Lost Life Skills...

4개월 전

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Educating your children is not just about what gets taught at school. In fact, I think that in many respects, the subjects and subject matter that is taught in the classroom is probably of the least value when it comes to practical implementation in “real life”. I mean I can honestly not think of ONE single solitary occasion in my 39 years of living, where I have needed any knowledge on algebra… Now, I do understand that this is a broad generalization, but you catch my drift.

I saw a video a little while ago about how real “life skills” should be brought back into schools and I honestly couldn’t agree more… and the younger the starting age, the better. If you just observe the lack of “life skills” ability in young adults currently in their twenties and sometimes thirties, you will very quickly be able to see the dire need for it. The world has changed so dramatically in the last twenty years… it is such a stark contrast to the way things were “back in the day”.

Women no longer know how to cook or sew, men don’t know how to use their hands for any kind of trade or anything else practical, books are read on tablets and kindles and the list goes on. Everything has become about instant gratification and so many fundamental skills are being lost and forgotten.

Every kid in every school no matter their background, deserves to learn the basics about food - where it comes from, how to cook it and how it affects their bodies. These life skills are as important as reading and writing, but they've been lost over the past few generations. We need to bring them back and bring up our kids to be streetwise about food. - Jamie Oliver

Jude is fortunate enough to attend a school where plenty of life skills are offered and encouraged and their entire curriculum has now moved over to project based learning, but this is often not the case in many main stream schools and I don’t have much confidence that this will ever change – in fact it just seems to be getting worse, because lesson gaps which would previously have been occupied by teaching life skills are very often replaced by technology focused lessons.. Which I do realise is an integral part of education today – but I simply cannot understand how basic life skills are treated with so little importance anymore.

Knowing the entire history of your country is never going to save your life – but knowing how to cook or grow your own food very well might.

It is for this reason that I think that the responsibility also falls into the lap of the parent. Our child’s entire scope of education should not simply be left up to the school. We need to step in as well – in whatever way we can. Most of us that are parents to relatively young children today are in the possession of at least one or two fundamental life skills and we should start imparting those on to our kids.

In the instance where you don’t have the knowledge to help your child expand theirs – there are still plenty of alternatives available to solve such problems. If it is a financial option, there are private lessons for things such a trade skills, cooking etc. There is also YouTube… just saying (this way, you can both learn. Lol)

Not only is the learning of the skill itself important in their lives, but the lesson of value and appreciation for things also comes into play, like when it comes to working with money for instance. Many kids are just handed money and gifts these days. They are not taught to work for it – they just “get”. This is why so many of them have no concept of the value of money. When children are forced to do something challenging for the reward of money – they gain a little more understanding of its value each and every time – as well as how far it does (or doesn’t go) when it comes to the spending of it.

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Talking about “finance” - Instead of teaching the fundamentals of accounting or bookkeeping at school (which 90% of students hate) – why not combine a basic knowledge of this, with developing entrepreneurial skills. To my mind, this would serve them in far greater ways later on in life than simply knowing how to balance books. Unless you know how to run a business along with knowing how to setup debtors and creditors columns, then essentially all they will ever be able to do with that information is become a bookkeeper for someone else… which to my mind is a fairly limited niche of people who have a “dream of” doing this when reaching adulthood.

Money is a life skill – and as parents, grandparents, interested adults – it's up to us to make sure our children are prepared for the financial world they are going to face. - Sharon Lechter

Children need LIFE skills! They need to know how to cook food, grow food, understand nature, build things, problem solve, work with money and probably most important of all in my opinion is that they learn how to self-motivate. Having everything at your fingertips is not exactly encouraging perseverance as a trait in youngsters. From where I sit, so many of them simply lack the ability to push themselves from sometimes repeated failure, to a point of success… so many of them just throw in the towel in and move on to something else.

This truly is an endless topic because there are just SO many facets that have been affected by modern living – right down to the smallest things such as hand writing and spelling abilities. Kids just cannot write and/spell like they used to be able to and it is truly sad.

These smaller aspects are most definitely things that us as parents can help with… reading, writing and the additional practice of such things.

There are so MANY ways in which we can enrich our children’s lives with practical, usable skills and I think it is of the utmost importance that we do! One day when our kids are all grown up, not only will we be happy that we took the extra time to add more dimension to their lives, but I can guarantee you – they will thank you too – and they will be far better equipped for REAL life.

