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That's something you won't learn in school... anymore  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Please, include your own school taught lessons. I would like to hear them. And, I'm sure that the regions, dates and other factors play large parts in the possibilities of the lists.

Occasionally, I receive the (mother prompted) handwritten note from a nephew or niece and I always say the same thing, "I can't read this sloppy mess!" Kids (around here, anyways) are not graded on handwriting in school today. Cursive writing isn't taught and is almost completely unknown to any school age child. They can't write or read cursive writings.

I am not that old, but boy have things changed! Now, fearing that I may sound like my parents, I have to say that there are numerous things I was taught in school that are no longer being taught. A few lessons come to mind.

I was taught how to sew by hand in probably the second or third grade. That was something I already knew well by that age, as button sewing and minor mending jobs were on my household chores list. I also loved seeing doll clothes. I was taught how to measure ingredients and follow a simple recipe in school about that same age. Although, I did not take home economics as an elective class in highschool, it was offered. I don't think it is offered any longer. I may be wrong.

In the fourth grade, we learned the correct way to brush and floss our teeth. Now this was funny and embarrassing to do as a class. We had to chew up these nasty tasting red tablets that would leave a stain on any remaining plaque if you missed it. Did anyone else here have that in school? And, I don't know why they didn't teach that at a younger age.

In the sixth grade, I remember being taught how to read an electric meter, how to test for toilet tank leaks using red dye and how to change a washer in a faucet. I suppose you would have to go to a trade school to learn those things today. I was also taught how to change a car tire in school.

I think it was also in the sixth grade, we had sex education. (Bet you knew that one was coming, huh?) Boys in one class and girls in another. Lots of giggling and probably not much learning during those classes.

We don't have regular physical fitness classes in school today! I can't believe it! It used to be required curriculum. I remember having health class and P.E. (physical education) combined. There were physical fitness requirements. You had to be able to do a certain number of sit ups, push ups, chin ups, jumping jacks....timed distance runs, long jumps, hurdles. I don't know how they managed to include this in health class, but we also had firearm safety taught in our school.

I'm sure there are many more that I can't recall at the moment, but I feel like these are important lessons. I'm sure, with today's school curriculum being largely focused on computers and electronics, that for all of the things I've listed... there's an app for that.

 
pollinator
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We had those things as well. Also hunters safety was a class.
 
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Karen

Yes I remember all of those things, I learned to sew on my own though.  The red tablets were fluoride loaded I think, so not so sure loosing those were a bad idea, funny, I was just talking to someone about those yesterday.

I was thinking how different life was 30-40 years ago!  When I was a kid, most days when we got home from school, our mothers kicked us out of the house and were told not to show up till dinner.  For a 10yr old, That was great!  My friends and i roamed an area of woods about 5sq miles, built forts, foraged for food in the woods and farmers fields, built camp fires, slept under the stars, hunted food with guns, and generally had an awesome time running free, getting into whatever trouble we wanted!

My parents and all my friends parents would be put in jail if judged by today's standards!

Talking on the phone was a pain in the ass, and I loved using the library to look up how to do stuff.  I look at kids today and wonder how they could possibly survive if they ended up in a situation where they didn't have wifi and actually had to do something with their hands!

I'm sure all generations looked at the next generation coming up and said similar things, that said, basic skills still seem to be missing from younger generations.  I have several very old books published in the late 20's that were actually published in the cursive hand from the author, sad to think that later generations won't even be able to read them!
 
gardener
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When I was going to go into high school the only thing that I was looking forward to was the elective class "Outdoor Survival Education", which two of my older buddies had taken for two years.  Sadly, the teachers who were offering to do the class, (which had a lot of after school time attached to it, camping out), decided to not go through with it any more.  Probably the biggest disappointment in most of my high school experience.  A shattering blow.

