Bring back home ec
March 14, 2017 4:45 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in finding all sorts of online things (blogs, newspapers, community discussion/projects, photos, videos) around the idea of bringing back home economics. I know that Lichtenstein & Ludwig published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 which has been cited by over 130 people since, but I really want non-academic sources.

I don't want to necessarily focus on cooking and sewing. Home economics is also known as family and consumer sciences and (according to wikipedia) "is the profession and field of study that deals with the economics and management of the home and community. The field deals with the relationship between individuals, families, and communities, and the environment in which they live."

I think one of the things I'm stuck on are reasonable synonyms for the terms "home economics" and "bring back". "Family and consumer sciences" just doesn't have the same nostalgic feel as Home Ec does, does it?

So basically, I want resources around the concept that if we taught home skills in school (or the community), people would be better off.
posted by b33j to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
"Family and Consumer Sciences" -- or FACS -- is definitely the current term, and communities take to it pretty quickly. It's pretty popular to buy a "module" system at the junior high level; kids spend nine weeks in the elective (and around the rest of the year, maybe nine weeks in health, nine weeks in art, etc.). You kit out a "lab" for it, but instead of a "home ec" room with 10 cooking stations and 10 sewing stations, it has one cooking station, one sewing, one early childhood, one health-and-fitness, one plumbing, etc., and kids rotate around each station week-to-week. The kids like it because it's very hands-on and there's a lot of variety. Curricula typically include a LOT of STEM stuff (both real-life math -- calculate the medicine dosage for your baby's weight! plan a healthy diet that meets these calorie and nutrient numbers! double this recipe! -- and underlying scientific concepts). It may also be called "life skills" (in wealthier districts; in poorer districts "life skills" is understood to refer to special ed programs for kids with serious limitations) or "career choices" or something like that, since part of the idea is to introduce kids to the many more career areas than they may be familiar with.

(At the high school level, these electives are still popular, although there you'll tend to spend 9 weeks or a whole semester on one single unit -- a whole quarter of cooking, a whole quarter of sewing, a whole quarter of auto shop, etc.)

Most major K-12 publishers have some out-of-the-box curriculum options, and there are specialty outfitters as well who sell the curriculum and the lab kit-out and the consumables. Here's one specialty place. The publishers typically have a lot of sales material you can use to try to sell your school district on it. (Although really it's not a hard sell -- most parents and especially older voters lament the loss of home ec and want it back. The LACK of nostalgia in the name "FACS" is part of the sell -- parents of girls are leery of their daughters being tracked into a home ec track. But a co-ed FACS curriculum just seems like good sense.)

Here's some popular press articles: Boston Globe, HuffPo, MoJo, UofM press release, Slate.

"I think one of the things I'm stuck on are reasonable synonyms for the terms "home economics" and "bring back". "Family and consumer sciences" just doesn't have the same nostalgic feel as Home Ec does, does it?"

Try "Get the FACS!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:04 PM on March 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Human ecology might be a term you're looking for
posted by saturdaymornings at 6:24 PM on March 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm sorry, I wasn't entirely clear. I'm looking for calls "to bring back Home Ec/FACS", rather than resources for Home Ec/FACS.

Disclosure: I've been editorial admin for the International Journal of Home Economics for the last 10 years.
posted by b33j at 6:35 PM on March 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't have specific resources, but searching "adulting classes" might produce some leads. Good luck!
posted by quixotictic at 8:40 PM on March 14, 2017

The older term in the UK and Ireland was "Domestic Science", so that might help in your searches.
posted by Azara at 4:51 AM on March 15, 2017

I don't know if this exactly what you're looking for, but a high school in my area is now requiring a financial literacy class for graduation, which I personally would consider part of home ec. The article mentions that later this year the state senate will be reviewing "a bill requiring the education department to authorize and assist in implementing financial literacy requirements."
posted by john_snow at 1:48 PM on March 15, 2017

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