The Lessons We Should Teach All Kids Before They Enter a Classroom

Merriam-Webster defines knowledge as “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association or the acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique.” In other words, knowledge is the collection of skills, facts, and information. It also seems to be the primary reason to send children to school. We want them to learn and to know things, to become knowledgeable, if you will, about the world they live in. We want them to succeed from an educational standpoint, and the environment inside classrooms reinforces this principle.

This mentality starts at a very young age. Elementary-schoolers are exposed to test-taking by the ripe, young age of six with first-grade level spelling tests. Essentially, this test-taking mindset never stops throughout a child’s entire education, and arguably through their entire life.  Children learn very early on that the grade received on a test represents how well the child does or does not master the material. There is a certain degree of validity to test-taking and the assessment of knowledge because we have to be sure that our children are learning, understanding and mastering material before moving on.

But, what happens when kids start comparing grades? What happens when children start realizing they’re actually not as smart as they believed themselves to be? That seemingly insignificant number circled in red pen on their assignment starts to mean a lot more. Their small, little world comes shattering down and crushes their desire to learn along with it.

If test-taking ensures the learning, understanding and mastering of certain skills and information, where is the assessment to make sure this information is actually being processed correctly? Where is the emphasis on the actual enterprises of the mind and not merely just the ability to collect and remember facts and information?

That being said, there are some lessons we should teach all kids before they enter a classroom.


Unfortunately, there may never be an accurate and completely foolproof way to fairly measure the actual processes of learning that take place inside children’s minds. But, there is a way to increase the chances of it. This is why we have to, we absolutely must, teach kids the difference between knowledge and intelligence before they enter the classroom. Before they take their first test. Before they get the wrong idea about the purpose of education.

Children must be aware that if knowledge is the collection of information learned in school, intelligence is the application of it. Intelligence is the truer indicator of a person’s cognition, but it’s just harder to measure. The rhetoric and narrative that surrounds children and their need to succeed are founded far too much in the emphasis on knowledge.

So before your kids enter a classroom for the first time, emphasize the fact that the number at the top of any test they ever take doesn’t accurately represent just how smart they truly are. What really matters is the ability to apply information learned in school to other situations. Inform them that their level of intelligence is much more valuable than their ability to collect information. If you do this, you’ll see much more successful results perhaps in school, but especially in life.

Glen and Joya BakerThe Lessons We Should Teach All Kids Before They Enter a Classroom


Join the conversation
  • Brad - April 27, 2017 reply

    Great post. Our kids are all in various school grades right now and we’ve always worked hard to teach them that their performance on tests is almost irrelevant!

  • Andrew - April 27, 2017 reply

    Awesome message! Thanks for sharing

  • Grace Hancock - April 27, 2017 reply

    Love this! This can help increase their confidence and self worth as well, which will get them much farther ahead in life than a college degree.

  • Summer Breeze - April 27, 2017 reply

    so so so important!

  • Chris - April 28, 2017 reply

    This is so important to teach our children, thank you for bringing this up!

  • ASHLEY STUTZMAN - April 28, 2017 reply

    Love this notion of teaching our children how to be taught!

  • Melissa Stopka - April 28, 2017 reply

    This article really spoke to me.
    While I was going through nursing school, it was mandatory to maintain an above 80% average. The pressure literally caused so much test taking anxiety that anti-anxiety medications became apart of my routine on test days.
    After being in nursing now for over two years I look at my bedside manner, which pulls from every ounce of compassion in my soul, and wonder how that grade was a measure of a good nurse. It just makes no sense to me.
    Thank you for sharing this! Amazing, amazing mindset here!

  • Megan Toves - April 28, 2017 reply

    Love this! This is what I feel the whole goal of homeschooling is – but I think approaching public school from this angle really allows for the potential of maximizing what is available there. Now if you have any ideas on how to best get kids to socialize outside of their age group in public school as well as homeschoolers tend to…?

  • Jayson evangelista - May 1, 2017 reply

    My wife and i are holding off on having children at the moment, however looking at my experience growing up thid males alot of sense. I always compared my grades and my marked up papers to other students and eventually lead me to not even apply for any schools out of fear or being rejected. On the flip side, it did save me the burden of student loans. Thanks for a good read!

  • Chris Garcia - May 2, 2017 reply

    Wow, what a great mindset to encourage in your children. With a lense like that to look at school though I know my experience would have been immensely better. Thank you for that insight!

  • Frankie - May 4, 2017 reply

    I couldn’t agree more, great article.

  • Katherine H. - May 4, 2017 reply

    Thanks for the awesome article! I definitely think that grades have defined kids’ self images for too long, and they should be proud of what they are doing right. Thanks for helping us to become better parents!

  • Israel Cabreros - May 12, 2017 reply

    Parents are still the best teachers.

  • Jason Montano - May 12, 2017 reply

    Amazing message!!!

  • Jordon King - May 12, 2017 reply

    So true! we are applying this to our kids as well! I wish this would have been taught to me in adolescences!

  • Leslie - May 12, 2017 reply

    Incredible insight!!

  • Kristin J. - May 12, 2017 reply

    So true! Thank you for this perspective. I am so blessed to be mentored by you, you have completely changed my life!

