“You’re so domestic” and other reflections on home economics

Saying goodnight at the door he hugged me and said, “You’re so domestic.” Uh, “Thanks”, I guess. Not exactly the sort of thing a twenty-two-year-old wants to hear. I think we went on one more date after that, but I’m not sure.

Its the kind of thing I should’ve been used to. Being a Home Economics Education major, I’d heard all the things about what I was pursuing. I had to develop a tough skin because at the time my chosen field wasn’t exactly valued. Even after landing a job teaching home economics to high school students, I learned right away that most people dismissed my courses as just electives, nothing college-bound kids needed to learn. After all, it fell under Career and Technical Education, a place for those students who needed a trade right out of high school.

Fast-forward to 2019 and post after post and articles galore cry out for the return of home economics classes, and ways to teach college students how to “adult”. Hello! That class exists and it’s called Family Consumer Science (FCS).

Home Economics re-branded itself as “Family Consumer Science” in the 90’s- though obviously, it didn’t work well if people don’t know it exists! The classes themselves are called things like Child Development, Culinary Arts, Nutrition and Wellness, Fashion Design, Interior Design, Personal Finance, and yes, these are the kinds of that teens and young people need to know in order to “adult” successfully.

So why aren’t more students aware of these classes, and why aren’t schools requiring at least one year of a class that prepares them to be successful in all of the personal areas of life- relationships, food preparation, personal finance?

I think one obvious answer is the push to load kids up on college-prep classes and also dual-credit classes (college 101 classes taken in high school) that leave little room in a schedule for electives. And then, home ec classes are just not as important to kids as taking athletics or band or theater as an elective. It’s a weird mix of things, but in my humble opinion, everyone should have to take a basic adulting prep class!

This weekend I’ll have the great privilege of volunteering at the State FCCLA Conference in Dallas, Texas. FCCLA stands for Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, which is the way that the home economics field chose to “re-brand” their student¬†organization, Future Homemakers of America. Much like the name change in the 90’s of the field, this reflects the broader reality of today’s students and future leaders.¬†

Like other related Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO), such as DECA for Business and FFA for Agriculture, FCCLA student leaders are among some of the most impressive young people, pursuing service and leadership opportunities throughout the nation. My daughter, Elizabeth, is serving as a state officer, and the impact that FCCLA has had on her personal growth and development is amazing. She’s my youngest child and will be graduating next year, so I am truly blessed to get to be with her this weekend, supporting all that she and the other students are doing in FCCLA.

Those are my thoughts and some of the reason my class schedule is a bit late getting posted. Kids keep us running, don’t they? How about you- did you participate in FCCLA or FHA in high school? Did you take any home ec classes or do you wish you had?

Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Come to the Table! Much love, Julie