Cultural Literacy, or, How to Impress Others and Make Friends

I frequent a number of blogs, mostly in the categories of homeschooling, autism, housekeeping/organization, life hacks, and personal finance. Occasionally, a post crosses from area of interest to another.  One blog I read regularly is The Simple Dollar. On it, Trent recently wrote a very good article on cultural literacy.

Wikipedia defines Cultural Literacy as

"… the ability to converse fluently in the idioms, allusions and informal content which creates and constitutes a dominant culture. From being familiar with street signs to knowing historical reference to understanding the most recent slang, literacy demands interaction with the culture and reflection of it. A knowledge of a canonical set of literature is not valuable when engaging with others in a society if the knowledge stops at the end of the text – as life is interwoven with art, expression, history and experience, cultural literacy requires the broad range of trivia and the use of that trivia in the creation of a communal language and a collective knowledge. Cultural literacy stresses the knowledge of those pieces of information which content creators will assume the audience already possesses."

This is an invaluable life skill that we as homeschoolers must not neglect. In many ways, we, as homeschool educators have more chances to teach Cultural Literacy than do public educators, who have to keep their numbers, meaning test scores, up. We have all day, every day to point out items that are worthy of being known to our children, as well as modeling the skill by engaging in a little research ourselves. Check out Trent’s blog and this post in particular.

Happy Reading!

  1. Bonjour!

    I really enjoyed this post on cultural literacy – I think it’s dead on.

    Thanks for the comment on our blog. The chess board was a project from a while back. Sadly, even though it’s convenient, we don’t play very much any more!