Schools Need to Teach Adulting-101

Oh the days of Home Economics and Woodshop! Do you recall these High School classes being sexist in their most elementary foundation, segregating young women to Home Ec and boys to Woodshop to fulfill their “innate” abilities? Young girls were led to believe that a good “marriage material” woman needed to learn how to cook, bake, sew and clean house. While young boys were trained to build, fix things and to handle tools because that’s what it meant to be “a real man”. This left yet another generation thinking that these tasks were isolated to each of those particular genders.

Fast forward and thankfully these biased based thoughts are a thing of the past….but, lets not get it twisted; those classes are STILL very necessary…. and THEN SOME! In this case, just because there was a problem with the past doesn’t mean you do away with the idea. It means you need to refine the idea, evolve it to better society as a singular component. Cooking, cleaning, fixing things and using tools are essential tasks for survival for ALL people. Two television networks today, HGTV and The Food Network are extremely successful for this very reason. People have wonderfully found the beauty in these human basics and turned it in to a sensational movement.

Sadly though, our schools no longer feel these are important lessons to teach our children. Granted, parents can take on these tasks and train their own kids. But then we can apply that thought to anything, can’t we! … why teach the alphabets in Pre-K when parents can do that job? Why teach kids addition and subtraction when parents know how to do so as well? We can all definitely teach our own kids about basic world history. But as parents, and many of us, as working parents, we’re entrusting our children to an establishment to teach INFORMATION that is believed to be important enough to help our kids become educated and useful adults. And food for thought, let’s not forget those kids, our future generation that don’t have adequate home education either, so there’s that.

What type of information should be provided by schools today to help kids be aware of what’s needed to be a useful member of society? Todays young folks’ are calling it ADULTING. Sure you laugh, or as in my husbands case, cringe…but I say that’s a perfect way to describe this class discipline. Adulting….”The PRACTICE of Being an Adult”. And what makes you, any of us, true adults? Is it age? 18? 21? Is it the completion of higher education? Associates? Bachelor or Masters? Maybe it’s a Doctorate? What if your sweet bundle of joy is in their 30’s with a hard-earned Masters but living at home with you in your basement, trying hard to make it out in the world independently? Have they “mastered” the whole adult thing? Of course NOT!

Look, I want my kids to learn Science, Global History, Literature (my fave class) and all Mathematics. I want Music, Art and Physical activities to be brought back in to all schools. But let’s get real, the following needs urgent and serious consideration as well….

1. Credit: How to build good credit. How to read and control your credit score. How to manage a credit card(s). Understanding Interest rates. Understanding credit points and rewards.
2. Taxes: How to read, understand and fill out your W2 form. How to best fill out your end of year taxes.
3. Banking: The importance of a bank account. Do you need a savings account?
4. Personal Finances: The importance of budgeting. Investing. Reading financial statements.
5. Home/car rental/leasing vs. ownership: Mortgage, Taxes, Down payments, Security deposits, Deeds, Leases, Registration. Maintenance realities of each.
6. Insurance: Medical, accidental, rental, home, and car. Why and How.
7. Employment: How to create a resume, How to job hunt, How to interview and What to expect in each.
8. Shopping: The perils of over spending. The benefits of price comparisons. Needs vs. Wants.
9. Aging/Retirement: Age related health problems, Early retirement planning, Work and benefit limitations.

Each of these categories have a wealth of additional information to cover. Add to this the bare essentials like cooking skills, laundry, the importance of a clean home, how to fix a sink leak or clogged toilet, how to change a car flat, and yearly medical and dental visits and you now have 15, 16 and 17 year olds at least KNOWING what to expect, KNOWING what to research more on, because by observation alone, I’ve noticed that kids just don’t know what they don’t know. Let’s help them get exposed early. Let’s emphaize these life skills as important as algebra, and give them a fighting chance to be competent adults living on their own. This way we all get our basements and spare rooms back!

Additional silver lining? Some of these kids can help educate their older generation family members who are still stuck on the gender biased mentality and end this ugly cycle of unintentional and burdensome members of society.

— The Pretty Platform

9 thoughts

  1. so awesome, I truly believe that the school system is missing the whole point of “teaching” it doesn’t have to be restricted to the basic English, Math and college prep courses. Teaching young students how to navigate the most basic functions of every day life is so very important like you said finances, taxes, understanding investing (which is why there is such an issue with student loan debt), career paths outside of going for higher education. It’s all relevant. Because once students graduate high school their are expected to know these things and many times, especially for low income students, their parents/guardians do not know this information well enough to teach them. I wrote a similar post about this . I really think you did a great job with expressing the need for these types of classes in public education.

  2. Your points are so valid and I believe our school systems are still largely stuck in the dark ages. Honestly, there are so many things taught in school that our kids will never use or remember! These “life skills” are things they may or may not be taught at home but are so much more important to helping our kids be shaped into productive adults. Great post!

  3. Yes! Yes! And more Yes! I agree 100%. So many of our youth have no idea how to “adult”. Of course, I believe it is the parent that should teach these things but sadly, that’s a fantasy world for so many children. Parents are too busy nowadays. It sure would be awesome for “life skills” to be brought back into the classroom so the future generations could have a fighting chance!

  4. Yes, yes, and yes! I totally took “home ec” when I was in middle school (the boys did too). And I believe shop class was offered in HS as an elective. But there really are so many skills that students need to practice before going out into the world.

  5. These are definitely important life lessons. I didn’t do a great job, but my oldest kids have transitioned well into “adulting.”

  6. Yes, I agree too! I know that having the chance to be educated is something to be grateful about, but growing up I missed a lot of these adulting things. So important! Otherwise, you end up like me, still calling my parents when I need help with taxes, banking and so many other things haha 😉

  7. Couldn’t agree with you more. Most kids know nothing about any kind of insurance. How to take care of car. Banking skills are much needed. Some don’t even know how to address a letter anymore.

  8. I totally agree! It absolutely AMAZES me that there is nothing in place to teach children about having a strong financial foundation and what it means to make fiscally responsible decisions. That is something that I did with my eldest child. And you know what, even though I did it, it’s a challenge for him to fully embrace because most of his other friends have no frame of reference. He’s making strides now that he is almost 20 but it has been some work. GREAT post!

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