The lessons your kids aren't learning in school but should

The lessons your kids aren't learning in school but should
From Global News - September 5, 2017

When was the last time you used trigonometry in life? Did anything ever come out of learning Hot Cross Buns on that annoying instrument they call a recorder? How about climbing that rope in gym class?

Seriously, though, were these lessons absolutely necessary to learn in school, or were they all just a waste of time? Its pretty safe to say that not many peopleif any at allhave been faced with a life-or-death situation that required them to recite Romeo and Juliet by memory on the spot.

READ MORE: How to teach your kids emotional intelligence and life skills

As society continues to evolve and advance, older school curricula become outdated. By updating these curricula to better reflect the modern needs of society, it will only benefit current and future generationsand parenting expert Ann Douglas has a few suggestions on how to tweak it.

While the current general curriculum does do a good job at teaching certain life skills children need, it does need some work in how to teach children to apply them, Douglas says.

I think it does a pretty good job and Im really reassured by the recent emphasis [in curricula] on social-emotional learning, she says. I think that is going to be key because its our humanness that allows us to solve problems, to innovate and to make progress as human beings.

However, Douglas believes kids are missing out on opportunities to learn real-world applications of what theyre being taught in the classroom.

That really helps to keep teenagers in particular engaged because if you have a teenager looking at what theyre expected to do for assignments and none of it seems relative or relevant to their life now or in the future, thats where you get kids who are really turned off from education and not inspired to want to do the work of learning, she says.

So what exactly are those skills that schools overlook that kids today are missing out on that could help them in their future?

Douglas has a few ideas.

1. Coding and the art of learning

Put simply, this would be a course that teaches students how to learn.

While teaching children to computer code today is important, Douglas argues this type of computer language will most likely become obsolete in the future. Thats why teachers also need to think further ahead into the future and offer a more adaptable skill.

We know the world is changing at a rapid rate, Douglas says. So we dont know 100 per cent what it is kids are going to have to know in five, 10 or 20 years down the roadSo instead we want to teach them how to learnso whatever skill it is theyll have to know in years to come, theyll have a method for acquiring new information and remaining up to date on new skills so theyll never have to worry about being completely out of touch and obsolete.

2. How to fix anything

This course, Douglas explains, would be how to teach kids how to repair anything and everything that appears in our lives.

It could be clothing repair, how to fix a light fixture or how to troubleshoot a plumbing emergency and all of those kinds of things, she says. The rationale here is twofold: first there are the environmental benefits. You dont always have to throw away a sweater with a broken zipper, or that toaster that only needs a simple repairAnd second, theres also the self-sufficiency piece where, if something goes wrong in the middle of the night, you have a hope of fixing this problem on your own.

3. How to be human

Working on your employment potential is essential. But working your personal liferather than just your professional lifeis just as important, Douglas says. So she suggests a course in developing ones self.

This course would include very practical, applied, social-emotion learning, Douglas explains. So it would be how to thrive as a human being, how to nurture and sustain relationships, how to make your emotions work foras opposed to againstyou, and how to hit the pause button when youre tempted to react impulsively.

This will help kids find that balance they need in life, as well as grow as compassionate, understanding and proactive people in life.

4. Body fuel

In keeping with the theme of taking care of ones self, Douglas thinks kids should also be taught how to take care of their health through nutrition. This course would go beyond the typical home economics teachings, a dive a bit deeper and focus more on health rather than just cooking.

This would be about eating well, as well as how to prepare nutritious and delicious meals and budget for food, Douglas says. It would be a practical course but also talk about the importance of nutrition in fueling the bodythe role of proteins versus carbohydrates versus fats. It would also teach you how to eat more intuitively, to notice how you feel when you eat particular types of foods and to respond to your bodys sensations of hunger and fullness.

5. Money smart

6. Critical thinking and problem solving

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