I strongly believe that home economics has an extremely important place in our educational system today. No other academic discipline incorporates in its curriculum as many pertinent life skills that will help students succeed independent of their chosen career paths. Referring back to past studies and my own personal beliefs, I hope to help the reader understand the benefits of receiving an education in home economics and how the knowledge obtained through this program will prove valuable throughout the lifespan.
In my opinion, the most important aspect of a home economics education is that students not only learn about subject matter that has relevance to their present lives, but will constantly be of use as they continue to grow. One area of home economics that is considered to be among the most essential is the emphasis on personal development, decision making and intrapersonal skills. According to a study done in Japan, students’ personal initiatives play an extremely large role in determining how they’ll react to their changing work situations (1). Those who lack the ability to make effective personal decisions are more at risk for experiencing hardships in the instabilities found in the real world. It was also found in the study that students do not feel they have the proper means to learn these valuable life skills at home (1). Taking courses in home economics at school allows students to acquire the necessary decision making, social, and communications skills deemed critical for occupational success.
In addition to the development of valuable intrapersonal skills, the home economics curriculum also introduces the students to a wide variety of potential career paths. Students become aware of all the career opportunities relating to each domain, as well as being taught the skills associated with them. Those who find themselves intrigued by course material may begin to consider an occupation in a related area. The home economics discipline has led individuals to the fields of education, nutrition, social service, and hospitality management, to name a few (8). It is hard to find a single subject taught in schools today that incorporates as many topics of interest as home economics, helping students to become more well-rounded individuals.
Consumer-related material covered in home economics courses is another area that provides students with information pertinent to their lives as adults. These programs help supply the students with an understanding on how economic, social, and cultural factors personally affect them and their behaviors in consumerism (5). While other academic courses may cover theoretical aspects personal finance, home economics gives a more practical, everyday application of the subject matter. However, there have been some criticisms to how useful learning about consumerism as adolescents actually is. Research on Finnish students showed that motivation to study consumerism in school was not particularly high, because they felt true consumerism started at adulthood (2). Despite the attitudes of this sample, I do believe children in home economics programs can benefit from learning purchasing practices at a young age. Because of its real-world applications, students may find these techniques conducive to their everyday lives.
University of Michigan