Though high school students can solve complicated math problems, they lack the basic skills necessary to survive in the real world as adults.
In the past, Home Economics classes were a part of every high school's curriculum and would teach children valuable life skills such as cooking, filing taxes, and home management. At a time when schools are driven entirely by academia and the scores that their students attain on standardized tests, children often leave high school only to realize that they do not actually know any skills to apply in the real world. Though they can probably solve complex math problems with ease, they are usually left floundering when it comes to their finances or even cooking a basic meal for themselves. Therefore, it is time to bring back Home Economics classes to high schools.
Home Economics may have earned a stigma for itself over the years; not only has the subject been largely feminized, attended mostly by young women and avoided entirely by men, but it has also been deemed unnecessary or more simpleton in nature in comparison to more advanced subjects such as algebra or physics. However, it should be understood that the life skills that children learn in Home Economics classes are just as important as any of the skills learned in their academic classes.
If children enter the so-called "real world" without any knowledge about how to pay their taxes, manage their finances, purchase homes, stick to budgets when grocery shopping, or even sew buttons back onto their shirts, can we really call their high school careers successful? While many believe that these skills should come naturally, it is simply unrealistic to expect all teenagers to instinctively possess domestic talents when they haven't really been exposed to those tasks before.
According to Marti Harvey, a lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington, she finds that her students don't even know that they need to pay property taxes for the rest of their lives if they own property simply because they were never given the required information during their time in high school. She asserted in a column published by Dallas Morning News, "It's a failing of our educational system that students don't leave high school with this basic understanding, among other things. That's why we need to bring back the old home economics class. Call it 'Skills for Life' and make it mandatory in high schools. Teach basic economics along with budgeting, comparison shopping, basic cooking skills, and time management. Give them a better start in real life than they get now."
She added, "We tend to be a society of extremes. Right now we're trying to send people into STEM kind of careers. However, I think administrators and legislators also need to think about people coming out of high school or even college without the ability to manage their money and to know how to lead a productive life." With the introduction of a mandatory Home Economics class, not only do we prepare students for the responsibilities of the real world, but we ensure that they receive a balanced, holistic education that covers both the important academic subjects as well as the skills they need in order to survive as adults.