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February 11, 2009


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Love this post... but it was a little surreal in the timing. I just finished posting myself, and picked up a very needed mending project to do while I checked for your post!!!!! It's in my lap! I learned from my mother, but I do remember my home ec. teacher as well. At 11, I made an apron and learned how to make pancakes. I love your collection of mending kits. I agree, every child should have these skills. I need to work on refreshing my son's memory. My daughter is eager to learn. My husband can not only sew on a button, he embroiders... not in years, but he can! Right now I'm sewing a patch on a hole in one our our wood stove gloves. It's a big hole, but the rest of each glove is fine. No sense in throwing them away.


Thank you for reminding me of the sweater my husband just asked me to mend last night (it's his favorite one). I stayed up late tonight reading for pleasure (a rare treat!), but it will be on my agenda for my Valentine's Day treat to him.




I was just talking about this with my mother yesterday - that while this depression may or may not be economically worse than 1933, it will be worse for society as ours is now totally incapable of adjusting to self-sufficiency and the make-do-and-mend attitude that is necessary to get through hard times.


what a great post, margie.
i was just talking about this with my partner, who teaches at a private school. there is an art class, but sewing, cooking, and woodwork/metalwork are not considered worthy subjects for the children to learn at all. i think it is such a shame!


This is a post that if I had a
blog I would have posted....but
with out all of the nice photos.
(Because I dont have them :P )
I feel that the kids at my
childrens' schools look down on
the other kids that have mended
or fixed clothing. It is like they
see and remember everything!
My kids have been made fun of for
having mended clothing...poor
______*insert childs name here*___
has to wear old clothing, where
do you shop good will?*ummm....yes
but my kids would never say!*
Even though retro is in or the
worn out look the kids at school
knows if it is new or not.... they
know the names of brands....and
are relentless on the kids that
do not sport them. I do not feed
this thinking and make my kids
wear what I pick sew or get them.
But this does get them teased.
I guess I am teaching them to
stand up for what they believe in
but they don't always feel they
way I do..(sorry kids) I have told
them all about green and the need
to use what we got and yes even my
12 year old can mend his shirt it
still does not change the
throw~away thinking and brandname
addiction that the kids today
have. It really sickens me.... I
worry what our grandkids will be
like, I am young enough but that
still makes me wonder... 30 years
in the future. Alot can happen.
I hope that I am building strong
morals in my kids and not just
getting them picked on. *sigh*
I don't want them growing up
with a need for money and buying
all the things that mom would not
buy for them and feel bad about
their child hood. Kids can be so
cruel to each other.
P.s. I am glad to see the peach
made it. : )

Lora Hart

Just saw this poster on Decor8 blog and thought it went perfectly with this post. I don't know where I'd be without my 9th grade home economics class.



I think it's absolutely horrific the way that so many have lost touch with basic skills. I will be sure that my children know how to do all of the above.

And as for mending, my daughter received a stuffed dog for Christmas that she loves. But it had developed a hole in it's spine. So she feels pretty lucky to have a mama (who still had access to home ec in junior high at least in the 90s) who knows how to sew...


I totally agree with you. I was in the last one to have that class. I find it terrible its not provided anymore. What a shame. Fixing stuff is the base of autonomy.


Yet another reason why we homeschool. My daughter gets to sew and knit and cook.


I'm too young to have taken home ec in either elementary or high school, but I think part of the reason it was eliminated was the sexist overtones associated with it (aka girls to home ec, boys to wood shop). However, in eliminating both courses altogether, the school system has created a whole generation that doesn't know how to make or fix things. I'm a college freshman and people are constantly bringing me things to mend since hardly anyone else knows how to sew.


Sarah~ Good for you! Now start
a group that you can teach basic
sewing to and don't charge them,
make it a week class and the only
thing they have to do is bring in
a friend on the last day that
wants to learn to sew. Then your
students teach that person they
brought how to sew.. if they get
stuck you can help. Great bonding
and you are keeping the sewing
alive! Have fun!!!


My husband & I were just talking about this a few days ago. He thought that in addition to Home Ec/Shop they should also teach jr. high school kids some basic interpersonal skills that would help them out in work and romantic relationships.

My kids will definitely learn how to make and mend from both parents. The other day Diego (4) asked me for some red Chinese silk slippers. I said, "let's look for some the next time we go to China Town." His answer: "NO! I want you to MAKE them!"


