When you think of Home Economics, you probably think of sewing appliques and baking cupcakes. These classes originally acted as a bridge during the 20th century for women to enter into institutions of higher education and later into the work force. Today, however, Home Economics classes are so much more. The curriculum has changed nearly beyond recognition. These days these courses are found under FCS or FACE classes or Family and Consumer Sciences classes. Courses often include units on personal finance, career development, and how to be a responsible consumer.
According to QRCodestickers, health experts are alarmed at the rise in obesity in the nation, which is thought to be caused by a combination of factors like a sedentary lifestyle, prevalence of fast food, and the high use of overly processed foods in the home. A Home Economics class can teach anyone to prepare healthy and nutritious meals for themselves and their family no matter what their schedule. Home Economics classes can teach the latest research in nutrition and food safety. They can teach the proper ways to select, prepare, and cook vegetables, along with learning the different cuts of meat and how to prepare them.
Home Economics classes teach students not only how to cook but how to open bank accounts and balance a checking account. Modern classes have expanded to teach the difference between debit cards and credit cards, along with the importance of savings and retirement accounts, caloric values, and more. Modern classes break down the differences between IRAs, both traditional and Roth, and 401(k)s. Teachers also analyze the way the stock market works, so that students can make informed decisions when investing their money.
Some classes teach basic home repairs, childcare, family interactions, and even community service. Instead of a class for housewives, it is really a class in skills for real life and a great preparation for many careers. In our society where most children grow up with a mother who works outside the home, many of these skills are no longer being passed on from parent to child.
It is a growing belief that Home Economic classes need to be returned to high schools and universities across the country. But the reality is budgets have been cut, and a school would rather let go of a “soft” science rather than a “hard” science. Preparation for high school and college sometimes outranks preparation for life. And some believe Home Economics skills should be taught at home rather than at school.
Ruth Graham’s recent Boston Globe essay “Bring back home EC! The case for a revival of the most retro class in school,” isn’t talking about the Home Ec of the 1980s — she means a revitalized, contemporary Home Economics for all genders, one capable of at least exposing youth to basic skills that so many adults (i.e., their parents) lack: to shop intelligently, cook healthy, and manage money.
More young adults take part in taking care of the family. Whether it’s single parenting, long parental work hours, or a sharing of responsibilities, kids need to do more on their own. Preparing meals, following proper hygiene, basic cleaning skills, and balancing a checkbook all are needed in today’s world. The world of debt and credit is much more complicated than it used to be. And a simple task like sewing buttons on a pair of pants can sometimes be a lifesaver.
Encourage your school to carry at least one Home Economics or Family and Consumer Science course. Teach children the basics so they can take care of themselves in the future. And if that isn’t possible, get together with other parents and see if you can teach some basics of your own. Everyone is an expert at something. Share your practical knowledge with tomorrow’s generation.