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Old 06-11-2019, 12:07 PM
dalej42 is offline
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Did you have a life skills class in high school?


As I mentioned in the math thread, https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=877004, I had a once per week life skills class senior year. During senior year social studies, we had a once a week lecture on various topics. For example, we’d have lectures on how to apply to college and how to write a good admissions essay, credit cards in college, how to deal with homesickness, should you take a gap year, how to register to vote, and other such topics. Of course, we also had the mandatory anti drug and anti suicide lectures, but they were done much better than the previous 3 years. It wasn’t as much, ‘Don’t do drugs’ as much as telling us the consequences of a stupid charge of possessing a joint. Thankfully at my college, the dorm looked the other way at people smoking pot outside.

The anti suicide lectures were also pretty good. What happens when you don’t get into the college of your dreams? How are you going to deal with being away from all your high school friends for the first time? How do you deal with getting your first B or C and you’re not the smartest kid in the class any longer? This was particularly relevant to me, I’d been with the same band geek friends since freshman year. My closest friend was community college bound, he was better on a horn, but not a great student and his parents were pressuring him to go into the military. 2 of my other closest friends were one year behind me, one of them became my sophomore year roommate, but he did crack under the pressure of not being one of the smartest kids at college and dropped out after a semester. So, I think those lectures at least started to prepare me for all the changes ahead.
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Last edited by dalej42; 06-11-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:13 PM
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Never heard of it. So, no. All classes we had were five days a week, so far as I remember, too, so the one day a week thing is foreign to me. (Except for extra curricular classes like drivers ed.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-11-2019 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:13 PM
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Hah. Didn't see this when I recommended a life skills class in the linked thread.
The closest I came to one was Home Ec shop which everyone, not just girls, took in my high school. But that was 50 years ago when life was simpler.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:15 PM
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I think we had something called Life Skills, back in middle school. I remember being taught how to fill out a check.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:31 PM
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We did not have a specific life skills class, outside of Home Economics, which included the usual barely-qualifies-as-cooking projects, sewing projects, and you-don't-want-a-baby-and-here's-why coursework. For some reason they taught us about the stock exchange and how purchasing stock and compound interest worked in 4th grade, way before I had any concept of what the heck they were trying to teach me. (It got me really excited to try and buy stocks though because my child brain understood it as free money). And the most useful thing I learned in school was calculating compound interest in terms of paying off credit cards or home mortgages. Also how to write a resume. That was part of our Computer Excel & Word class in 9th grade. That class was not advertised as a life skill class but I learned far more relevant life skills in that than any of my other classes. I'd say it should really come in closer to when you'd actually need those skills though. As a 14 year old I was years away from applying to jobs that needed a resume or getting a credit card.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Never heard of it. So, no. All classes we had were five days a week, so far as I remember, too, so the one day a week thing is foreign to me. (Except for extra curricular classes like drivers ed.)
One day a week, the school substituted life skills during our American government/Economics class. If I remember correctly, we’d have our regular Government/ Economics 4 days a week and then life skills lectures on Wednesdays. It was in the same classroom, the teacher was there to maintain discipline, but he was usually grading papers. Sometimes he’d contribute, obviously registering to vote is pretty tied into an American Government class.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macca26 View Post
We did not have a specific life skills class, outside of Home Economics, which included the usual barely-qualifies-as-cooking projects, sewing projects, and you-don't-want-a-baby-and-here's-why coursework. For some reason they taught us about the stock exchange and how purchasing stock and compound interest worked in 4th grade, way before I had any concept of what the heck they were trying to teach me. (It got me really excited to try and buy stocks though because my child brain understood it as free money). And the most useful thing I learned in school was calculating compound interest in terms of paying off credit cards or home mortgages. Also how to write a resume. That was part of our Computer Excel & Word class in 9th grade. That class was not advertised as a life skill class but I learned far more relevant life skills in that than any of my other classes. I'd say it should really come in closer to when you'd actually need those skills though. As a 14 year old I was years away from applying to jobs that needed a resume or getting a credit card.
I agree 100%. We covered the stock market in senior year economics and the credit card lectures were relevant to a group of people that were either 18 or just about to turn 18. College student credit card debt was a hot topic then. But, it would be completely irrelevant to a 14 year old, their parents aren’t likely to disclose if they’re in debt up to their eyeballs or if they’re using a rewards card and paying off the balance. And, a 14 year old won’t need a resume to get their first McDonald’s job.
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:09 PM
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Nope. The school had a home ec class, though. (I think.) I seem to recall some class (possibly the same one) doing the "pretend an egg is a child" cliche, too. Not a class I took, though.
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:57 PM
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In the mid 70’s we had a class for senior class boys called Bachelor Survival that years later was renamed basic survival and open to any senior.

