View Poll Results: Where did you learn your 'life skills' i.e time managment, homekeeping, cooking, budgeting, etc

Voters
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  • Parents/Other family

    11 27.50%
  • School

    0 0%
  • Friends

    0 0%
  • Media-Books, Magazines, TV

    5 12.50%
  • My life is in complete dissarray...no time for questions

    7 17.50%
  • All of the above

    17 42.50%
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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    May 2005
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    Feminist Home Economics-What did you learn?

    I dropped out of college and had my first child when I was 19. I stayed home with both children, later working part time until I returned to school as a single parent to get my degree. It seems that when I get together with my girlfriends from high school, I have much more knowledge about homekeeping, child-rearing, budgeting, time management & home improvement (though I've never owned a home) than they do. And although my life was tougher as a young mother and single student, it seems now they strugggle more than I do. So my question is: What things have you found to be the most difficult for you in regard to the above topics? What do you wish your mom (or Dad) had taught you? Do you think that some women are missing out because we may not be learning things that make our lives easier, more rich & satisfying? We learn alot in college about the world and our careers but what about the things we should learn at home? Do you think we need a feminist empowered home economics class for high school students or undergraduates? Please respond honestly as I am looking for other women's experiences, thoughts for an article that no one will probably ever read!!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    943
    You didn't put "all of the above" for the poll's options! My sister taught me how to caulk a bathtub. My aunt taught me to knit. GetCrafty has taught me a ton. I've learned how to cook from watching my mother, food network, and reading about what other people cook and how other people combine ingredients.

    A lot of my self-sufficiency has come from having to figure out most things on my own, if no one shows me. For instance, not many of my friends have to fill out their financial aid forms by themselves. I do. My mother certainly doesn't know how to do it. I figure it's just the type of person you are. If no one makes you do it yourself, you won't learn until you HAVE to, which results in more struggling because the stakes are higher, you're more alone.

    It'd be nice if there were feminist empowered home ec classes taught in high schools, but the teachers would have to teach it from a feminist perspective, and in high school, I met so few feminist teachers! Would they really teach the class so that it didn't reinforce gender roles? I'm not sure about that.

    I think experience paves the way for most of us, and if a friend is having some real trouble figuring things out, it's sort of our job to say, "No, no, you need to start that scarf over" or "No, no, reconsider how many payments you'll really be willing to make on a car."

    We need guidance from everywhere. It's just difficult seeing people go through the same things you do without being as self-sufficient.

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    108

    Added to the poll :)

    Thanks for the insightful reply. I have considered the complications of a home ec class without gender bias. I admit it is a tall order. I guess in my current living situation it usually works out becuase my boyfriend prefers the outdoor "manly" chores and I prefer the indoor ones. But in a pinch he can cook and I can mow the lawn. Things are pretty even for us but I know its not like that everywhere.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    1,563
    I learned a lot from my mother and grandmother but the real test was cohabitation. My husband grew up in a household where chores were split 50/50 and not along gender lines (his mom mowed the lawn, his dad did the dishes) and I learned a lot when I had someone else's opinions interjected into my domestic routine: "why do you use that brand? why don't we try this one and see if we like it?" and you know what, it was better. I realized that a lot of my routine was just blind repetition of what my mother did and not necessarily what worked for us. My husband learned the same thing. Now we do some things that we were brought up doing, but a lot of things we figured out on our own too. We are also both crafty people who like to be self sufficient, so we've learned a lot by trial and error and not wanting to bother the maintence man, who won't come for a week anyway...

    I think I keep a pretty good home, especially when my mother in-law visited a few weeks ago and couldn't stop complimenting me on my decorating, most of it DIY :)

  6. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    6
    -my grandma and mom taught me how to sew

    -my mom and my grandpas taught me how to use power tools/do carpentry/home repair

    -my dad taught me how to keep a budget, be frugal, and bake bread

    -i taught myself how to cook (mostly) although my mom taught me a few basics.


    i'm so glad they did!

