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SB 32 



Eleventh Series, No. 1 September 13, 1919 

eacfjer College Bulletin 

Vocational Homemaking Education 
Some Problems and Proposals 


Professor of Education, Teachers College 
Columbia University 

Published by 

QDeacftet* College, Columbia 

525 West I20th Street 
New York City 

Teachers College Bulletin 

Published fortnightly from September to May, inclusive. Entered as second-class matter, 
January 15, 1910, at the Post Office, New York, N. Y., under Act of August 24, 1912. Ac- 
ceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for in Section 1103, Act ot October 
3, 1917, authorized. 

Vocational Homemaking Education 
Some Problems and Proposals 


Professor of Education, Teachers College 
Columbia University 

Published by 

College, Columbia 

525 West 1 20th Street 
New York City 



I. Problems for Consideration 3 

II. What Are Homes? 6 

III. What Is the Vocation of Homemaker? 8 

IV. Sociological Scope and Standards of the Homemaking 

Vocations n 

V. The "Total Problem" of Vocational Education for 

Homemaking 13 

VI. The "Case Method" of Study 16 

VII. Some General Principles 20 

VIII. Application of These General Principles to Home- 
making Education 25 

IX. The "Project Method" of Teaching Homemaking . . 26 

X. Federal Board's Bulletin No. 28 30 

XI. Household Arts as Liberal Education 33 

Copyright, 1919, by Teachers College, Columbia University 


The education of women and girls for the homemaking voca- 
tions has evolved to a point where many specific problems can 
be diagnosed, (it is the purpose of this bulletin to state a few of 
these problems, to suggest some methods for their further study, 
and to submit certain tentative proposals for criticisms As far 
as practicable, the methods employed will be those being devel- 
oped in educational sociology, namely, to base all proposed aims 
of education upon an analysis and evaluation of these needs of 
social groups to be realized in and through education, school and 
non-school, ^he standards will be those increasingly accepted 
in the general theory of vocational education. The bulletin is 
designed primarily for educators engaged in research in the 
fields of homemaking and household arts education, or in admin- 
istering state and national legislation intended to promote such 


1. Do we possess as yet any definitions of the homemaking 
vocations sufficiently specific and concrete to serve as founda- 
tions for the formulation of satisfactory programs of instruction 
and training for those vocations? Where can they be found? 
(It is obvious that definitions expressed only in vague general 
terms render very poor service.) 

2. Back of definitions of homemaking, do we as yet possess 
analyses and classifications of homes sufficiently concrete to 
enable us to determine what are, for given social groups and 
conditions, optimum degrees of efficiency to be expected of 
homemakers? (For example, the criticism is often heard that 

* In the. preparation of this paper, the writer has availed himself constantly of 
the suggestions and criticism of students, colleagues, and others too numerous to 
mention by name. Thanks are due them all for their patience no less than for 
their courtesy. 



existing * programs 'oFhqrhe economics education are based on 
excessively high home maintenance standards from the stand- 
point of those whom they are to serve that they ignore the 
$900 $1,200 income class home, in spite of its prevalence.) .Where 
can such analyses be found> 

3. Have we as yet any sufficient survey of the effectiveness of 
the non-school vocational education for homemaking which now 
prevails (and always has prevailed, possibly in different forms) 
in various social groups or income levels? Where can the results 
of such surveys be found? (It is alleged that programs of basic 
home economics education now take no adequate account of 
the effectiveness of non-school education, and therefore fail to 
utilize its results, cooperatively or as basis of correlation.) What, 
for specified groups or conditions, are the contributions of such 
education to (a) ideals and appreciations, (b) technical knowl- 
edge, and (c) skills, at age levels 1-12, 12-15, I 5~i8 for non-wage- 
earners or school attendants, (d) 15-18 for wage-earners or 
school attendants, (e) 18-22 for home "boarders," (/) 18-22 for 
home assistants, (g) 22-30 for young married women, etc.? 

4. Is it practicable to distinguish in the actual exercise of the 
homemaking vocation by given individuals the factors, respec- 
tively, of "skills," forms of "related technical knowledge," and 
forms of "related hygienic, social, and cultural knowledge (and 
ideals)" in such a way as to deduce therefrom the best parts 
which should be played respectively by home apprenticeship, 
school education, and undirected experience, in the total edu- 
cative processes of producing vocational competency? (Home 
economics classes and courses have heretofore restricted them- 
selves largely to technical instruction; they seem to have done 
little to produce the two classes of skills essential in homemaking 
manipulative and managerial; and both their methods and 
results have been freely criticised as "impractical," "over-tech- 
nical," "excessively wedded to book and laboratory.") Under 
what conditions can technical instruction alone function in voca- 
tional competency (a) as instruction unconnected with home 
experience for girls 12-16 under conditions of home apprentice- 
ship, (b) as instruction uncorrelated with home experience on 
part of girls 16-20, (c) as extension instruction to housewives? 
Does Bulletin 28 of the Federal Board for Vocational Education 


definitely provide for "training"? How can training in 'home- 
making arts" be given? Have we as yet any satisfactory analyses 
of "training" for homemaking at ages 12-14, 1 4~ 1 6, 16-20, 
before marriage, after marriage? 

