Proposed Public School Class: Independent Living

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Independent living.  It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

My kid has just recently entered public school and this is my (initial) way of getting involved.  Offering ideas.

‘Independent living’ would basically teach all of our kids everything they need to know in order to survive in today’s world.

Yes, we’re supposed to impart that with basic classes like math, reading and even music, but the vision on this is a little more complicated.

Independent living would encapsulate all of those little things that you do every day and teach you how to approach them and control them.

When the format existed, I’d throw in stuff like the following:

  • Home economics
  • Woodworking/shop
  • Electronics
  • Social sciences / political sciences

I’d add some other basic course elements like the following:

  • Early years:  tying your shoes so you don’t have to get those shitty velcro things all the time, learning your phone number, knowing who to call in an emergency, media studies, ‘kids in my shoes’ (kids would be taught about what kids around the world their age are doing, especially making shitty velcro shoes) and being made aware that everything we do has an impact on someone else (there is no such thing as two willing economic participants in this world’s corporatocracy)
  • Mid years:  health and your body (yes, you prudes, that includes information about sexual awareness and important rules concerning etiqutte when it comes to other pervs trying to take advantage of you), volunteer work, supporting your community, universality of religion & myth & customs
  • Later years:  mock UN, local municipal planning and voting issues, environment and economics, how to start a charity (or raise money without selling junk food on gullible parents), getting an apartment, responsibilities with driving, financial planning & budgeting, travel issues, getting a passport, starting a business, etc

All too often, we make this assumption that it’s OK to leave our kids with a ‘sink or swim’ attitude as they go through and exit public school, but we need to ask ourselves why.

I know a lot of teachers actually cover a lot of this stuff if they’re ambitious and haven’t given in to the demands to generate robots year after year that are good at one thing:  doing monotonous tasks over and over again.  But why aren’t we doing our best to make sure that there’s a formal structure to learning about the world around us?

Maybe I’m just being naive, but I’d love to see this kind of evolution in our public school system so that we can break the cycle of graduating kids who know less than they should about the world around them.

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