Life Skills 101 at Sitnam High School

Some of these ideas… man.

Balancing a checkbook? I don’t even HAVE a checkbook.

Changing oil? Sure, I know how to do that; I pay a grease monkey $40 and it’s done.

Hanging drywall, well, that’s useful, but why not name 100 other home repair/renovation skills? How about changing a sink? Replacing a toilet seal? Installing a light fixture?

Computer security? That’ll be useful for all of three years.

Guys, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. All the blather about how you want to teach critical thinking isn’t going to make it happen. Effort cannot be taught.

Believe it or not, we covered this in ordinary, non-Sitnam high school.

I did, and I was neither exceptionally wealthy nor privileged.

*Balancing a checkbook
*Getting a loan / understanding different mortgages
Credit Card interest rates
Insurance - include renter’s vs tenant’s insurance, replacement value vs actual value
Buying a car, car insurance
Consumer law
Doing your taxes
Changing a car tire
The importance of getting the oil changed in your car
Patching holes
Power tools
Compare and contrast policies of two candidates in an election
All these are important. I had a personal finance class in high school which covered all the financial
stuff above. It was extremely valuable. I had another class called business law, which covered basic personal and business law: contracts,torts, lawsuits, and criminal law
, *which was also extremely beneficial.
Comparing candidates is good, but how are you going to fit all that in? You have too much on the plate. I think it’s very important, though.

Specific programs, yes. General principles, like “don’t run a program unless you know what it’s supposed to do”, or “don’t share passwords”, those would last longer. And a lot of people don’t know basic info like how bad it is to share passwords.

But some useful techniques for evaluating an argument or a story can. Tools for a “baloney detection kit”, as Carl Sagan once called them. Of course, nothing is going to force someone to think critically if they really don’t want to. But the same is true of, say, algebra- it’s no good to someone who won’t use it. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taught.