This afternoon Dom was reading me this list of Top 87 Bad Predictions about the Future, some of which are laughably funny. But some of them got me thinking. The predictions seem so off-base from our perspective; but made sense given what people knew at that time and how they saw the world.
One of the more interesting ones was a prediction about everyone having a small household nuclear reactor. I started wondering about what it was that had changed the way we see nuclear power from the wide-eyed optimism of the fifties to the fear that dominates now. And as we discussed the various factors that have shaped the way we think about nuclear power and the other predictions, I started to think about the way we view history in general. We never discussed such questions in school, how people see the world, how and why that changes.
So, switching to my homeschooling fantasy planning hat, I think this could make a really cool unit study. You could spend a whole term just going down this list and looking at what people expected the future to be like and exploring what their world view was like and why their expectations of the future didn’t pan out. Yeah, that would be a fun thing to do with older kids. File it away for a rainy day that will probably never happen, my predictions about the future of our homeschooling life probably being just as subject to fundamental inability to imagine what a radically different place the future will really be.