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Paige Finley: Some lessons are better taught at home than school

June 29, 2017

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In the last few months, I’ve seen a lot of articles and videos on social media relating to what schools should teach their students. The majority of the videos promote a new curriculum including financial education and general life skills for high school students. Many people would say that this isn’t a bad idea, but let’s look at the issue a little bit deeper.

First thing’s first: Let me just say that children without a parental presence in their lives are by no means in an ideal situation, and I completely understand their want/need for these types of curricula in schools. However, for kids with parents who are involved in their lives, it is a much different situation.

For example, personal finance classes in schools are very helpful; I have taken one myself and it definitely gave me new information, but you can’t expect students to remember information that you crammed into their heads over the course of two months.

This brings me to my point: Is it the job of the parents to teach their children these skills? Or the school?

Some say it is the job of the parents and that the schools shouldn’t waste their already-limited time with the students on teaching these skills. Others say that it’s a safety hazard for the school to teach things such as cooking and sewing.

Let me just give you a little bit of background on my own story. I am not speaking about these skills from experience, as I was very lucky to be taught cooking, sewing, and personal finance in junior high and high school. I am also very fortunate to have had parents who integrated teaching me these skills into their daily lives.

I believe that’s how it should be for every child with a parental presence; it shouldn’t have to be time set aside to teach a skill, and it most definitely doesn’t have to be a specific list of things. Let your child ask you questions, and answer them fully and completely to make sure they get something out of it.

Additionally, my family adopted my younger brother when he was 7 years old and he is now 11. I know how bad the foster care system can get for some kids who don’t have that parental presence in their lives. For this reason, I completely understand the reasoning behind some people wanting schools to teach these skills.

But, like I said earlier, for children who have a strong parental presence in their lives, these skills should be taught by the parents. Not forcibly, and most definitely not like a “checklist,” but as an integral part of the daily lives of the parents and children.

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