Graduates Speak Up: Courses That Should Be Taught In High School, But Aren't

High School Classes Sometimes Miss the Real-World Lessons Students Need. But We Don't.

By the time high school is over, students will (or should) know the square root of a million, the most famous Aztec leader, and the number of protons carbon has (10,000, Montezuma II, 6).

But there comes a time in every adult's life when they’ll scratch their head in amazement at what high school didn’t teach them. Maybe it'll happen when filing their taxes, or trying to buy their first house, or even when trying to develop a nutritious diet.

If the “I wish high school would have taught me” tweets on Twitter are any indication, it’s becoming abundantly clear that today’s high school curriculum might need a little updating.

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As Kendall Cochran tweets alludes, general tax knowledge should be just as important as linear equations. 
A new survey by NerdWallet and Harris Poll finds that Americans are failing to make the grade when it comes to basic tax knowledge. What this means is that millions aren't filing documents on time, unesssary fees are building up, and  smaller refunds are being divvied out. As the saying goes, "Only two things in life are for sure: death and taxes." Notice how dot-plotting and linear equations don't make the cut. 

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High school graduates are also complaining about their lack of basic budgeting and personal finance skills. While it may seem like a simple and even self-explanatory task to other generations, the fact that, according to CNBC, about half of all millenials have less than $1,000 in savings, speaks volumes. 

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Aside from taxes and personal finance, today's teens are craving basic life skill lessons. Jessica Edenfield tweeted out that while she hasn't used trigonometry since 2009, there are some other things she would have liked to learn. Some can argue that Horticulture and Home-Economics cover gardening, sewing and cooking, but these classes aren't usually mandatory or open to every student.

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Perhaps even more important, missing from high school curriculums are lessons on emotion, self-respect and how to handle other humans. Robert Sylvester wrote in How Emotions Affect Learning: "We know emotion is important in education—it drives attention, which in turn drives learning and memory.” The benefits of teaching interpersonal relationships and soft skills to high school students could do wonders for future graduates.

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Many teens also seem to be demanding more coverage of majors and potential career fields. With the exception of Career Day, it seems students aren't alerted to the possibilities that await them. Sure, students can Google their path in life, but showcasing careers that stem from their love of science or penchant for writing early could reward them later in life. 


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Most of these life-skill subjects can actually be easily infused into current high school core subjects. Project-based learning courses that enlighten students on with real-life issues would have an immediate and dramatic impact on students' futures. It's clear that today’s teens won't realize they lack this knowledge until it’s too late, so it's up to the current school system to adapt or offer high school enhancement classes to better prepare students for the real world.

Knovva Academy offers high school enhancement classes that teach these real world lessons using new technology and project-based learning. Our study abroad programs and after school classes are teaching the need-to-know information that high school students aren't getting from the current education system.

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