Home Economics Classes Should Make Comeback in Core Revision

Photo courtesy of Cornell University Library

An article published in The Phoenix last week detailed changes Loyola plans to make to its Core Curriculum for fall 2017.

The changes were made in response to some students expressing their concerns regarding the lack of diversity within the current Core Curriculum.

The number of history courses for Tier 1 will double, three classes will be added to the Tier 2 Theology knowledge area and Introduction to Women and Gender Studies will be added to Tier 1 of the societal and cultural knowledge area.

But the revision to the Core Curriculum shouldn’t just stop there: In time, the revision should expand to offering home economic classes that too satisfy core requirements.

This, in turn, would coincide with Loyola’s goal in providing a diversified portfolio of classes within the Core Curriculum.

Home economics, also known by its shortened lingo “home ec,” are classes that teach a sort of domestic science meant to ready young people to tackle duties inside and outside home life.

Home economic classes can range from food preparation to interior and apparel design to woodworking.

Classes such as culinary art, food science, woodworking and tailoring and sewing could be categorized under the Artistic Knowledge and Experience Tier 1 core requirement, while classes such as botany and landscaping could satisfy the Scientific Literacy area.

Civic engagement through volunteer and service work, or coaching students on how to conduct civil debates, could be engaged learning classes for the Societal and Cultural Knowledge requirement.

Courses that teach students how to finance and budget their money, or how to start saving or paying off their student loans and credit cards, could be added to the Quantitative Analysis core requirement.

More often than not, students are graduating high school and college booksmart, prepared to take on whatever obstacles may be thrown at them in their career fields.

But neglecting to teach students the fundamental skills needed to function inside their homes as adults — skills that have the potential to build confidence and independence — cannot be forgotten in the midst of working toward a degree.

There is no doubt that throughout childhood, parental figures should be educating their kids on these skillsets too; it’s not entirely a higher education institution’s responsibility.

But it’s irresponsible for a high school or university to assume that a child received these necessary competencies from parental or other familial figures. Therefore, any uncertainty on a young adult’s preparedness should be explored by an institution.

After all, universities aim to raise well-rounded, balanced and articulated students. So, shouldn’t knowing how to care for oneself be one of those honorable qualities?

In fact, “Care for Myself” is a component of Loyola’s student promise, and within the promise, it states “…seek experiences that will positively influence my personal development.”

As Loyola strives to awaken students’ minds to current social, cultural and political issues, the elemental skills that aid in defining one’s independence are at risk for being left behind.

More young people are going into the “real world” without knowledge of how to prepare a healthy meal, manage their finances, stitch a ripped hem or change a flat tire.

We are handing students diplomas that signify intellectual accomplishment without ever having them harness humanistic skillsets.

It’s as if we are letting them “leave the nest,” only to later watch them try and pick up the pieces from the social aftermath of not harboring these skills.

College is a time to encourage the transformation from thought to product within students; students are more than just inhabitants of a college campus wandering around with sponges as brains soaking up intellectual thought.

They are also humans that can execute skills — if taught how to do so correctly — that can assist in self-actualization, autonomy and self-reliance.

There is no better time than now to begin creating and implementing classes such as these.

Loyola has taken a step in the right direction with changes and additions to fall 2017’s Core Curriculum, but more accountability still remains.

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