Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Home Economics

I have come to realize that Home Ec is/was totally misunderstood. Most of you know that I was a Home Economics Education major. Yes, I can sew, cook, garden, make a home, cane chairs, refinish furniture, raise children with an understanding of child development, etc., but today I attended a luncheon with a program that helped me understand why Home Ec is dead. I went to a YWCA awards program with hundreds of attendees along with dozens of women leaders present. During the two hour program several beneficiaries of the YWCA shared their testimonies highlighting some of the life-changing programs developed by the Y. I was totally offended by one presentation by two young girls who said their moms told them to take Home Ec but they preferred math and science. They didn't have to be homemakers when they could be engineers or scientists. Home Economics is a science - or did someone forget to tell these girls?

Anyone who majored in Home Economics will tell you that classes in nutrition and diet and disease are not simply fluff. While most folks getting an undergrad degree have to take biology and chemistry classes, Home Ec majors were required to take the pre-med chemistry series. For some reason it was important for us to understand HOW soap was made and how it chemically bonded with grease. This can be important when trying to clean up a greasy dish or pan. As a Home Ec major we studied time management and motion in order to be more efficient. In order to graduate, we had to live in the Home Management house with our teacher, planning parties and entertaining, planning, shopping and preparing all meals (on a budget), working on home projects, cleaning the house while taking a full course load (and being observed and graded on how well we handled the stress of it all. Talk about multi-tasking). Meanwhile the science majors enjoyed a student's life. Home Ec folks were required to study the wiring of appliances, take art classes, finance and budgeting classes, demonstrations and presentations, child development, the exceptional child and counseling. I can't imagine a more well-rounded curriculum. I left Berry College feeling so confident knowing that whatever I decided to do, I would be able to do. What a shame that today's generation doesn't know or understand what Home Economics really was.

It is with great pride I say that I'm a Home Economics major - just wished the major still existed. The photos are of Catherine Cottage - my Home Management House residence. It was a log cabin built by the boys of Berry Schools. To learn more about the cottage, click here
Just imagine handwaxing floors and walls and caning chair bottoms while going to school. It was a wonderful experience - what I wouldn't give to do it again! Long live Home Economics!!!


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog and entering my giveaway! It really is too bad that degree doesn't exist. I took every sewing, cooking, decorative arts class I could in high school and thought about a Home Ecs degree but got married right out of high school instead.

    I found the best way to get people to visit my blog was to start leaving comments on others. Once I did that it just took off!

  2. Hello from a Home Ec major, college graduate. I come from a family of Home ec women.My cousins inspired me to choose this major(mmmmaaanny years ago) I became the director of a preschool with graduate classes in ECE. My sister currently teaches High School but her Home Economics dept. is being phased out, like so many others.

    I appreciated your post!

    Kathy b