I have been an educator and scholar for many years now, so to those with children or those who take care of them, take the time to teach them the things schools do not or cannot anymore; teachers are limited by time and policies. Things like:
1. Dinosaurs – Don’t know about you, but I loved dinosaurs as a kid and my 2nd grade teacher spent a long time teaching us about them. They don’t get into it in schools, especially since for some reason evolution and geological time have become more controversial instead of less so.
2. Taking Field Trips in Nature – Field trips are now limited because they need to have months set aside for testing and must train students to pass. So parents should take them on tours at nature preserves, zoos, museums, even the nearby lake and talk about the wildlife and environment, and how we impact them. Make sure to fuel the infinite wonder kids have about nature through first-hand experience.
3. Cursive and Handwriting – Students are no longer taught cursive and I can attest to the poor print handwriting, even in high school.
4. Bias – Students are only able to learn the “textbook” versions of history and it is frowned upon or punishable for teachers to teach the raw truth. Many parents don’t want their kids (even in high school) to know it as it is either, leaving the kids ignorant and contributing to the problems we have with each other in society. They also cannot recognize bias nor take the time to research things and develop an informed opinion, instead of jumping onto the bandwagon that upholds their initial position.
5. World Cultures and Non-Western Art – World History in high school often means Egypt, Greece, and the rest of Europe. Asian, African, and South American cultures are rarely touched on and if they are, in a limited capacity. My high school World History teacher said European history was more important, which is why he didn’t teach about anywhere else. Your kids deserve and should know about the whole world and their many ways of life.
6. Typewriting – Yeah I know, kids are on computers all day now they should just learn this. Wrong, they are on their phones all day and the kids I see in school are terrible typers. It’s not really a class in many schools anymore. The reason I learned to type well were the days of instant messaging and you had to type fast to keep up with the conversation.
7. Finance – Banking, money, budgeting, investing, credit, loans, and all the other stuff that goes along with practically managing their money.
8. Introductions, Art of Conversation, Politeness – I know this might seem condescending, all parents teach their kids these things, right? Well, many kids seem to have a great lack of respect and don’t know how to speak to people from all walks of life, especially their elders. All kids should know how to get about in adult life, from speaking to a colleague, the bank teller, waiters, and so on, with a respectful tone and with clear, concise, reasonable requests.
9. Food and Where it Comes From – Kids today don’t know where those chicken nuggets or that steak comes from, what wheat and potatoes look like growing. They need to learn this so they can have respect for the sources. Take them apple or strawberry picking. Visit a farm to see the animals and, yes, how they slaughter and process them (depending on your comfort level and their maturity). If handled well, most kids show a greater care for the animals we eat and question when they are not shown the care they deserve. To that end, teach them about nutrition and having a balanced diet, even if they enjoy some of things that aren’t so healthy (pizza, I mean c’mon, one of the greatest combinations of ingredients ever).
10. Ingenuity – Encouraging children to figure out practical problems through creative means is an important life skill. It’s something all my art students seem to have a problem with, using what you are given (or have to find) to accomplish a certain goal. As a kid I used to take apart electronics and try to make new things, played with science kits, Lego Technics, and found all sorts of ways to make unique school/art projects without Youtube tutorials and Pinterest. I would have loved some of the classes you can take kids to today that do all this stuff with robots and programming and more.