Home Economics is a broad field of study. It teaches us how to manage ourselves, our resources and our household. It therefore deals with the management of material and non-material things in the family e.g. people, money, food, clothing, housing. It prepares people to use what they have in creative ways, in order to get what they need.
Meaning of Home Economics
Home Economics can be explained in different ways. It is a field that is concerned with improving family life. It does this by:
- Finding out the needs of individuals and families.
- Finding ways of meeting the needs of individuals and families.
- Improving the goods and services which families use e.g. food, clothing, housing, water.
- Preparing people for family living.
- Preparing people for employment.
Major Areas in Home Economics
Home Economics is made up of many areas. These areas can be grouped into seven major areas. Each area can further be broken down into a number of sub-areas. Each area can also be taught as a Home Economics subject. All the areas are interrelated
- Foods and Nutrition: deals with study of foods and nutrients. It includes food processing, preservation, food preparation, meal management and service, etc. It also prepares people for employment in foods and nutrition related jobs.
- Clothing and Textiles: deal with textiles, designing and sewing of clothes. It also includes wise selection of clothes, personal hygiene and good grooming. It prepares people for clothing and textiles related jobs.
- Home management: deals with the processes of using those things which the family has, to obtain the things needed by the family. Examples of the things which the family can have are money, time, energy, household equipment. These things are called resources. The things which the family needs include foods clothing, house, etc.
- Consumer education: teaches people how to make wise decisions when selecting or buying goods and services.
- Housing and Interior decoration: deal with provision of housing for the family. It also involves planning available space in a house; selection and arrangement of pieces of furniture and other decorative pieces in the house.
- Child development and care: deals with how children grow and develop. It also deals with how to care for children properly. mo
- Family living: deals with how people live in the family. It teaches people how to maintain good relationship in the family.
In Nigerian schools and colleges, Home Economics is however, broadly divided into three areas, Foods and nutrition, Home management, and Clothing and textiles.
At the Basic Education level (Primary and Junior Secondary), Home Economics is offered as a single subject. At the Senior Secondary School Level, it is offered as three different subjects, Foods and nutrition, Home management and Clothing and textiles. At the tertiary levels (Colleges of Education Polytechnics and Universities), it is offered in some institutions as a single subject and different subjects in others.
Relationship between Home Economics and other related subjects
Home Economics draws knowledge from many other subjects. It unifies the knowledge drawn and uses it to form its own body of knowledge. The subjects from which Home Economics draws knowledge are many and include: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Economics, Sociology, History, Geography, Psychology, Fine and Applied Arts, Agriculture, etc. Here are some examples of the types of knowledge which Home economics draws from different subjects:
- Chemistry: teaches us about the nutrients in foods we eat, their properties, and effects of heat on them.
- Physics: helps us to understand the working of the refrigerator and electricity in the home.
- Mathematics: teaches us how to determine quantities and do calculations and so on.
- Biology: helps us to know about plants and animals, foods groups, different parts of our body and how they function.
- Economics: teaches us how to manage personal and family resources to meet our needs and goals.
- Sociology: teaches us about the family and other social institutions. Home Economics is concerned with family well-being.
- History: teaches us the things that happened in the past. Such knowledge helps to explain what is happening to us today and what could happen in future.
- Geography: helps us to know about our surroundings or environment. The family exists in the environment. The things that exist in the environment affect the family.
- Psychology: teaches us about how children develop, how we learn and the conditions necessary for learning and normal development. These are important in Home Economics.
- Fine and Applied Arts: teaches us how to apply the principles of design in different aspects of home management, housing, production of arts and crafts, interior decoration, etc.
- Agriculture: involves the production of the food which the family needs for good health. Foods and nutrition is an area of Home Economics.
- Engineering: produces technologies which families use, such as electrical appliances, kitchen tools, and television.
- Computer science: Today computer is used in many homes, shops, banks, hotels, offices etc. Shopping can even be done on-line using computer. Therefore, Home Economics also draws knowledge from computer science. This is because computer has become very important in the world today.