When I look back on my school days, there were a lot of good things that I learned over those years, but I wish I would’ve been taught more practical things about finances, taxes, etc.

And I have a feeling I’m not alone in that opinion…

So, should schools dedicate time to teaching students “adult” things?

Let’s see how people on AskReddit responded to this question.

1. Interesting.

“These are things that can be learned independently by simply doing them.

Taxes are d*mned near idiot proof in most cases because they are designed to be. Washing clothes, follow the instruction manual. Cooking? Watch YouTube, follow a recipe. What these all have in common is that you need a solid grasp on numeracy and literacy. These are things that must be explicitly taught.

These are the core skills that underpin almost everything. People who complain about not being taught how to do their taxes tend to have sh*tty numeracy skills. People who struggle to fill out a form tend to have sh*tty literacy. Can’t read instructions? Literacy issue.

You can make education as practical as possible but the fact is: many don’t want to learn, until it’s too late. I say this as a teacher: we really do a lot to make education as relevant to real-world needs as possible but there is not getting around the fact that a person must learn to be fluent in both reading and writing, as well as be able to think mathematically to cope in the “real world”.

The rest of what we do is for the purpose of teaching you how to learn effectively, how to think in different ways, how to adapt to unfamiliar challenges and how to deal with abstract ideas. We don’t teach the model of the atom because you need to know where the elections go.

We teach you so that you can learn how to grasp concepts that are not directly observable, make logical conclusions from them and apply abstract ideas to real-world phenomena. The actual topics are just vehicles for these skills.”

2. Should already be doing it.

“I think it’s ridiculous that washing clothes and basic cooking would be considered “adult stuff.”

These are all things I learned at home and was doing for myself by high school.

Are people’s parents really just doing all this for them?”

3. Teach this instead.

“Here’s the deal about the whole “paying taxes” thing.

It changes every single year. By design, taxes are hard. They don’t need to be. But they are.

Teach critical thinking and reading comprehension instead.”

4. NOPE.

“Nope. Parents have to take some responsibility for having kids.

Also, cooking has largely been dropped from curriculums mainly because of the danger in it. Kid drops chicken on the dirty floor and picks it up quickly? Kid knocks boiling water off the stove? Schools would be sued quite quickly.

Tax – yeah. But wouldn’t it be better to teach kids about how governments use their tax?”

5. Just imagine…

“How about teaching financial literacy and media literacy?

In today’s world it would do wonders for society if the next generation could avoid taking on too much debt and buying into garbage “news” and conspiracy theories.

Just imagine!”

6. A loooooong answer.

“The issue, in my opinion, is that these are things parents should be teaching students.

Not just when they are asked or when their kids are almost adults, but actively throughout a childhood. The issue with this is that it requires the vast majority of parents to be very good and patient people capable of teaching abstract concepts (like taxes) to young children in a constructive way.

Many parents simply aren’t built for that or do not want to participate in that kind of education. Many parents are naive to how the world works themselves! So what do we, as a society, do when our parents are failing our children? Well, school is a lot easier to regulate than millions of individual households. Tons of schools are already state-run anyway, so why not try to teach those critical life skills there?

But that leads us to the next problem, the one you pointed out. teenagers don’t care about those kinds of classes. They aren’t an end all be all to education. Just like with every other class, they will have that knowledge in their heads for a finite time (if it gets there at all) and it will dissipate into lost memories eventually.

And another problem. There is a cultural split about how children are supposed to learn things. Some parents think that the 8 hour school day five days a week plus homework over the course of 12 years should include life-building skills and should be able to teach those skills effectively (since teaching is kind of school’s whole purpose).

Therefore, teaching those skills is not the parents’ job. However, other parents believe that schools are 100% incapable of actually teaching complex subjects like s*x ed and money management and what it means to run a house in a way that satisfies them and their personal beliefs.

These are loaded subjects with lots of debate involved in them. Therefore, those kinds of teachings are meant for at-home discussion.

