Course Offerings Missing Critical Life Skills

Gracie Woidat, Lifestyle Editor

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As class-selection for next school year begins, I find myself scrolling through Campolindo’s list of course offerings, musing over where I want to place my focus. There is a plethora of electives that can satisfy all sorts of interests, from Computer Sciences to Auto Engineering.

But, to my great disappointment, 1 thing I can’t sign up for at Campolindo is a course in home economics.

Las Lomas and Miramonte both offer a variety of cooking-related classes, such as Foods, International Cuisine Studies, and Advanced Baking. No such options exist for Camplindo students.

We are certainly replete with Computer Science classes and performing arts electives, but for students like me, who are looking for more practical life skills, there are few options. A home economics class, which could cover a variety of topics, include a culturally diverse curriculum, and offer unique project-based learning, would be a welcome addition.

According to Education.SciencePi.com, there are 7 areas of home economics: cooking and nutrition, child development, education and community awareness, home management and design, sewing and textiles, budgeting and finance, and health and hygiene.

Today, Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) classes have evolved to teach these skills and apply scientific reasoning and principles. For example, rather than simply learning ways to prepare eggs, students would also learn the function of the egg in the recipe, what kind of nutrition it provides, and how to decipher consumer product labels.

This type of practical learning hits a variety of disciplines, include reading, science and math.

While other district campuses are helping to prepare their students for real-world living, the number of Campolindo kids who still have no idea how to cook anything other than a grilled cheese sandwich or who don’t know how to sew a button back onto a jacket, remains high.

Home economics courses should not be viewed as the sexist cliches they used to be. Today these courses teach healthy nutrition, hygiene, and responsible personal finance to an ever-more diverse group of soon-to-be adults, both male and female, who will be responsible for their own lifestyles.

FCS classes aren’t simply “domestic labor.” This label can be a deterrent for students looking ahead to their professional careers. But the reality is that these courses can be good options for those who have no idea what they want to pursue beyond high school. These courses can be the gateway to careers in clothing design, nutrition, culinary arts, carpentry, and financial advising.

Techniques developed in FCS classes would also encourage students to take responsibility at home and reduce the number of kids going off to college ill prepared for its new level of independence and ownership.

“If you’re stressed out now when you’re living at home and you have your mommy and daddy taking care of you, then you’re not going to be handle it in the real world when you move away to college and suddenly you’re living with a stranger,” said college counselor Joan Batcheller.

Having a home economics elective would address this, as students would learn the valuable skills needed to care for themselves.  This seems particularly important in our community, notorious for its helicopter parents, live-in nannies, and housekeepers.  How many of us actually face the domestic tasks of shopping for food, planning and cooking meals, cleaning dishes, sorting laundry, or paying bills with any kind of regularity?

With FCS classes, parents can have more faith in their child’s ability to care for themselves and have more peace of mind when they finally leave home.

While the equipment necessary for such a course would not be cheap, if the district can find the money to finance the stage lights of the drama classroom or the tools of an auto shop, they can invest in cooking auxiliaries.

An example of the positive impact a topical home economics class can have is the University of California, Santa Barbara’s “Food, Nutrition, and Basic Skills” program, which aims to teach students how to cook, plan meals, and shop on a limited budget in an effort to dispel the classic Top Ramen-dependent college student cliche, according to TakePart.

While we have mandatory classes such as Geometry or World History, many students never use the ability to write a proof or recite world capitals after high school. An FCS class would teach students confidence-building skills that not only can be applied to make their everyday life easier in the present but will also make them more prepared for leaving home and entering adulthood in the future.