February 17, 2010

Everything I know about keeping a home, I learned in Home Ec.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my Home Ec. classes that I took in junior high and high school. Yes, those were back in the days when it was called Home Ec. Now it is referred to as Family and Consumer Sciences.

I honestly believe that those classes were some of the most valuable classes that I ever took in preparing me for life. No matter what we do in our lives, knowing how to cook, bake, sew (especially to sew on a button), plan a meal and create a budget, are all great skills to have in your repertoire.

I took my first Home Ec. class in 7th grade in 1971. I remember baking muffins for the first time ever in that class. I also remember when we had a budgeted amount to spend on a meal and we had to purchase, cook, set the table and invite a teacher to come and join us for the meal. I learned to roast and carve my first turkey in that class. We were taught how to bake a cake from scratch and decorate it. An entire year was spent on the science of foods from cooking and baking and meal management to nutrition.

Then in 8th grade, it was clothing construction. I learned to sew that year and I remember that my very first project was making a stuffed animal – a frog. From there I made a top to wear with my ever stylish bell bottom jeans. Then we learned to sew other more difficult pieces of clothing. I began to sew all of my clothes in 8th grade. Our family didn’t have a lot of money, so learning to sew really helped with our family clothing budget. Also, I was able to wear a lot more stylish clothes because I sewed them myself.

We studied fabrics and textiles and learned how to wash clothes and why some fabrics needed to be dry cleaned and what dry cleaning really was. 7th and 8th grade Home Ec. classes were required. After that, all Home Ec. classes were elective.

I enrolled in Home Ec. classes throughout my high school years. My last Home Ec. class in my senior year taught me how to refinish furniture. This is another skill that has come in quite handy.

Yes, I have been looking back and thinking about everything I learned in Home Ec. such as: sewing, interior decorating, baking/cooking, learning cooking terms, cooking on a budget, dinner etiquette, goal setting, time management, consumerism, color and design, first aid, child development, budgeting, marriage and family, food and nutrition, clothing construction, meal management, child care, fashion, and textiles and designs. Everything I was taught in those classes has served me well in my life.

Home Ec. classes were becoming quite unpopular when I was in High School. It was 1974 so who needed Home Ec.? The Women’s Lib movement was in full gear and focusing on a career associated with the home was deeply frowned on. I didn’t care as I loved those classes.

Home Ec. prepared me for the future. I used everything I learned in those classes about keeping a home even when I was working full time. I refer back to some of the information I learned every now and then. Yes, I still have a notebook of my old Home Ec. syllabus and papers.

A few years back I noticed this book at Barnes and Noble and I snatched it up right away.

Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson

I love this book as it reminds me of all of my old Home Ec. textbooks and it is a book I refer to quite often. So, what skill did you learn in Home Ec. that you are using in your life right now?


A Joyful Chaos said...

Since my way of growing up was different from main stream America, I learned all my homemaking, gardening, sewing, and other skills from my parents at an early age.

So many fond memories!

Elizabeth said...

I love that book! I got it from PaperBackSwap for free and go through it all the time! :)