12 Classes You Took in the '80s That Your Kids Will Never Hear Of (PHOTOS)

Rona Gindin | Aug 7, 2015 Tweens & Teens

First they changed class names. English became language arts, and physics morphed into physical science. But there are plenty of other '80s subjects that no longer exist at all; others are barely hanging on.

And so we say goodbye to cake baking, roman numerals and Latin verbs. Goodbye typing, library research and driver's ed. Here are 12 school subjects from the '80s that don't really exist anymore.

Image ©iStock.com/CursedSenses    

  • Roman Numerals


    Kids today can barely tell time on an analog clock, so it shouldn't come as a shock that they've no use for Roman numerals. As a result these fancy digits don't earn much class time anymore. 

  • Cursive


    Before it was called cursive, it was script, handwriting or penmanship. It's hard to believe this was once something we aspired to, like writing in pen. Today cursive is an old-school stepchild. Teachers have no time to teach it nor the patience required when struggling to read it. As a result this form of pen-to-paper communication is hard to find in schools today.

  • Shop


    Back in the day, "shop" did not refer to amazon.com. It was a class where boys learned woodworking, drafting, and other ways to tinker in their garages. Eventually the name changed to the more serious-sounding Industrial Arts, and later, girls could play with tools in school, too. Shop grads are still banging hammers into their 60s, but their offspring don't get the drill at all. The class is virtually obsolete.

  • Home Economics


    In the '60s girls sewed aprons; in the '70s, halter dresses; and in the '80s, sweatpants. But sew they did. Budding homemakers also learned to bake biscuits and roll pie dough, among other "life" skills. Those HomeEc classes are no longer mandatory, which may explain why so many millennials toss shirts the second they lose a button. 

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  • Typing


    Remember "the quick brown fox"? If you spent a semester mastering the keyboard, you probably have some kick-ass typing skills. Those who skipped the curriculum are stuck at their PCs doing the old two-finger "hunt and peck."

  • Driver's Ed


    Some cars don't even have keys anymore. That's how far we've come since Driver's Ed. Students learned the basics in a classroom, then hopped in a car with a teacher, who sat in the "death seat." (Thankfully it had a second set of brakes.) 

  • Research Papers


    Back in the day high school was all about prom, parties, and trips to the library to research term papers. After checking out a stacks of books, you'd scribble on index cards and stress to the max before finally handing it in, complete with footnotes and a tidy bibliography. Scant schools require any of that today. Are kids lucky or gypped? Report back!

  • Library


    Schools still have libraries, but they're called media centers and have a lot fewer books. Now that kids can google their homework, few even know what the Dewey Decimal System is, which means they'll never hunch over a musty, wooden card catalog filled with typewritten cards, each one a clue to the tomes on the shelves. 

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  • Life Skills


    Paying your bills with an app sure is convenient, but there's nothing like writing a paper check. This was one of several "life skills" learned in the eponymous classes no longer taught in schools. From how to manage money to how to get through a job interview, kids today are on their own. Guess they could always ask Siri. 

  • Metric System


    We heard it every year: "The metric system makes sense. That's why the rest of the world uses it. We don't, but we will in the future." Grade after grade, we were forced to study everything from centimeters to Celcius. It seems schools gave up when the shift never happened. 

  • Latin


    Latin may not seem practical, but knowing it sure helps a person understand other languages, including English. Too bad only a few schools still teach the ancient tongue, and even then it's usually just to the overly ambitious students.

  • Riflery


    No, this is not a typo. In states such as Texas, riflery classes were common for a while. Students learned how to fire 22s in a basement gun range. Color Guards tote firearms to this day, but those tend to be plastic or wooden replicas designed for twirling. 

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