Science & Maths

Yep, I’m a self-confessed Tiger Mom. I have a real tension (within my own head) about how to raise my boys. My oldest is just finishing up his first year of school this week. He is currently enrolled in swimming lessons, karate lessons, piano lessons and Kumon Maths. This looks to continue for the next few years at least. We’ve made it clear that he needs to finish the Kumon maths as soon as he can so that he will be ready for high school maths far before he hits high school.

Other parents have been horrified at my approach.

But after a term of piano lessons, he is starting to read music. In “playing round” with technologies like his Android tablet and Google, he has learnt the periodic table (well the first 20 elements anyway) and he is truly enjoying all the things he is doing. (I can tell, because there is no way you can ‘force’ a five year old to do something they don’t want to do, and he will go and practise diligently every day by himself)

So it was with horror that I heard the news this morning. Apparently we’ve dropped significantly, as a country, in maths, science and english. The head of the Principal’s association on National Radio this morning admitted that he recently visited “Asian countries”, and that it “was against the culture” of NZ to do extra tuition (evening classes) so that our children will excel, when benchmarked against other children their age.

Is it alarming? is it important? There are some rumours (which I can’t find a link to!! so hopefully just rumours!) that science will no longer be compulsory in the near future in the NZ Curriculum. Is this important? Is the emphasis on the subjects which lead to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) careers important?

I don’t have an answer.

The Asian Tiger Mom in me cries YES with every fibre of my being. The creative, sociologist human rights advocate in me weeps at the lack of critical thinking in the children drilled in those subjects.

I don’t have an answer, I would like to hear yours.

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