“Get the FACS”

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Heather says

I thought about writing a long-winded response to this. Instead, I’ll just share the comment I received (name removed) and share the mission statement of this site.

Home Ec 101 is a site dedicated to teaching a broad range of life skills to adults in a conversational and entertaining manner.

-Heather

 

Hi Heather,
I just wanted to share with you that I am a Family and Consumer Science teacher. Since 1994 the old phrase Home Economics was put to bed and our new name of FACS or Family Consumer Science was adapted nationally.
I’ve been having the hardest time converting people, the teachers here, my students regardless of age. I still see it mentioned on TV as Home Ec. But when I talk to new people I meet and I tell them I teach middle school, this is what happens always!

New Person:”oh? what do you teach?”
FACS teacher: Family and Consumer Science
NP: Really? What kind of science is THAT?
FACS: (sighing) You know, Home Ec.
NP: OHHH OK. That’s cool. They still have that in schools? Why did they change the name?
FACS: *face palm*

So through my travels on the web getting things for classes set up and I run across your book and now your website….perhaps I know why this name change is so difficult….because of people like you.

We don’t call a class “typing” anymore because the typewriter is dead and because of computers the name changed to keyboarding. The class called ‘shop’ isn’t for boys and it’s changed it’s name to Technology Education….again computers, tools, designing, autocad etc.
FACS changed from Home Ec because it’s not for girls anymore striving to be homemakers but all about the science of the family of consumers who are balancing anything and everything in our passages of life. My classes certainly are more boys some days….

Anywho, I just wanted to tell you this is my life’s work….converting, informing, enlightening those in the world that Home Ec is a retired word. We need to be aware of what is going on in schools, what we are teaching our kids because our parents don’t have the time to teach what I am trying to teach my students. There still is a big disconnect. Funds dwindling…cutting back….cut out the arts, cut out FACS….we don’t need these classes, they aren’t academic, they are old like Betty Crocker. Languages is what is important now!

Our appliances are computerized, we use computerized embroidery machines, we have our own laptop computer carts, we analyze food and diets on the internet, we use apps on our phones to check for food additives in what we eat. We prepare ethnic foods in our classes. We are valid, we are here, we are important. We aren’t classes full of girls who knit and make ham croquettes!
Please spread the word…..we are alive and well but living under a different name and school counselors are telling your kids to take “other classes” deeming us unimportant.
Thanks for taking the time for letting me vent….

Get the FACS….
Teaching your kids a lifetime of skills…

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42 thoughts on ““Get the FACS””

  1. I can understand her frustration, but it’s just a name. Home Economics means the same as FACS. It’s the same lesson, the same aims. Teach children how to manage a home, including the cooking and budgeting for this. I try and teach my children this every day. “No, we can’t have sweets every day”, “Mummy can’t afford to have takeaway all the time, plus it isn’t very healthy to always eat fried foods” etc. They learn from us and we learn from you! Don’t chang a thing, sweetheart, we love your Home Ec just the way it is.

    Reply
    • Thank you.
      It’s an uphill battle, that’s for sure. I’ve started having my kid make dinner when I have the patience. Why? Because I can’t let them go out into the world without the ability to take care of their basic needs.
      Next up?
      Laundry.

      Reply
  2. How does the term “home ec” translate to little girls striving to be homemakers?! It’s the economics of running a HOME, which includes whoever makes up your home. It sounds like someone is pushing their own narrowed definition of the term onto others. Personally, I think its more important to focus on the content of the class, as opposed to getting caught up in the semantics of a name….right?! Lastly, the “face palm” should be reserved for situations that are generally understood to be obvious, otherwise you risk coming off as a little pompous.

    I agree with the previous commenter- Heather, don’t change a thing!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Jen. I’m not planning on changing anything.
      If the commenter wants to create change, she can build a website that ranks well in Google and work from there.
      It’s a long road, good luck to her.

      Reply
  3. Can I just say that I AM a “girl trying to be a homemaker”? My husband & I ARE trying to be parents that have time to teach our kids? I understand that isn’t possible for everyone but it is our goal. We sacrifice a good bit to make our goals possible- like every other parent does for their kid. Your website & book have been invaluable to me. The name made it easy to find early on in my housewife-ish journey. My mama taught me how to grow a garden & preserve food. You have taught me how to cook & plan when that way isn’t possible. I understand where this person is coming from but believe it or not, there are still strong, feminist women that have the career goal of being stay at home housewives & mothers. We are looking for how to best run our homes like anyone would research any other field.

