The summer going into my fourth grade, my mom signed me up for sewing camp, a four-day program at the local all girls high school where young girls learned to sew and knit. I made pillows, blankets, and even pajama pants and loved every bit of it. I even asked for a sewing machine that Christmas.
I ended up attending that all girls' high school, but by the time I got there the room full of sewing machines was replaced with a chemistry lab.
As I fall into the struggle of what many call "adulting," I find myself Googling cooking prep tips, stain mishaps, types of laundry loads, financial issues and sewing tips. I feel grateful for the existence of the internet, but sometimes I wish I was more educated on the material beforehand. I wish I could use a sewing machine as effortlessly as I did when I was in middle school.
So, that made me wonder if home economics should make its return for the second course.
When I mention that my high school's domestic science room turned into a shiny new kind of science lab, I wasn't disappointed by any means, just surprised. I do not mean to diminish the prioritized importance of STEM and especially women and POC in STEM. I just wonder, why not have both? What could be wrong with bringing home economics back into the classroom?
You may be thinking, "Home Econ? What year is it, 1950? We need to move forward, not back!" That's true, and I agree. However, we're smarter now. Each day, more people are understanding the gender binary and that you can move in and out of those constructs. It's 2017, offer home econ at all girls' schools! Offer them at all boys' schools! Offer them at private and public schools! These classes can do more than teach young adults how to cook and clean properly. They can provide as a mental health aid.
In a podcast episode by "The Modern Domestique," or TMD, the hosts discuss homemaking as a form of art therapy. They mention that many find comfort in and destress by crafting, tidying up their space, cooking and, as the skyrocketing popularity of adult coloring books suggest, coloring. Ultimately, people like to keep their hands busy to distract them from the battle in their brain.
Home economics doesn't need to be a step back in the increasingly progressive academic playing field. It serves as more than a tips and tricks class about how to balance a checkbook or cook a perfect pot roast. Perhaps we can thread the needle and bring back a revamped home economics class that sheds light on modern gender politics as well as serve therapeutic benefits to adolescents and adults alike.