5. In general it is agreed that the best time for vocational 
education is just prior to the individual's undertaking "full 
responsibility" work as operative or manager in the vocation 
itself., When do the following persons usually undertake "full" 
or "part" responsibility work: farmers' daughters not leaving 
home until married; domestic servants; women, wage-earners 
from 1623, then marrying and discontinuing outside work; 
home-staying daughters? How far are girls exceptions to above 
principle by virtue of constant living in homes? How far do 
girls at 14-16 possess active motives for entry upon vocational 
-homemaking? How far can results of homemaking instruction or 
training keep in "cold storage" (without application), e.g., in cases 
of girls 16-22 working for wages, but living at home? How far can 
"instincts" for homemaking contribute to expected proficiencies 
along food lines, clothing, sick-nursing, child care, management? 
Which of these problems have been well investigated? 

6. To what extent have aims, methods, and administrative 
organization of home economics education taken shape under 
limitations imposed by conditions of other forms of education? 
Why do we think of it chiefly as related to ages 14-18 in high 
schools? As parallel to liberal arts courses? As dependent upon 
"laboratories"? As yielding almost no forms of cooperation with 
homes? How can we provide for investigation of problems of 
specific aim and method on assumption of "optimum" conditions? 

7. What is the "case" method of study? Is it practicable to 
procure, within reasonable limits of precision, type "cases" of 
home practice, preparation for home practice, needs of prepara- 
tory training, present schemes of school preparation, and the 
like, and tentatively to analyze and evaluate these? 

8. What are principles of vocational education in general 
which are capable of application in homemaking? 

9. What is the "home project method" of vocational home- 

10. Are the suggestions of Bulletin 28 conclusive? 

11. What is the place of household arts in liberal education? 


.-.: :.:-...< ,. V 


The "home" is a very much generalized conception. Every 
person can in a measure appreciate, even visualise, a home or 
homes. But we still possess no adequate analysis of the essential 
characteristics and functionings of homes of various kinds. Be- 
cause of the indeterminateness of prevailing "job analyses" of 
homemaking and the hardly less vague standards of functioning 
of the home as a! social agency, most current proposals and prac- 
tices toward education for homemaking exhibit endless evi- 
dences of artificialty and impracticality.J) 

1. In the most universal sense, the home is obviously a place 
for the rest and recreation of adults. It is manifestly also a 
workshop for the elaboration of consumable goods foods, clotty- 
ing, beds, social intercourse, worship, education. .In its pro- 
founder aspects it is a means for the nurture of children. These 
functions are interdependent, interlocked; but, for any given 
type of home, which are more fundamental, more socially essen- 
tial, than others? We greatly need concrete analyses of these 
problems along the lines of the classifications suggested below. 

2. It is, indeed, highly desirable that we should have func- 
tional analyses of various types of "homes." In the modern 
world there are many specialized agencies which function, 
temporarily or permanently, as homes for adults engaged in 
vocational pursuits barracks, cantonments, ships, hotels, bache- 
lors' cabins, dormitories, hotels, Pullman cars. There are hive- 
like homes for children more or less abnormally situated asy- 
lums, boarding-school dormitories, institutional cottages. Homes 
for monogamous families also exist in several species, from the 
hotel apartment and housekeeping apartment, the urban "row" 
or semi-detached house, Ao the detached urban dwelling, and the 
farm homestead. 

3. If we assume that, sociologically considered, the primary 
function of the "home" is to contribute to the rearing of chil- 
dren, then the various species of "family" homes should be 
divided into a number of varieties according to scope of their 
work, and the means wherewith it is to be done. The following 
at least are some of the types that require extended analysis (the 
words "normal number of children" denote expectancy of from 


four to six children by time mother is at age of forty) : (a) tene- 
ment home, no servant help; normal number of children; annual 
income less than $800 (1900-1914 prices) ; (b) same, but income 
$8oo-$i2OO; (c) same, except apartment with hot-water and heat, 
and income $I2OO-$2OOO; (d) same, income $2OOO-$3OOO; (e) 
apartment home, one servant, subnormal number of children, in- 
come $25OO-$4OOo; (/) same, subnormal number of children (one), 
no servant, income under $1200; (g) apartment, subnormal num- 
ber of children (two), one servant, income $2OOO-$4OOO ; (h) de- 
tached urban or suburban house, no servant, normal number of 
children, income under $1000; (i) same, but subnormal number 
of children, income under $1000; (j) same as (h), but income 
$1000-$ 1 500; (k) same, income $I5OO-$25OO; (/) same, except 
one servant, and income $2OOO-$4ooo; (m) detached urban or 
suburban house, subnormal number of children (one or two), 
no servant, income $I2OO-$2OOO; (ri) detached house, normal 
or subnormal number of children, three or more servants, in- 
come $7ooo-$2O,ooo; (o) detached farm home, excess number 
of children, net income (money and kind) under $700, colored; 
(p) same, white; (q) same, white, but net income $750 $1100; 
(r) farm home, normal number of children, no servant, net in- 
come $8oo-$iooo; (s) same, net income, $iooo-$i5OO, irregular 
help; (/) farm home, normal number of children, two or more 
servants, income $3000-$ 10,000. 