  7. #6
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2005
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    6
    -my grandma and mom taught me how to sew

    -my mom and my grandpas taught me how to use power tools/do carpentry/home repair

    -my dad taught me how to keep a budget, be frugal, and bake bread

    -i taught myself how to cook (mostly) although my mom taught me a few basics.


    i'm so glad they did!

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    822
    I wish my parents...or someone had taken the time to teach me how to manage my finances better.
    But...they DID teach me how to work as a team. It has taken me years to get my husband to take the team approach as opposed to my doing EVERYTHING just because I'm a SAHM. He still needs a lot of work. : P
    But at least I can get him to work with me in the garden now. I'm still working on him with household chores!
    Anyway....my parents worked together to get things done, from household cleaning to painting the house, to gardening. Whatever needed doing.
    They both also taught me to be a pretty competant do-it-yourselfer. I do just about any kind of household repair. I keep the plumbing and electrical to the pros, though!

  9. #8
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2005
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    Arizona
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    14
    Great question. I took home ec because in my junior high, girls who wanted to take art one semester had to take home ec the other. (Boys took shop.) This was in THE (nineteen) EIGHTIES, no less. I did learn to sew from a pattern, but cook? Not exactly - For cooking, no kidding, we made Impossible Hamburger Pie from the recipe on the Bisquick box.

    Cleaning - learned how from doing a ton of cleaning growing up, plus reading Home Comforts. My dad did more than my mom on this front. Cooking - trial and error, no one else in my family could so it was a matter of survival. Shopping for food - mom, mostly.

    Wish I knew more about how to fix things. I hate for my daughters to see gender stereotypes replicated in our home, just because I know more about cooking and cleaning, and he knows more about mechanical stuff.

    We completely need to reclaim home ec as something people need to study. When I do use convenience foods, I'm always kind of pissed at how condescending the directions are. ("For a less buttery stuffing, use less butter.") Then, I'm sad. Is it sadder that they have to be geared toward latchkey 10-year-olds, or that even educated adults need to have things explained at that level?

    Homemaking is becoming a lost art. You can't be pro-woman and at the same time disparage and dismiss women's traditional contributions - and you can honor this at the same time you push to have more men participate.

  10. #9
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2004
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    Mostly from helping my parents when I was little, I guess. I remember that my dad showed me how to change a light switch when I was about 6-7 years old, I was so proud! And yes, I still remember how to do it...

    Though I learned lot in school, too - things like how to iron a button-down shirt. Home Ec (or really, the equivalent of Home Ec - I live in Sweden so we have a different school system) was compulsory and we had a good teacher. We got to cook etc, though I think I've learnt to cook mainly by helping my dad in the kitchen (he does all the cooking - my mom hates to cook). My sisters and I had to take turns in planning and preparing dinner, a week each, ever since we were little (of course we would get help from our parents...).

    Cleaning, I guess I learned from going to boarding school (sort of) when I was in high school. We had to clean our rooms before every school holiday, and the lady who was in charge would check that we had cleaned properly - yes, she would actually run her finger along the top of the door jamb. I had never cleaned things like those at home...

    And I've learnt a whole lot of things here on GetCrafty and on Glitter, too.

    ***ETA: re: Home Ec: we had to take it for two or three years (grades 6 to 8? I'm not sure anymore...maybe it was even longer), I think, although it was only something like one hour a week. We learned about cooking, cleaning, laundry etc and also things like consumer rights, budgeting and so on. I'm pretty sure we mostly did cooking and baking in the beginning, and started learning more theoretical stuff later on. Sewing was not included as we had a separate textile crafts class (compulsory in grades 3-6, in grade 7-9 you could choose between that and woodshop - woodshop was also compulsory from 3rd to 6th grade. Typically we would have half the year textile, half the year wood & metal, about one hour a week).

  11. #10
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2004
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    Wisconsin
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    RE: Home Ec in School.

    We really didn't learn too much. Sure we did the balancing the checkbook and making cookies, but never anything like making a budget, planning meals for a family, or any crafty things.

    Most of what I remember was sex ed (for some reason that was part of home ec) and it mostly involved bringing in teenage mothers to terrify us and always dividing us into male and female groups. I don't think it was very effective, considering the teenage pregnancy rate in my school


 
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