The 4 Things I want my Kids To Know

This weekend, I was over at a friend's house, and we were talking about how much money she'd put into raising her kids.  She said it had been really important to raise them to have three skills:

  1. the ability to swim- in case they ever fell into a body of water
  2. musical ability- for the effect it has on the brain (makes you better at math, for example)
  3. team sports- to learn how to work with other people

I said I was pretty sure my mom read that same book or article, because she also was very deliberate about our swimming lessons, piano lessons, and putting us in team sports. 

 Image from

Image from

After supper, we went outside and lay on her trampoline, and looked up at the stars.  To me, it was just a mass of lights, but to my surprise, she started pointing out the Big Dipper, Saturn, the North Star, and conjecturing about where Mars was in relation to where we were.  She laughed that I momentarily mistook a satelite for a shooting star.  I was in awe- I couldn't believe that anyone could even identify planets anymore.  I mean, an astronomer would, sure, but a regular city person with no formal training?  I decided that was my #4 on my list- that my kids have to know how to "read" the night sky like that.  While I lie there thinking about that, I sensed that it must really be true, that our ancestors watched the twinkling lights like we watch television, and the connection was so much more visceral and meaningful then.

I also decided I had to incorporate star-gazing into my course.  Logic and Science, and the meaning we attribute to what we observe in the world, all started with star-gazing anyway.