Monday, April 15, 2013

15 Things I Wish I learned in School

Recently I have found myself questioning some things my daughter is learning in preschool. Then I found myself thinking back on my own schooling. What I learned in school was purely academic for the most part, and I learned very little at home... although I was encouraged to read a lot and participate in a million extra curricular activities. So here is the list I came up with of what I wish I learned while growing up:

  1. How to sew
  2. How to create a budget friendly list to go grocery shopping
  3. How to find a whole bunch of healthy recipes
  4. How to cook those recipes
  5. How to cook without a recipe
  6. How to bake
  7. How to plan a party
  8. How to plan for guests visiting
  9. How to choose which plants/flowers//trees/vegetables grow the best in my area
  10. How to not kill plants (aka garden)
  11. How to clean a bathroom
  12. How to actually clean anything for that matter
  13. How to organize clutter
  14. How to put together a household budget
  15. How to create a closet full of clothes/accessories that mostly coordinate and don't require too much attention 
I certainly learned to think critically. I can read and write. These are all good things...don't get me wrong. 

But now that I am trying to get a household to run and thrive, I find myself inadequate in so many skills. I google "how to" do about a billion simple tasks a day; it's embarrassing. 

I think about my grandmother. She didn't have google. She knew how to do these things. She either learned them at school in home economics or they were passed down from her mother. I find it hard to believe that I went my whole life up until a few years ago without these skills.

 I am slowly learning. Most days it feels like I am way behind where I should be (aka my house is a mess). Now I have to think about what I need to do to make sure my children don't find themselves in this same dilemma.

What do you wish you learned in school or at home? How are you ensuring your children grow up with adequate skills for adulthood?


  1. Mama Leigh...This is a wonderful post...and I could not agree more. Steve and I talk about this very often now as our children are getting older, and we are seeing this exact thing...young people are encouraged to participate in soo many extra activities now that they have no time left to learn these necessary life skills. They also have no time for securing part time jobs that would give them experience in a work setting.

    When I was in high school, we were required to take several semesters of Home Economics, where we learned to bake, cook, sew, and balance a checkbook. Now it seems that the schools are so concerned with college credits and GPAs that there is no time for young people to learn skills they will need to become successfully independent adults.

    Steve is a business owner, and he tells me often that some young people do not even know how to complete a job application! I don't know the answer. I do know that our family does not subscribe to this extra curricular excess and college craziness in high school. We focus on our family and teaching our children things like you listed...things that will help them be independent as well as prepared for a job, or a higher leaning environment. And I will tell you we are in the definite minority here.

    Good for you for realizing how very important these life skills are for your little ones! Thanks for a very insightful post!

  2. I totally agree!! I can't do a lot of the things you mentioned. I'm pretty good at cooking and I've recently learned how to coupon and grocery shop (which I'm really glad about). But I can't sew and I wish I could. And I SUCK at budgeting. I think a lot of the problems with the things on this list is our parents can't do them. A lot of the things on this list. My mom can't do. My mom sucks at money management. My mom can't sew. My mom HATES to iron. My grandma LOVED to sew and LOVED to iron. So once a week she would come over to our house and do all that for us. I can remember when I got my first job out of college getting in trouble because my clothes weren't ironed (no joke). I didn't know anything about ironing. My mom didn't iron. I had to buy an iron and figure out how to iron my clothes.

    It seems like somewhere along the line people stopped teaching "life skills" and most ppl are learning them as they go.....not sure who is to blame though...

  3. Great Post, I am struggling with teaching my girls how to do things from your list. Their ages are 1-8 and I find tha it is eaier to do things myself then to take the time to show and wait for them to do it. I have gone through starts and stops in having them do laundry, vaccuming, sweeping, and other things. Your post hit home thanks.

  4. New to the blog- finding great stuff here :) I have a lot of the same stuff on my list. I actually had a group of 4-5 friends where we were planning to do an adult "home ec" series- finding ppl to lead workshops on stuff we wanted to learn, and sharing the cost on big ticket items at first. Then I moved :(

    But I have learned that the local county extension office is a GREAT way to learn about what grows well in your area- and so is a native plant group or the newspaper garden columnist (there may be some crossover btwn the 3!).