My absolute favorite subject in High School. I think at that point in my life I was already well grounded in the fact that I wanted to be a homemaker, a wife, a mother. I wanted to surround myself with a home and with the daily chores and matter of fact, my favorite game to play was the pretend homemaker.
I would take my dolls and place them in beds and cover them up, and I would take a corner of my bedroom (which I shared with my 3 brothers until I was 13 years old), and turn it into my pretend home. I had a very busy life, I went to work all day and then came home and changed from my high heels into slippers, said hello to all my children and got right into the business of picking up the house and fixing dinner.
It was where I felt most comfortable.
While other little girls dreamed of being princesses and their wedding days, I dreamed of being a homemaker. I know it may seem crazy to some, why would I want to imagine or yearn for a life of cleaning and messes and cooking???
But to me it was quite natural. It was something that was instilled in me from a very young age, and perhaps because I grew up with my greatgrandmother and grandmother, under their feet, watching them do their housework and prepare meals for 12 and 13 people at a time.
No dolls or doll houses for me when birthdays came around, I was very stern that what I wanted was pretend pots and pans.
So my grandmother would indulge me. We would take off walking towards the local market and I knew immediately which stall to head to. Filled with metal play pots and pans, in clear bags, I would reach up and point to the one that caught my eye, and my grandmother with a smile on her face would always say "Ok". I couldn't wait to get back to the house to try them out.
I guess in a sense I always knew that this was what I wanted. Old fashioned perhaps, but that's ok because I am blessed and truly privileged to have grown up in an era where homemaking and being a mother and wife was something to aspire to, and not something to look down on.
When I came to high school, math, science and geography were not subjects that I wanted to deal with. I looked forward to Home Economics and would have gladly spent all day long in that classroom.
Cooking, sewing, knitting, nutrition, the scientific part of food, what does what, the composition, where it comes from. Budgeting a home, cleaning and mending.
THAT was what I was into.
We all know that our teen years are some of the most important in that they shape us into what we will become as adults. They are crucial to our development and I believe that Home Economics and Wood Shop are pivotal in teaching some very important skills. Skills, that unfortunately have been lacking for a few decades, when these important subjects were removed from schools.
I learned so much. I was lucky in the sense that not only was I being taught some poignant lessons at school, but equally boosting those lessons at home with my greatgrandmother, grandmother and stepmother. Lucky girl that I was. Lucky girl was I!!!
So why exactly was Home Economics removed from schools, and when???
I'm certainly not going to get into a debate about feminism on my blog. But from what I've researched online, it seems that the idea of Home Economics for girls and Wood Shop for boys began being looked down on, as if it was something bad telling women that they should be in the home and good homemakers. Makes no sense to me, whether you are working in the home or out of the home, shouldn't you still know the same things???
What use is it for me if I work full time, to come home and not know the basics? Not know how to cook or how to mend a little hole in a perfectly good outfit?
When my daughter was born, I was so excited, I guess I was still under the illusion that she would be able to go to school and learn all of these great things too. I knew she would just love it and have as much fun as her mom. And then school rolled around and I realized that this was no longer available, and it truly saddened me, she was going to miss out on something so important.
Yes, she can learn these skills at home, and I do teach BOTH my daughter and my son, but it would have been even better if they had this as part of their curriculum too.
I will always fondly remember my Home Economics classes. We would bake cakes, or whole meals and it was quite funny because as I am Portuguese, me and the other Portuguese girls would cook up steaks and fries and fried eggs and salad and all these other goodies which would tempt the other girls in the classroom, they would hover over our station and "ooohhh and aaahhh" and ask us for help when they had a question.
My brothers and their friends would come and wait outside my classroom at the end of the day, and take whatever I had cooked/baked that day to detention, to eat LOL
I learned how to knit and remember knitting a bear for class. I was so very proud of mine. It looked very similar to this easy bear below, just that mine was white.
Source: Sweet Happy Life
I also had to make a skirt and it was intimidating at first, but thankfully, I had my seamstress grandmother at home to give me pointers and advice, and when I produced that black A-Line skirt to my teacher, I was equally proud that I had made something by my own hands, that I could wear.
Mending socks, mending a little hole on a pair of shorts, or a shirt, sewing a button, adding a zipper, using a sewing machine. LOVED it!
The one part that I didn't much care for, was the chemistry of food. I honestly disliked it, I felt like I knew what ingredients went well with what and that was all I needed to know. But honestly, I'm so glad I did do it because nowadays when I'm in the kitchen cooking a meal, I often remember little tidbits that I learned during that lesson.
But now, all that is gone....and I think what has resulted from this, is a generation of children who are unable to thread a needle, sew on buttons, do the laundry, or cook a very simple meal. Yes, I guess they could go online and in this day and age, find a plethora of websites showing them how, but is that really better than a class with hands on help from a teacher?
I know as parents it is our job to teach basic life skills, but why remove such an important subject from school???
It breaks my heart, because with the way things are now, and with so many people wanting to live simpler lives and go back to the basics, these lessons are sorely missed from schooling.
So, you bet your sweet behind that I'm teaching my children everything I know, and I'm going out of my way to make sure that they are equipped for their future.
Last year, we took Home Life which touched on things like cooking, banking, auto repair, woodworking etc. But I am going to expound on those this year.
My goal is for my children to know:
..... how to sew a simple button or at least do a quick mending of a hem or a little hole in their clothes.
..... cook a simple meal (though they already do a few)
..... write a check
..... check the oil, water in the car
..... improve their gardening (again, something they already do but could always learn more)
..... simple cleaning of a house
..... laundry (they already do this, but it doesn't hurt to do more)
These, and many more. I want them to learn that you don't throw out a perfectly good piece of clothing, just because you don't know how to sew on a button or mend a little tear in the seam.
I believe these skills cause us to do more with less and pay closer attention to our home environments. It may even improve our quality of life.
But now I want to know, what do you think of Home Economics? Did you do it in school, did you like it? Do you feel that it should still be available in our schools? Or do you think that it's something that the parents need to teach and not be taught by teachers?