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Thread: Sewing classes

  1. #1
    Super Member ArizonaKAT's Avatar
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    Sewing classes

    Why has home ec. lost it popularity in schools? I spoke to a Walmart employee this weekend while I was purchasing material and commented that I should start sewing classes in our little town.

    She said young girls come in to Walmart regularly asking her if she knew of somewhere they could go to learn to sew.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sandybeach's Avatar
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    Because the girls in their mother's generation thought it was enough just to work. God forbid they be asked to work and take care of a household. And if there are children, well then you want them to do WHAT? Most of the younger girls I know (and I'm talking 30's and 40's) don't even know how to iron.

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    Senior Member dixie_fried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandybeach View Post
    Because the girls in their mother's generation thought it was enough just to work. God forbid they be asked to work and take care of a household. And if there are children, well then you want them to do WHAT? Most of the younger girls I know (and I'm talking 30's and 40's) don't even know how to iron.
    You're painting with a pretty broad brush there. I turn 40 in a few days.
    I have a family--3 fabulous kids who are creative and bright, a career--been a nurse for more than half my life, hobbies I love--sewing, quilting, painting, photography, many friends I like to entertain and you can actually walk thru my house without sticking to the floor.
    It's possible to balance it all.

    To the OP, sewing classes would be a great way to give back to your community. I still remember things taught to me by my home ec teacher, and I often imagine she'd be proud of how much of her teaching I carry with me to this day.
    "And I guess I might have made a few mistakes.
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    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    I worked and I sewed for my 2 daughters. They took home ec. and did not like it. Now they are asking me to teach them to sew! They both have quilts and all my grandchildren do too. I got them both sewing machines as gifts and now they want to use them, but distance and time on my part make that difficult.
    Beth in Maryland

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    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Mostly because of economics. It's an expensive classroom to maintain. It's not something the state tests. Home ec cut into academic time. Sports are deemed more important. It was seen as sexist. It's not seen as a college or workforce skill.

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    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    Mostly because of economics. It's an expensive classroom to maintain. It's not something the state tests. Home ec cut into academic time. Sports are deemed more important. It was seen as sexist. It's not seen as a college or workforce skill.
    Do they still have wood shop? When I was in Middle school (long time a go!), the girls took home ec and the boys took wood shop. It wasn't until I was in High School that Home Ec was an elective.
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    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auntpiggylpn View Post
    Do they still have wood shop? When I was in Middle school (long time a go!), the girls took home ec and the boys took wood shop. It wasn't until I was in High School that Home Ec was an elective.
    I doubt it. Wood shop would have the added safety issues.

  8. #8
    Member jeemmerling621's Avatar
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    We don't have home ec. or woods hop where I'm from. Some schools offer a "college preparation" where they teach you to cook, clean, self defense, etc. and others offer a "life skills" class where they teach you financial preparation skills. Both of these classes are electives and can only be taken junior and senior year.

    I don't think balancing a home and work life is very difficult. I go to college full time and while I don't have children, I still maintain the responsability of "housewife". I just have to prioritize my day.

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    I think most school systems are having trouble funding just the basics. The " extras" are the first to go. Unfortunately all the arts are suffering and I feel sorry for the children.

  10. #10
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    My niece's home ex class was a joke. She had to bring food from home to learn to cook it! No cooking tools were available, just random kitchen stuff. Boys were in the class and they thought it was funny to keep breaking the machine needles! The teacher had no control over the class at all. This is in the best school district in the town that has a high rating (the kids can pass Benchmark). I was asked to volunteer to help with the sewing. I was no allowed to make the class come to some kind of discipline order. I left after two days. My niece was so disappointed in the class. Theses kids acted like it was a joke. They took the class as it was labeled 'an easy do nothing class'. The school admin. didn't care about home ec. But boy is that football team decked out in new uniforms, playing on a new field. If you haven't visited a school in the last five years, you'll never believe what is going on.
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  11. #11
    Junior Member lynnegreen's Avatar
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    In the Los Angeles area we have not had Home Ec for decades. I just asked my son, who is just shy of 33 if he remembered if his junior or senior high school had Home Ec and he was pretty sure that was already gone as well as the "male" oriented classes such as wood or auto shop. When I was in high school the physical location of my school was considered out in the boonies, therefore not noticed much, and the District tested classes there. Cooking for boys and auto/wood shop for girls were some of the classes tested. They were tremendously popular. Don't think they ever actually made it into the mainstream.

