Welcome back blog readers,
This is a topic that my husband and I have discussed in great length several times over the last 10 years. I thought it was worth sharing, so let’s get started.
I should preface by mentioning that I graduated high school in 1996, so almost 23 years ago. I don’t have kids, so maybe things have changed since then, but somehow, I think what may have changed has gone in the wrong direction.
Do I feel that my 4 years in high school prepared me for the real world? Not especially.
I did attend a Vocational High School (my choice) because I didn’t have parents, an older sibling, or an adult role model to learn from. I felt it was important for me to learn a trade skill and have experience in order to gain employment as soon as possible. Once I decided to enroll in the Automotive Technology program the curriculum was broken up into two alternating weeks. The academic classes that included trade-related math, trade-related science and automotive related classes that varied depending on which grade you were in. The “shop” week was our hands-on learning week where we spent time in an actual automotive garage with hydraulic lifts, a wheel alignment machine, several diagnostic tools, basically getting our hands dirty going from parts changers to diagnosing problems.
While the hands-on learning aspect did prepare me with experience needed to gain employment. I still wasn’t prepared to transition from graduate to functioning adult. While I was responsible, getting to work on time, showing up for my shifts, I felt so out of place when talking to human resources about tax forms, knowing what I could/should claim.
While we did have a short intoduction to balancing our checkbook, there was nothing that prepared us for personal taxes, learning about retirement plans, tax free savings accounts, stocks/bonds, 401K, RRSP, Unions, Unemployment benefits, Real Estate, Health Insurance, Home Owners Insurance, Vehicle Insurance, Renter’s Insurance, The Voting process and what the Electoral College is, Credit, credit cards, interest rates, bankruptcy and credit score. All of these things that I had wished I had been better prepared for, or at least had a basic understanding about before graduating at 17 years old.
A few other topics that should be considered and may go against popular opinion.
- Sex Ed, reproductive anatomy, STD’s, Contraception
- Nutrition, learn what a calorie is, learn to read nutrition labels, learn about food sensitivities/allergies, learn to prepare healthy meals.
- Family Planning, learn how expensive it is to have a child, daycare, diapers, clothes, food, consider a single income, rent, utilities, co-pays for doctor visits.
- Home Economics, bring back cooking, baking, reading recipes, sewing/knitting/crocheting, learning to use basic hand tools and learn basic first aid.
- Driver’s Ed, should cover more than learning the rules of the road and learning to read traffic signs. Along with learning proper road safety, new drivers should also learn the basics about vehicle maintenance, which I previously covered here. https://reinbeckstudio.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/452/
Give students what they need to make smart informed choices about their future. Many students babysit for us, they are friends with your kids. Wouldn’t you have a better peace of mind knowing that are better prepared and have acquired basic life skills if they are babysitting for you or they’re out driving around with your kid? What I tend to see from high school kids (because I work with many of them in the world of retail) is that there are some that have a good head on their shoulders and they have a plan for their future. The majority, however; are mindless zombies that are completely clueless and can’t function without a mobile device in their hand. You can bet that they’re not researching any of the above topics in order to better themselves.
I’m not suggesting that all high school students should have their future mapped out, most adults have yet to achieve that. What I am saying is start holding this generation accountable and stop giving out participation trophies for showing up and doing nothing to earn it. The idea of holding a graduation ceremony at the end of the school year for each grade is absurd and takes away from the actual milestone of completing 12 years and entering adulthood. So now a simple “congratulations, we’re proud of you” is no longer enough, we have to sit through 12 cap/gown graduation ceremonies. I just don’t get it. We have and continue to create a self-entitled, praise me for showing up generation. Where is our trophy?
That is all I have to say about that, for now. No fancy segway as I finish this post.