I love the picture with the peach... thank you for this post, just discovered your blog.

Penny-Elizabeth Neil

I had home ec in school when I was a kid (the mid 80s) but I didn't learn anything. I learned from my family- mum, Dad, brothers, uncles, aunties and grandmothers. They taught me how to use a sewing machine, grow veggies, cut firewood, make a bed, lay a table, mend socks, cover a book, cook everything from cakes to roast to jam, and how to get by on nothing by collecting drinking water, building campfires and finding roadside fruit.

I agree with a comment made earlier- society now would not survive the depression as it was in the 1930s, they simply do not know how to cope! I've actually met teenage girls who can't work a broom.


I doing a school essay on why our school Falcon Middle should have home economics. I came from a different school that did and we understood what adulthood would be like and basic skills that most people need to know. My teacher said that we should and if my paper is good shes going to give the principle and hope that he will agree with the both of us and allow it at Falcon Middle School.


At my school, out of all the schols in the Anoka-Henipenn school district, we do have shop and home economics. We have four classes of Family and consumer science, which is the modern Home Ec. We have Sewing, cooking, Nutriton, child development and consumerism units. We also have 4 Industtrail Technology, or shop, classes. We have seperate rooms for Wood Shop, Metal Shop, Auto Shop and Computers/Electronics. Cant beleive that almost all of the schools in Minnesota have abandoned this, except for us. We are spoiled down here in the Cities.


Have you also heard that schools are now cutting Music, Art, Special Education, Health and Gym classes. It seems as America heads evermore down the tubes, the schools will be limited to basic math, english, US History, and Basic Science. I'll be somberly watching from across the Atlantic when that happens.:-(


KwashiUbuntu33, dont worry, america wont be going down the tubes, well get out of it, we always have, we many have to scale back to the basics in education, by the next decade we'll be up to having shop class agian.


In my high school we still haavae home ec but it not called that anymore it called family and consumer science. We have These home ec classes still Dynamic living I, II , Food For Today, Food Prep, Manufacturing Tecnology, cild care, and many other home type classes.


I am one of several "old" people who does alterations in my hometown. There are no young people who do this nor is there anyone interested in learning the skills to do this work. Our schools in this county do not offer any kind of life skills class or any class disguised by name as offering basic survival classes. I think every person, male or female, should be able to take care of themselves: cook an egg, sew on a button, clean a room, wash their clothes, apply for a job, balance a checkbook, file their taxes, pay the bills, etc. Sure, you can hire someone to do these things for you IF you have the money. But the average Joe does not and soon depends on entitlements for their money. And forget about most children learning these things from parents. Both parents are too busy earning a living so they can pay someone to do these things for their families. How did things get so mixed up?


I used to be a Home Ec teacher in the 60s.I think it is a shame that kids don't learn the basic skills we used to teach.The need for nutrition education is very obvious today.Everyone needs to know how to do a little basic mending(lose a button?)and certainly some basic cooking.(everyone needs to eat).I have made it my own responsibility to make sure everyone in my family is capable of these things,and my elementary school aged grandkids love to come over and cook with me(and eat).The other lack seems to be in the area of shopping skills.No one knows how to buy meat,particularly,and younger people are amazed when I tell them about grading of meat and how to get the best value for their money!


How are these young adults supposed to survive once they move out of home? When their mothers are not there to cook them dinner, and their fathers aren't there to put up a simple shelf? I grew up in Australia, where these courses are mandatory for the first three years of high school, this eliminating the sexist overtones. When it came to electing our subjects, the Food Technology classes contained mostly boys, eager to learn about basic nutrition and food skills.

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This explains why all the women in my generation don't know how to cook and why all the men are slobs. It's because home ec was removed during the 80's which is a shame. It's not our fault that most of us have to eat out. It's because we don't know how to cook. I always wanted to take home ec. But by the time I went to high school in the 90's, home ec was permanently removed. There is nothing sexist about home ec. If they offer it, lots of girls would sign up. I never made a stew in my entire life. I wish I knew how. There may be cookbooks out there, but some recipes are intimidating with their long list of unfamiliar ingredients. Some of us don't have grandparents to teach us either. with budget cuts looming, I highly doubt they'll ever bring back home ec.

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