Home Economics 101

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Home Economics 101

Postby ethetedave » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:19 pm

Hello Fellow Alaska Educators,

I was recently informed that I would be teaching a home economics course at my village school. I have been diligently researching for a curriculum to use at my school site and beyond basic information, have come up empty. I have been improvising to this point with some success, but this is a year long program. Are there any readers out their with any experience or direction? It would be much appreciated.

Thank you,
Dave out in the delta.
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Re: Home Economics 101

Postby Johncn » Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:14 am

Hi Dave,

It's really not all unusual for rural teachers to be asked to teach "out of content area", or rather "subjects they never expected to teach". The small number of staff members for a typical rural K-12 or 7-12 school means that there is no possible way in the world each of them can be a content specialist and only teach the area they are certified or highly qualified in. So, districts and principals usually have to ask new teachers to deliver content in a wide variety of subject areas.

I have often said that what rural Alaska needs is not more highly trained specialists, but rather passionate and flexible generalists. Sadly, schools of education, even in Alaska, have stopped producing and training generalists. Nationally, schools the work with pre-service teachers have latched onto the idea that school teachers should be junior professors, "experts in their field", and "content specialists", and "grade level specialists". They have narrowed the curriculum greatly in the name of subject specialty as a miracle cure for what is wrong with education. Ah, well. Enough personal opinion.

There are two ways to approach your situation, really: Glass half empty or glass half full. ;-) I was certified in Special Education and Social Sciences, but ended up teaching lots and lots of courses to students in grades 7-12 in my rural Alaska career...Language Arts, Oceanography, Meteorology, theater, computers, web design and even the dreaded (for me) PE. I usually rephrased it in my mind as "I get to teach ____________ (fill in the subject area) this year!" instead of "I have been forced to teach _____________ (fill in the subject area) this year!". It turned out that as I grew as a teacher, I discovered that I loved the fact that I got to learn and become somewhat familiar with a whole new area of inquiry each year. I think that kept me "fresh" and prevented me getting bored over the years.

No, as to your question, I hate to ask the obvious, but I will. ;-) Have you asked your principal if there is a curriculum and/or textbook for the course? There may not be, honestly, or he or she may not know. If that is the case, you could ask the district office, assuming you have permission for that. There should be something that outlines what is supposed to be taught or the standards that are mastered by students studying Home Economics.

In most states, including Alaska, Home Economics is now called "Family and Consumer Science". There are some decent sources of information if you do a search on that rather than the retro term "Home Economics".

Let's assume there is nothing but a warm and vague idea of what should be taught...or worse yet...just a course title. No problem! As someone who worked most of his career in a standards-based district, I would use the National FACS Standards and just figure out what you are going to do with the kiddos you actually have so that they know and can be able to do those things. If there is no official curriculum, nobody can criticize you for making up a course from eclectic resources to support the FACS standards.

http://www.nasafacs.org/national-standa ... ncies.html

Now, with that said, you have to make this RELEVANT to the environment and life experience of the kids you are working with in Village X. That means trying to learn a bit about your kids and their families have access to in terms of local subsistence resources and folkways that support their actual lifestyle....and connecting that to whatever the learning goals of standards are. They absolutely will require translation on your part, and that's where the "teaching" thing kicks in. Could be a fun course, or could be drudgery. Hope you manage to find the silver lining in this new challenge, and enjoy the course rather than slog through it.

My former district, BSSD, used to use a wiki template for each standard in each content area that helped teachers organize instruction for different content area subjects. It was teacher directed, not district driven. You may want to use a similar approach to organize things using the FACS standards if you have no experience with standards-based approaches. Here are a couple of random examples:

http://wiki.bssd.org/index.php/Traditional_Food_Pyramid

http://wiki.bssd.org/index.php/Subsiste ... ces_SS_3-5

The resources on their site are all "Open Content" licensed, so feel free to use any you find using the search feature.

Good luck!

John
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