Schools need to require more life skills classes


As a senior, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what skills I will need as I prepare to enter the so-called “real world.” And while there is no doubt I have some skills, I do not feel adequately prepared to move out and face the world on my own. My parents have tried to install some skills in me, but whenever something goes wrong, the first thing I do is call my dad. School could be doing a better job to better prepare us for life after high school.


For starters, if school would require a basic home economics class students would be able to handle simple tasks. My parents always reminisce on their home ec classes and say they had to learn the basic skills such as sewing on a button, cooking, or basic tax information. While our econ class is helping to prepare us for the future and we have a teacher that cares deeply about his students, there is more information that we need to know that he doesn’t have time to cover in his class. I feel similarly towards Agribusiness and other ag classes. 


Intro to Ag is perhaps the most useful class I have taken. It opened my eyes to traps that producers put out there such as fear-based marketing. After taking this class I feel like I walked away with basic information about the world around me, hands-on skills like welding, and fun trivial facts such as most people being three generations disconnected from the farm. It doesn’t matter if you are three generations disconnected or a fifth generation farmer, agriculture is part of day to day life and is important to understand the process. Along with home economics, more hands-on, ag-based classes should be mandated. 


To follow along with that, some shop classes would go a long way. Shop would allow students to build things such as furniture or simple fun items. Not only does it sound fun, it will teach students basic carpentry skills that will be used later in life. For example, if your table is wobbly or a screw falls out of a stool, you will need to be able to correct the problem without going through a middle man. Not everyone is going to have a welder lying around, but you’ll likely have a hammer and screwdriver. 


In the future, the majority of us will have our driver’s license. At that point it will be important that we know how to change a tire, change oil, and check other fluid levels within a vehicle. Not everyone has someone around to teach them these life skills. A basics mechanics class would teach many important skills that will be used more in the future than the quadratic formula. 


Schools are stuck too much in an academic, standardized testing focus. This boils down to students being able to regurgitate information rather than being able to think for themselves. This is perhaps the biggest flaw in the education system. Students are being told what to think and are busy memorizing facts instead of learning more authentic, applicable skills.

I cannot deny there are some classes that are trying to prepare students for the future, but as a whole schools aren’t helping with this. Those alluded to classes are often elective. Therefore not everyone takes them and learns those skills. Take culinary for example. A lot of students have taken the course and done the work and were able to walk away having learned something from it. However, a lot of students have not taken it. Despite my dislike and lack of patience for cooking, I do think students should be taught the basics of cooking and know how to cook something other than ramen. 


We are the future. It is important we know basic skills to ensure that we can keep this country going and not just rely on the expertise of those around us. Schools should be able to help better prepare students for the future by teaching these previously mentioned standards.