Staff Editorial: Schools should include life skills in their curriculum

As the end of the school year approaches, seniors are faced with the reality that they will soon be left to fend for themselves in the ‘real world.’ Seniors, the veterans of nearly 12 or more years of schooling, are most likely familiar with the concepts of the Pythagorean Theorem or the powerhouse of the cell that is the mitochondria. However, most seniors are not knowledgeable on life skills: like how to cook, file taxes, interview for jobs, etc. This creates a dilemma for new high school graduates because they do not know how to complete tasks which are necessary to live as independent adults. Many schools offer classes that teach life skills, but they are often seen as ‘blow off’ classes and many students don’t have the time in their schedule to take them. Therefore, schools should incorporate life skills in their curriculum, so that students are prepared for their lives in college and as adults.

A more simple approach to include life skills into a student’s education is to make a life skills course a requirement high schoolers complete in order to graduate. The most efficient way to accomplish this would be to combine multiple life skills subjects, like home economics and finance, into a crash course, so students do not have an excessive amount of requirements to fulfill, but still can be exposed to multiple life skills. This would probably be the easiest solution, but it may become yet another class students are forced to participate in.

Another possibility would be to incorporate life skills into core classes. Teachers would have to alter their lesson plans, but their classes would not totally revolve around teaching a specific life skill. For instance, an algebra teacher could teach how to find x in a problem about balancing a checkbook. This would allow teachers to still teach their subject to meet educational requirements while also showing students how their subject can be used in the real world. This solution also prevents students from losing time in the schedule, so they still have the opportunity to learn about the core subjects, like English or physics, that could influence their career choice.

If an entire school district wanted to address the issue of teaching life skills, it could be introduced at an earlier age so students have mastered that skill possibly before they even enter high school. Certain abilities, such as bilinguality or using technology, have a greater impact when they are introduced to students as children who are more adept to learning the skill. For example, to become bilingual, elementary students would learn a second language, and as they enter higher grade levels, the material becomes gradually more difficult until they were proficient in their second language. Putting more emphasis on teaching life skills throughout a student’s education would help the student become more confident in remembering how to complete that skill when they are living on their own.
It is unrealistic to believe that every student can have an education that is perfectly tailored to them. All students have different goals, so they all most likely have different views on how helpful certain classes will be for their everyday adult life. Schools should still be focused on educating students in the core classes, but should also consider how their curriculum helps students when they are not in a classroom.