High Schools Need to Be Teaching Basic Life Skills

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What is something that should be taught in high school, but isn’t? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

What should be taught in high school but isn’t? Basic life skills. I think attending school is not as much about the curriculum as parents think it is. School is where our children learn the basic building blocks of life: personal accountability, social relationships, organization, critical thinking, romantic relationships, time management, etc. They are learning all of these things in school, but in a very roundabout way. I think it would be immensely beneficial to build curriculum - or at least some sort of structured dialogue - around these life lessons.

Money - So many kids graduate high school and have no clue how to manage their money. This should be taught thoroughly in school. How can we send them off to college or out into the real world as fully functioning adults if they don’t know how to pay bills? I know a lot of people in their twenties who still are not sure how car registrations and insurance work. That’s insane.

Social skills - So kids learn to work in groups, they can do debates, mock trials, etc. But what about things like compassion, self defense, tact? These are skills so many people lack, I think it would be great to get kids in their formative years learning and thinking about these things. Self psychology maybe? Support groups? Not sure how it would manifest, but dissecting emotions and relationships could really help kids and young adults navigate their tumultuous emotional roller coasters.

Critical thinking - I really think this skill is honed in colleges, research colleges mostly, but I think that’s a shame because younger teens could really benefit more from applying what their learning to the real world. Learning to question beliefs and things they are being taught is really under valued in middle and high school where most of the curriculum is meant to be memorized in order to pass state tests. Teaching kids to stand up for things and question authority is a key part of passing into adulthood.

Time management and organization - We expect kids to keep up with school, but schools don’t give them the proper tools to manage these things, and it’s up to us as parents to help guide them through their priorities. Teaching kids the building blocks of time management, responsibility and organization can help them learn to be more accountable at a younger age and not when they are adults learning to deal with more adult things. I know a lot (of the same) people in their twenties who can not deal when they have adult responsibilities and still rely on their parents to help them with basic adult-life tasks.

Better sex ed - This is a touchy one, but I really think kids should learn beyond the basic mechanics of sex - and at a younger age then they are. Learning things like consent, self pleasure and boundaries are skills that parents might be uncomfortable with their kids learning in school. I would venture to guess that those parents probably have kids who aren’t comfortable going to them for advice either. Leaving things like that in the hands of well equipped teachers in a safe space I think is ok - and maybe crucial - for teens’ budding curiosities.

There are so many things kids are learning in school beyond what they’re reading in text books, I think it’d be great for them to really evaluate and put a spotlight on the sloppy life skills they are cobbling together on their own. I think it would make them much better equipped to handle the real world when they turn the magic age of 18 and things like warfare and electing presidents is now at their fingertips.

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