Bring Back Home Ec (and Shop Class)


Marion Nestle (via Apartment Therapy) quotes a paper by Harvard pediatrician David Ludwig and Tufts professor Alice Lichtenstein that suggests home economic classes be reintroduced to schools.

Girls and boys should be taught the basic principles they will need to feed themselves and their families within the current food environment: a version of hunting and gathering for the 21st century. Through a combination of pragmatic instruction, field trips, and demonstrations, this curriculum would aim to transform meal preparation from an intimidating chore into a manageable and rewarding pursuit.

But while we are at it, perhaps we should consider bringing back shop class too.

While the girls were in Home Ec, the boys were in shop. I wasn't very good at it and once set my hair on fire with a propane torch, but learned useful skills, how not to chop off my fingers on a circular saw, and I build my uncle a lovely pipe rack. They are skills that help people repair and repurpose, and of course, do it yourself. There are many who may have decided in shop class that they enjoy working with their hands.

Shannon Hayes, in her essay The Work Ahead, writes that farming is hard work, but that " It's time we embrace dirty hands." But farmers will tell you that it is not just the home ec side, the planting and growing, but also the fixing and mending and keeping the stuff running. It is time to bring back both Home Ec and Shop Class; just mix up the sexes this time, boys and girls need both.

Tags: Cooking | Do It Yourself | Education

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