    Reply
    • I want people, men and women, to have they information they need to give them the choice to create the life they want.
      I was a stay at home mom for a while, that’s how Home-Ec101.com got its start and I am grateful for that.
      I am glad I got to be there and I am glad I work full time now.
      There’s a whole lot of grey area in this world and what’s right for me may not be right for someone else. Education allows us to make informed choices, life sometimes doesn’t let us make the choice we’d prefer, but that’s something else altogether. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Funny thing is the “keyboarding” class is a crock. I tried to take it when I was in school, yes, they had it back then, and guess what it was? Typing. Wasn’t until I could take a correctly labeled class of “Introduction to Computers” that I got what I wanted.

    Plus, this isn’t a school site. It is your site. And it is actually a Home-Ec site. Not a FAC site.

    I agree that names are important, take bullying for example. But political correctness and changing a name for the sake of just updating is ridiculous. If this is, and it is, a Home-Ec site, then call it that. If you teach a shop class, or a welding class, or a simple auto-mechanics for the unwashed masses class, then call it so. The world would be a lot happier with the truth in advertising.

    And if this well-meaning obnoxious woman doesn’t like it, she should go start her own website.

    Oh, and by-the-way, I am still mad about that stupid keyboarding class.

    Reply
  5. Wow. I taught Family and Consumer Science for 10 years from 1999 until 2009 when I made a huge sacrifice to live my dream of being a stay at home mother and homemaker. In my experience so much emphasis in college (Ohio State) was put on education classes mainly FACS classes and very little emphasis was put on content classes that I felt a little unprepared to actually teach the content when I started. I could manage a lab of students, but I had to learn basic sewing techniques from my aunt who taught Home Economics in the 70’s. Luckily, I had grown up cooking so teaching in a food lab came naturally to me, but college did not properly prepare me in the content areas I would then teach for 10 years. When I was a student at Ohio State in the 90’s there was huge shift and I remember my professors stating that FACS was not about cooking and sewing anymore. But when I actually went into the workforce, it was. We had a strong department with 4 FACS teachers and our classes were full of both boys and girls. We had a wide range of classes, but I taught mostly Smart Food and Money which was all about healthy cooking and family financial management. Food lab was my favorite part of teaching FACS and my food classes were always full. I helped train several new teachers during my tenure and they almost always needed a lot of guidance in teaching in the food lab b/c their universities had not fully prepared them for the task at hand.

    I fully support the Home Economics and you can see it in my blog name too. Home Ec @ home http://www.homeecathome.com

    Reply
    • Interesting, I graduated high school in the late 90s and we still called it Home Ec. I had never heard of FACS until this blog post. Guess that’s what happens in a small town.

      Thanks so much for being a teacher!

      Reply
  6. Dear Heather,

    Honestly, this reader that is doing the complaining is dead wrong. Don’t change a thing. She may be flooded in a world of political correctness where she/he needs their hand held through everything, is offended at the slightest mention of something that she doesn’t agree with, and at the end of the day probably takes home a 6th place trophy so she/he doesn’t feel left out.

    There’s nothing wrong with the term Home-Ec. It’s gender neutral. It refers to a home. And economics. I didn’t hear the words “man” or “woman” used there. I didn’t hear “Betty Crocker” mentioned once in that name – although I’m sure if Betty Crocker sponsored his/her classroom, she’d be sure to put it in the title. FACS sponsored by Betty Crocker seems about on par for this reader’s level.

    Bottom line is you can’t please all the people all the time. Ban his/her ip address – I’m sure that while he/she is lambasting your website for their own petty reasons, she/he is also copying down everything you post so that they can pass it along to the students.

    Maybe if this “teacher” spent more time covering the source material and teaching the students, they might learn something in FACS / Home-Ec at his/her particular school.

    Reply
  7. Hi Heather,

    What I took away from this letter was the writer’s sense of frustration at some schools and/or parents deeming Home Ec (AKA FACS) less important than other subjects–false stereotyping is probably one tactic officials use to cut budgets. Sure, things have changed and become more technologically geared in the classes, but the information is still invaluable!

