I know I’ve been quiet over September, writers block! It seems to be clearing now and I am planning to do blogtober, YAY!
This 80’s post is a little different from my usual, it’s not about me. I am delighted to have the very first guest blogger on Phigella, Kari from Family By Choice please do check out Kari’s site, it’s amazing!
Like me Kari also grew up in the 80’s only, she grew up in the USA not the UK and although we had similar childhoods I thought it would be really interesting to look at School. Being the largest part of my 80’s childhood, School had a massive impact on me, continuing reading to find out about Kari’s 80’s school memories…
My great friend Phigella asked me to collaborate with her this week. I am not usually on this side of the guest posting so I was very excited to do this. One of her series is different perspectives of growing up in the 80s. I love it. The only downside is starting to feel like those people that talk about the good ole days. But looking back on things, I really do feel like the 80’s was one of the best and hardest decades to grow up in. So when she asked if I wanted to talk about school in the 80’s it was both nostalgic and challenging.
When I started to think back, I realized how much has and hasn’t changed. I thought about what my daughter, nieces and nephews are and are not learning. Not just in school but in life. I realized that era was the last era before technology came and wondering if it has made their lives better or worse.
It has also made me realize how much has changed due to educational funding. So many classes or clubs that we had the privilege of participating in are just not being offered any longer. And if they are offered, they are not what they used to be.
I remember when computers came to our school. We were brought into the library and had a class dedicated to teaching us what this machine was. At the time when things were new, we were taught how to use it by playing a game called “Oregon Trail.” Before Nintendo there was Atari that the kids were playing so I guess the school board thought video games were going to be the best way to learn how to use them. The game was on a floppy disk that you put into the desktop and basically you were a pioneer who had to take your family across the “trail” to set up a new life. Along the way you had to battle hunger, illness, animals and a whole host of terrible things. I can’t remember a single person ever surviving.
We also had vocational classes that due to school funding, has seem to become almost if not totally extinct. We had classes like Home Ec where you were taught to cook and sew. This class had mostly girls in it. Then there was Woodshop, Masonry, Auto Mechanics and Agriculture. There were not many girls in these classes. You were either going to college or going into the workforce after graduation, so you were offered classes to start getting you prepared.
One thing that I have not understood no longer being taught is cursive writing. I started homeschooling my daughter when she was in fifth grade and it was around that time that I found this out. It is sad to think that kids no longer need to know this as long as they can “swipe right.”
Speaking of homeschool that was not something you did. There was usually a very negative reason for a person that was homeschooled. I am so glad that it has become more mainstream, but it is a long way from the negative opinions of the past.
There were a lot of afterschool clubs at that time because your only other option was to take the dreaded long bus ride home to an empty house as you were known as a latch key kid. Both parents were now working or there were a lot of single moms working as this was the decade when divorce was more mainstream. I think so many of us grew up faster than we expected because we were taking care of ourselves or siblings. We did not have cellphones so we had to pretty much stay at the house until a parent came home.Unfortunately, bullying was just as big a problem then as it is now. One of the only differences is that back then you knew who your attacker or haters were and there was usually either an all-day event of trying to avoid your bullies or an after school showdown. Now anyone with a device and an opinion can hate you or make you feel bad about yourself with one keystroke.
What will probably never change no matter what decade you grow up in, is thinking how hard things are for you in that moment. Was it better than, sometimes I think it was simpler then? We didn’t know any different. When I look back then I remember the “Cold War, “doing drills in case of a nuclear war and waiting and hoping that the Presidents would chose peace. Today, you have to worry about whether a kid at school brought a gun. During that time, kids were seen and not heard. There was no discussion about mental health.
When we were in school, teachers did not have all the paperwork and obligations they do now. There are more days off so they can go to meetings, conferences, or just need those days to work on that paperwork.
Did we have a better education in the 80’s or are the kids today getting a better education? I would love to hear what you think!
Thank you again so much Phigella for giving me this opportunity to write about something different!
I’d really like to say a big thank you to Kari for doing this, even across the sea our school days are similar! If you have a moment, do go check out Kari’s site, it wont disappoint.