Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Words, out of the mouths of babes




Another pleasure of King Arthur weekend was spending the day with my ten year old granddaughter, Sophie. She is extremely bright, a delight to be around and very "in control" of her world! She loves to sew and we try to get to the machine every time I visit. I gave her my Featherweight and she is enjoying it and taking very good care of it. This trip she was having a problem with her tension, loopy messy stitches. We checked and the thread was threaded perfectly. I pulled out the bobbin and lo and behold, it was put into the case counter clockwise when it should have been clockwise.I gave her a quick class on filling her bobbin case properly.  I had her do a few practice bobbin fills and she definitely learned her lesson. Then our conversation began.

Me; "Have you been sewing in school?" ( she does) "What are you working on?"

Sophie: "This year we made a gym bag ( draw string bag, sixth grade, she skipped a year). That will be our project for the year. We learn all sorts of things in our FACS class.? (pronounced like fax in kid lingo)

Me: "What is FACS?"

Sophie: "Family and Consumer Science. We learn how to sew and cook  and lots of other things."

Me:  "What else have you sewn?"

Sophie: "Last year we did a pillow case. But we learn lots of things besides sewing and cooking."

Me; "What other things?"

Sophie: "We've learned the right way to set a table, how to iron a shirt, how to wash dishes the right way by hand, do the laundry and lots of stuff. It's really fun."

Me:" Is this just in middle school?"

Sophie:  "No. Everybody has to take FACS from fifth until twelfth grade but in high school they spend more time on cooking and sewing, I think."

In comes big brother, in eighth grade,  who brings his phone over to be part of the conversation.

Jack: " Bunbun, look what I did in FACS."

He proceeds to show me his digital presentation he had to do for his cooking segment of the class. It was amazing. He documented the meal he was assigned to prepare at home for his family, showing how he cut the onions, cooked the meat, read the recipe, set the table, cleaned all the dishes, including pots, when done. Everyone in class had to prepare an entire meal for their family, eighth grade, mind you, document it all digitally, and do a power point presentation to the class. I was so impressed and told him how proud of was of his assignment. I don't know of anyone other than these two kids who are getting this kind of valuable learning. Do you? Can you see the value in it like I do? These are necessary life skills. I am so glad my grandchildren attend school in a community that doesn't write off sewing and cooking as a frivolous budget expense. I am thankful they live in a community that wants their children to learn how to iron a shirt, set a table, wash the dishes, do laundry and I am sure many other life skills. Where I live kids are being taught to pass tests and not much more. There is nothing like this. I am sad for those who aren't as lucky as Jack and Sophie....Bunny


25 comments:

  1. What a lovely story. And I agree, they're fortunate to learn, and enjoy learning, these complementary skills and activities. I grew up with Emily Post and parents who placed a premium on etiquette and so on. My dad even schooled my brothers in how to order in a restaurant for the entire family (it was considered bad form for a woman to order for herself). And I was thrilled when both my kids did a swing through 'home ec' in junior high school. They've both thanked me for the ease with which they navigate social situations and homemaking requirements.

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    1. In this competitive world, I can see where that would definitely give them a step ahead.

      I just mourn those who didn't have parents like yours and this is where FACS steps in. I think it is very necessary and even more so than in years back when every school had Home Ec or Consumer sciences.

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  2. Wow, what a great opportunity your grand-daughter and grand-son have at their school. Cooking and sewing put into practice the reading, writing and math skills that so many school place a priority on. School boards should see that these classes compliment each other rather than compete for budgetary dollars. I absolutely believe when students see where these skills can apply to everyday life situations, they are more keen on participating in the lessons. And they offer lessons in developing organizational, problem solving and critical thinking skills as well. But I feel like I'm preaching to the choir here. What I mean to say is that I love that you shared this story here. They are very lucky to attend a school that offers them the opportunity to learn these skills. It put a smile on my face this morning!

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  3. I also smiled while reading your post, Bunny. Our schools here in the Houston area haven't offered like classes for over 20 years! It's such a missed opportunity. My hubby and I were fortunate enough to travel quite a bit with our daughters which taught them proper restaurant etiquette and, of course, I taught them to sew, iron, and basic cooking. It saddens me to think of their generation that eats out several times a week and takes their laundry to the dry cleaners. Besides the pride felt from doing these tasks for themselves, it is expensive! Your grandchildren are so fortunate to attend a school that values these skills. Karen

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  4. I can't express my agreement much better than Coco and Graca. I also feel that other subjects are absorbed better because students can see a practical application for that knowledge. I hate what NCLB has done to our education system.

