There is something therapeutic about the sound of my sewing machine as the engine roars calmly enough to drown out the sound of the thunderstorm outside. Luckily for me, my grandmother taught me to sew at the age of 5 and as I grew older, it was a skill that I have yet to loose and something I do when I need creative therapy.
Unfortunately for our children however, many of them are growing up without their grandmother’s thimble fingers and most of our schools have removed the home economics program that would have normally filled the void for the lack of sewing skills at home.
When I was in high school (almost 20 years ago), home economics was a class that taught students how to cook, sew and other practical household tasks. The idea of home economics was not to make students grow up to become designers or chef’s, but students were taught how to fix and do things in and around their lives to better themselves.
Why have schools stopped teaching home economics?
Budget is one of the main reasons why schools have abandoned home economics. With the rising costs of education and the increasing numbers of children in public school programs, schools have all but diverted their funding into programs that can help children gain college acceptance.
Time is another reason why home economics have been abandoned by the school system. Each year, students who are under mandatory state and other required testing spend valuable school hours studying for these tests in hopes they will pass. Teachers are also under pressure to ensure the success of their students on state tests. A failure of a classroom, regardless of the prior educational background of a student, is a failure for the teacher. Who has time to teach students how to cook and sew when they need to pass a real test?
If we fast-forward down the road to 20 years from now, we will run into the third and major reason why home economics will have all been but forgotten. Skills are passed down from generations to generations. The decline in the abilities of this generation to cook or sew will lead to a lack of teachers available to teach the next generation how to perform these skills.
What am I trying to say?
Sewing or cooking is not an ideal skill that will get students scholarships into college. They are not skills that students can use to pass state testing and are therefore not worth the time, money and effort for inclusion in the public school system. The lack of these skills however means our students and the next generation of students will forever be forced to purchase clothing and pre-packaged meals from other countries.