I took a Home-Ec class when I was in 5th grade. I remember us boys snickering about it. How it was the girly class that we had to take. Truth be told, I enjoyed the sewing and cooking more than the woodshop and automotive stuff.
Today, Skye and I are doing a thorough cleaning of the condo. I am turning it into a Home Economics lesson. That’s one of the cool things about home-schooling, you can turn anything into a lesson; something that I used to my advantage when I taught an ecology class for a bunch of home-school kids back in Los Angeles. It’s amazing how excited kids will get about weeding when they get to feed the weeds to chickens.
I started by telling Skye about my little experience with Home Ec and then we did some research on the subject, which I found out is also known as family and consumer sciences. Over at that not-so-well --known or respected college, which one, of yeah, Cornell University, over there they take this field of knowledge quite seriously. Here are some of the highlights:
1907-Department of Home Economics established
1930-First Ph.D. in Home Economics at Cornell University awarded to Helen Canon
1964-Home Economics International Activities Office established
1969 -New York State College of Home Economics reorganized and renamed the New York State College of Human Ecology
They have a very informative digital exhibition “From Domesticity to Modernity: What Was Home Economics?”
We started in on the kitchen. A disclosure here, when I was going through my odd-job phase of my life in my late teens and early twenties, one of the jobs I had was at Custom Maids, basically a cleaning service. Within a week or two, they saw my talents and became they’re equivalent of “a cleaner”, like Harvey Keitel in Reservoir Dogs. I realize we were all cleaners, but I was sent in to deal with problem customers. If one of our crews didn’t do such a good job and there was a complaint, I was sent in. That’s right everybody else worked in teams of two or three, I worked alone.
With that legacy to live up to, Skye knew she wouldn’t get a passing grade if she didn’t make sure to pay attention to details. All the surfaces were cleared. She cleaned from top to bottom, making sure to get the top edges of cabinet and appliance doors, something even experts miss. Everything got put back exactly where it came from. She did stunningly well. I was a little concerned of what a natural she was at it. I do have somewhat higher aspirations for her. And I don’t want to hear any comments of “if it makes her happy” or “as long she feels fulfilled”. No, as much of an oddball, radical, Tao-leaning freak that I am, my daughter will not end up as some scullery maid.
We were not able to get to the bedrooms or bathrooms. Guess what some of the lesson plans for next week will be?