I grew up in the public school system through the 80’s and 90’s it spanned big hair and tightly rolled jeans to super straight blond hair and low rise jeans. Aside from the basic academics (reading, writing, math, science, history) we had some electives. In elementary school I learned how to play a recorder, but not really, we only worked on it for like half of a semester. We had art once in a while (our teacher traveled between all the elementary school in the county), and of course we had physical education/health.
Middle school held one sewing class for just a few weeks, not long enough to finish the pillow that I started and wood working where I built 50% of a birdhouse and someone else finished the rest. We had a required dance class, yes I said dance. I also believe that middle school was our first real introduction into the world of computing. We played Number Crunchers and Oregon Trail on computers with green screens.
My high school years were smack dab in the middle of the technology boom so that took precedence over everything at that time. Although these were the first years where we could actually pick some of our own electives instead of having them chosen for us. I learned, well kinda, to type and how to word process, twice (not because I failed the first time but because we had a word processing I and II). I learned to speak Spanish three times I think.
Hola. Me llamo Casey.
Probably my most useful class was foods and nutrition where I did learn a few things about cooking utensils, the kitchen triangle, the food pyramid and how to cook a little. Oh yes and I also took weight lifting for three years but I’m not even going there.
Now let’s talk about the things that I wish I had learned in school.
1. Sewing – The very basic sewing class in middle school was just not enough. First off everyone was required to take it which means that 90% of the people there had no interest in learning to sew. That meant that instead of learning they disrupted in turn no one really learned. Also it was very short. Beyond sewing what about teaching to crocheting or knitting?
2. Gardening – Why did we not have this?! Every school has land, most land around here can grow something. We could have planted at the during one school year and the next class could have harvested at the beginning of the year. Fall crops could have even been grown in between. There is no excuse for a school not being able to teach this very important life skill.
3. Cooking -I’m ever so thankful for my foods and nutrition class but why didn’t they offer more classes like this? One class, that was it and it was very basic. This was high school we could have been taught more than how to boil pasta.
4. Home Economics – By the time I was in high school this class no longer existed.
I have my own thoughts about why these life skills weren’t taught at all or very well in school but I would love to hear your ideas on this. I have no idea what the elective options are in schools nowadays if someone would like to enlighten me on that, that might be interesting. If you learned some of these skills in school please tell us where you went to school. Or if you have other skills that you would have loved to learn tell us those too.
6. Quiet time on the porch in the sunshine.