Many are found wanting in the "real world" when it comes to performing basic tasks such cooking and running a home.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that children lack the basic skills to carry out day-to-day functions such as cooking and home management. In an education sector that is increasingly driven by academia, students are striving to secure high scores on standardized tests but fail to apply the basic skills in the real world. Students capable of solving the most complex math problems are found wanting when it comes to managing their finances or cooking a basic meal. It might just be the right time to bring back Home economics classes to high schools.
Home economics has been looked down upon by both students and schools. Many schools have removed home economics from the curriculum and have opted to allot more time towards specialized subjects such as Algebra and Physics, further alienating children from reality. The subject itself has come to be viewed as feminine. The number of men signing up for home economics has slowly dwindled. Even those signing up for home economics look down on the subject, viewing it as not important enough.
Life skills are just as important as any other subjects taught at school, so schools would do well to make it mandatory to equip young people with the skills to carry out basic life tasks. Children often finish their studies and find themselves entering the "real world" without being able to complete basic tasks such as paying taxes, managing their finances, purchasing homes, sticking to budgets when grocery shopping, or even just sewing buttons back onto their shirts.
One of the arguments against home economics is that basic skills should come naturally or be taught at home but the actual truth is that most do not have an environment that teaches them to carry out basic tasks and it is also unrealistic to those who are not exposed to similar tasks.
Marti Harvey, a lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington, claimed that many of her students didn’t even know that they were required to pay property taxes on their own property because they weren’t given that information in high school. In a column published in the Dallas Morning News, she said, "It's a failing of our educational system that students don't leave high school with this basic understanding, among other things. That's why we need to bring back the old home economics class. Call it 'Skills for Life' and make it mandatory in high schools. Teach basic economics along with budgeting, comparison shopping, basic cooking skills, and time management. Give them a better start in real life than they get now."
"We tend to be a society of extremes. Right now we're trying to send people into STEM kind of careers. However, I think administrators and legislators also need to think about people coming out of high school or even college without the ability to manage their money and to know how to lead a productive life," added Marti Harvey.
Students can learn to be more responsible and take care of their own affairs without having to depend on anyone, with a home economics class in high school. What many might consider unnecessary, might be the most basic skills children might need to make it in the "real world".