Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life Skills Versus Cursive/State Capitals

If you’re a teacher reading this, take your laptop to the toilet or put on a diaper because you’re going to crap your pants.

I think life skills are more useful to teach than cursive or state capitals.

When I went to Richie Rich Elementary School (aka Westwood View) in 6th grade there was this ONE day where we got to do some cool elective. Somehow I got into this class where they were making crepes. It was awesome to get out of the normal doldrums of class AND to make something I live for: food.

So on the Homeschool Grid for my boys, I’m crossing off Handwriting and changing that set of boxes to Life Skills. They have handwriting down pat and practice it daily in their workbooks. They play around with cursive when they feel like it. State capitals will come, but won’t be drilled into their heads so they forget as soon as summer comes.

Joel already knows how to make a microwave egg, omelets and toast, how to clean a bathroom and vacuum, how to work the VCR and DVD players. In the future we’ll do budgeting, checkbook balancing, oil changing in the van, gardening and staying out of debt.

And I’m not being judgmental of parents of kids in school here … we all know they (and the kids) are too wiped out by the end of the day (and THEN have to struggle with stupid homework … don’t get me started) to even contemplate teaching life skills.

God bless ‘em, somehow my parents taught me how to balance a checkbook, pay my own car insurance and tickets and buy 2 cars of my own before I was 18. Of course, I was an Only Child, which is a whole ‘nother story.

Can you think of some Life Skills kids that are not being taught before kids graduate into the real world?


  1. Laundry! Especially the boys, so they aren't offering to pay their female friends to do their laundry in college because their mommies always did it for them and they don't know how! This also applies to the girls though, so that their parents don't have to drive two hours every weekend to come do their laundry for them. (I seen both of these happen in college.)

  2. I 2nd the Honorable woman from Kansas (Katie): Laundry!
    In 1991 I became a 3rd class PO and my Chief placed me in Charge of Aircrew 1 consisting of 20 men. One day a hoard of them surrounded me whilst I was laid back reading and they said: "HULETT! Ya got to do something about the new guy!"
    and I was like "Why?! What's wrong with FKNUGI?"
    and they said "He stinks! we don't think he showers and he has 3 bags of laundry hanging from his rack"
    now this caught my attention. I thought one bag of laundry hanging from your rack (bed) was bad. Now usually in the military you got your machismo barking get it done voice. But this guy was timid as a lamb, so I didn't need to use that. So I go find him and I do the gentle approach, "Hey.. how's everything going? What Chief do you like? How's everything back home blah blah blah" then I'm like "Hey... I noticed ya got a lot of laundry and the other guys are griping they have to walk by it everyday" (the aisles are about 1.5 shoulder widths apart, so if you walk through, you're rubbing shoulders with dirty laundry bags) and the FNUGI looks down at the ground and says "yeah..." and I was like "Do you know where the laundry is on base?" and he was like "yes, I've walked by it" and I was like "so can you do your laundry soon so I can tell these guys to chill the f out?" and HERE IS THE STUNNER! HE SAYS TO ME "I don't know how to do laundry, MY MOM ALWAYS DID IT FOR ME" I was sooooo fkn stunned... I was like 20 at the time and I had been doing my own laundry for at least 5 years maybe more. So I told him to get some money and later this afternoon I'd show him how to do his laundry. Then I started wondering what other problems I'd have with this guy and what other things "Mom did" that would paralyze him in the military. Laundry. Ironing shirts & pants. On time (one week before) bill payment. Certified mail slips at the PO. Money orders (where to get, fill out) Unscrupulous people (car dealers, "payday loan" places, interest rates) Gas/MPG (don't get the truck with 7mpg when your unit is 70 mile round trip every day) Responsible drinking / drunk driving (don't do it!) cleaning showers / toilets (think you got this covered) making a bed with blanket, folding down the corners. Sewing on a button or patch, running stiches by hand. OK... I've written a novel.. I'll stop now.

  3. At least a couple of my children are autistic, and some can't function in "regular" school, so they are home. I have a hard time teaching them social skills that they would probably learn better in a class of 27 other kids. The problem is that there is no way they would FUNCTION with 27 other kids... so I am doing the best I can. We need to learn that not everyone wants to hear about Pokemon, that there is a script we must follow (hello, how are you etc.) and my 8-year-old needs to learn we don't kiss the babies of strangers on a first meeting (!!).

    Ok, we're working on it.

  4. I kinda disagree. Real life stuff is important but what happens when your son is in a meeting and they are discussing the territory he will be in charge of and he can't name the capital of Texas (weak examply but you get my point). Not only would it be embarrassing but regular slip ups like that might actually cause him to be looked over for a promotion. You have to be able to talk intelligently about the country we live in, current events, history, etc, in order to be able to carry yourself well in a professional world and "talk the talk" with people.

    I think that is the purpose of school. Real life skills are taught at home by your parents. I learned my state capitals at school and how to do my laundry by my mom. I was able to learn well. This has allowed me to be a successful at home mom and a regularly promoted professional when I worked outside of the home.

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