When I was in school we learned Northwest Coast Indigenous Art, paper mache, weaving, pottery, cursive writing, spelling, grammar, etc. We had a Salmon hatchery in an aquarium and we went to a local creek with a fishery biologist who gathered the eggs from cutting open a female and then milked a male into a basin to mix the two to give it to us.  Rad stuff!   There's an app for creative writing and grammar now, I'm sure, and the hand writing is gone, and forget arts and crafts.  In drafting we built our own T-squares and drawing boards, and then learned to use them, as well as perfect blue print quality printing of letters and numbers. All of this drafting is probably done on computers now.  
 
master steward
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I graduated high school in 2003. In Jr high, you could either choose to do choir or band, or you could take home ec/shop/art/computer (one subject per quarter). They used to teach latin in high school. I actually signed up for it as my foreign language. But not enough other kids signed up that they ceased teaching it. I was really bummed! (I took Spanish instead).

In 6th grade, we transformed our classrooms into a colonial town. WE all dressed up, made booths, and learned about a profession. I was a weaver, with my moms loom and lots of wool. Other people were cobblers or candlemakers. We all learned quite a bit.

In 8th grade, we had Pioneer Day. We all dressed in pioneer clothes (I actually still have the costume I made, and it still fits...It was a little big then, and I stopped growing taller around then...). We learned about making candles, the Mormon Trail, covered wagons, the Donner Party, etc.

In 9th grade, we all learned about the Medieval Ages and actually transformed our school into medieval fair. Everyone chose a profession: some were vendors, some were actors (I got stuck being that, because I was in drama), some were ladies and lords, some were knights or archers (and, yes, there were mock battles), my brother was a mercenary. They shot watermelons on a trebuchet, and people could come and by things from the vendors with currency (just nickels, dimes and quarters). Science teachers transformed their rooms into alchemist labs and dungeons. Everyone made a medieval costume befitting their persona they created. It was AMAZING...and I managed to be in the last year of students that got to do it. After that, kids just did reports/projects on the Renaissance.

In elementary school, we also did the fluoride tablets. We also went home with homework to put Mr Yuck stickers on the poisonous things, and we had to memorize our phone number and address and how to call 911. We also made maps of our neighborhood and had to work with our parents to create home escape plans in case of a fire.

I honestly don't know if they still teach this stuff at school. My kids are almost 4 and almost 1, so I'll be finding out soon enough.

I had a Current Events teacher in highschool who took it upon himself to teach us how to write in italics, as well as how to write a check. I had another history teacher in high school who had us all either be Supreme Court lawyers or justices. Those who were the lawyers had to research a specific trial and all the historical rulings and cases and then present their cases. I was a Supreme Court Justice, and had to read up on all of their cases and deliberate on them.

I honestly had a lot of really good teachers, and hope that the education in our district is still just as good, as it's also my children's future school district!
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I had a friend who went to a Waldorf School.  He was taught how to read and write and do simple math.  But before all that, he was taught how to learn (or to be more precise, he was encouraged to use his child's innate ability to learn).  He was taught how to research things of interest at the library and how to order books from interlibrary loan.  One year he spent mostly researching bats.  Then he got into boats.   By graduation, he had built two boats, one made of welded steel, and another one, a baidarka kayak that he dreamed up out of PVC piping and a nylon skin painted with rubber.  Both craft were seaworthy and probably still are.  The difference in my education is laughable.   I had good teachers, for the most part, but the whole system is quite a joke in comparison to what it could be, if we just had a bit more freedom in it.  
 
pollinator
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Wow, Karen, I didn't really learn any of those things in school. The red dye teeth thing we did at the dentist. I took private sewing lessons. Learned cooking from Girl Scouts.

I was taught cursive. I'm glad they have done away with this, it's no longer needed. Handwriting is mostly for personal use at this point. I was taught sex ed, didn't really need it though.

We were required to pass a swimming test to graduate high school though. I was shocked to find out that not all other places have swimming pools at their high schools. We had one at our middle school as well.

