Monday, September 19, 2011

Home Ec

 Most of what I’ve tried to do with Miss Abigail, by way of teaching homemaking skills, has been accomplished by using different 4-H projects. These projects have generally been a good guide for us and Abigail is now quite competent at a number of things. I love 4-H and wholeheartedly recommend participation. (Ahh, there is that small reservation about competition and perfectionism, but I won’t go into that again.) 4-H has really been a fabulous resource for our family.

Abigail is beginning the seventh grade this year, I’ve been wanting to do a formal “home ec” type course with her during her school time. I loved Home Ec when I was in Junior High, and I think this is the perfect age to focus on these skills. I have good memories of learning to sew. An early yearbook shows a picture of me wearing a blouse I sewed. I was 14 years old. The knit fabric had a buttoned placket closure - not easy! Surely my mom must have helped me turn that placket. Even now I avoid patterns with a placket feature. I also remember being taught how to time the cooking of a meal - getting all the different dishes on the table at the same time. I often wish I had kept the recipe we used for Hungarian Goulash. I was in the eighth grade and remember it being so delicious. None of the recipes I’ve tried since match that memory.

So, I’ve been working hard lately at writing a Home Ec curriculum for Abigail. I have a good outline and have written several lessons to keep ahead of her. I have also found a few really good resources for our course. I’ll share these with you in the next couple of posts.

Do you have memories of Home Ec classes? Which skills have been the most useful to you? Please share! I would love to hear about what you learned.


  1. I didn't learn anything home related from school! We had computer classes instead - hence why I am playing catch up!

    I am going to try the Training Our Daughters to be Keepers at Home book plus supplementary books about gardening and various craft books.

  2. I have that book too, I think it is a great resource. I'm definitely using this one with Abigail. It has inspired my outline for this year, but I'm going to save it, for a couple of years, yet. It is very comprehensive in its outline - it really looks lovely. I'm sure you can catch up if you use that book.

  3. I don't remember much about Home Ec. I enjoyed cooking, but I already knew plenty from home and I'm not convinced I learned much that was new.

    In sewing, I learned to thread a machine—and when I sat down a few years ago to learn again myself, I found that I still remembered at least that one thing.

    I have to say that almost every useful home-related thing I knew going into adulthood came from my mother, not from school.

    Two homemaking books I love are Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelssohn (because it's so very thorough, scientific, and complete) and The Family Dinner by Laurie David (because it has such fun, fabulous ideas for dinners, and goes beyond the dinners to other aspects like games and conversation).

    I look forward to hearing more about your Home Ec lessons. They sound like fun!

  4. We are "flying by the seat of our pants" for our Home Ec. We do lots of sewing, quilting, cross stitch, embroidery, cooking and gardening. Amy has recently developed a "like" for hand embroidery and we've bought some flour sack towels for her to work on. My goals with food preparation were to get them to the point of doing it on their own. Most recently with Katie its been a crash course of couponing, menu planning, setting up a pantry, and a basic home binder with recipes, addresses, tips, etc. Its all fun, its all necessary, its all a blessing! Looking forward to your posts about the classes.

  5. I don't remember Home Ec even being offered in my school. I definitely needed it. I'm looking forward to reading your lesson plans. :)

  6. I took home ec in jr high, but I hardly remember it at all. My sister suzanne took it too, and I remember her telling me how embarrassed she was when she misread 1 1/3 cup to be eleven thirds of a cup and ruined a recipe.

  7. Mrs. Mordecai, I also love the book, Home Comforts - I finally found an almost pristine used copy and I love not having to take it from the library. The library loves having the book more available to people, I'm sure. Thanks for the recommendation for the Family Dinner - I'll look for it!

    Donna, it must be so fun to see Katie in the stage where she's most ready to absorb your teaching. I'm sure needing the information must help a great deal! ;o)

    Trisha, you must have been in a "progressive" school. ;o) Mine was pretty old fashioned and, of course, it was about 35 years ago!

    Kate - poor Suzanne! I can see how she could make that mistake. Its a shame they didn't teach her how to read the recipe before expecting her to read it. Does she like to cook now, or did that experience spoil the whole thing?


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