We have this myth that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. It's not a very American thing to say, but I don't think that's true. It's true for a lot of people, but you need other things to succeed. You need luck, you need opportunity, and you need the life skills to recognize what an opportunity is. - David Lindsay-Abaire

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Until next time...
Much Love from Cape Town, South Africa xxx
Jaynielea

FOUNDER OF THE POWERHOUSE CREATIVES]

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Important points, Jaynie. The life skills our parents teach us remains with us forever.

I’m glad I learned cook and clean the house growing up as it certainly made adult life easier.

The only drawback was my mother ( in her own way) did not want me to know any street smarts. This kept me quite naive and I still find it hard to believe the underhanded methods others may use to get their way.

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yeah being street smart is indeed very important.... but hey, it is never too late to start learning ;)

I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes I wish I had been the type of parent to home school my kids. I lacked the ability or patience but I totally understand why people do it. They have the opportunity to provide real guidance on real life skills, in addition to their academic studies. It shifts the entire mindset around schooling from being something you ship your kids off to do, to an integrated process that is an overall lifestyle - daily projects and learning and practical applications of the curriculum.

Great post @jaynie. Part of me wants to go back and do it all again in the hopes that I can get it right the second time around. But my kids are turning out well in spite of all my errors and missteps as a parent, so I try not to beat myself up too much! 😆

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I have often considered home schooling, but sadly I just don't think it is that widely accepted nor equipped for here in SA.

And no, don't beat yourself up. I know exactly what you mean though. Parenting does not come with a handbook and can be so enormously challenging at times.

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Well said. The handbook is something we have to write as we go, I think, because the parenting choices we make need to match our own values and views of the world. My handbook included telling my kids I loved them every day and saying I was sorry if I lost my cool — two things I didn’t receive from my parents. If I was to teach a parenting class, I’d start there. 😊

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telling my kids I loved them every day and saying I was sorry if I lost my cool

oh yes yes YESSS to that! Especially the apology part! I ALWAYS make a point of sitting down with Jude to apologise for losing it, but to also explain they "why". We have a wonderful relationship in that respect.

Awesome post! I couldn't agree more ;)
..on every point you made... resteemed.
Also, limit smartphone use and go outside
closer to Nature/ Mother Earth.
1 Love

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Agreed on the tech usage!

Thank you so such for such a wonderfully positive response and for the support - it is always greatly appreciated :)

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Thank you! :)
And keep it coming ;)

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Always doing my best lol :)

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And that's all we can do, right ;)
The rest is up to the "Universe"
Be blessed, Beautiful

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too true!!! :)

It is one of the hardest challenges as a parent. I am sure you do a great job (teach your kid algebra ;))
Being streetwise is imho, the single best thing you learn a kid.
Good luck guapa X

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Being streetwise is imho, the single best thing you learn a kid.

Oh I agree wholeheartedly! Thankfully for Jude, his mom is pretty savvy in that department lol

xxx

Great ideas and ones we have talked about many times.

You will be happy to know that my little one asked which courses are “trades” in highschool because she wanted to take em all. Proud!

I let her know to take the ones that would contribute to her desired college and university courses and all the trades she could. Be empowered and enabled! Know if it can be done, you can do it if you care to learn.

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my little one asked which courses are “trades” in highschool

That is fantastic! Long may it last!

I agree @jaynie. I am not a parent yet but, in my experience growing up- focusing on academic pursuit instead of learning life skills made my life away from home difficult. I am not saying about me going into a remote place and staying there alone. But, initially, I have to struggle on how I could cook, do my laundry, budget my money which is something that I wished I learned doing when I was growing up.

Though academic pursuit should not be abandoned, life skills should be taught in school as well and not be delegated to vocational schools or for only those who are interested in such a thing.

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But, initially, I have to struggle on how I could cook, do my laundry, budget my money which is something that I wished I learned doing when I was growing up.

Exactly. People need to know how to actually FUNCTION in the world.

Academics has it's place, but in my opinion is secondary.

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Well, it seems like everyone are conditioned to think that an academic job is so much better than a practical one- like being a regular worker. Which is something that should change.

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too true!

it's true that the luck of a person also included but luck just won't come if you don't do hardwork. It won't come in your way if you didn't do anything. Well, we have different opinion about that anyway.

