5 Lessons in Home Economics That Parents Need to Teach

a father teaching his children how to cook.

I remember way back when "home ec" was a course required in high schools across the land. When my older siblings were in school, the girls had to take "home ec" and the boys took "shop class" (industrial arts). By the time I entered high school it was not quite so segregated, but as far as I was concerned at the time, both classes were a waste of time. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Both are (or should be) essential parts of a kids' education. In order to become responsible adults, teens need to know the basic economics of running a household. And it sure wouldn't hurt if more people knew how to build things and maintain them.

Whether or not the school is still teaching such things, it is the parents' responsibility to make sure their child is learning such valuable old fashioned "home ec" lessons as:

1. Finance.

I recently heard on the radio that the average American is at least $60,000 in debt.  How can this be? (And of course our nation is something like $20 trillion in debt.) Somebody has not been teaching, or somebody has not been listening. And a whole lot of people have not been putting into practice good responsible financial practices. (Of course there are extenuated circumstances such as prolonged illnesses or accidents that put us into unexpected debt. I am talking about irresponsibility concerning simple economics.) We need to be diligent in teaching our children good habits about finances.

It begins with a few precepts. Save all the money you can. If it's just five dollars a week, then save that. If you can save more, do it. Do everything possible to stay out of debt. I would tell my kids all the time, "Save your pennies and you will never lack for dollars." My wife and I told the kids from the time they began school that when they turned 18 they would have to do one of three things: go to college, or join the workforce, or join the military (no one would live in our basement for free while playing video games endlessly).