cut one’s eyeteeth To gain knowledge or understanding; to become sophisticated or experienced in the ways of the world; also to have one’s eyeteeth meaning ‘to be worldly-wise or aware.’ This expression, which dates from the early 1700s, derives from the fact that the eyeteeth are cut late, usually at about the age of twelve. The implication then is that a person who has already cut his eyeteeth has reached the age of discretion. A similar phrase with the same meaning is to cut one’s wisdom teeth . Wisdom teeth are cut even later than eyeteeth, usually between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five.
For example, in a school following the Core Knowledge Sequence, students in fifth grade study the Renaissance. The word “renaissance” means “rebirth”—specifically, in Europe in the 1500s, a rebirth of interest in ancient Greece and Rome. Teachers in a Core Knowledge school can confidently build on students’ prior learning about ancient Greece and Rome (grades 2 and 3) and the Middle Ages (grade 4). They can connect their historical studies to topics in Visual Arts (in which the Sequence specifies masterworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and others) and in Language Arts (in which the Sequence specifies episodes from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cervantes’s Don Quixote ).
Assuming that a “smart” person finds accurate and pertinent infiormation on a website, does not mean that such person has the facility or knowledge to make good decisions. For example, one can easily find the “law” in terms of statutes and written court decisions on line, but to think an inexperieinced person can merely read a couple statutes and an opinion and come up with the “right” answer to a legal question is absurd. Unfortunately, I think our “anti-intellectual” culture is pushing people to believe one can be an instant “expert”.