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Thread: Home ec sewing classes..do schools offer these anymore?

  1. #1
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    Home ec sewing classes..do schools offer these anymore?

    I was thinking about this today. I first learned to sew way back in junior high, and that was back in the early 70s . Do they still offer sewing in public schools anymore? I made some pretty hideous things in that class, but I caught the bug and have been sewing off and on all these years.

  2. #2
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Our small town school cut it out years ago due to budget constraints.

  3. #3
    Junior Member craftychick's Avatar
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    EC was probably one of the first cuts school districts made. I also sat and used a sewing machine in junior high in the early 70s.

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    Super Member snipforfun's Avatar
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    Our high schools even have and teach long arming quilting machines. Sewing is required for boys and girls

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    In our district, yes, there is still a version of 'home ec'. It's called domestic somethingorother if I'm not mistaken. There is a term of sewing; one cooking; not sure what else is involved. I don't think it's quite the same as you and I remember but it is somewhat close. In the sewing portion I know they all make the same string bag. The only creativity involved is your fabric selection. When I had home ec, we could select any garment project we wanted. Still have nightmares about the teacher taking out the bazillion pins I had in the neckline of a garment I wanted to sew differently than the pattern called for. I ended up walking out of that class and blasting the teacher in the hallway. My mother was horrified that I flunked that class that term. At least I waited until the last term of the school year and had aced all the previous terms so overall, it didn't matter.

    As an aside and result of that outburst, all of my fellow female (the only gender the class was offered to at the time - late 60's) students refused to take the home ec class the following year. We all demanded to take 'shop'. The school determined they could not deny us, but at that point made it mandatory for the male students to then be required to take home ec. Who knew I was a rebel! And a feminist!

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    I was wondering the same thing, only for me that junior high class was the mid 60's My mother started teaching me to sew around 11 years old so for me that meant an easy A. This summer my San Deigo grand daughters will be getting their first sewing lessons from me when they come to visit........I can't wait!

  7. #7
    Super Member CookyIN's Avatar
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    NJ, circa 1970 I thought about being a rebel and demanding that they let me take shop just to prove a point -- but wanted to do the cooking and sewing of Home Ec too much. Truth is, I wish I'd had the option to do both. Would have used those Shop skills through the years just as much as my domestic skills.

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    I took Home Ec. in the 60's. I still have and use some of the recipes we made. Home made caramels and brownies with fudge frosting, etc. My favorite was the sewing, we made bermuda shorts and a top, one year.

  9. #9
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    I taught at schools in Oklahoma and Texas, junior high and high school, and home ec. was removed from them. Life Skills was what replaced them, if anything did. (One of my friends who taught home ec. had to get re-certified in a different subject to continue teaching at our school.) I think the only sewing in Life Skills was sewing on a button. I have been retired for five years, so maybe home ec. has come back....but I doubt it.

    Dina

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    It's been a few years, but I think the school ended up making both genders to a half year of each - home ec and shop. And yes, I still use those mechanical drawing skills learned in 9th grade! Actually designed and drew out our home addition only 20 yrs ago as a result of those skills! And trust me when I say, that was a loooong time after 9th grade!

    As well, I had been sewing garments at home for a number of years, hence my wanting to do the one particular pattern in a different fashion. Too bad the home ec teacher didn't have my 'vision'. And while my mom wasn't particularly pleased with my grade that term, Nana was very proud of me!

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    Power Poster lynnie's Avatar
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    learned as a child, by the time I was 10 was sewing my own cloths, (mom made beltloops to wide, collars not pointy ect.) I took sewing in high school to make my leather winter coat. did it in 2 weeks and was free from then on. I remember the girls having a hard time. I felt it was the worst place to learn sewing. I made a lot of money sewing their outfits and charging $1/button in 1975 for the girls.
    put off till tomorrow what you can do today, and if you procrastinate long enough, you may never have to do it.

  12. #12
    Super Member ILoveToQuilt's Avatar
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    Had home ec in the mid-60's. Made a blouse with "pop art" fabric. Sewed it wonderfully, but it didn't fit me when I was finished! I had grown 3 inches and had boobies! Oh well. I haven't had a child in school in over 10 years, so I can't say what is being taught now. When my youngest graduated high school in 2003, the school was still offering cooking and woodworking - open to either gender.

    Anita
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    The only place that housework comes before quilting is in the dictionary.

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    Member Smorris17119's Avatar
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    They don't teach it in my school district so I started teaching it to one or two of the neighborhood kids in my home. Now I'm up to 9 boys and girls. I got the parents to get the kids Janome mini sewing machines for Christmas so the kids could each bring their own machines. For some of the kids the Janomes works fine but for a few of the heavy sewers they ate through the machine in a week. I suggested to their parents to get treadles and 3 of them did, now everyone including parents want treadles. Come to think of it I wouldn't mind having a treadle myself.
    Sharon
    NH

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    Junior Member Tumdarra's Avatar
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    I was in school in the 60's up in Manitoba and we had home ec. Half the year was sewing and half the year was cooking. I must agree with most of you we made the most hideous things. We had to make an apron and top out of gingham, a dress with long sleeves and zipper, blouse with collar and buttons. But the cooking class I loved, 4 kids to a group and we had our own little kitchen area with stove etc. was great and we put out some good food

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    Super Member kathdavis's Avatar
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    The big district I teach in cut home ec and wood shop in middle school/junior high when budget cuts were needed about 13 years ago. They are expense courses to have in school, but boy, they are so important. I believe the students can take these classes in high school, but usually have so many other things to take that they don't take advantage of these classes. It is so sad. Many times, kids that struggle academically, are very successful with their hands.
    Kathleen

    Remember, people will see your quilts long after you are gone....NOT your housework!