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Everything in life is a combination recipe. :) No, one thing will get you anywhere... Hard work is pivotal in any form of success :) so no, I don't think our opinions differ at all actually :)

Yes! I remember taking cooking and wood shop in school. And sewing! I want to actually learn knitting right now for less than wholesome reasons. :)

I tell my own boys that I want to "know things" and how to do things when they finally finish high school. Everyone needs life skills. After all, everyone at some point is going to need to do their own laundry.

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I want to actually learn knitting right now for less than wholesome reasons. :)

HAHAHAHHAHA!!! I will NOT ask lol :D

everyone at some point is going to need to do their own laundry.

bingo!

We make jokes that our homeschooled kids are going to rule the world, not because they're exceptionally talented but because of all the life skills they get versus the kids around them. I prayed once (or a lot) about what I should focus on while teaching them and it was "teach them how to learn". I think that goes hand in hand with your post and the project based learning your son is doing. Projects are full of obstacles to overcome while still learning the educational material. We gotta train our kids up in all aspects.

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"teach them how to learn"

Yes, yes yes!!!! And how to think!

So much yes to this. I'm so glad my mom made us do chores to earn our allowance as kids. We did everything from cleaning, to taking care of pets, to laundry and of course cooking. We whined about it, but as an adult I'm so glad to have those very basic skills. This is one of the reasons why I love being an aunt, as well--I have time to hopefully impart some of these skills on my niece when she starts getting old enough to learn. I can't wait to have her spend the night and help me cook or come out and pull weeds in the garden. The parents have a big responsibility, but we can all lighten the load and share the particular talents we have with the next generation. It really does take a village, though we seem to have gotten away from that these days. I know Jude is going to be one very well-rounded young man!

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I could not agree more! I am eternally grateful that both my parents turned each and every one of us into "hands on" kids and yes, I certainly hope the same for Jude. And you know, if parents opened their eyes more, they would realise that most kids really LOVE being included in "adult activities" - (the savoury kind lol) because it makes them feel important and capable.

What a wonderful boy you are raising. The kid is a natural in front of the camera.
He must have had a couple of lessons with the knife, very impressive.

You are spot on with everything you mentioned in this wonderful article.
Not too long ago, wood shop, metal shop, art classes, cooking classes, photography, and many more REAL LIFE skill classes were offered in public schools.
They have gone by the wayside like they never served a purpose.

As you point out, the list of life skills a youngster needs to learn is endless.
A pet peeve of mine is making sure kids realize that money doesn't grow on trees. I'm not talking about harping on how much everything costs, but I'm talking about children having chores around the house, or little side responsibilities that earn them a little $$$.

Kids that have been taught what it takes to earn money, have a lot more respect for it.
Any kid with his own little stash, will spend his MONEY a little more wisely than if you just hand them your money.
I really don't care how much money you have, you are doing your children a disservice it you hand them everything they want.

So many great points in this article, with self motivation being another.
This is such a big problem as kids tend to veg out so much these days. Tech devices of all kinds, everywhere. All too often these gadgets replace a babysitter, the only problem is that babysitters are usually used when the parents aren't home. These gadgets keep the kids busy while parents are off doing their own thing, while under the same roof.
The lack of quality time parents spend with their children, on a daily basis, is sad.
Schools should be augmenting your child's development, not the other way around.
As a parent, you need to be at the helm.

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A pet peeve of mine is making sure kids realize that money doesn't grow on trees.

I think this is probably one of the greatest challenges with kids today because the parents lifestlyes with work pressures etc. tends to make them give in to the constant gratification of "here's a toy" to keep them occupied or to make up for the lack of quality time spent together (ie. guilt).

Any kid with his own little stash, will spend his MONEY a little more wisely than if you just hand them your money.

Jude has a piggy bank which he is allowed to open on his birthday each year. So he spends the year saving and then can do with it what he will on his day. Last year he blew it all on toys. This year, I was very impressed that he chose to spend it on sports stuff and other things that were not CRAP. - a new soccer ball, goalie gloves, a set of bluetoth headphones, a watch and some other stuff. He also didn't spend it all, which was even more impressive lol.

Schools should be augmenting your child's development, not the other way around.

Oh so very true!

Life skills from my experience came from within the home, tending the garden, household chores, cooking mainly happened at home, sewing and knitting on odd occasion when my Mom took control. Teaching my children from experience gleaned from my childhood was shared, my youngest son is an amazing cook today being in a kitchen with me helping.

I must concur that we did having cooking lessons at school in Std 6 (Now Grade 8), I was bored having done it at home for many a year, perhaps some gained information from those classrooms. Personally I would have preferred the woodwork classes offered to the boys back then, something I had to learn in later years on my own.

