What should be taught?

The day I received the diagnosis of arthritis, I mailed a package. In and of itself, this fact is not very blog worthy. I mailed the package at a store which has a counter for the post office.

There was a young man, an employee of the store, that took my package. He inspected it and told me he could not read my handwriting. Specifically he could not read cursive. He needed me to translate what I wrote. I knew my cursive was not bad because back when I was in grade school my mom made me copy out of the encyclopedia (which for many years I worried I was guilty of plagiarism) so I wouldn’t have the cursive chicken scrawl of my dad. Since then no one ever said my cursive was illegible. In fact, most people said my handwriting is pretty good for someone who is left handed.

Young people are not being taught cursive in school anymore and now some of those children who weren’t taught are in the work force can’t read mail. How scary is that? I lamented to my best friend. I felt like I aged 10 years in just one day. She said someday no one will be able to read the documents our country are founded on such as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. As if anyone is going to read them anyway. Someone must carry on the ancient art of hieroglyphics. That in and of itself is rather scary to me. If only a few are left who can read and translate they can have the power to make it say whatever they want it to say with no one the wiser. History is already being ‘changed’ because we don’t like it. How are we supposed to learn from the mistakes our country made when it was young?

My best friend also said alphabetizing is no longer taught in school, something we learned in grade school. She said she volunteered to hand out the baseball uniforms for her son’s baseball club. She had some high schoolers help her and they had no idea how to put the uniforms in alphabetical order by last name. First you start with A… Gone are the days of massive card catalogs at the library. I can’t even remember the last time I went to the library to find something out. That used to be the only place we could go to find answers. When is the last time you looked up a word in an actual dictionary or looked up something in an encyclopedia? Is alphabetization still something that needs to be taught?

Are there skills you think should be taught in school or removed from the curriculum? I always thought everyone should have some basic skills such as simple car care, budgeting, how to fill out forms such as taxes, how to balance a checking account, basic cooking, repairs etc…

One thing I found frustrating when my kids were in school is that they taught math differently. It was the same problem with the same answer with a different way to do the work making it almost impossible for parents to help their kids if needed. If something works, why fix it? Do we need countless useless updates? Is that really progress? I guess I am a stick with what works kind of person. Don’t change things for the sake of changing things.

Back when I was in high school, I took a class called shorthand along with a classroom full of girls. I should’ve taken typing instead. But shorthand was the rage. We could take notes super fast in little scribbles like on the doctor’s prescription pad. Oh wait, do doctors even do that anymore?? What a waste of time that class was. I even thought so at the time. Do you even know anyone who writes in shorthand anymore? If so, I bet no one can read it if some people nowadays can’t even read cursive. It took as much effort as learning a foreign language without the benefit of learning one. I think that’s one class we can ax. (It was probably already axed 20 years ago).

These are just some of my basic observations and thoughts without being an educator. What are your thoughts? Are there things no longer taught that should be taught? Are certain classes outdated? Should we change things that are tried and true for the sake of progress?

13 thoughts on “What should be taught?

  1. I figure there are a lot of things kids need to learn now that weren’t taught back in the day, and something’s got to go in order to make room. With so much communication being digital now, it makes sense to me that learning cursive isn’t necessarily the best use of instructional time.

    As it is, I think there’s a lot of old writing that the majority of people can’t read now. I can only pick out a few words from this 1618 Scottish letter: https://varieng.helsinki.fi/series/volumes/14/meurman-solin_b/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. something I always struggle with, and thinking about…I have a friend/co-worker, who not only writes, but writes left handed….now that as a 63 year old find hard to read…..I guess times just change, a lot of the things I loved when I was younger are now being taught as a subject in school as a history lesson…I can write, but, well I can’t write code or create a power point presentation without a lot of help. Always by someone a lot younger that can do things without any effort….yes there are a lot of things maybe the younger generation seem to get wrong, but, well, we’ve got a lot of things wrong as well, us baby boomers…I thought my generation would be the ones that would end racism and intolerance, but for some reason we’ve become even more worse…world peace, that ain’t happening..so yeah, maybe the kids aren’t alright, but well, neither are we

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a lot of good points. I think the problem is that there is a great separation between the generations with each growing further apart from the next. We all grew up in totally different worlds, not wrong but different. Each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses.


    • I absolutely agree about map reading being a lost art. Navigation was always my job on trips. I had a hard time giving it up at first. Now I don’t even think about it. Yet I still think of map reading and change counting as important. Call me old fashioned I guess.


  3. My daughter never learned cursive but she can read it, and the same for alphabetizing. Worry more that these kids don’t have a clue how to think. That’s the dilemma

    Liked by 1 person

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