  16. #16
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
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    My kids took sewing in junior high. The high school offered nothing. But I made up for that! All 3 of my kids(2 boys) can sew enough to get by. Each has used my sewing machine to make book bags and such. My oldest son(24) crochet me a scarf for christmas! Now he wants to learn to make fabric bowls. You know the kind made with clothes line. My daughter crochets occassionally. And my youngest son made his own ugly christmas sweater this past christmas. Of course he bought a plain sweater, then sewed the ugly onto it, but I was still proud of his creation.

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    Senior Member bigredharley's Avatar
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    I remember making the UGLIEST grey jumper in 8th grade and cooking in the other half of the year. None of that offered here anymore, and I agree completely that they are life skills. My youngest spent a summer before her senior year at the University and had to teach so many of the others how to do their laundry. Home Ec or parent responsibility, someone needs to teach these!
    ​Nancy

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    Back in the early 60's, we were required to take home ec as girls and shop for boys. We swopped for 6 weeks. I loved it. In high school the classes were electives which didn't fit in with my college prep class schedules. My mom did minor sewing and didn't teach me how except to mend. My oldest son, now 44, took a class in 8th grade that taught home living skills such as cooking, mending, and laundry. He doesn't do hardly any of it now. My 3rd son who is 27 took a similar class still uses the skills he learned which his new wife appreciates. I made a small quilt with my 13 year old GDD but she only liked doing it for about an hour. My only daughter made a small wall hanging then lost interest. My grandmother was a very good seamstress but wasn't interested in me, only my oldest cousiin and left her her sewing machine in her will (she has never sewn).

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    They still have these classes in Australia , one of my Best friends teaches the sewing classes
    her work is always perfect, she can do blanket stitch by hand and you swear it was done on a machine .Cathy

  20. #20
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa_wanna_b_quilter View Post
    Our small town school cut it out years ago due to budget constraints.
    But I bet that sports were not cut. Yea, like everyone will become a pro athlete!

    Of course it is not important to learn a constructive skill (sewing, cooking, shop classes) learn how to plan and prepare nutritious meals and understand the economics of meal planning, (think obesity rates today) etc but heaven forbid the schools not have millions of $$ tied up in sports! Sorry for my rant!

    Sandy
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    I took Home Ec in the early 70's. My friends mother had taught me to sew around age 10 or 11 so I seriously knew things the teacher didn't and I never got much out of it. My daughter took some version , I think they called it FACS or something but I have no idea what that stands for. It was a complete and total joke!! She didn't learn a single thing about basic cooking which is a real drawback now that she is on her own. I don't think anybody even finished their sewing project.

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    I have to agree with Sandy. I am pretty sure that our local school system has cut what used to be known as Home Economics from it's schedule. All of my granddaughters are head over heels into sports like lacrosse etc. I don't understand. Aside from the exercise from all that running around where else in the lives are they going to use those skills? I have been sewing since childhood. Because I do a lot of charity sewing I seem to get a lot of calls from folks looking for someone to do garment repairs for them. More than 15 years ago I worked for about a year for a Bernina dealer who made her rent by doing alterations and custom dressmaking. It is amazing what people will pay. The shop did a lot of hems, replacing of buttons and mending torn seams etc. They also sewed on a lot of patches. I truly believe that my husband fell in love with me because I could mend his jeans. His first wife never even sewed on a button.

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    AMEN! Sandygirl. We now need to teach all the skills to pass the required to pass standardized tests but not to require learning skills for survival: food preparation and safety, care of clothing whether purchased or made, child development, etc. Don't get me started. ;-) I am a proud graduate of what was called the college of home economics and spent 40 years working in a related field. Now, when it exists, it is usually called family and consumer science (not a bad name because this IS science if we weren't so scared of that term.)In the 60's shop was not an option for girls as it is now. Fortunately my father had all these skills and I learned a lot from him in this area. We need to push for reinstating life skills in the schools as well as the arts if we are truly teaching for a lifetime. OK, stepping off my soapbox

  24. #24
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    They no longer have Home Ec in our school. I guess you don't have to learn how to put a prepared dinner in the microwave. A bunch of ladies I know wanted to start a quilting group and I thought the place to have it would be in the home ec. room at school since there would be tables, chairs and even some sewing machine available to us. What a surprise to find out the didn't have that now. It is call FACS now. They did have a few machine stored in the room, but most of them did work.
    We still meet there because it was offered to us and there are tables and chairs, counters, so it works out great.

  25. #25
    Super Member Quilty-Louise's Avatar
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    In the HS school my youngest attended (she graduated in 2011)
    She had a class called "Life 101" in this class they had to cook,
    select fabrics for wardrobes, home decor, and other stuff.

    I contacted the closest Middle & High Schools to put out "feelers"
    to see if any of the students might be interested in learning how
    to use a sewing machine (just u=the basic operation of one). None
    of the students was interested, I even hung up a flyer near the mail
    boxes of our condo complex only not just for young people. Still no
    interest.
    Louise - Ya-ya to Zachary April 13 2015. I collect mugs from the U.S. and around the world. Also collect handmade pincushions, sewing/quilting themed fabrics, and fabric in general.

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