How to balance a check book, write a resume, interview for a job, a cooking unit, washing clothes, sewing on a button, shopping and price comparison, all sorts of stuff a young guy should know when he moves out of mommy and daddies basement. There was even a week of basic self defense maneuvers and a day where they taught how to unload a loaded firearm and make it safe though we didn’t shoot at all. Many of us were on the school trap league anyway. They didn’t teach how to win an argument with a woman or how to talk her into having sex which would have been a great skill for a young man to have.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:42 PM
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Nope nothing. We didn't have any "non-book" classes except band and PE. Actually, my senior year they added "music appreciation" because the band director wanted to teach that.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:50 PM
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My school (a small, all-boys Catholic high school) had nothing even remotely like that sort of class.

Being an all-boy school (in the late 1970 / early 1980s), there wasn't a "home economics" class, or the equivalent, either.

Beyond the traditional subjects (English, math, science, PE, foreign language, and, of course, religion, as a Catholic school), plus optional band and art classes, and typing, the only non-traditional classes we had were art appreciation and music appreciation (everyone had to take one or the other).

Last edited by kenobi 65; 06-11-2019 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:58 PM
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Grew up in rural Oklahoma, graduated high school in 1980.
During my Freshman year (I think) they split our class in half to alternate taking the following two classes: One semester Oklahoma History, One semester "Good Manners." The Good Manners class taught life skills like how to approach someone, how to carry yourself in public, etc. I really liked it.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:05 PM
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Nothing like you describe. Instead, we had some sort of project that entailed compiling a notebook of how our life was going to look as an adult, which was accomplished by cutting pictures out of catalogs and magazines with decorating ideas.

Absolute shite, it was.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:05 PM
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I learned all my life skills at home. By the time I hit high school, I could cook, sew, do laundry, iron, and clean pretty much anything. I'd also taught myself to repair bicycles. I had a savings account since I was pretty young, and while I didn't get a checking account till I left home, I knew how they worked. I also had a rudimentary understanding of interest from earning it on my savings account.

The rest, I picked up as I went along.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:10 PM
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Life Skills is, in my experience, restricted to the classes for those with disabilities to help them learn how to cope with life. My mom works in the Life Skills department at her school.

We did have some classes like the OP describes, though. They were a short part of junior high. It was an alternating system. We had four different subjects in the four different quarters in seventh grade, and two in eighth grade. Unfortunately, I don't remember much about them, other than cooking being one of the quarters.

By high school, it was all about getting in academic requirements to graduate, while choosing the electives you preferred. There was no time for that sort of class.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:41 PM
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We had a sort of pathetic excuse for one, but it was random, bitty and not very practical (UK).

I mostly remember the talk on debt, which, for some reason, was given by the head- the only class I ever remember her teaching; it mostly consisted of her trying to convince us that any debt other that a mortgage or student loan was shameful, so should be avoided. Nothing sensible like trying to calculate interest and fees or building credit ratings, just a statement that we shouldn't get in debt.

The other hilarious one was the 'Drugs're bad' talk, where they had some guy come in and give a 'down with the kids' talk; problem was, it was a rather posh girls' school, we weren't down with the kids. Everyone just sat there in stunned awkward silence, and one classmate made a formal complaint that he said a bad word. In retrospect, they really should have got some former stockbroker who'd taken too much cocaine, not a tattooed former heroin addict.

We did so a bit of sewing and some cookery, but they tried to make it more science of cooking rather than practical how-to, so working out calorie content and nutrition rather than making stuff that tasted good.
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