For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have survived by knowing, and passing on, basic life skills. No one questioned the relevance of being able to cook, identify nutritious and tasty plants, build new structures, and manage resources. In today’s fast-paced world, however, these skills are rarely taught at schools and universities. As a result, concerned citizens are requesting Family and Consumer Sciences be re-integrated into the modern teaching model. After all, how could more people knowing basic life skills be a bad thing?
Family and Consumer Sciences were first offered to instruct young boys and girls on traditional family values. Girls were taught how to cook, sew, clean, and manage a budget. Boys were primarily taught how to build and fix things, use drills, hacksaws, and work with metal and wood. In the 1960’s, as women’s liberation rose, the classes were deemed unfeminist. With the majority of attendees being female, attendance fizzled out.
Home Economics classes are still taught at some schools and universities, but far less often. Furthermore, the content is considered “diluted” and rolled into one or several undergraduate courses, such as Family Studies, Food, and Nutrition, or Health and Safety. The Salt reports: “These courses haven’t gone away entirely, but their presence in schools is dwindling. In 2012 there were only 3.5 million students enrolled in FCS secondary programs, a decrease of 38 percent over a decade.”
Omitting classes from the curriculum which instruct on basic life skills has created problems. For example, some folks don’t do their taxes because they simply don’t know how. In addition, many people throw out household items, leaving them to decompose in landfills, likely because they don’t know how to fix (or have someone else fix) them. Finally, the average family eats out more than they dine in, often because they lack the know-how or motivation to cook nutritious meals at home.
There is no arguing that courses such as English, history, and arithmetic are vital. However, students are being stripped of the opportunities to know life skills which could help them succeed long-term. Of course, if these skills are so essential to survival, teenagers and adults have the capacity to use the internet and learn them. Free resources like Google, educational websites, and even free courses online contain treasure troves of content.
What do you think? Should Home Ec and Shop classes be revisited in schools? Or, do you think the courses would be beneficial for understudies? Please comment your thoughts below.
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