School curriculums have slowly evolved from generation to generation to exclude life-skill education in place of more and more advanced academic studies. It’s left a tremendous gap in how Gen Z and Y handle life in contrast to their more life-savvy Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts.
Now, many areas of the nation are seeing “adulting classes” pop up, which makes us wonder if education is really so advanced when graduates can’t sew a simple button on their pants.
How Practical Is Today’s Education?
Most millennials can tell you all about Pythagoras’ Theorum and compose a Hamlet essay, but can’t tell you how to unclog a toilet. A record number from this generation hold high school diplomas, college degrees, and pass AP tests. Yet, when it comes to life skills, the majority of millennials admit they’re not so skilled.
A college professor of mathematics recently had to diversify the scope of her course to include basic fundamentals because her students were clueless that buying a property resulted in paying taxes on it. It’s a recurring theme for educators of all levels.
These educators aren’t the only ones noticing how inept this generation is at life basics. Many parents are complaining that the things their kids are taught in school aren’t practical. Indeed, the ability to solve a complex scientific or mathematical problem may be impressive at a NASA job interview, but it really isn’t so helpful for a college kid trying to figure out how to wash their own clothes or cook their own meals.
Prep schools aren’t teaching kids such skills today. Students aren’t introduced to the essentials of household management and the bare basic skills to get through everyday life, much less keep it in order. Few schools even offer such elective classes, and most certainly no longer make them compulsory for graduation.
Meanwhile, previous generations at least had the option to take classes in sewing, gardening, laundry, nutrition, allied health, auto shop, woodworking, economics, and asset management. It’s no wonder that a growing number of millennials have $0 in savings, according to CNBC, and are the largest consumers of pre-made foods, and generally have no idea how to do basic car tasks like changing a flat or the oil.
In addition to home and asset management skills, this generation is lacking in the basic know-how to interact with humans and communities on a basic, face-to-face level. They know how to download music, but, by the vast majority of communication being technological, they have no idea how to even carry a conversation for an interview.
Should The Curriculum Be Reconstructed?
Classes such as home economics deal with such essential life skills, teaching pupils how to cook, clean, budget, manage their time, prepare for job interviews, and even communicate with others. In essence, it preps them to adult independently. Weaknesses and strengths are identified early so that they can be resolved and strengthened before real-life stakes, such as money, work opportunities, and relationships, are on the line.
The result is more informed, self-reliant, and confident young adults that are prepared for the financial, employment, health, and relationship decisions that have lasting effects throughout their lives. Academics are clearly important, but the educational system is doing a clear injustice to this generation by not providing the life-skill classes necessary to thrive in everyday life.
What do you think? Should life skill classes be inclusive in education? Do you see a marked generational difference in how various generations traverse life? Tell us your thoughts and opinions, and don’t forget to pass this article along to others as food for thought.