I was raised in a college town, the concentration was on academics and the competition was fierce. I've heard it's gotten worse, lots of suicides, so sad.
 
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At a little, private school in South Carolina, I learned history properly taught, a bit of Latin, "Lord of the Flies" survival of the fittest every time we boys were on our own, the over-awing beauty of young women and their invaluable softness, and we cared for a few old cemeteries... Revolutionary and Civil War graves... we learned honor and respect.  We would hand pull and trim weeds, and clean the stones as our teachers told us about those who were buried and abandoned there.  We would cut class to hunt and fish.  All pulled together to help with someone's planting or harvest.  We got up to so much trouble.....  We had so much freedom.... We learned the important lessons of life.... Some were smart and some were dumb as stones.  Some were big and some were small.  Some were rich and some had assistance on tuition. We were of different races and ethnicities, but we were all Southern.   Some died.... I'll never forget finding my friend in a ditch after his car went off the road....  We were brothers.  The girls were mischievous angels who could drive any boy mad with desire....  Any one of us would lay down his life for another. If one got in trouble, 15 would step up and say, "I did it."  Those were the golden days. 
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Hey guys. I just got home from the neighborhood picnic (fun, fun, fun) and I am loving the posts I see here!!! They're awesome. So different and interesting. Boy, I hated school while I was there, but looking back I recall such good times and I learned some really useful things. (Ms. Ernestine just rolled over in her grave.) Some of the things you guys have mentioned makes me a bit envious.

Kids are missing out on some great stuff. There is a 10 year age difference between my younger brother and myself and you wouldn't believe the things I have had to try and show him. Simple things that, as I mentioned, I learned in school. These skills were not taught when he went to school. Our parents died when he was young, so he didn't learn much at home either.
 
pollinator
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I learned to weld in high school, a skill that brought be into the railroad, merchant marines, and then building US Navy Destroyers. Granted a large part of this was clean living, prudent financial choices, and my employers; but I was able to retire at age 42, something almost unheard of today.

In high school I also learned to mechanical draw, something I still do before fabricating up my own farming equipment, can cast my own metal parts, fix my own small engines, and do forestry work in my wood lot.
 
gardener
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One thing that sticks out in my memory is how the kind or quality of education can vary. Looking back, I realize I was fortunate to have a father who not only had a good career but also chose to pay for private school for my siblings and me. In the 80's tuition was a little over $5k a year, per child. I would find myself attending a public high school my sophomore year in '93 and was really surprised that the math, english and history curriculum being taught, I had already learned in sixth thru eighth grade, so high school was an academic breeze, but socially is another discussion.

It seems to me that a lot of basic education in this country has devolved. So I enjoy reddit, but filter the information and only view subreddits like homesteading, backyard chickens, frugality, simple living, those sorts of categories - things that interest me. It amazes me how many posts contain terrible grammar. It seems like people can't even compose a complete sentence anymore, which is sad. There's a lack of conjunctions, using wrong articles, and missing prepositions. The spelling can be atrocious, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're just trusting autocorrect. I'll also give the education system the benefit of the doubt and propose that schools can't be entirely at fault, and students need to do their part and pay attention and apply themselves.
 
Mother Tree
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I'll just leave this here, because it amuses me greatly...

 
pollinator
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I distinctly remember learning aged 11 being taught how a hand pump worked and thinking I will never need to know that and had to wait over 40 years  before it came in useful
Plus I learned about Matrixes , how to dance round a maypole , water finds its own level , I used asbestos , mercury ,alpha and beta radiation emitters ,made chlorine and bromine,used a kipps apparatus ,   washed my hands in petrol in the science labs learned how to lie with stats .oh yes and was told I had to learn to do long devision and multiply long hand as I might not always have a calculator available . Plus I learned about land bridges as plate technotronic was still under question
That is just off the top of my head.  
 
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Wow, Karen, I didn't really learn any of those things in school. The red dye teeth thing we did at the dentist. I took private sewing lessons. Learned cooking from Girl Scouts.

