We all think of old-school Home Economics class in school that taught cooking and sewing and that was about it. But modern home economics is so much more than that. Knowing exactly what home economics is and how it affects us in our everyday lives can be a big proponent to changing how we see home ec. It’s a far cry from that high school classroom!
Home Economics: Cooking
Let’s start with the obvious. Cooking is what most of us think about when it comes to home economics classes. It is a large part of the curriculum, but it’s more than just knowing how to throw things together and slap them down on the table.
One of my first projects in 4-H was place settings. My project and presentation at the local county fair were to set a proper dining table. If I had to guess, I was probably around 6 or 7 at the time. I had to learn how each utensil should be placed, the proper placement of water glasses and coffee cups and saucers, etc. Learning how to do this so young created one of my biggest pet peeves: eating in front of the television. Not saying that we don’t do it too, but it bothers the crud out of me. Eventually, I’m going to work on this with my husband. (And I’m making this space free of phones too. Just saying.)
How it Effects You
But with cooking comes the part that we forget about. Nutrition. Adapting to our modern medical diets (Keto, Gluten-Free, et al.) is part of what goes into our food needs and preparation. We all have personal dietary needs that we have to address when we do meal plans and cook for our families. Learning the nutritional aspect of our food is also a big part of home economics.
I’m not pointing fingers at anyone here, but most of today’s society can’t sew. Hemming a curtain or fixing a torn shirt is beyond their capabilities. We live in a culture of “let’s just buy new” instead of fixing what we have. I think everyone should be capable of doing a basic running stitch and sewing on a button. I’m not asking anyone to sew their clothes or learn to quilt (unless you want to) but these two skills have a large impact on our lives and budgets.
How it Effects You
Say you need a new set of curtains as you redecorate your living room. If you have odd-shaped windows or want a custom length to them it can be daunting to find the proper size and fall. If you can do a basic running stitch hem on a set that you find that would perfectly match the space, then you could also size them to fall perfectly also.
For example, my home has windows that are 7′ tall. They also have sills that are about 18″ from the floor. To find the perfect length, I simply found bedsheets and made my own so that the height and length we perfect for how the windows sit in the room. Being in a bay, I needed a lot of fabric to fill in the space. I looked everywhere for the perfect curtain, and I just was not willing to pay that much for drapes that weren’t perfect to my vision of the room. Having the ability to stitch my own not only saved me money but gave me exactly what I wanted within my budget.
Budgeting & Finances
As of this post, our economy is changing. The cost of living is going up and the housing market is booming. In the midst of all this, the average consumer debt is almost $100K. (Gasp.) That’s more than those of us in rural America make in a year.
Having the knowledge of how to budget your finances properly and avoid having more money owed to debt than you even make in a year can lessen money stress. (By the way, the biggest cause of divorce in our country is financial incompatibility. But more on that later.)
Learning to budget and having the entire household on board with how the financial side of your home runs is also a large part of modern home economics.
How it Effects You
Because we are talking about our home, let’s have an example that directly affects your house. Say you are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling just to pay your utility bills. You have the normal car payment and credit card debt that you pay every month. Now, out of nowhere, your furnace decides it’s just done. You don’t have the money to get a new one. Here comes even more stress of how to deal with this emergency and the money it needs to be thrown at it.
With a good budget and plan for your money, you could be sitting on a little bit of savings so that the dent to your monthly budget doesn’t let you go hungry or freeze. No one wants that to be their only option. Making a budget and making the most of what you do with your money can make or break your household and how it runs.
Now, I know you are saying to yourself, “But there IS no extra money to do anything with!” I respectfully reply, “BS.” We all have aspects of our daily lives that cost us way more than we realize. Track your spending (yes, every penny) for a month. I guarantee you see places in the spending that can be cut back on or eliminated completely. Modern home economics is finding a way to make sure that your money is working for YOU. You may work for the paycheck, but it’s your money. You get to decide what you do with it.
Get my budget printables in my shop today to help get you started.
Modern Home Economics FAQ’s
What are the values in modern home economics?
Home Economics values may come across as old-fashioned, but anyone who has a household to run should accept that the basics are just part of how we function. Learning to live and take care of ourselves to the best of our ability is part of being human. We all need food, shelter, and water. Home Economics, therefore, is a basic need in those terms.
How many areas of my life does Home Economics affect?
Almost all. Home Ec touches how you eat, how you live, how you raise your children, and how you interact with your spouse. It also affects your health, not only in your personal hygiene but by helping alleviate stress in your life by knowing how to take care of the house and home.
Why do I need Home Economics?
Part of being an individual is knowing how to properly take care of yourself. Living on your own or in a family atmosphere still requires personal accountability for HOW you live. To get the best quality of life, you need Home Ec principles to do it correctly. And if you have children, modern home economics also helps you to teach them to grow into functional adults who know how to take care of themselves. (Bonus points for not having your 40-year-old living in your basement.)
Modern Home Economics: Conclusion
We all use home economics in our lives, whether we notice it or not. By being adults and interacting in society, we are taking some of its principles into everything we do. Learning more about how to do it even better should be part of what we strive for. We are ever learning and evolving, and so is Home Economics.