5 Crucial Subjects Schools Don’t Cover That You Should At Home

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If you take the time to sit back and reflect on all of the knowledge and experience you’ve gained throughout your life, you’ll inevitably come to the conclusion that only a very small fraction of practical knowledge was actually learned in school.

Looking back, I used to think school was the be all and end all of education. Growing up, I took my classes very seriously and was encouraged(euphemism for forced) to get straight As. I was the epitome of a model student and studied hard to ace my way though high school and college.

But looking at my life today, what knowledge from school do I actually use on a day to day basis? Maybe 5%? Why are so many important and crucial subjects overlooked in school? Why do schools do so little to prepare us for the real world?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to these questions. What I do know though, is that I’m going make sure that I teach my daughter every thing that I know to help her get ahead.

Hopefully, I can fill in the numerous gaps in the existing system so that she’s better prepared to deal with the people and obstacles that she will face. So what am I going to teach her?

Personal Finance

The first thing I’m going to ingrain into her head is the value of money (I would have said the dollar here but we all know it’s not worth very much right now). It’s absolutely astounding how many people I know that are just scraping by and living paycheck to paycheck.

It’s understandable if you don’t make that much money, but some of these people make over six figures and don’t even save a dime. I have one friend who makes 90k a year, is living paycheck to paycheck and has a 30k credit card debt. How the hell did she get herself into that situation?

I believe that these consumption habits start at an early age. If we simply buy our children toys and gifts without letting them know what it takes to earn the money to pay for them, they will inevitably assume that money grows on trees.

I’m going to teach my child how to save money and to only spend it on items that she absolutely needs.

Hopefully, I’ll have the willpower to say no even when she flashes her patented dimply smile at me. Though I have a high confidence that I can resist her charms, unfortunately her grandparents have this tendency to spoil her rotten.

If any parents reading this have any opinions on how to deal with grandparents, please lend me your suggestions.

Investing

When I think back about all of the money I could have made had I known about investing earlier, I’d easily be a millionaire today. The S&P has returned an average of 12% a year since I was born. Ever since I was in elementary school, I probably used to get around 1000 dollars a year in red envelopes and other cash gifts.

In high school, I also did a bunch of odd jobs during the summer for probably around 6k a year. Let’s assume conservatively that in addition to my parents help, I could have saved and invested an average of $2000 a year from 1975 – 1997 and 15,000 a year from 1997-present (while working a steady job). Assuming a 12% rate of return, I’d have a little over a million dollars today.

It is estimated that tuition at a private college is going to be over 150k per year by the time my daughter reaches 18. If we don’t start investing money now, there’s absolutely no way we’re going to be able to afford it.

Ideally, if I teach my daughter how to invest even small amounts of money at an early age, she should be financially ahead of the game even before she graduates from college.

Entrepreneurship

I don’t want to make the mistake of overemphasizing getting good grades in school. While I definitely think school is important, I can’t help but believe that school turns kids into obedient followers and not creative thinkers.

We are taught that if we follow directions and learn what the teacher tells us to learn that we should get rewarded with an A. What does an A really mean? Does it mean that we’ll be successful in the real world in a particular subject?

Teaching and fostering entrepreneurship is the best way to instill responsibility, independence and creative thinking within your child. Sure your kid will probably fail a couple of times but they’ll eventually persevere and pick up some practical knowledge along the way.

When I was in elementary school, I started and opened a school store selling school supplies. I didn’t make a cent, but I provided a valuable service to the other students and learned a few skills on how to run a micro business.

Teaching entrepreneurship is the best way to apply the theoretical knowledge learned in school to real life applications. When I took econ and marketing classes in college, I didn’t appreciate any of it until I had to apply it to our online store. Learning from a book is nice but learning from experience is infinitely more valuable.

How To Deal With People

It’s pretty amazing to me that they don’t offer a class on how to deal with people effectively. Learning how to deal with people is the most important skill for a person to have. Even if you aren’t well educated or lack intelligence, you can still be very successful just by being able to influence other people.

Simple skills such as being a good listener, being able to build trust, and showing a genuine interest in other people’s lives are traits that should not be overlooked. If you can instill some basic social skills into your child, they will be better prepared to deal with the variety of personalities that they will inevitably encounter.

How To Deal With The Opposite Sex

Last of all, I’m going to teach my little daughter that boys are yucky and that they are all scumbags. Proper daughters are not to date until they are 25 years of age and should listen to whatever their daddy has to say.