This divide puts us in a weird spot where we have some children who are receiving conflicting information, some children who aren’t being taught these things at all, and only a small handful who are coming out the other side ok. Our current system is f*cked. And there is no “easy” way to fix it bc no one can agree on a direction to take.

Now that that tangent is over I want to tackle the actual classes that are teaching these subjects. I took a personal finance course in high school (about five years ago so it’s possible my experience is dated but I don’t think so).

That course was watching videos of a professional (Dave Ramsey if I remember correctly) lecture us about how personal finance works and how to build financial security. It was a good and valuable course… but the only active schoolwork we did was filling in a workbook as we watched the video. That is no way to teach people. Especially tired high school students (most were suffering from senioritis).

There is just enough engagement to prove to the teacher that you were kind of watching the videos and not nearly enough engagement to actually cement that information into your brain. There were no active activities, projects, or graded assignments that required you to think and apply the information you’ve “learned” in a way that would allow you to contextualize it and keep it in your memory for longer.

These classes exist but, in my experience, these classes are failures (however, I do know that my experience may not be universal across the US).”

7. Up to the parents.

“I am opposed to it.

There’s no reason parents can’t teach these things to their kids WHILE DOING SAID TASKS.

School isn’t responsible for every single thing.

Also, with the internet, if a parent doesn’t know (changing a tire, for example), they can easily learn.”

8. Should be optional.

“School can’t teach literally everything.

Most of what you need to learn outside of school can be done with skills you get in school. Laundry and basic cooking isn’t that hard as long as you have the skills to complete high school.

I think it should be optional because not everyone has a parental figure that will teach these things though.”

9. Good point.

“Great parents could teach almost everything school teaches, but most parents are imperfect and lots of parents are sh*tty.

The point of school is to give every kid as good a chance at life as possible.”

10. Blame it on the Boomers.

“This used to be called Home Ec and most schools had it.

Then Boomers did away with it because it cost too much.

Now they make fun of young people for not knowing things they would have learned in Home Ec.”

11. What a joke.

“It’s so funny how many of you think that kids will actually be interested in learning about taxes, stocks, etc.

In what world do you think high schoolers would be attentive in a class about budgeting/taxes?

Have any of you met high school kids before?”

12. Not feeling it.

“My school had a class like that, most of the classmates didn’t pay attention and now complain 10 years later that they never learned about taxes and credit card interest.

Also some parents were super upset about the school “overstepping” their boundaries by teaching basic budgeting, I can’t imagine that situation has gotten any better in the last 10 years.

I’m not against the class being taught, but at the at the end of the day you have to realize that all that stuff is easily learned once you are an adult with just a minimum amount of research – if someone isn’t taking the 15 minutes it takes to learn how to wash their clothes properly or watch a youtube video for a basic recipe as an adult when they actually need to do those things to function, no way in hell as a teen would they pay attention to a class that tried to teach them that.

It’s still a good idea to have the class, but it isn’t some magical fix everyone seems to think it is. I am against the adding an extra hour of school though on top of regular school though.”

13. Do it yourself.

“This is the Information Age. You don’t need to be a wizard to figure stuff out when it’s literally all at your finger tips.

Go ahead and Google “how do I wash my clothes” and you can undoubtedly find hours of YouTube videos demonstrating exactly that.

People need to take the tiniest bit of initiative and not just expect it all to be spoon fed.”

14. Should be learning at home.

“I feel like a lot of this is just stuff you should be learning at home anyway.

Parents, get your kids to do chores. Sure, it’s a bit of effort, but I’ve personally found that the barrier to doing chores is less knowledge of how do do them and more the lack of it being an instilled habit.

Most chores are pretty simple and can be taught in 5-15 minutes. Good cleaning and tidying habits take a long time of dedicated necessity.”

15. Kids today…

“When I taught middle school, I taught an entire unit on calculating sales tax, tip, how to calculate discounts and markups on prices of items.

