Brains before Curriculum
Whether “science” or “knitting,” your children are using their minds to think critically and creatively about any subject they encounter. Parents and teachers, however, have decided which subjects are more deserving of absorbed attention than others. Science, we can all agree, is a subject adults consider essential. Knitting? Less so.
Yet what does it take for a mind to use a microscope? What kind of mental and digital dexterity is needed to knit? What kind of thinking is required to examine angles? What kind of mind is used to crochet or quilt?
When we talk about physics, we forget the physics of our bodies in motion on a playground or the skill to create a perfect tumbling domino chain.
Next time one of your kids assembles a LEGO build from scratch relying on the 2-D instructions to build a 3-D model, say aloud all the ways the brain did that bit of gymnastics to SEE what should be seen and to fit the pieces together in just the right way.
How many times do your kids compare movies and song lyrics to one another? How well do they forecast the next plot in a book series?
Brain stuff worth noting regardless of subject:
- Reading deeply and closely
- Following directions
- Modifying directions to achieve an effect
- Designing and then implementing that design
- Comparing and contrasting
- Forecasting outcomes
- Hypothesizing reasons
- Identifying themes
- Correlating one experience or practice to another
- Building a vocabulary in the subject area
- Noticing experts
- Practicing the skill for mastery
- Using a skill in one field to learn another
The dexterity of a child’s brain can be a bigger priority than mastery of dates, processes, and information.
Focus on how your child thinks well about any subject from cooking to skateboarding to algebra to medieval history.
Brains before curriculum.