I just read on Linda's blog how her friend in Duluth (US) has sent her a lovely sunset photograph - in fact she has put it on to her blog for us to enjoy. (Life on a Colorado Farm on my side bar.) I went immediately to my Atlas to look up exactly where Duluth is, as I always do if somewhere is mentioned that I haven't heard of. My father always did it and I have grown up with the habit.
Now I am not saying that I am right to do this - each to his own. But today I met two ladies who shall be nameless, both under forty and both interesting, intelligent and well-informed people, who know so many things I don't know (particularly things about working their computers for example). But we got talking about the flooding and about our local rivers.
'Our' river, which floods very easily and then eventually, after a few days, contributes to the flooding of York, is called the River Ure. They knew that, but beyond that they knew none. (Oh yes one said, I do know the Thames and the Nile - but not entirely sure where the Nile is). They had no idea that the Ure flowed into the River Ouse, which is the river which flows through York. And when I asked where it flowed into the sea they had no idea that it flowed into the Humber Estuary - and that this was on the East Coast.
In other words, their knowledge of Geography was pretty poor. It transpired that they both 'dropped' Geography at the age of thirteen or so.
Should there be a core curriculum which includes English, Maths (or at least Arithmetic), History, Geography and perhaps French, as there was in my days (pre GCSE) so that everyone grows up with at least some grounding in these things? Or am I a daft old bat who doesn't know what she is talking about? If so, please tell me so - my back is broad and I can take it!