    I wish the schools had the funds to add more of the creative arts, along with music and practical education (shop classes) to the curriculum, but, at least in my area, it is looking like that may never happen again.
    Lynne

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    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I just asked my sophomore son...they have wood shop..and cooking classes, but no sewing. I too think its a matter of money. The money it takes to purchase and maintain the machines is too much. I have had grown friends ask me to teach them how to sew. Depends on the friend!
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    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I had one semester of sewing (and one of cooking) in junior high, nothing after that, and I don't think it was offered. I learned to sew mostly on my own with a little help from my mother, and only started quilting a few years ago. Back then (in the dark ages) it was necessary to sew because "store bought" things were much more expensive than home made. That is no longer the case, and I think that is why people don't sew as much, except as a hobby. I think 4-H has always been the main opportunity for young people to learn to sew.

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    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandybeach View Post
    Because the girls in their mother's generation thought it was enough just to work. God forbid they be asked to work and take care of a household. And if there are children, well then you want them to do WHAT? Most of the younger girls I know (and I'm talking 30's and 40's) don't even know how to iron.
    This has nothing to do with it here! It is simply a matter of money and passing the tests they are required to administer. Many small districts were able to get rid of programs and teachers that were costing extra money, and the larger districts were able to add more academic courses! They do have classes like "Life Skills" where they carry around an egg that they are responsible for(their baby), and things the kids just think are 'silly'. I am not sure which grade or course, but there are some students from the HS who go to the LQS for a day and learn to do one project.
    Sadiemae

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    Back in the olden days, when I was in school, I learned sewing from my mom and my 4-H teachers during elementary school or "grade school" as it was then known, then we had home ec. as well in high school where we also had sewing, cooking, nutrition, etc. I think it is a great loss that these are not taught anymore. I never could understand why there were women and men who didn't know how to sew. Now I understand. What a loss! Is there still 4-H in school? I know is it a volunteer extra curricular activity, but we either met at the schools or at someones home. Is it still done? Besides in the rural areas?

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    Super Member Arleners's Avatar
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    I teach a quilting course in the continuing education program at our local high school. The room I have been assigned to use is the home economics room. From what I can see, there is a lot of attention paid on cooking. The kids also learn about child care. Besides for the machines my students bring in the evenings, I have never seen a sewing machine in the room. Home sewing is a dying art. You will always have people interested and learning, but maybe from relatives and friends, not from our public education system.
    Arlene

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    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandybeach View Post
    Because the girls in their mother's generation thought it was enough just to work. God forbid they be asked to work and take care of a household. And if there are children, well then you want them to do WHAT? Most of the younger girls I know (and I'm talking 30's and 40's) don't even know how to iron.
    Are you implying that it is woman's work to take care of the household? As for the ironing "long live permanent press"

    I married a GI. Uncle Sam taught that boy to do all things his momma didn't, including ironing.

    Honestly, I don't think as much value is placed on making things by hand yourself when we live in a society where bought is often cheaper. It's a shame really that many hand crafts (no matter the craft) are not taught.
    Martina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arleners View Post
    I teach a quilting course in the continuing education program at our local high school. The room I have been assigned to use is the home economics room. From what I can see, there is a lot of attention paid on cooking. The kids also learn about child care. Besides for the machines my students bring in the evenings, I have never seen a sewing machine in the room. Home sewing is a dying art. You will always have people interested and learning, but maybe from relatives and friends, not from our public education system.
    It's because of societal changes and schools having to teach what parents don't. I'm 60 and back when I was in high school it was taboo for unmarried girls to having babies. Schools have to focus on child care now. Also, with more emphasis on testing, "vocational" courses took a back seat.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Cheshirecatquilter's Avatar
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    Contact your local/state 4H office. They would love to hear what you have to offer.