I was taught cursive. I'm glad they have done away with this, it's no longer needed. Handwriting is mostly for personal use at this point. I was taught sex ed, didn't really need it though.

We were required to pass a swimming test to graduate high school though. I was shocked to find out that not all other places have swimming pools at their high schools. We had one at our middle school as well.

I was raised in a college town, the concentration was on academics and the competition was fierce. I've heard it's gotten worse, lots of suicides, so sad.



I went to Elementary and Middle school in Oklahoma.  We didn't learn any of those things either.  I didn't need to know how to swim either.

We did learn State History and cursive.  Reading, writing and arithmetic.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I wanted to read back through all of this thread, now that I have a moment to fully appreciate your posts. I hope you don't mind that I gave each an individual response. It is not required reading and there will not be a quiz later.

Todd, I found my certificate in a drawer and it was, as you mentioned, a hunters safety class. The certificate was signed by the same teacher who was my health/PE and driver's education teacher.

Kevin, it sounds like we grew up very similarly. We could play outside all day, come in to eat a homemade dinner and crash. Who needed tv?

Hang onto those books. They sound like treasures.

Roberto, I would have loved to have taken the Outdoor Survival Education class in school. I took one about 20 years ago that was offered by the National Parks Service. It was too basic and too short.

I understand being disappointed about the class no longer being taught, but MAN the things you did get to learn in school (NCIA) sounds great.

I've never heard of a Waldorf School. I may be in the minority on that one. We have some private schools in our area that encourage such free thinking; and, through our public schools, there is a program call Odessy of the Mind. Anyone else here familiar with that?

Nicole, I took art every year and  was in the band for several years. I couldn't play a tune now if my life depended on it. I do hope that those are still offered in schools.

I can't believe they got rid of Latin. That's a required class if you're  going into a medical profession. I learned a lot of Latin from helping my sister study. I took French, myself. 

The amount of time and effort to transform the school into multiple visual learning stages throughout the year must have been quite the production. I wish they could still do that. Amazing!

Stacy, I'm glad that you were taught cursive. I wish it was still taught. I feel that, as long as pens, pencils, paper and note cards are still manufactured, there should be the knowledge of how to read the sweet sentiment I put in your birthday card.

You are lucky to have had swimming lessons offered at school. Wow! I am pretty sure that there are no schools in our county, even today, that have a pool. Growing up, there was the creek on our property with a good size swimming hole for a small child to learn a little bit. I also took lessons at the local YMCA.

I am sorry that kids today have to feel such pressure. Suicide, as a result, shows that we are heading in the wrong direction. That is sad.

Wj, your post reads like the opening paragraph of a novel that makes me want to read more. That's just beautiful. It leaves me speechless. Yes, me, speechless.

Travis, I'm glad that welding was taught at our school too when I was there (wish I had taken it) and I think it is still offered. That's a valuable skill to have. My dad could weld beautifully. My brother-in-law still has all of my dad's welding equipment.

Your vast knowledge of such useful skills will serve you well as a homesteader. Being able to make the tools you require or the ability to fix those that you have goes a long way towards self-reliance.

James, you were fortunate, indeed. Having parents who are involved in their children's education and making it a priority is very fortunate; as opposed to, parents who send their children to school because the law says that you must or to just get the kids out of the way for several hours.

Ah yes, Reddit. Lots of filtering needed to make it an enjoyable place to visit. The only reason I go there is to support the Permaculture related categories there. I like it here at Permies so much better.

I agree with you. School, like most things, is something that you'll get much more out of it if you put more into it. I'm sure that people, when reading what I post, notice the misspellings, run-on sentences and improper use of punctuation.

Burra, how very true and appropriate. Thanks.

David, "That is just off the top of my head" and much of it over mine. I see you had a strong focus in the sciences. I liked science, too. I don't think we delved as deeply as that in our school. I think things, such as radiation emitters, would have been, first, more than our school could have afforded, and second, not something that should be in the hands of some of my more rowdy classmates.

