I had a handful of truly AMAZING teachers in high school. They went above and beyond to talk to me and other students about what happened in our real lives and curiosities we had that weren't always related to the work we had before us.
But it seems to me there's a general giant gap in the most public high school curriculums that even the greatest, most involved teachers can't necessarily fill. Some of these items I'm listing were touched on in high school but... I should have learned about these things in detail. You know, considering they're ALL affecting my everyday life a lot more than the War of 1812.
Basically Everything About Finances
How do I create a budget? What are investments? What's an IRA? What if I take out loans for college? How do I manage my credit score? Plan for retirement?
Oh, and also, what the heck do I do when I find out my finances may be in danger because of an Equifax hack? Rely on John Oliver, that's what.
These are clearly important things to know about! I wonder how other people learn them?
Great Internet Resources for Finances:
4 Best Personal Finance Apps as of October 2017 // Five Essential Apps to Track Your Spending, Save Money, and Pay Your Friends // 6 Personal Finance Apps that are Better than Mint // Nerdwallet
Also How to Figure out Taxes
So technically, this is still in finances but I think it's worth its own category.
I'm not sure taxes came up in high school at all. But I remember the first time I realized I had to file. Sitting in front of my computer like... wait... what?
Great Internet Resources for Taxes: Top Tax Apps: 7 Best Mobile Apps to Organize and File Taxes // 10 Apps to Use Now to Make Taxes Easier Next Year // The Best Free Mobile Tax Apps of 2017
Everything About Insurance
Also within the range of finances... but different, too. Health insurance. Car insurance. Renters insurance. Life insurance.
How did the practice of insurance start? What do insurance companies actually do with my money? What kinds of insurance do I need? What if I can't afford insurance? What happens if I don't have any insurance? When I do want and can afford insurance, how do I find the best insurance for me?
Remember what I said about the first time I realized I had to file taxes? Insert this for the day I realized it was time for me to have my own insurance, lol.
Great Internet Resources for Insurance: NPR (answer to all) // Please Steal My Car: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast (start at 14:11) // Planet Money: The Fine Print
ACTUAL Sex Ed + Sex Health + Birth Control Information + What Having a Baby Means
Teenagers should know what sex is, what healthy/unhealthy sex patterns are, the realities and risks of STIs and pregnancy, how and when someone can get pregnant and what it practically means to start a family at any age.
I mean everything from the anatomy (which was the bare minimum that I did learn), to all the ways how not to get pregnant (not just don't have sex or "here's a condom"), to how much it costs to just diaper a child (apparently about $72 a month).
More than that, by the time we graduate high school everyone should know how to take care of their bodies whether they're not having sex at all, or having sex frequently.
Teaching teens about sex doesn't mean they'll all start right then. Pressure to become sexually active exists for many teens whether they know much about sex or not, whether they'd even put
that language to it or not. If we took all that out of the dark and into the open, we'd have a lot less surprises, in our teen years and beyond.
Great Internet Resources for Sex Info:When Did Porn Become Sex Ed // This App Takes A New Approach To Sex Ed: Fun // 7 Sex-Ed Apps You Didn't Know You Needed // OMGYes // TED: Sex Ed for Adults // Fertility Info You SHOULD HAVE Learned in High School
The Options of Self-Directed Learning + Work
School should do this naturally, but especially with the rise of standardized testing... I think it's rare, realized by students either through a thoughtful adult or their own sheer force of will.
I've talked to so many people my age who felt like school was just a conveyer belt to a job, rather than a conduit to a calling.
I think I always kind of knew in the back of my head that I could work for myself one day if I wanted to. But it felt entirely out of reach until the day I started doing it. Why?
Great Internet Resources for Learning: Khan Academy // TED // Skillshare // Lynda // Curious
ACTUAL U.S. History and How to Be Effectively Politically Engaged Today
Once upon a time, a really amazing explorer found this magical land. He had a colorful dinner with the cool brown people he met there. They were like, "Hey! Cool, new friends! Let's all live together." Everything was totally cool after that. Then a bunch of time went by and some really amazing white men threw tea into some water in Boston to tell the British to get lost and started the most amazing country ever, the United States. Okay, yeah, for a while we had this uncool "slavery" thing, but then the Civil Rights Movement came and we fixed that. Now we have a really awesome, totally fair judicial branch, legislative branch and executive branch, where all these great judges and Senators and Representatives and the President make everything happen for the best of everyone in our country.
That's basically what I learned about the U.S. in school from the start to life today. Because that's not true, I've found these resources.
Great Internet Resources for U.S. History + Political Engagement Today: More Perfect // NPR One // The Skimm // Stuff You Missed in History Class // Countable // Votespotter // Voter
How to Cook + Eat Healthy
So first of all, I'm not a cook. I'm too ADD in the kitchen for my own good. If I'm cooking and I get a blog idea, I'm gonna have a half-written blog post and last minute delivery for dinner. I've accepted it.
Still, everyone should know what a healthy plate of food looks like and some basic ways to get there without jumping through hoops of culinary fire or spending and arm and a leg.
As for me, for now, I've melted hopefully into the arms of Blue Apron. We'll see if this relationship lasts.
Great Internet Resources for Healthy Eating: Best Nutrition Apps of the Year // Fooducate // Eating Well // My Food Stamps Cookbook // Choose MyPlate
What do you wish you would have learned about in high school? What resources did I miss? Tell me about it in the comments below! ☀️