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  5. I was impressed with how Jack's lesson was integrated to other learning.I am sure Sophie's was too. These lessons all work together to emphasize other skills as Grace so eloquently said.

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  6. That is awesome!! I know schools here do not have that, and it is very unfortunate.

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  7. Awesome post!!!! Children are sponges---only wish they could all absorb great useful information!!!!

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  8. Lucky kids. I wish that my kid could stop being trained for standardized tests and learn some useful practical skills.
    http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2014/01/in-defense-of-home-ec.html

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  9. FACS was cut many years ago, as was ISCS (Integrated Science Curriculum Study), metal shop and wood shop (Industrual Arts) in our middle school. Students NEED this information and they need classes where they do projects and have time to fail/start over/succeed. Good lick to your grandkids as they enjoy their studies! They are lucky.

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    1. Amen to that! I love your comment on having time to fail/start over/succeed. I don't think it was an easy assignment for a young kid to make dinner, unaided, for an entire family and like us bloggers, document every step of the way. And then to put into a PP presentation for a grade and the class to watch? That is great learning really requiring serious planning, thought and persistence. So much was learned from that effort.

      One of the things I love about this class is that it is gender neutral, not like when I was younger and boys got "shop" and girls got "sewing" and never the twain could meet. Hooray for that development!

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  10. BunBun - I love it! Aren't grand daughters the best thing since sliced bread - grand sons too though!

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  11. This gives me hope that such courses and educational experiences may "come back" into public education after all. When the "Home Economics" classes and teachers were dropped from schools, much valuable educational for future adult citizens was lost. Not only did these classes teach cooking and sewing, but this is the primary place where thriftiness, conservation of supplies, budgeting, etc. were taught. We have an adult population at present that is largely crippled by having lost this learning opportunity.

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    1. I totally agree. You can see the increased dependence on parents in many homes. We need to give our kids the tools to thrive on their own and it is not always obvious what those tools are.

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  12. FYI: The NYS Board of Regents mandates FACS curricula, at least in the Middle school, and I believe at the secondary level. So if you value these, as I think we should, stay abreast of the Regents decisions. In the past, they've discussed releasing schools from this mandate.

    And of course, some districts do a better job with these. In the middle school were I taught, teachers had a class load of 125 students for an 8 week period I suspect your grandson's class is much smaller, as I don't think you could ever get through 125 presentations along with everything else in that period.

    It sounds like your grandchildren are getting a fun and useful FACS education!

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  13. That is fabulous! My middle school principal wanted so badly to incorporate stuff like this, but the curriculum just didn't allow it or the budget.

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  14. I reckon these skills are more important than ever. Knowledge is so easy to access now, so much of the stuff schools use to teach I reckon is redundant. life skills, practical and applicable skills, these are as important as the academic. I worked with the accelerated class at a local girls high school 12 years ago, an industry school liaison project, and I had these intensely smart young women putting their ideas into action, making phone calls, requests, having to extend their ability to work with other people to get things under way-not other students but business people. I did this because I wish someone had made me do that stuff!

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    1. I bet they remember your class with gaining awesome real world knowledge.

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  15. This is very important education! My goodness, when people know how to feed and care for themselves and their homes, they have a great foundation to pursue careers, family and all the other good things in life. To this day, I enjoy ironing shirts - something I learned in 7th grade Home Ec class. I will never be a person who takes pride that I do not own an iron. I know so many people like that and it puzzles me. So happy to see bright children learning essential skills!

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  16. She is adorable, and looks so much like her Grandmother!

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    1. I have to admit, she really reminds me of myself when I was her age. I don't mean physically either.

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  17. We learned these things in school (Norway), and as far as I know kids in Norwegian schools still do. Apparently it's not that common in other parts of Europe. One of my friends who is half Spanish half Irish didn't even understand what I was on about when I talked about it, so I asked some of my other friends who are Dutch and German, and as far as I can tell it's not common there either. In Norway these skills are taught from I believe the age of 9 onwards. Sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, weaving etc is taught in one class called Håndarbeid, Sløyd covers woodwork and metalwork, Kost og Helse teaches kids to cook, set tables, compose menus, healthy eating etc.

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  18. I'm late to this blog post but I just wanted to add that I LOVE the idea of these classes too. Even for students who may have already been taught these skills at home (my grandmother taught me to sew when I was very young), learning them at school gives them the opportunity to learn additional skills that their parents and grandparents might not know as well. In my high school sewing class I learned about sergers and used techniques that my grandmother never taught me - some that I still use today (although I'm sure she would be horrified to know that I rarely baste anymore - lol). 75% or more of students in school will never need calculus or physics but they will all have a home and cook and wear clothes.

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