"Learned how to lie with stats", hmm? There's a story there somewhere.

Anne, another person that I could send a handwritten greeting card who could actually read it's message. I'm glad.

When you mentioned State History, can I assume that you were also taught American History?

I love the part in your signature line: "Everyone learns what works by learning what doesn't work." That's what is written on the diploma I received from The School of Hard Knocks.







 
David Livingston
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I was lucky that my school had the option to study statistics as an o level ( thats now a gcse or 16  year old qualification ) it made me very maths aware and able to see through the misuse of numbers in politics for example or advertising . A very useful skill
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I must confess, my reason for asking was a selfish one. My husband had a Statistics class and I didn't. I needed to know if he had some kind of mathematical super power he could use on me. He does recognize the misuse of numbers, especially in politics.
 
David Livingston
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Ask him to explain the difference between mean mode and median averages
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I'm afraid that will make me look at him with my eyes crossed and he'll sound like Charlie Brown's school teacher.
 
pollinator
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What I learned in school … I graduated from high school in 1980 in Bellevue, Nebraska, now a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska.

Elementary
I struggled with shyness and some teachers took compassion on me and others were happy to just get through the day with a classroom of 30. It was a period of emerging out of the turmoil of the 1960s to a floundering of what kind of nation we would be in the ‘70s. As a kindergartner, I walked the six blocks back and forth alone. Mom showed me on the first day how to walk there and back, and then I was on my own. It wasn’t until eighth grade before I realized I could be a person others wanted to be around.

English or grammar
We delved into action verbs, proper nouns, state-of-being verbs, compound adjectives, helping verbs. There was a host of grammatical rules most kids balked at then and today still want to forego as they communicate with each other as adults and butcher the English language with cringe-worthy “exspecially,” “irregardless,” and seemingly no clue as to when to use “over” or “more than.”

Math
Of course all the primary functions with multiplication tables memorized to 12 and long division with the dreaded trip to the chalk board (they were green in our school) to solve the problem in front of the class.

Reading
Early, it was the Dick and Jane books that got us started. Later, the SRA reading laboratory kit was common. It was a set of large cards we selected from multi-colored tab-divided boxes. It was self-paced in fifth and sixth grades so it was a chance for competitive reading, or more precisely, to see who could plow through an SRA box of cards the fastest while still having comprehension.

Music class
We were taught many patriotic and American folks songs of the time – think Woody Guthrie, Peter Paul & Mary, or even the Frank Sinatra song, “High Hopes.” I have fond memories of that until I reached fifth grade and somehow we boys felt that music class was not for cool kids. I regret that. We were taught how to play the recorder, a modest instrument I still enjoy playing today.

Art
Paper mache and tempera paints were the tools of the trade. The five-fingered turkey seemed to be an annual exercise as we approached November and were learning about the Pilgrims who came to the North American continent.

Bomb drills
I lived near Offutt Air Force Base which contained the HQ for the Strategic Air Command deep underground and controlled the network of missile silos and strategic long-range bombers. We had bomb drills in our school more frequently than fire drills. Upon hindsight, we would have never seen "it" coming or felt the blast as the base was the No. 3 target of the Soviet military at the time during the cold war and we were a mere few blocks from the base.

Dodge ball
You learn very quickly what kind of people you’re going to school with when you play dodge ball. A “two-hands” rule was implemented so you had to throw the ball with two hands so you could not get quite the velocity on the partially deflated playground ball. Eventually, the girls opted out and skipped off to do other things at recess.

Civics
This class was eventually renamed to “social studies.” But, I loved the American history parts more than other sections. I was (still am) fascinated by the period after the war for independence through to the industrial period. I also was introduced to many of our nation’s (U.S.A.) landmarks in the text books, such as the Statue of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, Empire State Building, and the Grand Canyon. Only one of those lived up to my child’s imagination. I’m sure everyone can figure that one out.

