Dating back to the 1800s, Home Economics/Family and Consumer Sciences was an important profession that helped prepare women for household domestication. However, over the many years, this profession has changed the lives of many men and women and has advanced far beyond the original thoughts of Ellen Swallow Richards.
Currently, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences defines Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS/FACS) as:
…the comprehensive body of skills, research, and knowledge that helps people make informed decisions about their well being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life. The field represents many areas including human development, personal and family finance, housing and interior design, food science, nutrition and wellness, textiles and apparel, and consumer issues (2015,para 1).
Unfortunately, the United States is in a place where the value of Family and Consumer Sciences is inconsistent from state to state.
Currently in my 5th year teaching Family and Consumer Sciences in CT, I have taught children in EVERY grade from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Despite the various ages of children that I have taught, the constant variable is that children NEED Family and Consumer Sciences. Family and Consumer Sciences has the ability to help students find their niche. Family and Consumer Sciences also has the ability to help students, girls AND boys, find themselves.
Friday night I emailed a mother to let her know how well her son is doing in my class. I told her that I was most impressed with his sewing skills and his pillow that he completed was by far one of the best I have seen in my 4 years of doing this project. Below is the response that I received from her:
At the end of the day, I was just doing my job…communicating with a parent to let them know how their child is progressing. But at the end of the day, after reading this email, I realized I AM making a difference. I am changing the lives of my kids, and they are changing my life too…all thanks to Family and Consumer Sciences.
To all my Family and Consumer Sciences colleagues out there, here is my plea:
Advocate for your program, not just for you, but for your students. SHOW your administrators in your building, in your district, in your state, WHY Family and Consumer Sciences needs to be a relevant curriculum and area taught to students in grades 6-12.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” What change are you going to be?