Don’t Let Home Ec Die – Why We Need to Teach Kids to Cook
(TFC) – With the classrooms filled with technology, students no longer have the opportunities to take basic classes like home economics (aka Home Ec – a class that used to be required core curriculum). But many still feel that it’s important for schools not to let Home Ec die. Why? Because you Home Ec teaches you life skills that aren’t taught anywhere else in most schools.
Skills? What Skills?
Home Ec class taught students lifelong skills they need to adapt and get by in the adult world. Most employers today utilize automatic transfer when they issue an employee’s paycheck, which means the individual needs to have a bank account. Many young adults have no idea how to balance a checkbook or manage their bank account when they graduate high school.
Knowing how to cook or even bake a cake is essential. If a person knows how to cook, they’ll not only eat better and healthier, but they will also have more control over their money. The better their cooking and baking skills, the less money and time will be spent on fast and processed foods. College students who know how to cook are less likely to go to school hungry, which can affect their learning capacity. Simple sewing skills are also important, particularly for those who live alone.
Home Ec is extremely important for teenagers and young adults for several reasons. The class not only teaches students life-long skills but also teaches them things and skills they may not learn at home. In the past, stay-at-home moms were very common, and it was a common expectation for them to teach these life skills to their children. Times have changed since then, and not all children have mothers who are willing or able to pass on those same skills.
When we make assumptions like this, the result is that children are often left to fend for themselves. They never learn basic homemaking skills like sewing, finances, cooking or baking a simple cake. Children enrolled in a Home Ec class have the opportunity to learn these valuable skills. With the divorce rate at an all-time high, many adults who were married for several years suddenly find themselves on their own, yet lacking the basic skills to get by.
Traditional vs. Modern Home Economics Classes
Home Economics was actually introduced into extension programs and classrooms more than 100 years ago. When it was taught in secondary schools, the class provided instructions on caring for the home, dressing well, eating healthy, spending money wisely and marriage preparation. It also included segments on cooking, money management, and sewing. While parts of Home Economics are still taught in many schools, there have been many changes to the class, including the name.
In many areas, the class is now called Family and Consumer Sciences (catchy, right?). The skills taught are different as well. The new version teaches some of the following:
- Food production and services
- Parenting and human development
- Housing and designs
- Textiles and fashion apparel
- Interpersonal relationships and family
- Nutrition, food, and wellness
- Early childhood education and resource management.
What the class fails to teach is basic skills like simple cooking, sewing, balancing checkbooks, or even baking a simple cake – all foundational skills that young adults need to survive in the world.
Schools that no longer offer Home Ec (or Family and Consumer Sciences) as part of their regular curriculum state that it’s not only parents that miss it but students as well. Whereas girls used to be the only students in Home Ec classes, now boys want to learn many of the things these classes offer offer. Let’s put it back in American classrooms. Now more than ever, students could use a traditional Home Ec class to help prepare them for the real world.