    Reply
    • P.S. I’m slow–the first time I read the letter, I didn’t even notice that the letter writer seemed to assigning blame somewhere, other than to people in charge of school budgets. I just re-read it, and now I see they are putting down Home Ec! No way! Like many others here, I found Heather’s site during a search for Home Economics. And I love every bit of the information here, not to mention all the effort that goes into it!

      Reply
      • I appreciate it.

        I admit I understand some of the original commenter’s frustration, what I didn’t care for is how their frustration was made out to be my -and people like me- ‘s fault.

        Like somehow I am responsible for all of the misogyny and patriarchal problems in modern society.

        I was a gifted student, but in my home, I was told I could only be a teacher or a nurse.

        Do you want to talk about internal conflict? Half of me rails against that misogyny while the other part of me is a teacher, just not in institutional sense.

        It’s fun in my head. 🙂

        Reply
  8. One of the reasons I was drawn to your website was the name Home-ec 101. It told me what was here before I even opened the page. I like it. And the picture is fitting too.
    I wish people would stop putting others in a box. It is a web site. It can be whatever you want it to be. We learn things. Isn’t that the point? If you don’t like it, don’t read it.
    Maybe one of the reasons FACS isn’t “understood” is no one knows what it is is because it is too general, too diversified. Home isn’t a science. It is a place to love and be loved. To be nurtured and taught how to nurture. To cook, clean, laugh, listen, enjoy, encourage, discipline when needed, and all the other things that make up a home. It should be a place of safety, security. It is a place where our family wants to be. That is what Home-ec 101 is to me.

    Reply
    • I agree. I was a “gifted” student in HS. I took Calculus, Advanced History and Science courses that prepared me for …. lots of intellectual discussions. When I became a stay-at-home mom after the birth of my son, I was completely lost. I had never prepared meals from scratch, taken care of a baby or balanced a home budget! I feel like I have been spending the last 15 years playing catch-up. I LOVE this site and all the “remedial” information it gives.

      Reply
      • Thank you both. I was a chef before I had children. Even then cooking fancy food was very different than dealing with a strict budget that was my reality.

        Did having that skillset help? Absolutely.

        Was there still a ridiculous learning curve? Yep.

        Reply
  9. Kudos to you Heather for bringing quality information and encouragement to those who are interested.

    Your readers are following you for your content and not just a title. I must confess that I have a degree in Home-ec and that’s what initially brought me to your site!

    Reply
  10. I was a MIS major , also tricky to explain to people sometimes, my university even changed what it is called , from CISM to MIS.
    Computer Science Majors have it easy 😉

    Reply
  11. Honestly, if your blog was called FACS 101 or Family and Consumer Science 101, I probably would have never subscribed or even found you. I’m sure a large majority of your followers are adults who most likely had “Home-Ec” class in high school and can relate to your blog name. I realize that many things are now titled to fit our more technological society, but there’s nothing wrong referencing a slightly outdated name. Especially since most of the “Home Ec” generation is still alive and kicking. As our generation ages and passes on, then I’m sure FACS will be the common name and recognized by most/all of society. The name may have retired from our schools, but it still conjures up images of the happy homemaker. When I want to seek out advice on running a home, then I’m to turn to a person who I see as knowing best how to run the home, the “Home Ec expert”. And one other thing to point out, if the person had perused your blog site, I’m sure she would have noticed that you have a somewhat “old-fashioned” look to your site. Your black and white woman image on each of your blog posts makes me think of that 50s house wife, very fitting with your blog name.

    Reply
    • Ann hit my point: from 1961-1964 I had home ec in Junior High. Learned to sew from a sainted teacher and will always be indebted. Also learned the principles of preparing food. Imagine the great pride a child feels being able to have a modicum of success with adult tasks! Home Ec is an accurate enough label; some of us who relate are still around.

      Reply
      • Diane, I was in high school in the mid-90s and we still called it Home-Ec despite the letter writer saying the name changed in 1994. It may have changed in her HS, but definitely not at mine. So the generations of people who know the class as Home Ec will be around many, many more years.

