The Secret History of Home Economics Part 1 (1800-1940)

by Lisa Woodruff

Jul 15, 2022 | Episode 493 | 31:02

Last week, I shared with you some of the history of my family of origin, which has given me the perspective that I have regarding home economics. You can listen to that episode here.

In this episode, I'm diving into the content of The Secret History of Home Economics by Danielle Dreilinger. This is a meaty book and a fascinating read! 

Home Economics was the path that was created for women to enter college and earn college degrees. Women like Catherine Beecher, Ellen Swallow, and Margaret Murray Washington led the way in the field. Home Economics at that time was about an ideal home life that was unhampered by tradition and which utilized modern science for better productivity. It was about the study of food properties and diets as well as experiments with bacteria, standardization of clothing measurements, and so much more.

This is the time in which MY grandmothers were living and earning their Home Economics degrees. They were learning that what you do at home affects the larger American economy. Running your home like a business is a thing and it impacts more than just your family!

I hope that you found this history as informative and as interesting as I did! I shared a few ways that we are making changes in our home to be better examples for and to teach our children how to stretch their budget and food supplies. How will you use this knowledge about Home Economics to make changes in how you run YOUR home? What missing skills will you be teaching your children now in light of the current state of the economy?

In the next episode, we will talk about how the view of home economics shifted after World War II. 

The Launching Life Skills Bundle is a great resource for the young adults in your life! We’ve put together digital training and the essential portions of our physical resources to help your high schooler, college student, or young professional prepare to transition from living at home as a kid to being an independent adult. Learn more here about this and the rest of our Kids Program here.

 

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