What Does Home Economics 2.0 Look Like?
Most of us remember Home Ec back in middle school and high school. Somebody burned a cake; a few of us learned to sew. Fewer people know that the discipline's founder, Ellen Richards, focused her efforts on exactly what her course was called--the economics of the home. Richards believed firmly that "no state can thrive while its citizens waste their resources of health, bodily energy, time and brain power, any more than a nation may prosper that wastes its natural resources."
During the progressive era in the first decades of the twentieth century, scientific approaches to all areas of society were being tested, and that included homemaking. Women were also taking on new roles in their communities as the march toward suffrage was peaking. Richards was so devoted to the new scientific approach that she created a quiz to determine a homemaker's efficiency!
Today, the class has been revamped, disassembled, reassembled, and at times, eliminated entirely. In Georgia, Family and Consumer Sciences encompass several distinct pathways that include consumer relations and career skills, food and nutrition science, and interior design training, to name a few concentrations. To support these courses, we've put together a host of resources along with our partners.
The PBS universe is full of great video collections on nutrition, food science, and the psychology behind marketing. Well-known brands like Braincraft and the book In Defense of Foods work alongside Making Cents, Two Cents, and Lights, Camera, Budget! to provide a host of personal finance lessons as well.
We put together a folder just for Family and Consumer Sciences which includes some of our favorite videos and collections. There are nearly 50 resources available!
Because Discovery has such a robust network of partnerships, the ground their curriculum covers is rather vast. To look deeper into healthy eating, check out lessons 4 and 5 from Super Health, Super Youon food and energy, fresh food, the glycemic index, and food festivals. Additionally, Ignite My Future has three extensive lesson plans that explore psychology, nutrition, technology, the design process, and the senses. Have a look at Healthy Eating is for Everyone, The Smell Test, and A New View of Color.
The Tiger Woods Foundation has great materials on understanding the chemistry in your food and Ag Explorer has explorations of food systems and to go along with an entire virtual field trip. To look deeper into the design and marketing aspects of consumer science, the STEM Career Challenges for Media Analysts is a wonderful tool. Their partnership with Nielsen also offers in-depth inquiries into product design as well as career interviews with marketers and data analysis.
It is fitting that Family and Consumer Sciences cover such a diverse curriculum. Richards herself was a mineralogist, chemist, cook, food scientist, and the first woman admitted to MIT, to boot. In her exploration of human potential she declared, "if the State is to have good citizens, productive human beings, it must provide for the teaching of the essentials to those who are to become the parents of the next generation."