Bring It Back

Young boy peeling potato

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Sep 13, 2020

It may have seemed slightly meaningless at the time, but boy did it ever come in handy later. And now as a mother, I would vote to BRING IT BACK.  ASAP.

Home Ec.  Home Economics.  Family Studies.  It goes by different names.  You remember the class right?  It was part of the curriculum in grade 7 or 8 depending on where you lived.   It was dubbed the “easy even cheesy” class where we were taught how to sew, bake, use a tool or two and learn a little about money matters.

I remember my Grade 8 Home Ec. teacher.  She seemed like the most relaxed person in the building.  Shouldn’t teaching life skills be more stressful?  I recall thinking how most of my classmates and I truly enjoyed what we were being taught because it was a little different from the standard academic fare.  Plus we all got to make those customary wood carvings, which some of us may still have!

Home Ec. has not existed in most public, elementary schools that I am aware of for years.  It’s dropped by the wayside like regular gym class, library class, band and a few others.  So sad.

It wasn’t exhaustive by any means but it did expose students to everyday life skills like — cooking, working with their hands and budgeting — things we rely on daily that are now frankly absolutely lacking —- and not just in the curriculum.   Teens, youth, adults need to be exposed to these skills for a litany or reasons.  Being able to prepare a meal, heck even fry an egg should be a skill that everyone should have.  I once met a person who said, “if you can read, you can cook.”  I thought to myself truer words were never spoken.

These are life and in some cases survival skills.  Even more important one could argue is learning how to manage money — especially in the debt-ridden world we live in.  If parents can’t or aren’t equipped to teach these skills at home, let the kids at least be exposed to them at school.  Heck, I’d vote to expand home ec to beyond one year or two.  I’m sure there are quite a few other parts of the curriculum that could be dropped for something this relevant.

How many households are there where both parents know what they are doing when it comes to:  cooking, managing money, doing laundry, working with tools. changing a flat tire?  We’re not all going to be experts at everything but that’s really not the point.

Many kids learn better through seeing and doing.  At the very least they will hopefully develop some kind of appreciation for the life skill being taught.  Maybe that’s why Montessori schools are so wildly popular these days.  They teach these everyday living skills from day one.

Exposure is a good thing after all, isn’t it?

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