It’s hard to believe the girls have been back to school for nearly a month. They finally (finally!) go to the same school. First day of school pictures were taken, and I’m officially down to one morning drop off.
But with the kids in school also means supporting the teachers with their curriculum, re-learning the things that even I forgot, and preparing myself for the endless barrage of questions that the kids are bound to ask.
It often makes me think back to when I was in school; all the struggles and the achievements. I was one of those kids that stressed over everything. As an elementary school student, timed math tests gave me anxiety, but I loved algebra and calculus by high school graduation. In high school, I would fall asleep studying and then wake up in a panic, thinking I was late for school. It wasn’t until after I had showered and dressed in my uniform that I realized it was usually 12:30 or 1 o’clock in the morning.
But what was I so stressed about? While some people retain most of what they learned in school, I’ve forgotten more than I can remember. But then again, how important is it really to know the definition of an addend or to memorize the periodic table of elements?
Now that I’m an adult, I can see how education builds upon itself. You need to learn the basic skills in elementary school to understand the concepts taught in high school and college. But there are a few things that I learned throughout those 16 years of schooling that come in handy almost every day. And they’re not always the most obvious.
The 7 Most Useful Things I Learned in School
Sewing, Cooking, and Doing Laundry
Middle school home economics classes were some of my favorites. I still have vivid memories of these classes, from laundry sorting races, to creating my own clothes at the sewing machine. Homemaking skills just felt comfortable, and I never lost my love for cooking.
Basic Woodworking and Wiring
There’s nothing like creating things with your own two hands. I loved making useful items in shop class. I still smile to think that my brother took his homemade lamp to college with him, and our family we used my napkin holder for years. I may not have power tools anymore, but creating things for my home still makes me happy.
Support Your Position
One of the first things you learn in science classes is that you need to test your hypothesis at least 3 times. And when you’re writing a term paper, you need at least three arguments to support the thesis statement. In other words, don’t try to convince someone of something without a supporting argument. Even three-year-olds want to know ‘why’. (They want to know ‘why all the time!)
Appreciation for Other Cultures
From early social studies classes to high school and college world religions courses, learning about how others live and think opens your eyes. It inspires curiosity and the desire to look beyond your own little bubble.
Learn from your Past
If you forget history, it’s bound to repeat itself. Find out what you don’t want to repeat and what you do.
Logic and Reasoning
Not everyone learns good logic in school. I credit my 7th grade pre-algebra teacher for teaching it to me. Without him, I don’t think I would be where I am today. And it’s all because he simply taught me how to think things through.
Love of Reading
This is the most important of all. Reading isn’t just necessary for paying bills and maintaining a job. It’s how I keep learning every day. That could mean looking up the definition of a word, reading a recipe, or searching for And there’s nothing like escaping into a good book when you need a break from reality.
Hopefully our children won’t stress themselves out over school the way I did. And if they do, I’ll try to remind them that life isn’t all about test scores, or remembering everything you ever learned. Above all, learn to love learning.
What’s the most useful thing you learned in school?
The Holidays are Coming, are you ready?