  • Andrea - May 12, 2017 reply

    Great perspective! I am always interested in ways to contribute to my kids’ self esteem and keep their internal dialogue positive.

  • Katherine H. - May 12, 2017 reply

    What a great thing to teach your children! Thanks for the post.

  • Raven - May 12, 2017 reply

    Great tips on how to teach my future children and set them up for as much success as possible!

  • Jordan trujillo - May 12, 2017 reply

    Blessed to have knowledgeable leaders in our corner! Thank you Glen and Joya!

  • Dion Richardson - May 12, 2017 reply

    Well said! My kids can get really frustrated when they don’t comprehend certain subjects but we always encourage them to know who they are and most importantly WHOSE they are.

  • DS - May 13, 2017 reply


  • Bill - May 13, 2017 reply

    So true

  • Genisha Johnston - May 13, 2017 reply

    Learn lessons in school + Apply lessons in life = equal the greatest wisdom

  • Connie - May 13, 2017 reply


  • Jenn - May 13, 2017 reply

    I am totally gonna talk to my kids about this. Sometime I see so much pressure put on the to pass the test. When they don’t do well they get so upset.

  • Bill Arellanes - May 13, 2017 reply

    Love this article and looking forward to more posts!

  • Camille Ho - May 13, 2017 reply

    As parents, this is so true! I want to equip my children for the world that actually exists, not the world of a classroom. Thank you for this great post!

  • Christy Slatton - May 13, 2017 reply

    Thank you for that distinction between knowledge and intellect. We tell our kids that our family goals for their education often does not line up with the school’s goals. As their parents we desire to see them become critical thinkers with an enthusiasm for learning for a lifetime. Ask questions and know how to go about finding answers from themselves. Then apply what they have discovered. Thnaks for the article.

  • Henry - May 13, 2017 reply

    Great message!!!

  • KMC - May 14, 2017 reply

    Thank you Glen and Joya for your willingness mentor us throughout the years!

  • Jamie Trujillo - May 14, 2017 reply


  • Jacklyn - May 14, 2017 reply

    This is awesome

  • Monica Martinez - May 15, 2017 reply

    Loved this article on your blog.

  • EZ - May 16, 2017 reply

    School should prepare kids for life not for standardized tests! Thanks for sharing.

  • Ronaldino - May 16, 2017 reply

    Especially when teachers don’t even care and grade subjectively, now we are putting our worth in the hands a median salaried worker who probably goes home and has a glass of red wine. You guy are so right on

  • Andrew Alejandre - May 17, 2017 reply

    Such a great point! “If you judge a fish based on whether it can climb a tree, it will go through life believing it is stupid. “

  • Kristin Nicole Gonzales - May 19, 2017 reply

    Cannot tell you how much I love this article. Too many times I let my grades define who I am and wreck my self-image. So happy to finally be in a place where that is no longer the case!

  • MARIAH BROWN - May 20, 2017 reply

    Omg this is so sad but true! I hated the embarrassment of grade comparing in school. Only to find out later in the real world most of that information didn’t even apply anymore!

  • George - May 21, 2017 reply

    Great info

  • Mariah Letner - May 21, 2017 reply

    Incredible advice for my future family!

  • Amanda - May 23, 2017 reply

    Love this. Having kids myself you want the best for them. With school systems now a days I don’t feel that they focus on each individual child like they should. I want the best for my kids and by teaching them life skills as they enter onto the world they will definitely do better than most.

  • Rafael - May 26, 2017 reply

    After spending 26 years in school and teaching at an Ivy League university as a professor…I was unemployed for 9 months. I sent out 100 applications, and wasn’t called in for a single interview. School is great for learning, but it isn’t a vehicle that produces success.

  • Carmen Mancilla. - May 26, 2017 reply

    I have two young kids and This information is great for me to apply with them.
    And to help others in my path.

  • Brandon - May 26, 2017 reply

    This is soo true. Positive reinforcement in the home as well as teaching children the difference between theory and application can positively change the worlds future leaders.

  • Freddie Gladney - May 27, 2017 reply

    Amazing read! So informative and helpful in today’s ever changing world and society; especially with little children on the way in our family.

  • Molly - May 27, 2017 reply

    I love this. Thank you, great advice!

  • Dylan - May 28, 2017 reply

    School gives you a lesson and makes you take a test Life gives you a test that teaches a lesson. I love this we should be teaching our youth that life is not like school and you need to apply your knowledge for it to benefit you.

  • Julio& Yessenia Navarro - May 31, 2017 reply

    Thank You so much Glen & Joya for your leadership by example. We are so proud to be in Your team, All In!

  • Ruben Contreras - June 5, 2017 reply

    That was a great article!

  • Kyle Gatchalian - June 11, 2017 reply

    Wow! Great insight I can implement to prevent a kid’s self image from getting poisoned by a faulty school system.

  • Sharon Shurley - June 19, 2017 reply

    Wish I understood this when I was in school. Great information!

  • Greg - June 20, 2017 reply

    This hopeful and helpful message is resonating with more and more people. Thank you, for all you are doing to add value to people and help them reach their goals!

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