        Reply
          • LOL!! I was a band geek too, so I can understand. We were required to take Home Ec though. My community was very small so options in high school were very limited. Everyone had the same teacher for chemistry, biology, trig, calculus, etc. meaning only one teacher that taught all classes for their subject. Anyway, we had to take 4 different “elective” classes throughout the school year, 16 weeks for each class. You couldn’t choose which electives though as there were only 4 electives. So everyone took Home Ec, everyone took shop, everyone took typing (we still used typewriters as we only had a couple computers in the school despite it being mid-90s) and I don’t remember what the 4th elective was. So everyone whether they wanted to or not had to go through those classes.

  12. I can appreciate the instructor explaining the name change. It has been hard for me to accept it. But I was reading her comments, I understand how thinking of it as a science does make sense. There are times when I really regret changing my major from Home Ec. (it was the 70’s) to liberal arts and ultimately nursing. Now more than ever those courses are valuable. Just ask me as I sit at a Triage desk in the ER and listen to the reasons people come to the ER or have brought their children. I think the FCS acronym could also represent “Foundations of Common Sense” which is what we developed in our courses, and it’s what they offer day. They should be required for all students in addition to physical education.

    Reply
    • YES! I wish someone would teach a class in school on ‘life skills’. Not just home-ec, not just FACS, but actual life skills that expanded beyond but still included cooking, cleaning, sewing. Like how to balance a checkbook. How to sew on a button. How to create a budget. How to negotiate on large purchase (house, car, etc). I love this site, I’ve been reading since the very beginning and while I’m not checking for updates every day like I used too, I still refer back often.

      Reply
  13. oh lordie! If you had titled this website, and your book, FACS, no one would have known wth you were talking about! Home Economics: the economics of running a home. Transcends gender, age and terminology. While the name may have changed within the education system itself, I doubt seriously if anyone uses the term FACS when speaking amongst themselves. I picture it more like “Hey, did you hear what happened in Home Ec today!” The more things change, the more they remain the same.

    Reply
    • You’re absolutely right! I am a high school teacher — and I teach these classes! NO ONE says Family and Consumer Sciences (except this one woman … and she might be the one who wrote the email, ’cause she’s just like that). Counselors, principals … all say “Home Ec!”

      Reply
  14. I rolled my eyes the entire time I read this. Home ec has no gender designation. It’s an important class. Very important. But it’s a class about the economics of the home. If the class was Housewives Training 101 or maybe even Homemaking 101, I could see the change, but this is just silly.

    Also, it was called home ec when I took it in the mid nineties at a huge high school in south Florida.

    Reply
  15. Every kid should be required to take a semester of home ec in middle school or high school, since these are valuable life skills every single person needs. The writer his/herself has to resort to Home Ec. Every industry finds this clash of phrasing sometimes and it’s pointless to be offended by it. The term is what you make of it. Be Home Ec proud!

    Reply
  16. Heather – you do an absolutely terrific job of providing us with relevant, interesting, fun, and funny material. Personally, I love the name of your site. I, like others above, took “Home Ec” in middle and high school. Guess what? No matter what they call it now, a rose is a rose by any other name. Us old schoolers will ALWAYS call it Home Ec.

    As for the commenter thinking that Home Ec implies that the class is just for girls……huh? That’s her own preconceived notion of the subject matter.

    Keep up the great work, Heather. We all appreciate your many efforts and your site just wouldn’t be the same with a different name. 🙂

    Reply
  17. I won’t restate what all the other comments have said so well, but I agree with them. I must add one thing, though. What is wrong with a classroom full of girls knitting and making ham croquettes – if that is what they need and/or want to do? I took Home Ec in middle school where boys were not allowed and more in high school where boys were happy to do the same things the girls did. Because it was an elective, they were there because they chose to be and they loved learning all of it. If her life’s work is about the name instead of the subject matter, she has a bigger problem.

    Thanks for all you do. I love your site!

    Reply
  18. First of all, I think this teacher lacks tack (among other things). Although I understand her point that FACS is important, she is preaching to the choir. The name is not what is important but the information that she teaches to her class and the information that home-ec 101 teaches to the web community. Not what it is called. Every visitor to home-ec 101 agrees that its important or we wouldn’t be here.

