When I was in Grade 7 and 8 in Toronto, home economics was mandatory at my school. All students took classes together, making birdhouses, clocks and chess boards out of wood to the delight of our proud parents. We’d surprise them further by announcing, “I’m making dinner tonight”, even though they begrudgingly chewed on cardboard-like pizza that our little hands kneaded – God knows what germs were lurking under our fingernails.

I remember learning how to thread a sewing machine, which does not come naturally and takes quite a bit of patience and practice! Pillsbury-dough wrapped hot dogs and macaroni and cheese may not have been the healthiest of choices back in 1985, but we knew how to prepare a meal from prep to finish.

When kids today don’t know how to crack and egg or toast bread, there is something seriously wrong.

Should Schools Bring Back Home Economics?

Yes. Let’s bring back home economics to schools.

Many kids aren’t being taught how to cook at home, using fresh ingredients from the grocery store. Some kids can’t sew a button on a shirt, let alone know how to operate a sewing machine. While shop isn’t necessarily a life skill, it was a way to express our creativity, and build and create something with our own hands.

Our kids are experts in navigating a world in Minecraft, but have no idea how to boil a kettle of water!

Food and nutrition, managing personal finances, and household management  are all important life skills that kids can take with them throughout high school and into adulthood.

The New Brunswick Medical Society is calling on the provincial government to reintroduce mandatory home economics as a way to make the population healthier, based on the results of a public survey. According to the report, adding mandatory home economics classes to the school curriculum was the top suggestion among the 795 people who participated in the survey.

Many young adults lack the knowledge and skills to cook healthy meals. Packaged and fast foods aren’t a healthy solution; which also contributes to our growing obesity rates.

About 43 per cent of people say they don’t regularly cook for their families, according to a survey commissioned by the Dietitians of Canada. Meanwhile, a third of young adults cannot change a light bulb while a quarter admit they can’t even boil an egg, according to a survey!

Fewer than one-third of 18- to 29-year-olds say they feel confident in the kitchen, according to a survey funded by Sobeys.

Let's Bring Back Home Economics to Schools
Chess board I made in shop class Grade 7/8

Why not teach your own kids at home?

As our daily work and home lives are busier than the hours we have, it becomes more difficult to pass domestic skills on to our children. Making home economics mandatory, all kids would have the same opportunity of important life skills that will benefit them as adults.

Home ec would offer a way to take theories and put them to practice; how the skills and knowledge they learn in the classroom have real life value, like in the kitchen and the grocery store.

Home economics could help teach kids to read food labels, cook with healthy ingredients, and learn how to budget. Kids could apply math during a cooking session, with measuring and weighing ingredients – like 8 ounces of water, or 250 grams of flour. Also, science when heating and cooling ingredients, turning solids into liquids etc., Reading a recipe correctly can help kids follow directions.

 

What do you think? Should schools bring home ec classes back?

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is Publisher/Editor of amotherworld. Follow her on Twitter @amotherworld and @lifeandtravelca.

7 Comments

  1. nicolthepickle Reply

    I agree. I think it’s vital that everyone learns the basics, although I’m terrible at using the sewing machine.
    I think a big part of this is letting your children try what they want to try.

  2. I would love to see schools teach more real life skills. In our school district, the kids do have options like foods, construction, leadership, etc. but I would like to see it all be mandatory instead of them just taking whatever fits into their class schedule. My oldest had to take the exact same construction class for three consecutive semesters because his schedule didn’t work with any other options!

  3. I love home economics when I was back in school. Teaches kids not focus on just eletronics nowaways and cooking skills are important as well.

  4. I love cooking and when my grandson is over he is cooking with me. He does very well. My parents both cooked and I think it is important for everyone to know how and safely and of course to their skills. My grandson shows much pride in his cooking and it is time spent together.

  5. I agree , really wish they would , its great they learn the math , spelling , all things they need , but a few more real everyday life skills would be great ! Id love to see gardens in school yards, thats another great skill

  6. Jeane Campbell Reply

    I know my grandkids love to cook. (they all watch the food network shows) I think that classes that teach life skills are so important. When they move out, many don’t have the basic skills to live on their own.

  7. Absolutely yes it should be mandatory, it should never have been taken out of schools. I took it and learned many life necessary skills. So many kids for years now don’t have parents at home or parents that care enough about them to teach them what they need to learn about cooking, sewing, measuring skills in the kitchen which help in other areas as well.
    When I graduated in 1977 you learned so much more in schools then than you do now. It is just babysitting now.

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