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.
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.