Where in the world?

First, a disclaimer: In my small christian school, geography was not a priority (unless you count getting caught in the wrong place at the wrong time). So, sadly, I never learned much about our world, and my ignorance in that department continues to this day. Although Jeff, who is a fine product of the New York state public school system, knows his geography very well, and while I have learned a lot from him, today I found out that I haven't learned nearly enough.

Last evening at "Back to School Night", I discovered that Sydney's sixth grade "history" class was misnamed: it's pretty much a geography class. "Good" I thought "My kids will learn all the things that I never learned about our world." However, as of tonight, I have changed my mind. My new attitude, after poring over a "history" class test review sheet, is "Who cares? She can use Mapquest or Google earth for the rest of her life!!" Of course, being the good mother that I am, I didn't voice this to Sydney but, really, what's the point???

I mean when will some gas station attendant ever say to Sydney "Oh, you're looking for the mall? Yes, the coordinates for the mall are 45 degrees NE and 120 degrees SW. Happy shopping!" Or when will a travel agent call to say "I have your travel packet all ready for your trip to Timbuktu. I've enclosed your Mercator projection map, your Robinson projection map, and that all-important Sinusoidal projection map. Don't leave home without 'em!" And until tonight, I thought a "gazetteer" was the man who published our local paper, the Gazette, and "meridian" was a local bank! Oh, and did you know that "cardinals" aren't just birds?? Lo and behold, they are directions (north, south, east, west) too! Whooda thunk it??

I'm trying to have an open mind (and a closed mouth!) about all this, but I really am wondering, in this age of portable GPS systems and blackberries, if Sydney will ever actually use this information. Her first car will probably have a talking PC built into the steering wheel, and I'd be willing to bet that sixth grade "history" will be long forgotten. Heck, everyone will probably have tracking devices surgically implanted, and she will be able to locate people and places with her cell phone, which will be the size of a stick of gum--Trident gum!

And don't bother adding comments about how she really WILL use this information. I can honestly say I have never--not even once--used anything I learned in physics or geology!

Oh well! Off to figure out the elevation of Mozambique! How will I survive the excitement??


Mom said...

Maybe she will be on Jeopardy someday.

Tamera said...

Amen, sister!!

That ranks right up there with a teacher that told Taylor he couldn't keyboard anything in her class (his handwriting is horrible!), because he needed to prove to her that he could write. And after all, when he gets to college, how is he going to take notes!! I figured trying to explain to her that even now college kids take notes on their laptop (or "smaller" pda's) - much less when he gets there. Oh well - we made it through THAT year and his teachers this year are all recent college grads and lo, and behold, WANT him to use a laptop to do his homework!!

Have you used sentence diagraming (not the concept, but the actual line things) lately??

Anonymous said...

sometimes learning is about learning (the process, not content) . . . appears this may well be a great example. You do want her to learn how to think in ways that start moving toward the abstract and this is at least a babystep in that direction (ideally). But, yes, of course I agree its unlikely she will use the content of what is learned 20 years from now. Amy

Adam said...

I'm going to laugh when she becomes a Geography teacher.