We taught simple interest. We taught how to calculate overtime pay. I would say over and over how these were things they would see every day as an adult.

Their response? “The cash register will do all that for me. “ or “the bank will figure that out” or “my boss will figure it out”

I would ask”what if the person figures it out wrong? What if the register doesn’t do the discount properly and you pay more than you should have? What if your boss calculates your overtime wrong and shorts your paycheck? You should be able to double check these things to protect yourself. “

You think they cared? No. They just shrugged at me and said it wasn’t that big of a deal.

I teach high school now and kids insist they never learned these things. But I know they did, BECAUSE I USED TO TEACH IT. Without desire to learn, offering the information will not make a difference.”

16. An elective.

“It could be done as an elective.

These are things that could and should be taught by parents, but they aren’t things all parents know, and not all kids have parents who would take the time to teach them either way.

It should be available for kids who want it, but not required, and certainly not adding an extra hour to the school day.”

17. They don’t care.

“Schools have these already and the kids in them don’t care.

It’s not immediately relevant to their lives so they don’t pay attention. Sorta like if I were to talk to you about the do’s and don’ts of denture cream. You say, “eh, I’ll figure it out later when I need to know it” and stop paying attention.

I’ve taught in several schools that have tried to teach social skills, kindness, meditation, financial literacy, etc. In every case, the kids did not care. It was their least favorite part of the day because it felt like a waste of time.

The point of education is to teach thinking, not doing. A well-educated student can teach themselves these things. A quick Google search can teach you how to file taxes, cook, etc.

But you can’t Google how to do Algebra 2 and expect to understand what you read without some background in the subject matter.”

18. Ouch…

“Kids literally don’t care.

I had a lot of teachers in high school try to give us life advice and no one listened or took it seriously.

Teenagers are all little sh*ts.

19. The view from Utah.

“I took home economics and learned how to cook. I took financial literacy to learn about taxes and budgeting and investing.

Is Utah just waaaay ahead of the other states or is this a made up issue? I’ve seen people THAT TOOK THESE CLASSES AT MY SCHOOL post memes about not learning how to pay taxes and sh*t.

I wonder if the real problem is that nobody remembers this stuff cuz they teach it to you when it isn’t relevant to your life.”

20. At the right time.

“I think these classes should be for Senior year where they would be more useful.

13 and 14-year-olds don’t need to know most of that stuff, and four years is a long time to forget it before you really need it.”

21. People are lazy…

“People are just lazy and want to blame their laziness on the system not teaching them.

Like any tax system, like TurboTax, walks you literally step by step through the process – you don’t need to know anything about taxes and just run through their software and you’ll be done.

If they teach it in school it’s going to need no more than a single hour to “teach” the basic 1099 and of course there’s no point to teach the advanced stuff when 80% of adults don’t even use those forms. Who is going to remember an hour of anything mixed with the thousands of hours of math, science, history, English we learn in school?

The purpose of schooling should be to focus on those hard things anyway – something that takes an hour to learn doesn’t need to be taught in school.

The most basic things they teach in school – the original purpose of schooling – literacy – takes a kid a year or more to learn to read and write properly. A year. That’s one heck of a long YouTube video….”

22. Not necessary.

“I think that they already waste enough time and it would be worse for kids whose parents already taught them that stuff.

Washing clothes is really a 20 minute lesson, and cooking/taxes have their own elective classes already.”

23. They won’t pay attention.

“Most of the people who would benefit from this kind of teaching wouldn’t pay attention to it anyway, not to mention that as you say it has never been easier to get information on how to do the basic things in your life.

If I don’t know how to boil an egg and can literally Google it. Most food you will buy has step by step instructions on how to prepare it, your clothes and detergent will both have care/usage instructions.

The issue isn’t that this information is missing or inaccessible but that people would rather say they weren’t taught how to do something then take any accountability for increasing their own knowledge.”

What do you think about this?

Is it a good idea?

Sound off in the comments and share your thoughts!