June 02, 2006

US Public Schoolers Oblivious to the World

In case you missed this astounding CNN article about the lack of knowledge United States Public Schoolers recently displayed in a recent geography literacy study, I've posted a few of the most interesting statistics here. To read the entire article, click the title to this post.

Study: Geography Greek to young Americans

- by CNN Student News/ Statistics
Source: The Associated Press
Thursday, May 4, 2006; Posted: 9:44 a.m.
EDT (13:44 GMT)

The study, which surveyed 510 young Americans from December 17 to January 20, showed that 88 percent of those questioned could not find Afghanistan on a map of Asia despite widespread coverage of the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 and the political rebirth of the country.

In the Middle East, 63 percent could not find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map, and 75 percent could not point out Iran or Israel. Forty-four percent couldn't find any one of those four countries.

Inside the United States, "half or fewer of young men and women 18-24 can identify the states of New York or Ohio on a map [50 percent and 43 percent, respectively]," the study said.

On the positive side, the study noted, seven in 10 young Americans correctly located China on a map, even though they had a number of misconceptions about that country. Forty-five percent said China's population is only twice that of the United States. It's actually four times larger than the U.S. population.

One of the great things about homeschooling is the ability to teach whatever you want... and you don't have to use canned curriculum that may be incomplete, watered down, or flat out incorrect. You also have the ability to highlight the areas of study that you deem particularly of interest to your children. Not bound to textbooks, you may instead include real history books and living books which tell the story of our race like no politically correct text-book ever could (and be published and sold to the public schools).

I don't remember learning much of world history in public school, so it has been a true joy to learn it with my children. My kids at ages 9 and 7 know more about world history and geography than I did after 12 years of public school and three years at college! The great thing is, I get to learn it right along with them (doing it the KONOS way - with drama, crafts, literature, and unit studies) ... and we get to learn it all against the illuminating backdrop of a Christian world-view.

If you are interested in history and geography, I have a couple of suggestions to make on products that we enjoy and even some we don't have yet, but plan to add to our homeschool library as funds permit:

Visualize World Geography is a great program that we currently use which teaches countries names, capitals and flags (and tells a little about the people and country also). It uses pictographs and catchy song/phrase jingles to help you remember them permanently. You can do it in as short as 15 minutes a day or you can do it along with unit studies and go more in-depth. We do a combination of both throughout our year. I don't use it every day, but we usually do one continent at a time and cover it for a month or two. Sometimes I will add videos and books on the cultures in with our study.

Diana Warring has some awesome audio book cassettes/DVDs that discuss the history of the world along with the history of the church. They are called: "What in the World is Going on Here?" (part 1 and 2). Seeing history through the light of God's Word makes sense of it like never before. I would highly recommend buying these and although I haven't bought anything else by her, I have heard all good things about her products. I have also listened to her lectures at conventions and always enjoyed them. My children were too young to listen to these when I bought them, but I think they are ready now. It's great material to listen to in the car.

I also am looking forward to a book that a fellow blogger is producing: The Story of the Ancient World by H.A. Guerber. You can read about it here.

I drool at all the old history books and biographies at the book fairs. One that is on my list is "Of Plymouth Plantation". It's on sale at Christianbook.com right now for under 18$, which is a great price! There are a treasure trove of historical fiction books and history books at the Vision Forum as well. We are planning to read the G. A. Henty historical fiction novels and a few of their other re-published older masterpieces. I am also interested in their Civil War and Titanic books. They are putting on a History of the World Megaconference in Virginia on July 11-15 of 2006 if you are able to attend.

If you have any favorite history books that your family cherishes which adhere to a biblical world-view perspective, I would love for you to comment and leave me a link or title. We are looking forward to a wonderful homeschool career studying the original books and manuscripts as much as possible... and savoring every minute of it!

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Anonymous said...

It's unbelievable how little attention is given to the rest of the world in American schools. Several days ago I conducted my own survey of foreign languages taught in American schools. I was interested in Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic. I called ten school districts in Suburban Detroit. One of them offered Chinese. How will our students be able to compete in the international marketplace if they cannot think beyond their local community?

Sprittibee said...

I agree! I'm hoping that by the time our kids are graduated from homeschool, they at least have Latin, Italian and Spanish under their belts. In a perfect world, I would not mind if they knew Greek, Hebrew and Russian also.

Anonymous said...

Every American should AT LEAST know the 50 United States and Capitals. Do you?

Check out this website for a set of funny flash cards that will help you remember them forever...




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