    Also, the fact that she points her finger and gives “people like you” the blame for the reason that “school counselors are telling your kids to take ‘other classes’ deeming us unimportant” is unfair. The name maybe retired in the schools but that doesn’t make it dead. Instead she should go “vent” to the counselors of her school and convince them of the importance of her class. (I would suggest she learns tack before doing this or she may not have a job for too much longer and that’s not because FACS is unimportant but because of her personality.)

    Finally, I would just like to say that I am a mother of four boys (17,12, & 11 twins). My 12 year old will be taking FACS next year as a 7th grader. The dean’s explanation of the class to the 6th graders parents “was that they will learn how to sew on a missing button and the basics of babysitting”. I am just glad that I have home-ec 101 here to help me teach my boys everything else in between.

    Thank you Heather for teaching us what our home ec/FACS teachers miss!

    Reply
  19. So I wanted to blow the hole thing off just because of her tone “people like you” and the obvious utility of the name – people find what they are looking for here exactly because of the name. But. I will concede a little. Just a little. Though I still think the name you chose is great and would not suggest you change it.

    There is nothing inherently gendered or oppressive in the words “home economics.” But what if you turned the question around? Ask people, “which school subject is for girls aspiring to be home-makers?” People are going to answer Home Ec. So I can see why, if I were a school teacher of these life skills (for everybody!), I would want to distance myself from that name. There was a time when schools were part of the institutional powers that encouraged girls and women to remain in the domestic sphere (and schools still have a long way to go in encouraging/supporting non-traditional study choices for men and for women. All that to say, I would support a school’s decision to rename its program. In my area, it’s family studies. I would not support encouraging that name change elsewhere. In fact to do so is, ahem, rather obnoxious.

    So what is the right name for “a site dedicated to teaching a broad range of life skills to adults in a conversational and entertaining manner?” Home Ec 101, obviously.

    Reply
  20. How about “The Economics Of Home”? lol! Must everything be named something new?
    I also was drawn to this site because of the name and I bought the book because of the name. Please don’t change your blog name because of one person’s opinion.
    It’s your blog. I think she is rather arrogant to even ask such a thing!

    Blessings to you and your family,
    Linda

    Reply
  21. See, it’s people like you, Heather. You are you making her job SO HARD. You’re just being mean, you know. Why are you being mean? Don’t you understand? Have you no compassion for her and her situation, trying to spread the word about the name change?

    PEOPLE LIKE YOU.

    People really DO like you! And maybe Dear Letter Writer needs to change careers if she gets this upset over the title of you book and website.

    Reply
  22. 40 year old man chiming in that I never took Home Ec back in the day, but I enjoy the challenge of an old fashioned meal, cleaning then impossible item or fixing something around the house. I don’t recall which topic I was searching for when I stumbled across your site, just that you had a solution and wrote in an interesting way.

    I supervise a warehouse and can make my grandmother’s “secret” (fantasy) fudge

    Reply
    • I am so glad you’re here.
      Fantasy fudge, that’s the one made with marshmallow fluff, right? (I think that’s what my mom called that version. Yes, I could Google, but it’s sometimes more fun to ask)

      Reply
  23. I’m a high school business teacher — and I’m Family and Consumer Science certified, too, and teach some of those classes. I signed up for your emails when I starting teaching those classes (mainly because I needed all the help I could get.) You do a great job – don’t let the legalistic ones get you down. And you know what? We DO call it Home Ec! When we say “Family and Consumer Science,” no one knows what the heck we’re talking about. I’m PROUD there are Home Economics classes taught on our campus that our kids are proud to take. These are some of the most important skills for our students to learn (I always remind them — “You likely won’t be called on to use your knowledge of Shakespeare on a daily basis!”) (Also, we don’t call it Typing or even Keyboarding anymore. Now it’s called — get ready! — Touch Systems Data Entry. What do we call it when we talk to kids about it? Typing. Otherwise — like FACS — they don’t know what the heck we’re talking about!)

    Reply
    • Ha, there you go Heather. You’re been validated. Lisa, says where she teaches they even still call it Home Ec. because no one knows what FACS is. Don’t stop what you’re doing, Don’t ever stop calling is Home Ec. 101. Okay well you may called the next book 201 for the more advanced learners. Point is some of us really need what you offer on your site.

      Reply

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