As my 20-year old high school reunion was growing closer, I reminisced about all the classes that have remained with me from then until now In my early 30’s. Rare are the days when I need to solve math problems or technical equations (that I still don’t understand) to help me to function in my average adult days.
There was also home economics or you can use the updated name, Family and Consumer Sciences. These classes always had a lot of offer to us. Because I’m a woman I might sound a little bit biased, but I absolutely loved all the things that I learned in home economics like baking, taking care of pseudo baby doll, learn to sew and patch holes in clothes and by far my favorite, doing the laundry. Home economics basically taught boys and girls the basics of taking care of ourselves and our future families. Maybe we didn’t understand back then but we all benefited from the things learned in Home Economics. Makes me wonder then why are these courses today fading away from the modern curriculums?
Skills to Last a Lifetime
Maybe the reason behind the decline is because today these classes are considered “regressive” and they have place in modern education. Or another reason may be that schools are forced to focus on common core and proficiency-based learned with limited funding. But the question remains – would these classes help teens become more responsible and well-adjusted adults rather than making them depend on others?
Sure, English Math and history are very important. But teens start taking more responsibility in High-School. Home economics was great because it taught teens about safety, cooking and most importantly, financial discipline. The things they learned there would transfer in their lives outside of school and make them smart consumers.
Many would say that these classes should be mandatory. Home economics should be the same as health safety and physical education, mandatory. It’s to no-one’s surprise that learning to cook, having household budgets and the skills to work with basic hand tools is beneficial. And this skills are also Invaluable to both Men and Women.
The ‘Modern Day’ Home Economics
Today it seems like high-schools are limited in the specific home economics courses. Students are now presented with options to choose related subjects like Family Studies, Food and Nutrition, or Health and Safety. NPR’s “The Salt” wanted to investigate the subject of home economics, they explored the transition from the old-school home economics to the different versions kids study today.
The report states, “These courses haven’t gone away entirely, but their presence in schools is dwindling. In 2012, there were only 3.5 million students enrolled in Family Consumer Science secondary programs.” which is a 38 percent decrease. Susan Turgeson, President of the Association of Teacher Educators for Family and Consumer Sciences, told NPR, “Classes may now include subjects such as community gardening, composting, and even hydroponics- things you never would have seen in a 1950’s classroom.” (1)
Making Old New Again
It’s crucial to take the skills and tools once learned in Home Economics and transfer them to the next generation. This will without a doubt benefit future generations. Just imagine how amazing would be if they knew how to shop on a controlled budget? How it will change their shopping decisions if they knew how interest rates work on credit-cards? Have we lost the simple skill of preparing a meal for ourselves or unexpected guests? The knowledge and tools to properly grow from childhood to adulthood are not only beneficial but the impact it has for the future will make a better functioning society
Do you think these classes would be helpful today, and more importantly do you think these classes should be mandatory?