Life skills and the need to incorporate them early into the educational curriculum

Life skills and the need to incorporate them early into the educational curriculum

21a) A bit of Background

One of my biggest concerns is our educational system, especially from middle through high school. I fully agree that the basics are important but I question the value of many other subjects. I won’t examine all of them but let’s take a look at one just as an example:

History: While history is a particular passion of mine. The History channel is my favorite among the hundreds of choices on Dish TV. I actually enjoyed the subject in school. Imagine my surprise when I later learned that some of what I learned and was tested on was untrue! America was discovered by the Italian Christopher Columbus, except there was a slight indication that Leif Erickson may have landed in Canada sometime earlier. It turns out that Norsemen definitely landed in what later became Canada (might not have been Leif?) Leif  migrated to Iceland & then Greenland with his father Eric the Red before making it to North America around 1,000 AD, but recent discoveries have determined that he was not first. It turns out that Columbus was not Italian (most likely Spanish). I’m sure the indigenous folks appreciated being “discovered”.

Let’s see, what I learned is that they all made it to the “New World” during the last ice age by migrating from Northwest Asia. After that they somehow populated all areas of North, Central and South America. While it now appears that this is partially true, there is much more to this history. Textiles and rope fragments found in a Peruvian cave have been dated to around 12,000 years ago, making them the oldest textiles ever found in South America, according to a report in the April issue of Current Anthropology. This would tend to coincide with the approximate date when the Ice Age was ending. However, logic would dictate that the migration would have commenced millennia prior in order for settlement to have reached Peru and also when the Ice Age was more dominant (and water levels would be lower).

But was the route from Northeast Asia the only route for the early Americans? In turns out the answer is most likely not. There is significant evidence that the Chinese developed settlements in the “New World” a full 70 years prior to Columbus’ first sailing. It is said that the Chinese used maps drawn 3,000 years earlier to navigate East. While there is only “circumstantial” evidence for the origin of the maps their use is not disputed.

stay tuned next week for more on this topic