I must admit that much of what I 'learned' at school was a puzzle but I was able to revise enough to get through exams. But I do remember showing an interest in unusual things at the age of 11 (which was viruses) and being aware of newspapers and current affairs. Things seem to fall in place when I left University and could just let my mind and interests wander. This, as you have pointed out, has been so much assisted by the internet. I am now very keen on teaching children HOW to learn and not to accumulate too many facts. If they are taught how to find information (i.e. internet) and how to sort out the most important facts from the vast amount of information provided, then they can learn by themselves to a great extent. I taught my students (ages 11 to 12) 'thinking skills' in about the mid seventies, when it was not fashionable; I liked the work of Edward de Bono. I sometimes give my daughter an object (e.g an ornament) and ask her to describe it; her initial brief description expands amazingly when I point out things to her and then she is much more competent when presented with another object. Also, asking how many uses can be thought of for an object (e.g. a matchbox or matchstick) also helps in training the mind to think and to think laterally. Many of these relatively-brief 'thinking skills' substitute for days and days of worthless teaching in schools.