Education

More Things That Should be Taught in High School

Just thinking of other things that everyone should know or at least have basic knowledge of once they turn 18… I know it’s idealistic, but it’s something we as Americans should strive to teach our own children.

1. Houses/Apartments – How to buy a house or rent an apartment should be something that’s taught everywhere. Lots of people get confused about mortgages, interest rates, and other things that come into account when looking for a home. I wish I had been taught these things.

2. World Religions/Cultures (including atheism and agnosticism) – This relates directly to this article. In order to be more open-minded and understanding of others, all Americans should be taught about the value of other beliefs and cultures. And not knowing about these things just makes us look stupid as a country…

3. Organization/Time Management Skills – Some people are born to be organized, even to the point of near-OCD, (I’m like that; everything has to be exactly in its place for me.) but others need a little help in that area. Managing time is especially important for the workforce. There’s so much out there that grabs our attention and sucks our time (Facebook, anyone?) that we really need to be mindful of how we spend the time we have.

Got any more you’d like to add to the list? Let me know! 🙂

EDIT: Wow… I just found out I got Freshly Pressed… *blushes* Thank you for all your comments already – and I should have added a link to my previous post on this subject… so here it is:

150 thoughts on “More Things That Should be Taught in High School”

  1. I definitely agree with all of these, but as an inner-city, public school history teacher (student-teacher anyway…), I can honestly say that religion and culture is taught in most inner-city public schools. It may be more on the schools in the suburbs where teachers are afraid to approach the subject fearing the consequences with parents. I definitely agree with you though… if we want to see where stereotypes and biases take a firm hold, we can look to the lack of education for our US students about other cultures.

    Like

  2. Some parents can help kids learn these life skills, but there’s something to be said for “book knowledge” as well as street smart, culture, or upbringing.

    I’d add to “work place skills”: SALES! No sales = no company = no job = no income = no food. Most colleges offer marketing, but what is sales? How do kids get into sales? And, going along with that: Entrepreneurship.

    Like

  3. In my junior high, we had both World Cultures and Study Skills (organization, time management, etc.)I agree though; ‘buying a house’ class would be extremely helpful!

    Like

  4. I teach community college, and I would love for my students to have had a class in time management.

    They also desperately need a class in citizen participation–how and why to vote, how to email a Senator, why the lack of people paying attention means the corporations take over and we end up with the mess we’re trying to fix now.

    Like

  5. I agree with almost everything!!!! Something that they’re not teaching is GRAMMAR. So many teens get into college not knowing how to write a proper paper!!! Breaks my heart! 😦

    Like

  6. My husband and I have been saying this for YEARS!!

    I mean, spending maybe 1 lesson on how to write a check doesn’t cut it. Spend a week learning how to budget isn’t preparing them for living on their own. How ’bout teaching them to read a bank statement and balance a checkbook? How about making a simple appointment on the telephone!!!?? You would be surprised how many kids don’t have a clue how to do that!

    Yes, our Depts. of Education really need to revamp the standard requirements for high school lessons.

    Like

  7. Completely agree. I am currently 18 and my mom started home schooling me when I went into second grade. Luckily, I learned all of these things. But all of my public school friends always seem to surprise me when they don’t know half of these things.

    Definitely finances, too. (from your previous post) It really is a big deal. It seems hard to grasp for most, the concept of the dollar bill.

    Like

  8. These days we have far too many people with high status degrees who don’t know the basics of staying alive. Everybody thinks they can come out of university, knowing almost nothing about the real world, and command a good salary.
    Well they can’t. And they are finding this out all over the world. You still have to go through an apprenticeship period where you have to clean the toilets. But they have not be instructed how to do even this, or how to change a light bulb, or fix a sole back on a shoe,or change a tire on a car. Neither do they appreciate the law of cause and effect, or Karma, and they don’t even know what that law implies.
    Oh yes, they want big money. They feel they have spent so long in university that they deserve to go right into a job and get big money so they can drive a BMW, and have a whale of a time. But they can’t fix a washing machine, or a leaking tap. They have to call in a specialist to do those things, at high expense to them.
    So there are so many basic simple everyday subjects they could have been through at school, or collage, that could have earned them enough to buy food and get along, till they learn to stand on their own two feet, and be valuable.

    Like

  9. No, I don’t agree with the premise that these skills should be acquired at school. Whats next? how to go on date? How to get dress before you leave the house? Let them fall of their asses. It is the best thing that can happen to them. They get to appreciate real life and costs involved in it. Life, you fall on your ass you learn from it, you adapt and move in a better diffraction . IF you don’t…Darwin law kicks in… It is like playing basketball at recesses. Nobody teaches you how to do it. You get in you play, you get it, you play more, you don’t get it, you sit outside and watch the kids that did get it, play it!
    Darwin said it best “Natural selection is the process by which traits become more or less common in a population due to consistent effects upon the survival or reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution.”

    Like

  10. How to be a good partner.
    How to be a good friend.
    How to be a good person.
    How to be happy without driving for empty goals.
    How to care for the environment.
    How to care for yourself.

    Interesting post.

