Oct 12, 2017

My Rehaul of the High School Curriculum

My mom suggested that I do a post about useful things I didn't learn until well into adulthood.  I was struggling to come up with ideas and then I bastardized it and turned it into this instead, BUT I kept Momma's tips in the relevant categories.

Social Studies => Political Science

Less focus on dates and names and more on the reasons why things happened and a comparison of historical events to current ones.  The whole point of history is supposed to be so we can avoid repeating it, right?  So let's learn why it happened, not just what happened.

Home Economics => How to Survive On Your Own

Less perfecting your fudge lava cake recipe and more meal planning, budgeting, laundry, and how to take care of yourself.  My mom made us do our own laundry and it wasn't until my younger sisters went to college that I learned that many of their peers had no idea how.  No college students should be going home on weekends so their parents can do their laundry (and those parents probably shouldn't enable them - using a free washer is one thing, folding your 20-year-old's dirty underwear is just ridiculous).

Tip from Momma: Instead of guessing which corner of a fitted sheet is which, look for the manufacturer's washing instructions tag. It goes in the lower right corner (as you face the bottom of the bed).

Also: Plastic wrap containers have perforated tabs on each end that you can punch in to keep the roll in place when you dispense the wrap.

Computers/Typing => Job Hunting

Sure, students will probably have to learn Microsoft Office at some point.  But typing?  Come on, they'll learn that on their own.  Teach kids something useful (especially for those who aren't planning on college) and help them build resumes, practice interview skills, and show them where job search sites are.

Health => Still Health but with a Parenting Component

I think it's good to learn about STDs and drugs and so on.  But instead of giving students a math lesson ("Every time you have sex, you have a [insert surprisingly low number here] chance of getting pregnant"), make them take care of babies for a week or two.  Although I will say that the birth video is spot on as a warning for safe sex.

Gym => Exercise & Nutrition

I didn't learn that the food pyramid is outdated until I was an adult and doing my own health research.  How many overweight teenagers struggle with dieting, starvation, and diet pills instead of simply eating healthier food???  I know I was one.  And introducing teenagers to badminton seems far less important than teaching them about keeping their bodies fit.  Active vs dynamic stretching!  Avoiding injury while weight lifting.  How to use a food tracker and what's healthy weight loss or gain looks like.

Driver's Ed => Driving & Car Maintenance

We need to learn to drive, yes, but also what to do in an emergency.  How to change a flat tire, check your fluids, where the spare is located in a car, and so on.  I don't think everyone needs to know how to do an oil change, but what AAA is, how much a tow costs, and whether your insurance has free roadside assistance are all good to know.

Tip from Momma: Every car... including your rental car... has a little arrow by the gas gauge telling you which side the gas cap is on.

Language Arts => Reading, Writing, & Logic

Grammar is important!  I will not argue that point.  Bit I will argue that memorizing vocabulary words for the SATs and DSTPs is probably less important than critical thinking skills.  Also, how to write compelling copy!  Not that everyone needs to get into marketing, but I feel cheated that I made it to college before I learned what a "hook" is.  Also that every essay should have a point - my high school teachers were happy to let me write inane compare-and-contrast essays that had absolutely no purpose.

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