Nature films
My favorite part of elementary school were the 16mm films they showed about nature. Rapt in learning about beavers, bears, Yellowstone National Park, I felt I was being drawn into those actual locations and always felt a significant let down when the film spool would spin and the classroom lights would go on.

Loss of innocence
I learned by the sixth grade that some of my classmates were actually having sex. The younger teachers thought differently than the older teachers. By fifth grade we began the stratification of cliques and groups that would classify us. We were looking to the new adventure that would be secondary education (junior high school and high school). Students were rebelling against teachers in these last two years of elementary school; something that would not have happened in our earlier years. From there, sex and drugs were pretty rampant. With the addition of school sports, there were three primarily defined groups by the time we hit ninth grade: the freaks (drugs and alcohol), the jocks (sports), and everyone else. There was blending, of course, but only by exception.

Highlights
The Apollo missions were followed closely by every class in our town’s handful of elementary schools. A TV would be rolled into the classroom and the news or special broadcasts were shown. Our town being originally settled in the 1830s is the first actual permanent settlement in the state, so there was a focus on the history of the westward expansion of the U.S., including our local history of the various native tribes and their trade with French fur traders and other Europeans using the Missouri River and Platte River as primary arteries for trade. The Lewis and Clark expedition was touched on in several years' curricula. Gym class, heavy snows, and school-sponsored holiday parties were celebrated by most everyone. The peak of the year was the Halloween party where we all dressed up for what we were going to wear out trick or treating and the school sent us out in the annual costume parade in the local neighborhood. Parents lined the streets to wave at the children in costume. We also got a visit from Santa who gave us all a mesh stocking with a few pieces of candy and cheap toy inside at the annual Christmas party. Each classroom held its own.

I’ll leave secondary schools for another time -- but I am still resentful we didn't have air conditioning in any of our schools when I grew up.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Dan, I loved reading that. You write beautifully, in a style that's enjoyable to read and easy to follow. (Also, as I read it, the voice in my head sounds like the voice that always narrated those nature films you mentioned.)

You brought back several memories: SAR reading labs, the dreaded dodgeball, televised space missions were given a respectful spotlight in the classroom, fire drills, playing the recorder... I bet you also had to say the Pledge of Allegiance. We sure did.

I find it strange that schools now close due to the air conditioning being down. Really?
 
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So much of this varies by location.  My kids are going through the same school district my husband and I did so I'm keeping an eye out for differences.  Cursive gets taught in 3rd grade which my eldest is very excited about.  I gave her a fountain pen for Christmas last year so she is very excited to use it for cursive practice this year. I suspect more differences will show up in middle school because I am not sure they still have the Home Ec and Industrial Arts offerings anymore.  I will know soon enough!
 
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Who remembers slide rules and log tables
 
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Ghislaine de Lessines wrote:So much of this varies by location.  My kids are going through the same school district my husband and I did so I'm keeping an eye out for differences.  Cursive gets taught in 3rd grade which my eldest is very excited about.  I gave her a fountain pen for Christmas last year so she is very excited to use it for cursive practice this year. I suspect more differences will show up in middle school because I am not sure they still have the Home Ec and Industrial Arts offerings anymore.  I will know soon enough!



You are right. There is a lot of difference due to locations and also a lot due to time periods.

I like that your child is excited to learn cursive. I loved practicing and trying to make my letters fancy, lots of big loops and squiggles. Whoever I had a crush on (do people still day that?), I would write his name over and over.

So, you remember Home Ec and Industrial Arts being offered in middle school. We could only take those in highschool.


David Livingston wrote:Who remembers slide rules and log tables



I remember playing with my older brother's slide rule at home. He used it in drafting class. In school, I had something similar, but not as functional and, I think, made of cardstock.

In trying to research that, I see they now have a slide rule museum. How about that?
 
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