report. That you have learned your lines for the play rehearsal and that you have practiced your fielding for the next game.

Why prepare so well? For one thing, your performance largely depends on it. But also because your teammates, castmates and classmates are depending on you. Your preparation will play a large role in the overall success of the whole enterprise.

And children need to learn the value of preparation in this regard as much as for any other reason.

Preparation in a more general way, as a habit and life skill, has even more serious implications. Proper planning and preparation can avert danger, save lives, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities: children.

This is not just about having a first aid kit. It is about having the knowledge, experience and training to be properly equipped to meet the crisis when it happens and in whatever form it takes.

A camping trip might be a good time to teach children what to do if they become lost in an unfamiliar environment. Knowing what plants you can eat, how to build a fire, learning to read a compass and purify water are all essential skills-so is basic first aid.

Saving money for the future, having health insurance, a fire escape plan, even flashlights and food storage make a lot of sense. Learning the value of preparation is an essential life skill for all children. Let’s teach it to them early.

 

— Jim Turner, Fairfield

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