    Like

  11. I was fortunate, I suppose. My highschool taught us all these things at some point. In economics we learned about mortgages, credit cards, etc. I took a world religions class. And there was a college prep class available, though I didn’t take it. But they teach you independent study skills, more about credit cards (a big pitfall for those who aren’t wise), grocery shopping, the works. I agree though, we should all know these things before being thrust out into the world.

    Like

  12. I agree with the three items you listed, but man, I could go on for days with what I wish they would have taught me in high school, but I guess I am better off with have learning it on my own, it’s experience now 🙂

    Congrats on being freshly pressed, nice post 🙂

    Like

  13. Great list!
    I know not everyone (ok, hardly anyone) will agree with this but I personally believe that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools along with Darwin’s theory of evolution.

    Like

  14. Critical thinking! I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I am still regularly amazed at the strange leaps in logic made by people who actually believe they are making sense!

    Like

  15. Agreed, agreed, and agreed again!!! I work in a high school. and while I could still use help in 2 of those areas, I know of a LOT of kids who could use it in all of those areas. And some need help in just one or two of them.

    Like

  16. Now some things that should not be taught in a high school, or at least not made compulsory:

    1. Non-financial math. Save the calculus as an elective for the future engineers and computer scientists, who are in the minority.

    2. English literature. Why would I bother writing a 1000-word essay on Heart of Darkness when I could be learning how to write a cover letter?

    3. Any social studies classes that do not stimulate debate about current affairs and the news.

    Like

  17. My wife just read an article about kids who don’t know how to open a CAN! If it doesn’t have a pop-top, they’re lost. I’d hate to see them try to use the old Army can opener I used to have for opening “C” rations.

    Like

  18. They should probably stop teaching so much useless stuff and start teaching more pointful things, like the ones you mentioned. Honestly, though, most of the stuff they’ll teach you are things that you will not use unless your job is in that field, in which case you should learn what you need in college.

    I agree with religions and cultures. America needs to change, but no one has the right ideas to change it. They need to listen to the people, because they all have their own, fresh ideas that could help make America a better, more organized and effective place.

    Like

  19. While I completely agree with your ideas, Maggie, we’ve got a few problems with the possible execution.

    The problem with teaching about apartments/housing/budget balancing is most kids in high school don’t even have car payments yet, let alone jobs to start worrying over a mortgage. Heck, it seems difficult enough to get them interested in how to write and speak using proper English (not necessarily the kid’s fault). There would need to be a rather strong teaching presence to pull this off.

    I couldn’t agree more that a broader scope of religion, and more so a global perspective, should be a part of the curriculum. Unfortunately, their are many that disagree given our nation’s conservative Christian roots. Teaching evolution is apparently bad enough.

    Unfortunately, organization is probably closer akin to a behavioral trait than a learned skill. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Developing a healthy case of OCD is a decent fix, but I suppose that has some drawbacks.

    Anyways, great post and great intent! Keep spreading the word. Our country needs these very sentiments drilled into its head over and over again.

    Congrats on being pressed!

    Like

  20. I agree. This is my favorite topic. The knowlege of learning how to care for yourself when your parents are not around. The basics of how to cook, clean, manage your time, finances, ect. are at the basic taught in school. That’s only if the student knows what the electives are about, and in high school you want more electives but only allowed say three. Well, its time to make sure the students who are not performing well make sure they go to community college and take courses to continue learning. The father and mother need to support their children in learning these skills also, and make the time to do so. Just watching T.V. that’s not educational does not benefit them, in my opinion it hinders them. There has to be a balance and that needs to be taught also. And what ever they do they need to know they are loved for who they are.

    Like

  21. When it comes to teaching comparative religion, how many teachers are up to that task? I’ve made it a matter of personal interest for many years and yet even I would be hard-pressed to do such a broad topic justice.

    How many TEACHERS got caught out with stupid mortgages? Can’t teach what you don’t know.

    Rhetorical questions, I’ll admit. But I can’t recall a single one who could handle the first task and I know a couple whose mortgages are so far underwater it’s pathetic.

    I once took a prospectus to my sons econ teacher and she didn’t know what it was … even though she was currently teaching a section on stock investment.

    That particular PT conference another one of my sons teachers showed up obviously drunk. I think the technical term is “shit-faced”.

    I sought out the principle and had a pointed conversation with him about both teachers. The ‘economics’ teacher went back to coaching the girls basketball squad and the wood shop teacher went wherever fired teachers go to sober up.

    BTW … congrats on getting featured.

    Like

  22. Hear hear! 🙂

    Plus, I would add “Life Lessons”. Don’t take life TOO seriously, but not for granted either, respect your fellow human, understanding, don’t worry so much. 🙂

    Nice post, congrats on being Freshly Pressed 😀

    Like

  23. I’m really concerned that I haven’t read music or art anywhere. Maybe I missed them in someone’s comment, but they’re the most overlooked, and the most critical to the development of students into human beings. Time management lessons? Covered by lesson times, rehearsals, performances or art classes, showings, or competitions. Respect and etiquette are discovered through teamwork and interaction with others interested in the same topics. Culture can be explored through learning different types of music and art from around the world. Art and music are the fundamentals of any society, and they’re not being taught how they should, or could. I was pretty disappointed and shocked that I was the first to bring them up.