  20. #20
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the school district as to what is offered. My kids, who graduated from a relatively small HS in the 90s and in 2002 all had the chance to take home ec, only the oldest (boy) and youngest (girl) did. Welding and woodshop are part of the ag program and also open to both guys and gals. As noted earlier, ag and home ec are electives and often considered 'easy' classes. Art, choir, band and drama are others that often fall by the wayside unless there is an excellent teacher that can get the kids to win UIL competition.
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    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    It is true that high school curriculums have eliminated many classes in home economics, art, and music. I only wish that it meant that its "concentration" in the basics meant that our students actually could read, write, do math, and problem solve better than in the past. Sadly, I don't think that it is so.

  22. #22
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Their concentration is on passing the tests, not learning.
    Quote Originally Posted by Daylesewblessed View Post
    It is true that high school curriculums have eliminated many classes in home economics, art, and music. I only wish that it meant that its "concentration" in the basics meant that our students actually could read, write, do math, and problem solve better than in the past. Sadly, I don't think that it is so.
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    I think we need to go back to some of the basics children don't realize how to do things unless they are taught. I'm glad we had home ec I learned a lot from my teacher and still remember her well. I think sports are good but how do you know how to be a homemaker? Sue

  24. #24
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    DS took both woodshop and domestic arts in middle school in the late 80's. He made some wonderful sewing items as well as some great wood items.

    The town I live in now had Domestic Arts until a couple of years ago but the sewing was dropped a couple of years ago.
    QuiltnLady1

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    I know each area is different when it comes policies and curriculum. Our area that I still work in has home economics now called FACS - Family and Consumer Sciences. This includes: Nutrition, Independent Living, Child Development to name a few. Yes, they still learn to cook, learn to sew and the final sewing project is a pair of pajama pants. They still have machines in cabinets and some portables. The care of the machines is hard for the county. Also, I am sorry someone said that a school there daughter or friend was in let them get away with .... in these classes. That would not happen at our school. You can have fun but learn respect. In Child Dev. they have the opportunity to carry the egg or a computerized baby.
    It is different from what many of us grew up on; but I am 53 and it was changing during my last two years of high school. (Now my old high school teaches a unit on mending and taking care of your clothes but more time on the Nutrition and cooking. They have a few portable machines.)
    Our school also continues to teach the shop classes where the students make some very impressive things. However, they must pass safety and usage tests for each and every machine before they can use them. They teach architectual drafting on the computers...very cool. It is one of the reasons my cousin went to VA Tech to study design in architecture??? They have ag classes for our farm boys and girls. FFA( Future Farmers of America) is a big part in our community as well.
    As Juniors and Seniors, the students have the opportunity to interview for placement in courses at our technology and science center (what we would call vocational school). They offer many but here are a few: Cosmotology, CNA, LPN, masonary, carpentry, construction, auto body, auto mechanics, child care, ROTC and computer classes. Most of these classes offer the students the opportunity to take state licensure tests.
    The school also has many programs for advanced placement and dual enrollment classes for the more college minded students. As for the sports, those students have to have a certain grade point to be eligible to play and class conduct problems are taken to the coach if the student needs a second reminder. I am proud of our school.
    As for people wanting to learn to sew and craft; I do this in my home and through organizations in my church, It is a way of giving back. I think I shared on the vintage thread that while here in Indy; I have been teaching my step-sis to sew and she brought an old sewing machine over and I thought it was great and offered to buy it. She gave it to me for the lessons. It is a 1950 Singer featherweight. So you give and sometimes good things come back. Teresa

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