Home economics, or family and consumer sciences (FCS) as it has been rebranded, is a dying concept in the field of education. As opposed to the 50's where FCS was taught routinely in schools, FCS is now struggling to gain a foothold in the era of quantifiable knowledge and No Child Left Behind. The reasons for this range from the gender stereotypes associated with FCS to budget cuts and the lack of qualified teachers in the subject. However, I think that FCS is needed now more than ever, and here are the reasons why:
1. It teaches self-sustainment and independence.
Previously, topics such as home management, financial literacy, auto mechanics, textiles and home nutrition were taught at home. However, a 2016 Bureau of Statistics survey stated that 96.8 percent of married-couple families with children had at least one employed parent, and 61.1 percent had both parents employed. This means that the basic life skills that parents would have passed down to their kids in the past are no longer being carried over because many modern parents just don’t have the time to teach these topics to their children. In these instances, students are often left either not knowing how to do common tasks, such as cooking their own meals, or they are forced to learn it themselves. However, if the rise of food delivery apps like Seamless and Ubereats are anything to go by, many students appear to be choosing the former option. FCS would help to offset this trend by teaching students to be more self-sustaining and independent.
2. It is a departure from test-focused learning.
These days, students are measured in numbers - and by numbers, I mean test scores. The obsession over students' AP, SAT and state test scores leaves little to no room for FCS, a class focused on resource management, employability skills, creativity and critical thinking. The results of FCS aren’t quantifiable, but they are immediate and lifelong. Students may never use the calculus they learn in school, but knowing nutrition facts for common foods will not only help them make healthier choices in life but may lead to a career path down the line. Students will also gain a more hands-on approach to work, as well as an introduction to trade professions and skills such as carpentry, mechanics and culinary arts.
3. It builds confidence.
FCS classes also build up students' confidence in their ability to care for themselves. Eventually, students will have to leave home for college or to begin lives of their own. Having the necessary skills to survive will instill confidence, not only in the students themselves but with their parents as well. Knowing how to file taxes, pay bills and budget money will ease the transition between childhood and adulthood. Better preparation leads to less anxiety about the future, especially a future all on one's own.
All things considered, a re-implementation of Family and Consumer Sciences would better prepare the upcoming generation for the solo life out in the world. FCS has moved past the stereotypical idea of grooming Stepford wives and hyper-masculine boys. It focuses on building real-life skills and helping students maintain normality. Many often say that the upcoming generation has an abundance of information at their fingertips, but needs a little help putting it to good use. FCS can do that.
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