On a more serious note, I’m kind of resigned to the fact that my daughter will eventually start dating with or without my consent. The best way to prepare her for dating is to take her on dates myself. Once or twice a year, I plan on taking her out for night on the town and showing her how a gentleman is supposed to treat a lady.

Hopefully, she’ll come to expect this sort of royal treatment whenever she goes out with a boy and will never settle for anything less.

Are there any subjects that you want covered in school that I missed here? Please lend me your thoughts. Also, don’t miss the follow up response to this article here.

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27 thoughts on “5 Crucial Subjects Schools Don’t Cover That You Should At Home”

  1. I definitely agree with teaching kids personal finance. It blows my mind that they send “adults” off into the world without teaching them how to balance a checkbook. That is one of my #1 priorities for my kids when they get a little older.

    Thanks for the post! Great info!

  2. Thanks for the comment Jennifer.

    The one thing I forgot to mention was educating kids about credit cards . I remember being a freshman in college and getting bombarded by credit card offers. Because I wasn’t used to using credit, I got carried away and racked up some quick debt in the first month alone.

  3. Breakable says:

    Parenting.

  4. I really love the date idea. My husband has a similar attitude, that he is determined to treat me well, because he knows that the girls will develop their own expectations of how a man should treat a woman based on what we model. A girl is also a lot less likely to be desperate for male attention (desperate enough to do things whether she wants to or not) if she’s getting attention from the first man in her life.

    As for how to deal with people, I think How to Win Friends and Influence People should be required reading.

    Thanks for an excellent post. I never saw your blog before, but I will be subscribing.

  5. I wrote about this on another blog recently. They should definitely teach kids in high school some basic life skills. Personal Finance is definitely #1, because credit card companies target college kids because they know that most will be living on their own for the first time and spending money out the wazoo for books, supplies, partying, dorm/apartment decor, and so on. Teamwork, relationship skills, what to expect when living on your own, personal health and fitness, how to apply knowledge vs. memorization, etc. So much more important in the real world than a lot of other things.

    ~ Kristi

  6. Hi Kristi,

    I would love to read your blog post about this similar topic. Send me a link when you get a chance.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  7. Hi Christina,

    I’m actually scared to death when my little girl will start dating. Fortunately, I have plenty of time to prep both her and myself:)

  8. Rebecca says:

    Re: grandparents

    Here are two, possibly complementary, approaches:

    1. Have a talk with the grandparents about your approach to gifts and explain the values you hope to impart. They may agree and reinforce your approach.

    2. Sometimes grandparents just can’t help but spoil their grandkids. If you are frustrated with the quantity or frequency of gifts, take the opportunity to teach your child about gifting and receiving. Help the child learn to be very appreciative of each gift and gracious receivers. This is also a valuable life skill not taught in school. Mention the upcoming birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc of the grandparents and talk about what the child could do for their grandparents to express their love and appreciation. Handmade artwork and crafts are always staple, but they could give of their favorite things they think the grandparents would like or save up to buy nice gifts. Even a card on the grandparents’ birthdays. In this way the child would also gain appreciation for the time, thoughtfulness, and generosity of giving grandparents.

  9. Interesting article. Your article stems some capitalistic ideas as well as some Asian cultures.
    What about teaching kids Maths, Science, common sense? Agreed this should be taught in schools but a booster in those areas might be good as well.

    TD

  10. One of the main reasons why we homeschool is the lack of “real life” education that the public schools provide. I had to take 3 semesters of calculus and one of differential equations (as an example) and have never ever used that stuff in my real life!! Plus and minus in the old check book are pretty important, though!

    Our kids all are active in our businesses and I hope to give them to tools necessary to make it on their own if they desire in the future. My son is learning graphic design as a 12 year old and all the kids have vending machines (as part of one of our businesses) that they maintain and profit from. Wish I could have learned much of this when I was their age!!

    As far as the dating stuff, I’ve got 2 daughters and we “signed a contract” when each was 3 that they wouldn’t date until they were 32, so we’ve at least got that covered (NOT!!).

  11. Nattybug says:

    Take your daughter out at least once a month to get that “gentleman” idea to really sink in. Sooner is better than later, too. Good luck!

  12. Johnathan says:

    I think taking her out on the town is a bad idea for four reasons:
    1) it will first of all give her an unrealistic expectation of what men are/should be,
    2) second of all, it will teach her that she is queen, or better than men and therefore can treat them badly and get away with it, leading to unhealthy relationships,
    3) thirdly, for her sake, because relationships are boring if the other person treats you like a god,
    4) fourthly, it causes problems with the head too, the person is treating you nice, so you ‘should’ like/love them, but actually it’s very boring, so your body looks elsewhere, this starts you off thinking that you’re ‘bad’ or somesuch for being unfaithful, when you have such a great person already, when in fact, he’s boring you and you want to move on.