    Like

    1. Good insight. There’s so much to learn about other cultures from appreciating their art and music. When art and music is taught in schools, it’s usually just European art and music – there needs to be so much more than that! Love your comment – thank you! 🙂

      Like

  24. These are definitely something that should be taught, not just in America though.

    There are lots of things that could be added to the list I would imagine, even things that most people would file under common sense…but there are so many people that do not have common sense.

    Like

  25. There are so many of us in the oilfields in Trinidad, who started as roughnecks, the very bottom of the ladder. Later, we went all over the world, offshore and on, in top positions, and never allowed wells to blowout like the one in the gulf of Mexico.
    Strange, very few of us went to college, and none that I know went to University.

    Like

  26. I am in agreeance with all three of those points. When I moved across the country to Miami I was lucky enough to have a landlord who didn’t screw me over with the place. I also learned that leaving the air-conditioner on all day (even when you aren’t home) is really expensive and everything from water (which thankfully was included in the rent) to gas, electric, internet, cable, etc. all adds up. You learn quickly when you are thrust into the midst of it like a child being thrown into the deep end of a pool when learning how to swim. It isn’t always effective and sometimes the consequence is tragic.
    Most schools actually teach some form of religion class. I grew up in Utah and we had religion classes but the difference was that it was on our religion rather than a general religion class which teaches the basics of all the major religions. I had to once again learn about these when I served a mission for my church. Knowing the beliefs of others helps you be able to relate and also not offend.
    Time management should also include money management. Interestingly, I learned money management skills from being a boy scout (there is a merit badge for it). People need to learn the benefits of saving money and not putting everything on credit just because we want it. Pay off your credit card as soon as possible and only use it in dire emergencies. You also need to use it at least once a year or two years or else it will be cancelled (found that out the hard way).
    As I have been living abroad for the last year in the UK, I have gotten to see that America is very behind the times when it comes to the world and tolerance (and I mean everyone not just particular groups). While nowhere is perfect, it would be a great thing to learn in school as a required class what is happening the world. Everyone knows about WWII and the death 6 million Jews, but do they know about the conflict in Israel with the Gaza Strip or the floods in Pakistan? How about the recent elections in England and the effects it is now having on the country? The past world events are vital to not repeat them but contemporary events are just as important. So I think 🙂

    Chris
    cetracy.wordpress.com

    Like

  27. I absolutely agree with you! Especially your first point. I’m 22 and went through many tears negotiating the apartment minefield. I also think financial terms and banking thingies should be taught in school. Things like taxes and tax forms and the difference between ALL the different types of accounts, insurance, medical aid… I was never prepared for that world and it wasn’t pleasant (or kind)to be thrown into it.

    Like

  28. I’m not American, but this applies! I agree especially with the houses and apartments point. Choosing the right house/apartment, in the first place; what accounts for “the right one”. It is quite a bit of rocket science. Oh, and taxes too.

    Like

  29. hello!This was a really outstanding website!
    I come from endland, I was fortunate to find your subject in yahoo
    Also I learn much in your website really thank your very much i will come later

    Like

  30. As a K-12 educator, I really agree with you. Much of today’s curriculum doesn’t cultivate a ‘human’ attitude anymore. Attention is just centered on “core” course. Worst, teaching is just meant to prepare students for the test.

    ^^Promdi
    http://www.realitytrail.com

    Like

  31. Nice Post! School is supposed to be our training ground for the real world, but the problem is most of the things we learned from school cannot be implemented in real life.

    Like

  32. There are many things that could be added to the school curriculum. But we have to take a stand and bear our responsibility as parents. Should schools teach how to balance a check book? You bet. Should parents teach how to manage money. Yes, they should. But we don’t know how to manage or money. That is why we are thousands of dollars in debt. We bought off on the low down easy monthly payments and they are not so easy any more. If we depend on teh school system to teach our kids about money management, the curriculum would probably be sponsored by a corporate bank. Where would that lead our kids. Deep in debt, just like us.

    Do I want a government ran institute teaching about religion, or “alternates”? NO WAY! Religion is not to be socially watered down. “We are not OF this world.” We have to take a stand as parents. Take your kids to Sunday School to learn Religion. Share it with them at the dinner table.

    If you want your kid to learn a specialized skill such as real estate, time management, or entrepreneuralism. Find a seminare or a community college course on the subject of interest. Attend the event with your kid. Discuss it over breakfast for the next several morning.

    Do our school systems have room for improvement, you bet. And, it is our responsibilty as parents to fill that gap and assist in the correction of that gap. We have been too silent for too long waiting for someone else to fix things, generations too long. Now let’s stand up and teach our kids.

    Like

    1. I do agree with you 100%. Parents are the first and primary teachers of their children and they should (ideally) have more control over the school system and how it is run than the government. Thanks so much for your comments! 🙂

      Like

Comments are closed.