Sunday, September 9, 2018

mandatory home ec courses

When I lifted the frying pan out of the drainer where it had been left to dry a day or so ago, what I found was a frying pan with skid marks of the scrambled eggs it had been washed to erase. The major clottings of egg were gone, but the pan still wasn't clean. My younger son's capacity to cook the eggs and eat them was apparently intact. But his ability to wash up was missing.

In an age when everything seems to get "walked back," I wonder if it isn't time to impose on high schools a mandatory "home ec" course in which basic household chores were covered. If you get out of high school without knowing how to wash dishes, something is badly awry from where I sit.

Home economics, as it was once called, would include how to wash dishes. And know how to use a broom. And bake a boxed cake. And run a vacuum cleaner. And rinse off a counter top. And put things back. And fry or boil an egg. And do a load of laundry. And ... well, and do the basic stuff that needs to get done around the house.

Just a hint: Dishes that are washed should be ... d'oh ... clean. I know the objections to having to clean up my own mess. Tough titty ... do it anyway. Do it and do it well.

What the hell, if reading and writing and critical thinking have pretty much been set aside, there should be plenty of time in high school to learn the manly arts of being a maid.

Home ec for all!


  1. I'm pretty fussy about organization and jobs done properly, but screw ups happen. More and more lately.

  2. I’m closer to you in the spirit of diligence, organization and cleanliness but closer to olcharlie in managerial spirit.

    It wasn’t until I came across Zen Training did I both appreciate and strive to be diligent and organized as well as neat and clean.

    When I come across people who are diligent, organized, neat and clean, I wonder how they got that way. First on the list though is whether they are OCD. Next is whether they spent significant time in the military or had some quasi military training. Zen training is lower on the list.

    It’s probably easiest, managerially, just to inspect and re-wash oneself due to the personal nature of D.O.N.C., if the problems are in fact minimal. But it may be necessary to re-develop “House Rules” when dealing with adult children when significant and frequent “inconsistencies” occur.

    Best of luck.

    I would no doubt tend to inform a long term house guest that we do not allow items to be left out in the drainer more than a few hours. It’s never, ever done overnight. Dish towels were created for a reason. We have plenty of them (aprons, too). One of my house jobs is to shut down for the night. A job I have found renewed zeal for.

    Laziness is indeed relative... and universally infectious.

    1. Also, say what you will, cleaning and straightening up is a useful mindfulness practice.

    2. Oh yeah, I agree that Home Economics should be a subject taught every year through high school; may be even more than one course per year.

      Finance: Budgeting, setting up a checking account, managing credit cards, etc.

      Shopping: Using a given allowance buy food, clothing, supplies, appliances, etc.).

      Cooking: Given a budgeted amount do menu creation, grocery shopping, food prep, plating, dish and kitchen clean up).

      Home maintenance and repair: What is repairable, tools beneficial to acquire, the benefits and costs of warranties, selecting and dealing with repair People.

      Clothing: Selection, issues with style and fit, how to shorten pants, take in seams, sew on buttons, etc.

      Personal Medicine & First Aid: it’s limits, what’s useful to have on hand, dealing with strains and sprains, introduction to health professions beyond doctors and nurses.

      Auto Maintenance.

      To list a few categories and possible course organization. Can be integrated into job and career options.