If your child hasn’t asked this question yet, he will. You probably asked it yourself many times while you were in school. And it is a valid question.
I don’t know many adults who do long division without a calculator or go through the newspaper underlining subjects once and predicates twice.
But consider how many of those grade school subjects have played important roles in your adult life. Were you thankful for your multiplication and division facts while standing in the supermarket last week deciding which brand of detergent to buy? Or when you wrote that important letter for your boss, were you glad you had finally grasped some of those tough spelling words? Did you still think music entirely unnecessary when you had to lead your Sunday school class in the opening singing time?
Depending on our individual fields of interest, we find much of what we learned as children is useful in some way. Even if we never use a particular skill again, learning it builds our overall knowledge and enhances our scope of appreciation. Practice develops our self-discipline, and knowledge develops discernment. How can we communicate this hope-giving truth to children?
Talk about the practical uses of school subjects as you encounter them in everyday life. Around the house, point out the ways you use math: measuring wall space for hanging a picture; adjusting recipes for cooking; balancing your checkbook and paying bills; figuring out medicine dosages; doing simple home repairs or rearranging furniture; measuring and cutting fabric for sewing. Let your child help you do some of these chores as part of his math lesson one day. Or encourage him to count the number of times in a day that he encounters the need for grammar in ordinary tasks—such as making a phone call or writing a journal entry. Have him write a letter to a family member on the computer and use the spell checker to correct his spelling.
For a practical idea on teaching your child how his school subjects may impact his life in the professional world, read How Would I Ever Use This?
How do you share practical uses of school subjects with your child?