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Finding interesting ways to sugarcoat life lessons with Skittles

In this week's Everything King, Wendy has a few ideas for school curriculum

I know school just got out so forgive me for talking about curriculum.

However, I was reading recently that Ontario has unveiled a new plan for Grade 10 students.

It struck me as a common sense idea.

It will be a mandatory course that will focus on monetizing skills and the jobs of the future.

Education Minister Steve Lecce announced it will centre on financial literacy. Students will be asked to develop a budget for their first year after graduation and compare different forms of borrowing to pay for any post-secondary education that may follow like student loans.

The lesson plan will also include teaching students about the implications of social media in the workplace.

All of that sounds like a really smart idea.

How many of us have often complained that we would have done a lot better with an education in money management over a book report on Romeo and Juliet. While I enjoyed the latter much more, I feel the former would have been more beneficial.

This is not to say teachers need any additional classes to teach, but supposing there were no staffing or budget constraints, I have a list of things I wish someone had taught me. Many of these things I still need to learn.

  1. Electronic banking. Pros and cons.
  2. Passport application 101 with an explanation why I can’t smile or wear my earrings in the photo
  3. A brief outline on the stock market (define bull or bear market)
  4. A lesson on scams (would have to be constantly updated) and how to avoid becoming a victim
  5. General cooking skills
  6. How to make small repairs (I know there are YouTube tutorials, but a live instructor is still best)
  7. How to fill out an income tax form
  8. Etiquette (this may require an entire semester)
  1. a proper handshake
  2. making eye contact
  3. body language
  4. proper grooming
  5. dressing for success
  6. how to write a letter on stationary, with a pen, using cursive writing and not printing
  7. manners (how to act in public, in the workplace, with elders, at a funeral)
  8. critical thinking

I was put through a recent exercise at a recent Barrie Youth Haven meeting and I found it very thought-provoking. We were given a sheet of paper listing various household needs a person would need money for in the home. We were also given a bag of 25 Skittles. Those represented all the money we had to spend per month. Then object was to put the candy on the items you really needed or wanted. And when it was gone, that was it.

For instance, if you wanted laundry facilities in your apartment, then you gave up three Skittles. Same premise for wifi, a parking spot, a residence near a bus stop or close to downtown, etc. 

Then came the challenge: What if you want a pet? That would cost you three Skittles. 

Do you want a pet more than cable TV? Would furniture be more important than air-conditioning? 

You can see what a good lesson it was in setting priorities. If you accidentally ate some of your Skittles before completing the task, that was a fail!

Maybe some schools do offer some of these courses. If so, bravo!

Life lessons. Sign me up. We could all use a refresher course.


About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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