UACES Facebook Are Life Skills Being Taught?
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Are life skills being taught?          Stack of six coins with graduation cap, shopping cart, house, piggy bank, and wedding bands with title "Life Skills"

Author: Pamela Luker, Pope County FCS Agent

Lots of posts go around on social media about kids not learning life skills in school today. So, should we be teaching certain skills as part of school curriculum? Is that a parent’s job? Whatever your thoughts are on where life skills should be learned, we all can agree that life skills are important for everyone to learn before entering the “real world”.

What are life skills anyway?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines life skills as “the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”. Family and Consumer Science Education addresses critical life skills related to areas such as health, nutrition, personal and family well-being, and personal finance. Critical life skills prepare people for life. These skills are essential for living a happy, healthy life.

Who cares?

One thing that I have heard many times is, “I was never taught that.” and “I wish I would have learned that in school.” This referring to cooking, budgeting, or job-related skills. Some young adults wonder why they never learned about these areas of basic life skills in school or why their parents never told them. Adults may even take for granted and assume that their child knows life skills because its routine for them participate in the tasks such as manage their household budget, know how to calculate tax deduction, or how to dress for a job interview.

I have received feedback from potential employers that the young adults’ credentials look good on paper, but they never learned to communicate or proper work etiquette. These are skills that most jobs expect their employees to have. Besides, what good is it to have the knowledge but not be able to communicate to relay the information?

Often, we get so wrapped up in preparing our youth for college or some kind of technical training that we forget about basic skills that they will need such as balancing their checkbook, obtaining things like housing, insurance, and utilities when they do get income.

Where can one get life skill education?

You may be surprised to know that most schools do offer a class that teaches life skills. Some examples are courses within family and consumer sciences such as housing, child development, food and nutrition, and financial literacy. These type classes teach students about different types of housing, buying groceries, parenting skills, budgeting, types of insurance, etc... However, the classes are often considered electives. So, if you or your child are trying to prepare them for their future education, do not forget that basic life skills are important as well.

If youth are not able to fit these types of classes in their school schedule there are programs offered by the University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Services as well.  Contact Pamela Luker, FCS Agent at 479-968-7098 or for more information regarding specific programs or research-based resources.