OPINION: Why it’s beneficial to teach home economics

When people think about the study of home economics, they usually think it solely consists of cooking classes. However, this class involves much more than that. Home economics includes topics such as household management, maintenance, cleaning, cooking, sewing, child development, sex-ed, education, finance, and health.

Being well educated in these basic skills is needed for independence and it should be a requirement for all Westhill students. As Westhill students depart from high school and enter into what is considered as “the real world,” it is essential that they have the proper information to enable themselves to start their adult lives. Some of these skills are often underestimated and are made out to be secondary information.

Although the information we learn in core classes in high school is valuable, what we would gain from a home economics class would serve as an alternative learning outlet. When sending kids off to college, many parents get concerned that their kid will have a difficult time adjusting to living independently.

If all students were required to take a home economics class, such as Introduction to Culinary Arts, perhaps parents would be able to comfortably send their kids off to college, knowing their children can at least cook for themselves. Samantha Weinreb (‘17) agrees that “making these classes a graduation requirement would be beneficial to students because it sets them up for life after graduation when they are on their own.”

Besides cooking skills, there are other areas of home economics which should be a graduation requirement for students. According to Martha Van Rensselaer, a Professor at the New York State College of Home Economics, “Home economics should find its way into the curriculum of every school because the scientific study of a problem pertaining to food, shelter or clothing raises manual labor that might be drudgery to the plane of intelligent effort that is always self-respecting.”

Westhill does offer classes which partially relate to home economics topics. For example, all students are required to take health, which does relate to home economics as it educates students on sexuality, mental illnesses, stress, nutrition/fitness, first aid, physical/long term illnesses, substance abuse, etc. Westhill also offers human behavior, personal finance, career pathways/success skills, automotive technology, and wood technology. These classes all touch upon certain aspects of home economics, and it should be more encouraged for students to enroll in these classes if their schedule can fit it.

Although students have limited space in their schedule, taking a few home economics classes as a graduation requirement would be very beneficial for students as they seek more independence. Alexandra Jordan (‘17) said “there are people I know who don’t know how to light an oven or even do their laundry and that is essential in life.” This could easily be changed if more students were forced to enroll in these valuable home economics classes.

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