Are you one of those parents freaking out about the Common Core? Are you worried about its new methods for teaching math? Are you concerned about a possible political agenda in its social studies curriculum?
Well, here's how I've learned to stop worrying and love something else. And that something else isn't something new like Common Core, but another educational paragon of American life. Of course, I'm talking about the Monopoly game.
Hasbro's Monopoly is celebrating its 80th anniversary this week but it's very new in my home where the game has been embraced wholly by my two daughters, ages 11 and 7, in just the last two months. When I say "embraced" I really mean it. We play by all the grown-up rules, including property swapping, auctions, mortgages, etc. And they love it.
The math skills young players get by playing Monopoly and acting as the game's banker are pretty obvious. But it's much, much better than that. My daughters are also getting the concepts of risk/reward, long and short term investing, negotiation, and learning from mistakes. Oh, and they're also learning that it's okay to think like a capitalist who can compete without being a jerk.
To be fair, I'm a lot happier with Common Core these days as a number of kinks in the math lessons especially have been worked out. And I'm pretty sure it's helped my 11-year-old do a better job as Monopoly banker and how she generally plays the game. But is there any school or any curriculum anywhere that can give my girls the kinds of lessons they get each and every time we settle in for a game of Monopoly? Not a chance, especially when they beat me... which is happening more often.
So happy birthday Monopoly! Thanks for 80 years of teaching American kids the lessons you just can't get in the classroom!