Thursday, October 11, 2007


I've agreed to make a halloween costume for Fern. She wants to be a "woodland pixie." She picked out a pattern, one with multiple possibilities. She wants her outfit like the green one in the center of the picture, but with short sleeves.

I study the pattern guide, everything is lined with lots of pieces, bias cut skirts and gathers. Yuck. Fern watches me nervously. I explain some principles of garment construction. She sees it's not going to be easy and is afraid I'll back out. She asks how I learned to sew (as her friends are amazed I made her halloween dress a few years ago). I tell my 7th grader and she is shocked. I first learned to sew in 7th grade Home-Ec class. One third of the year was spent cooking, one third sewing, and one third in crafts, although I can't remember what else I learned except knitting. She's jealous. She wants to have Home-Ec. She wants to learn to sew. She also wants to be able to help with my badge sewing business. (I should have 5 more clients by the weekend, yay me!) She wants to learn to knit, I'd love for her to knit her own socks and sweaters.

I guess Home-Ec and shop got cut from schools when money and scheduling got tight. No child left behind. I wonder what kind of long term repercussions will result in this. The kids, theoretically, will be able to read, but will they know what a healthy meal is? CNN had a bit on a few weeks back saying people think of food as ready to eat. Is the lack of cooking skills leading to overeating of fast food alternatives? Is the increase in childhood obesity a result of no Home-Ec in schools?

Just wondering.

13 comments:

AM Kingsfield said...

I remember in my Home-Ec class following a recipe for cinnamon toast. Maybe that's where I learned to find recipes annoying. Cinnamon toast?

Kids are only required to take a semester of health to graduate. Foods & Nutrition and Fashion Design have become electives that most kids don't take. Combine less information with more prepared meals and the restaurant generation and I think you have a lot of contributing factors to our obesity epidemic.

iamnot said...

Home-Ec was a blatant attempt by the misogynistic, patriarchal oppressors to keep girls from growing to their fully empowered potentials.

/feminist sarcasm

Lorraine said...

I loved home ec. I think you're right.

Also, The Child was a woodland pixie for Halloween when she was 2. Except all I did was tatter a big brown t shirt and hot glue fall leaves to it. She wore green tights.

The leaves were real. That was stupid. By the end of the night she'd shed like a little maple tree.

Maddy said...

Interesting. I used to sew [knit, embroidery etc] I learned from my mum and reinforced at school. We also had PE every day and a double session on Wednesday. We also had cookery classes.
Makes you wonder.
Best wishes [and how come your email isn't on your profile view?]

Mom said...

I took home ec in 7th grade. It was required for all the girls. All the boys took shop and learned carpentry skills. There was no exception , no elective. I don't like to sew.

YoLinna said...

Don't tell anyone, but I actually flunked Home Ec. The school didn't allow girls in Shop at that time but they made an exception for me and 2 others who were hopeless at sewing. Got an A in Shop--loved the tools and power sanders! Duh, my Dad's a builder, what did they expect? Cept I never learned how to batik.......yet...c'mon on!

just me said...

I HATED home ec - and it bothered me that no one had a choice about home ec vs shop... what if boys liked to cook? Also the cooking teacher was a tyrant.

Although I managed to do a couple of sewing projects, I never did learn to set a sleeve, so was limited in what I could make.

I agree that more teaching about nutrition would be helpful. But I certainly didn't learn much about cooking in home ec. Hubby learned to cook during Jr year abroad in Israel - and he's a great cook (when he has the time).

Anne said...

The year after I left Jr High was the year they started giving all six classes to all kids, girls in shop and ceramics and boys in home "arts." Arg! I so wanted to take shop and ceramics (can't remember what the other boys' class was). I want a wheel and a kiln when I grow up.
I remember my bother showing me his sewing project a drawstring sack. They hardly had any time to learn anything, though, since the classes were so compressed, 6 in a year instead of 3.

Anne said...

uh, that was supposed to be "brother" not "bother." Sorry, Bro.

.:mar said...

Hi, Michele sent me to say hello. Home ec should definitely be part of every school program. No doubt about it!!
:D

.:mar said...

Hi, Michele sent me to say hello. Home ec should definitely be part of every school program. No doubt about it!!
:D

sister AE said...

Hi, Anne. I thought I'd return your visit to my blog and this struck a chord with me.

I definitely remember 7th grade required home ec classes for the girls, except for one 6-week period when we swapped with the boys and took shop.

I already knew how to cook and clean, so those parts of home ec were a breeze. But sewing was a new skill. The first project was a really fun pot-holder. Then we leaped into clothing - we had to make a skirt or slacks with a set-in waistband. I was lucky my older sister sewed and could help me figure some of this out. But knowing how to sew things definitely comes in handy.

greeny said...

Oh, god, Home-ec. I hated my teacher_Miss Wable. aaackk. She was also the cheerleading coach which I was on in junior high.
My mom who had sewn her entire life practically, would coach me in the way of sewing something together and the teacher would correct me and then give me a bad grade. Guess I should have played dumber.
Boys and girls could take home -ec but only boys took shop. Guess we didn't have any progressive girls.

Shop and home-ec should be taught in school and a required credit.