News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

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Should home economics be required?


The study of home economics has been lost over the past few decades. Home economics, is a course consisting of human development, cooking, sewing, family finances, and more. From the 1960s to the late ‘80s, it was built into most high school curriculums, as it teaches you many basic skills needed in daily life. 

Home economics used to be taken very seriously. It was a class students looked forward to as a break in the day from the more academic classes. 

“When I was in high school, home economics was a way for me to really shine. I have always loved sewing, knitting, etc., so as a student who was not the strongest in subjects like math or science, this was my favorite class by far,” home economics student, then teacher, Joan Tewksbury, said. “That’s why I was so interested in teaching the course. I related to my students who really cared and put the effort in, knowing this could be the class they genuinely liked and were able to be successful in.” 

Tewksbury began teaching home economics at the height of its popularity. After graduating college with an education degree in the late ‘60s, she took it upon herself to give students a chance to succeed in a class that followed a more creative approach.

As the years go on, more and more pressure is put on students to take harder classes because they look good on a college application. The problem here lies not in the students’ course selections, but in the options provided by the school. 

“I would much rather take a class that teaches me how to manage money or cook a simple meal because those are skills I will actually have to use when I’m out in the real world. Because I want to go into a career in humanities, I can’t think of a time where I’ll need to use the slope intercept form to calculate the slope of a line,” Tamalpais High School junior Lucy Murphy said. Although high schools are great for teaching academically inclined students, it could be beneficial to add a course for those who are more creative in ways other than visual art, such as a course that teaches practical skills that students need to know outside of school.

Though offered to everybody, home economics used to be a class taken primarily by women. The class was said to teach “women’s work.” This is why it has been removed from many and most high schools around the country. Many thought it was teaching work that housewives were supposed to do, and not appropriate in a school setting. Additionally, as society encouraged women to pursue professional careers, the emphasis on home economics classes fell while science and math boomed.

Though home economics teaches topics that are stereotypically seen as “women’s work,” it provides skills that everyone should know, not just women. 

“As a male, I believe I would benefit from this course just as much as females. I personally don’t see these subjects as women’s tasks, but common skills everyone should know. The fact the class was removed from schools because of the belief that it’s directed towards women seems like a bigger issue,” junior Jack Warren said. 

This subject has negative connotations from the past, but we have to change our mindset and think holistically about all the students who would benefit from this class today. It could open new doors and allow students to find other passions, as well as set them up for success outside of the classroom. 

Personally, getting to learn more about something I already love like cooking would encourage me to succeed. That’s what this class would do. It would not only be a class that students could succeed in, but a class they’d want to succeed in, and that’s exactly the kind of course Tam needs.

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