Health, hygiene, manners I believe are part of curriculum of late, these were things mainly taught at home and enforced in grade 1 at school.

Times have changed, learning about basic survival in everyday life I think is overdue. Open/available land on school premises should be used to teach fundamentals in farming, live stock wherever able.

Enjoyed seeing this perspective through younger eyes, only to realize that my children's age group see this huge change from when they grew up to what their children are experiencing.

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Life skills from my experience came from within the home

Yes indeed - that was how we were raised, but they were in the schools too - now they don't appear to be in either lol.

Yes, times certainly have changed and not in any way for the better if you ask me lol :)

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Somehow family life spending time with children showing/allowing them to be involved has fallen by the wayside. Parents are under stress to get it done, children not given an opportunity to fuddle and muddle in-house learning curb.

Parents also realize there is a lot of pressure on children to achieve well at school, cutting them out of household chores trying to offer "better" time in education.

No easy answers to this dilemma.

I agree in part... definitely some sort of life skills should be taught... but I wonder if it is more the domain of the parent rather than the school?

Of course, some of the basic economic ideas could be incorporated into a school setting... I get the question about why physics and mathematics (especially the more abstract stuff) is at all relevant to anyone who wouldn't study those things in the future... I would argue that the the critical thinking and other rational skills that shoudl (and often isn't...) taught along side those topics are the critical things... but I have a huge rant about how Maths and Physics are taught at school anyway... long story short, they focus on wrong things... methods rather than first principles... rote learning over understanding. Blah...all the things that can be easily made into a metric... and then when it doesn't work, they dumb it down...

Maths... one critical area of Maths that SHOULD be taught and often isn't is statistical analysis... how to find signals in noise and how chance and signals can be differentiated and with what sort of confidence... this stuff is taught WAY too late to very few students... leading people to mistake polling for statistics and science! Plus, leading others to think that a single study or an outcome PROVES something....

I'm going to stop now... I'm going to crank out and get really off topic.... I'm not totally sure that I started on topic though...

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but I wonder if it is more the domain of the parent rather than the school?

As I was just saying to Joan, I think it should come from both sides. It certainly used to. Life skills shouldnt replace academics but should rather be an addition... Fundamentals are essential - reading, writing and basic mathematics etc. but I think the education system takes those things a little too far down the lane when they could shift the focus onto practical implementation.... WITH the learned knowledge in those subjects.

Say math for example. Start teaching kids how to work with money, how to budget - market days and business skills etc. English can be honed into far more creative directions than writing parrot fashioned answers in a book... I think you catch my drift. lol

I'm going to stop now... I'm going to crank out and get really off topic.... I'm not totally sure that I started on topic though...

hahahahaha! no matter :)

Very true! It also challenges me to rethink my children's education - though they do have to work with me quite often, they need to learn the skills for life, not academics so much (or those can wait until they have the need to learn them...)

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100% agreed! Priorities....

At one time much of these skills were taught by the parents, but with the last few generations having both parents working, they lost the time to teach and then subsequent generations grew up not knowing how to cook to even pass the knowledge along. So it falls to the schools, then they're having to jump through the hoops of legislation and often struggle to fit anything like that in as more than a quick, fun lesson on baking something, maybe a couple of times in primary school. I wonder if they've ever taught budgeting and finance.

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You hit the nail on the head right there! Our society and it's pressures have literally "squashed and killed" the availability and possibility for these skills to be taught at home - except in certain exceptions.

Hey @jaynie

Great post. I absolutely agree that not all the teaching and learning should happen at school, in fact, quite the opposite. Parents should always be the main source of life fundamentals with school re-enforcing good practice. I think that, too often, busy parents hand the onus on to the classroom teacher and, with up to 30 plus children in some cases, they just haven't got the time or resources to put into individuals.

Technology is also important to me and should be to everyone to a certain extent. Parents should stay ahead of the game when it comes to devices and apps just so they can have a modicum of control. BUT! Technology should only complement a classroom not dominate it. A couple of the international schools that I have worked at have toyed with going laptop or iPad only. I think this is a massive mistake. Social skills, concentration, interaction with peers and, not least, handwriting will all be impacted in a negative way. My suspicious mind believes that this trend is driven by the tech industry and is less about good education and more about making instant cash.

Enough ranting! Lol. Jude seems like a great kid. You're doing a fantastic job.

Gaz

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