the study of individual and
family resource and home management in schools at various educational levels.
Previously limited to the domestic arts (cooking, nutrition, housekeeping,
needlework, handicrafts, and hygiene), the subject now includes such topics as
child development, family relationships, consumer education, institutional
management, clothing and textiles, and interior design.
in the U.S.
A home economics movement
first appeared in the U.S. in the early 19th century. Its purpose was to prepare
young women for their responsibilities in the home. Home economics was
introduced as a formal subject in American education in the 1870s, when it
became a recognized course in the curricula of state agricultural colleges. By
about 1880, cooking and sewing were being taught to girls in the public schools.
In the early 20th century, federal funds were made available to secondary
schools and universities to institute home economics programs. Courses are now
taught in secondary schools, colleges and universities, vocational schools, and
adult education centers; participating students include both men and women. The
subject matter has changed from the purely domestic arts to virtually all phases
of home and family management, and the professional aspects of the field are
Home economics programs
similar to those in the United States exist in other industrial nations, such as
Great Britain and Canada. Students may prepare for advanced degrees and
Students in the developing
nations of Latin America, Asia, and Africa have only limited access to this
field; their schools lack the funds, facilities, and personnel for teaching and
research. This situation is slowly changing, however, through the efforts of
international organizations, especially those associated with the United
Economics," Microsoft® Encarta® 96 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1995
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