Monday, October 18, 2010

Life Skills, Teens and Cool Stuff...

What do they really need to know?

There is such a push on in schools these days...
get ahead, take college classes, boost your GPA...

When are we going to realize that pushing them to do more may not always be the answer?
*** can stop reading now if you hate this idea...which so many of you will.
Or you can trash me on your blog...i can take it:)

It's just that I would really like to know what this is truly doing for our teens?
Are they graduating from college that much sooner?
Or is the college finding a way to still keep them there...and your money...even though they had all of these college courses, because you know there is always more they could learn?
I do think it's great how some can get ahead, don't get me wrong.
But do we have to OVERDO everything?

Last I heard, before this whole push to do more and faster, we were still graduating from college and getting a degree...if that is the path that was RIGHT for us.

Gosh...the poor kid who is not trying to get into a "top tier" school...who wants a solid education AND the time to pursue other interests that may or may not be in their future.

I have one of each...and each deserves the same respect.
However other kids...and even worse...adults...tend to look down their nose if you are not cramming as many AP courses as possible in your schedule. (yes, this is one reason for this blog post.  the other reason...because book smart is NOT common sense
smart...never has been and never will be:)

Well, I agree with one part...there is MORE they could learn.
So how about there being a mandatory LIFE SKILLS course in high school...
basic stuff they will need to know...
and for whatever reason still haven't mastered.
I know some schools have this but the majority do not.
I'm not talking about career planning class. Though if they are really clueless what to take in college they can check this site for some ideas. 

Because I would be willing to bet what trips up most kids going off to college isn't that the class is suddenly too hard...after all, they have taken college classes, right?

No, I think it's because they failed to learn just how important certain things are in real life...
like knowing how to manage bank accounts/debit cards,
when they are sick enough to go to the medical clinic,
when that noise in the car needs to be checked,
proper correspondence skills (Hello...thank you notes???)
How to "edit" the way they use social networking...and to know it is not always their friends lurking there but school officials, teachers, prospective employers...and downright creepy people.
But like it or not (and I fall in to the NOT category here...sorry;)  Sites like FB and MY SPACE are here and a huge part of their lives...and learning about the ways they can be used to their advantage or disadvantage would be great.
(By the way, are they truly thinking about the fact that their ENTIRE lives are basically documented in photos from cell phones? It may have been innocent, but it doesn't always LOOK that way.)

Making money on their own, using their own skills or talents...
my daughter has a small shop on etsy and has had to learn to communicate effectively with a potential buyer, when to say yes and when to say no, selling, saving, marketing, providing a quality product...basic entrepreneurship. 

How about the proper way to dress for different occasions, such as interviews?
What to say...and NOT to say?

And how about personal appearance...
they may be "expressing" themselves but adults...professors, employers and boyfriend/girlfriend's parents CAN...and most likely WILL...judge on first impressions.

Maybe one of the most important...TIME MANAGEMENT...
something I NEVER learned:)

So much to think about.
Maybe instead of making learning so competitve as it clearly is today,
we can teach some very valuable life lessons.
Before you say that is the job of parents, I would like to argue that with the workload these kids have from schools trying to serve their "best interests",  who has time?

In case YOU do, here is the book we are using at our little schoolhouse...
"COOL STUFF" They Should Teach in School.

 Definitely very cool, appealing to teenagers and FULL of real world tips!
(This book comes highly recommended from people such as Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup series as well asand is actually used in some life skills courses)
Just in case your school doesn't have a life skills course and you're worried there are too many things you didn't get around to covering (this is me) is some of what you can expect from the book...
  • Control your attitude so you can control your life
  • Successfully manage your money (saving, banking, Wall Street, credit cards, etc.)
  • Get the job you desire
  • Communicate effectively
  • Set goals and develop a sense of purpose and direction
  • Build self-esteem and conquer peer pressure
  • Master time management
  • Strengthen your people-skills
  • Increase focus and discipline
  • Embrace feedback to excel faster
  • Take responsibility and create empowering habits
  • Use curiosity to boost academic performance
  • And countless other practical lessons about character
 Okay...the REAL reason I like this book and the whole idea behind teaching life skills as an actual I could've used it myself:)  

Next up, a happy post.
I promise!


  1. I couldn't agree with you more Suzanne! This is a terrible epidemic that is rising...the schools are almost demanding this of every student and yet some are still graduating without the ability to read? Yeah, something is amiss here, terribly.

    Looks like a great book and I think you're right, the #1 motivating factor for teaching our kids should be our own life lessons. There will always be those they can only learn from experience and 'hard knocks' but an awareness is also necessary!

    Great post!

  2. I like the idea of the life skills path too!

    As near as I can tell, the push for kids to take AP classes,etc. really just keeps them competitive in terms of getting into desirable schools and receiving scholarships. It has done nothing in terms of cutting the length of schooling down for my kids. Colleges know how to stretch the curriculum to get a full 4 year stay plus!

  3. Well said Sis, this is the stuff that will take them far....and just when exactly have I had to use diagramming sentences?:) I have to confess I did love that in English Class:)

    Great blog as always:)


  4. Hi Suzanne! This is such a wonderful post! Great advice. My kids are grown and sometimes I wish I could go back and do it all again. Have a great week! Twyla

  5. there is truth in all you said my friend
    fantastic idea for a class
    honestly i wish i could take one this age!!
    well done my friend :)
    & ps...i love that song xo

  6. We have to remember that we were put on this earth to KNOW, SERVE AND LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR HEARTS. Everything else is just "gravy" and can be a distraction from our true purpose. If we are not doing everything for HIS GLORY, we need to re-think our purpose. Example in sports. I think these can be a ploy of the evil one in breaking up families. If we died tomorrow what would we want to be doing? Having a family meal or logging miles in our car 5 nights a week? Just some thoughts as a mother of six trying to live out my vocation.
    Love and prayers!

  7. Great, great post. I need to email this to some of my relatives! :)


So, what do ya think? Do tell...I'd love to hear it:) Be Happy...

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