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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Cleaning up for the real world: Why we need home economics now more than ever

Cleaning+up+for+the+real+world%3A+Why+we+need+home+economics+now+more+than+ever
Amanda Riha

Practical life skills have taken a backseat in the education system. In an era where societal standards are shifting and the world is rapidly evolving, home economics is needed now more than ever. 

Schools incorporated home economics classes in the early 20th century to promote the value of “women’s work,” per NPR. During this time, women learned how to sew, cook, clean and care for children, creating the basic frame for a good housewife. 

As times continue to change, remaining home economics classes are decreasing due to developing societal expectations and high school students – especially women – are urged to seek a more professionalized curriculum. In retrospect, this is what college is for. 

High school is where people of all genders should learn essential housekeeping and life skills that will help them in the real world. When college students are focused on their area of study, they don’t have time to take a financial literacy or health and wellness class. While both present essential lessons, it is not practical to incorporate them into a college curriculum. 

It’s evident which students don’t understand the concept of home maintenance, especially in a residence hall with shared spaces. Basic household tasks aren’t difficult, yet students fail to keep their area clean, properly do their laundry and wash their own dishes.

Above all, there is a huge gap between the most independent residents and those with absolutely no self-awareness. I’ve experienced fellow residents who don’t take responsibility for their living situations, creating frequent messy environments in on-campus housing.

On the financial side of things, many of us are broke college students, yet still go out every weekend. Not knowing how to budget or make wise spending decisions will truly make life more difficult in the future. Knowing how to manage personal finances is crucial to transitioning into adulthood. 

CNBC recommends applying for a credit card as soon as you turn 18. Building a credit score early on opens a gateway to lower interest rates and lower fees on loans. High school students should be taught about credit so they understand how to properly manage it when it comes time to get a credit card. 

What’s more important: knowing how to build your credit or mastering the art of long division? The answer is obvious. 

Time management is another factor that many incoming college students lack. Compared to high school, college schedules are drastically different so students need to manage their time accordingly. Home economics should teach students how to juggle extracurriculars and also find time for themselves on top of their academics. 

We spend four years of our lives in high school taking classes that ultimately teach us nothing. Even before high school, we should be learning how to make spreadsheets and manage our time. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ll be asked to play “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder during a job interview. 

College is a fend-for-yourself environment. Some students may not have learned life skills from their families, making it difficult for them to learn on their own. We sometimes feel embarrassed to ask for help with such simple things and it’s inconvenient when we’re caught in a pinch and have no idea what to do. 

High school teachers often say they are preparing us for college, but are they? 

As of Oct. 31, over half of states require a financial literacy course to be offered in the high school curriculum. On the flip side, only 23 states require it for graduation, per Ramsey Solutions, an online financial literacy resource. 

For example, the state of Connecticut requires a financial literacy course to graduate. Although it’s only a half-year course, it still gives students a good idea of what to expect when it comes to managing personal finances on their own. If schools across the U.S. continue to make reforms like this, the future is bright for the next generation. 

Home economics courses equip students with valuable lessons that make them more well-rounded and less dependent on others. The revival of home economics is long overdue. The longer schools wait to bring it back into the curriculum, the more future generations are being set up for failure. 

There is such a broad range of topics that home economics teaches which are beneficial to college living. These underestimated skills empower young adults to make informed choices and allow them to thrive in a new environment. Even though home economics has developed into something much more than learning how to clean, it’s time we dust off these misconceptions and give home economics the recognition it deserves.

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About the Contributors
Gina Lorusso
Gina Lorusso, Associate Arts & Life Editor
Amanda Riha
Amanda Riha, Design Editor

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