  13. Chi says:

    So you are going to make her leave her toys in the box just in case they appreciate in value and she can go into business selling classic toys? Maybe she will have a friend that will play with them anyways and get the toys joints all loose

  14. One reason schools don’t teach practical life skills is because we are falling behind other developed nations in academics. One reason for this is because we don’t teach based on learning styles. Everyone learns best differently- some are more visual learners, some auditory, some kinesthetic, etc. Another reason is because schools cannot possibly provide lessons for everything. School would be a much longer day. While I do agree personal finance should be a school subject (makes more sense than accounting for businesses and I know I could have used it), other skills need to be taught and reinforced at home.

    It is also important to make sure the kids get a good quality preschool education. This will teach them social skills, independence, interdependence, emotion regulation, in addition to early academic skills such as counting and letters and rhyming. I work as a pre-kindergarten teacher for at-risk students for the local school system. It is the best investment that you can make for a young child. These children leave at the end of the year more confident, more aware of others’ differences and similarities, able to identify emotions and respond more appropriately to them, and they can spell using letter-sound identification, can add very small numbers, and a number of other useful pre-academic skills that help them be successful once they reach kindergarten. Kindergarten used to be about these things, but with the push for academics, they are now more like first grade used to be. Getting children a good, solid early foundation is key. Then, if nothing else, they have that dichotomy for the rest of their lives about how to make good choices for themselves.

  15. I would agree with teaching my kids life skills that are essential. Personal finance is one. At the same time, I hope to encourage them in creativity and like you, educate them about entrepreneurship. My kids have already started taking up a variety of programs that are outside the school curriculum. What is best is that they’ve also started learning how to meditate and the importance of contributing back to society through doing volunteer work.

  16. Becca,

    Gotta disagree big time with the pre-kindergarten education. I’m sure you do great work, but time with mom and dad should be this education, not more time away from home in school. The public schools have already shown in many cases how ineffective they are in today’s world and another year or two (not sure how pre-k works?) is not the answer. It’s moms and dads slowing down enough to make education a priority that are going to make a real difference.

    As far as teaching based on learning styles, I couldn’t agree with you more! All 3 of our kids are extremely different and learn in different ways. I can’t imagine them being put thru an assembly line and forced to learn the same way as everyone else. Home education allows us to teach them all in their own learning style and at their own pace. Though it’s a huge responsibility, we look forward to the continuing challenge and the adult leaders they will become.

  17. Bleu Panda says:

    Two other subjects that are useful in business and life – negotiation and public speaking…..

  18. Polebridge says:

    Freedom and responsibilty. Kids go off to college/university and complete freedom to do what they want, when they want, with whom they want. They decide how to allocate their time and how late to stay out. We started easing up on our three kids in high-school, so that they had that freedom in their senior year, while they were still living at home with us. It was sometimes difficult to give advice without making it sound like orders, to refrain from saying “I told you so,” and to provide unconditional support in that last year. On the other hand, i think we’re now better friends for it, now that we can be friends and not parents. They graduated from college, some with advanced degrees, some with honors and high honors. All three are married to people we like, all three have jobs. Something worked.

  19. B7 says:

    What a great post. I would add that its not all about the Benjamins and the people.

    Other good ones are:

    How to sell. We are always selling something, and if it is not a product or service then we are selling ourselves.

    How be healthy. Even the government is clueless.

    How to use our brain. Harnessing the power of our conscious and unconscious mind.

    How to manage our emotions.

    How to set goals and achieve dreams.

    How to communicate with others.

    How to connect with ourselves. People go through their whole lives “looking for someone” when they are actually looking for themselves…

  20. A few others;

    Basic fitness and nutrition

    Basic self defense

    Basic automobile mainitenance

    And one of the most important ones: a very strong foundation in fundamental mathematics.

    Also goal setting (how to achieve your goals)

  21. Michelle says:

    As far as grandparents are concerned, I asked all of the grandparents to focus on building a few collections for our girls: legos, polly pockets, barbies, ello, and play doh. At almost 18 and 12, they *still* play with all of the stuff. (My older daughter loves to play with the younger one!)

    It proved to be a valuable directive that happened to work wonderfully. Perhaps there are a few things your daughter loves and you could use the same strategy. Best of luck.

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