5 Subjects Not Taught In School (But They Should Be)

not taught in school

Education is way more than sitting in a classroom. Unfortunately, it is often the same old story. Go to school. Read, write, learn math, history, science, and the searing pain of social rejection. Go home. Forget everything you learned. While having a specific course for each of these ‘subjects’ might be a long way off for schools, integrating these into your existing classrooms need not be. And you never know – both students and teachers might find themselves a little more engaged. Long story short, these skills are learned inside and outside of schools – we get that – but they aren’t actual subject areas that you can focus on.

In fact, the idea of trying to learn some real-world skills is what Modern Lessons is all about. While it may not offer courses on all the below subjects (yet), it’s got a lot of helpful bits of info for anyone looking to learn important skills for free! (Jeff, the founder of Edudemic, built Modern Lessons just FYI!)

Film Making

Making films is a excellent vehicle of self-expression. Not everyone is cut out for blogging or playing an instrument, and the world has more than enough bad poetry as it is. Films have become a part of our everyday lives, from big-budget blockbusters to amusing no-budget clips on YouTube. Teaching students to make more effective videos is not only good for keeping students interested in their lessons, for once, but it also means that there will be more high-quality content available in the future. The entire world will thank you for that.

Job Searching

At around age eighteen, students will graduate from receiving six hours of taxpayer-funded babysitting per day and be thrust out into the real world to fend for themselves. Some of them will delay entry into the work force by obtaining a few years of self-funded babysitting at university, but the end result is the same – they need to be able to find a job. Rather than allowing hordes of students to list their Playstation high scores on their resumes and wear pajamas to their job interviews, it would be in everyone’s best interest if students learned the ins and outs of convincing someone to hire you while still at school.

Money Management

Yes, math is taught in schools. No, that kind of math isn’t doing anyone any practical good. You will never need to do coordinate geometry while paying your taxes, and you’ll never have to work with radians at the grocery store. Unless kids are fortunate enough to have been brought up in a rare household that isn’t bad at literally everything pertaining to money, they’re going to have a rough time once they’ve been cast out of the academic womb. What percentage of their monthly budget should go to rent? How much money will they have to make in order to avoid sharing a tent in the woods with four other people? For kids who’ve never faced greater financial responsibility than paying for their own video games, these are the great mysteries of life – and they shouldn’t have to be.

Social Skills

Despite popular belief, people are not born with perfect social skills; they learn them. Some children are graced with interactive families and plenty of cheek-pinching relatives to teach them good manners early on. Other children are allowed to spend most of their time alone, slowly reverting to their evolutionary roots as they build dens and discover fire in the basement. Even the most well-adjusted child is going to have some tricky situations to deal with in life. How do you cope with a coworker who steals credit for your ideas? What are you supposed to do when you want to break off a relationship with someone who hasn’t really done anything wrong? How do you deal with a roommate who won’t pay his share of the rent on time and keeps a stolen baby rhinoceros in your bathtub? A few classes on social skills could really help students to navigate these unavoidable situations.

Practical Mechanics

From oil changes to shattered iDevice screens, there are plenty of quick fixes in life that you should know how to do yourself. Sure, a computer technician will always be there, happily taking your $100 in exchange for running a can of compressed air over your computer fan and evicting the family of mice living underneath the motherboard, but you can save a lot of time and money by doing it yourself. Everything you buy will break at some point, and many people don’t have the skills needed to un-break them. Sure, you can tell kids to struggle through with an instructional video, but wouldn’t it be better to learn it properly?

What kind of practical skills do you integrate into your classroom? What ones would you like to integrate but haven’t yet?


  1. Libby

    July 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I would just add film appreciation. We watch a lot of movies and television and I think we should instill a love of good movies and a critical eye, as well as an understanding of the history of film just as I am doing with literature. I’m not saying children should be taught to be snobs but to understand the difference between junk food film and lit and quality film and lit.

  2. john e

    July 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I agree that the question of our core curriculum is something that should be cracked wide open. I think teaching Algebra 2 to everyone is insane, it is only of interest or use to a tiny percent of the population. Precalc is even stranger. Of course, modern math should have to do with the basic finance and probability that underlies a lifetime of decisions that we’re going to make. I’d also saying that computer programming would be 10x more useful. But the alg 2 and precalc stuff is only taught because the colleges, for some bizarre reason, require it. I’d replace it in a secon d