Home Economics Class - A Highschool Subject Deserving of an Overhaul

After a lengthy online discussion about bankruptcy with a fellow blogger +Jared Strauss, I was inspired to write the following blog about the shortcomings of the high-school subject, Home Economics.

I admit that I never took Home Economics Class in high school. Instead, I took Fine Arts, which, as it turns out, became the more practical subject for me, since my past career was Creative Director in a communications department.

Boiling Eggs and Darning Socks

So what does Home Economics teach? Some of my friends took this class, and this is what they learned:

1. Basic cooking, like how to boil and fry and egg
2. How to follow a pattern and sew a dress.
3. How to take stains out of clothes.
4. How create a dinner menu and cook it.

Where is the "economics" in this class? Home economy (a.k.a. personal finance) should be covered in conjunction with the usual practical skills of cooking and sewing.

Practical Skills + Personal Finance

I hear your protests, those of you who have enjoyed Home Ec, but please hear me out! I don't mean budgeting to buy material and notions for a dress so that the final cost is below a certain number. How about introducing a monthly salary from which all home expenses must be paid? While budgeting the monthly food bill, students can learn how to apply for a store credit card, such as Target, which allows them to save 5% every time they make a purchase. They will also learn that store credit cards are much easier to acquire than a bank credit card. Every week, they can bring to class an item they purchased for free using a combination of store coupons and in-store sales. At the end of term, they could donate these items to charity.

Learning about Investing

When they get their first salary check, they can learn how to open up a bank account, an IRA, and a Roth account. Here, they will learn about the stock market, mutual funds, and other types of investments.

Life is a Game...To Win

Perhaps it could be a game, just like Hasbro's Game of Life, where with a roll of a die, a person gets married or has a child, and needs to find a home. Here, they can search Craigslist and the newspaper classifieds for an apartment they can afford. Other students are provided with an opportunity to purchase a house. Here they can learn about down payments, mortgages and credit scores. Guest speakers, such as loan officers, financial advisors, and accountants can provide real-world advice and comment on the financial choices the students have made. These experts can also cover subjects such as debt and bankruptcy - topics that adults will rarely discuss with young people.

With the addition of personal finance, Home Economics could become a valuable class for all high-school students, providing them with tools and skills to manage their financial future...

and how to boil an egg. :)

More Reading

Debt Relief Options – How to match them with your personality, by Jared Strauss

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