Practical Education in High School
How do you actually equip your high school student with a practical education? We all want education to be practical, right? No one wants to simply learn “useless” facts that have no application to real life.
Furthermore, the high school years are formative for your student’s career, community, and overall growth in life. If there was ever a time to educate them “practically” it would be now.
How can you provide a practical education for your high school student?
This is something that I’ve written about before but I bring it up again because it’s crucial to a practical high school education.
Project-based education is essentially built on the principle of “learning by doing”. It seeks to not only find a practical application for the knowledge being learned but it actually seeks to learn that knowledge through application.
As your student begins to think through the type of things they want to pursue after high school it can be very helpful to start “trying them on”. You can do this through project-based education. Rather than just reading about non-profit management, for example, encourage them to volunteer with a local non-profit and get hands-on experience!
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Education and Direction
Another element of education that should be incorporated into high school is that of direction. We are not just learning about shapes and colors anymore. We are seeking to establish a strong foundation for the rest of life, including work, life purpose, relationships, and community.
As a result, the process of finding direction and thinking about the future should be incorporated into a high school education. Students should be prepared to approach big life decisions using critical thinking and practical wisdom.
This has to happen at some point anyway. And training your student in this critical thinking during high school prepares them well for big decisions in the future while contributing to their education in the present. High school subjects will introduce students to ideas and concepts that require critical thinking and oftentimes, more discernment than elementary subjects.
We can all laugh at the ridiculous world of mathematical word-problems. When Johnny has 85 watermelons and adds 38 more, we have a problem. (And not just a mathematical one!) But as students reach high school these word-problems ought to transition from the bizarre arithmetic of the fruit market into the practical problems that our students will actually end up facing. We can teach geometry in the context of carpentry. We can also apply Algebra to real-world situations.
Math is just one example. We could say the same for history or foreign language. While we can learn to say “the dog is red” in Spanish, what use is this for the real world? Wouldn’t it be more effective to learn conversational Spanish? History no longer offers only dates and the names of kings and battles, it teaches lessons about not repeating the same mistakes as previous generations and learning the context for our own lives now.
This approach to education places emphasis on the principles underlying the facts. And we can use principles to approach and solve problems more effectively.
Want to dive deeper into project-based education for high school? Download this eBook for FREE! The resource includes 50+ project ideas for your high schooler.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.