4. It is also desirable that homes should be classified in 
terms of the ideals or standards toward which they aspire, as 
well as the conditions they must meet. (What are the "standards 
of living," or perhaps better, the standards of comfort, toward 
which are striving: (a) The American-born manual working- 
man's family? (b) The American-born land-owning general 
farmer? (c) The American-born well-educated professional man 
or commercial worker? (d) The colored tenant farmer in the 
South? r(e) The recent Italian immigrant, manual laborer in 
city?") Sociological research is needed to define prevailing types, 
to evaluate their persistent and their "fluid" ideals.N 

5. Of the above types, which are "modal" that is, statisti- 
cally most numerous from the standpoint of the vocational 
education of prospective homemakers? Which are most preva- 
lent, or expected to be most prevalent, in given communities? 


Into which types are the girls whose abilities and favoring home 
circumstances enable them to "go through" high school likely to 
fit? Into which types are the girls of a manufacturing city, who 
leave school at 14-16, likely to fit? What are the types likely to 
be filled by daughters of poor "renting" farmers? Are we to 
expect the flat or apartment home to replace the detached house 
in cities? in suburbs? Are home economics teachers expected 
to prognosticate the future availability of servant help and for 
several income classes of homes considered separately? The 
probable extension of the apartment or flat type of dwelling? 
The possible evolution of cooperative housekeeping? Develop- 
ment of agencies for the cooperative or delegated care of small 
children? Future possibilities of "boarding" life in nurture of 
children? Cooperation of the father, on a short wage-earner's 
day, in duties of twenty-four-hour day homemaking? Probable 
future size of family in different social groups? 

6. It is suggested that in class work, where not otherwise 
specified, the term "home" should imply these conditions: de- 
tached urban house, no servant, from four to six children, $900- 
$1500 income standard, American traditions. From this, as a 
point of departure, variants could be described. In many cities 
the "cold water" (no heat supplied), "walk up" three-to-five-room 
flat for workingman's families is becoming very common; it 
means normal number of children at least, no servants, income 
$700-$! ooo. Also the separate land-owner's farm home is very 


Homemaking a Composite Vocation: It is obvious that the 
vocation of homemaker is composite to an extent characteristic 
of only a very few other occupations. This remains true, not- 
withstanding the extent to which certain functions have in 
America been removed from the homes such as weaving, teach- 
ing, food preservation, gardening, and, now, baking, brewing, 
and garment-making. Compositeness of vocation is ordinarily a 
sign of primitiveness. When human beings live under primitive, 
pioneering, or dispersed conditions, there is relatively little sub- 
division of labor and exchange of commodities. Every primi- 


tive hunter, fisherman, tiller of -the soil, warrior, teacher, and 
housewife is in large measure and of necessity a jack-of -all-trades. 
The home retains this character long after it has largely dis- 
appeared in manufacture, transportation and commerce, because 
the family is the most universal unit of consumption and especially 
of the productive processes that just precede or are intimately 
associated with consumption. Sociologically speaking, we can 
again affirm that children are the cause of the present composite- 
ness of the homemakers activities. ^IL children could be as 
effectively reared in barracks, hotels, or asylums as adults can 
live and carry on consuming activities in these elaborate organiza- 
tions of specialized service, then we should speedily see the end 
of the highly localized home. 

Organization and specialization of service lead to depth of 
knowledge, refinement of skill, and intricacy of managerial 
relations. The small "general" farmer, the country store-keeper, 
the teacher in a small high school, the village mechanic, the 
country doctor, like the housewife, must always experience the 
trials of realizing themselves less competent in the special arts, 
which they must attempt, than the specialists. Utopian sugges- 
tions that "homemaking" is (or ought to be regarded as) a 
"profession" render no service in mitigating the hard reality that 
for the great majority it must long continue a composite of ill- 
defined and imperfectly standardized arts. 

The first step in the process of defining the vocation of home- 
maker is that of segregating for detailed consideration some 
^ fairly common and constant types of home. The second is to 
analyze, describe, and, perhaps, evaluate the various prevailing 
forms of skill, knowledge, appreciation, and ideal now found 
among those of the practitioners of this type of homemaking who 
would be judged to be slightly above the average by persons 
possessed of critical and common-sense judgment. 

Analysis of Type Homemaking Vocation: Let us assume as the 
type to be considered homemakers in detached village or urban 
houses, no servants, family budget, $iooo-$i2oo per year, 
American ancestry, normal number of children (two or three at 
ages assumed for mothers 28-34), mothers of elementary 
school general education, no school education in homemaking. 
Call this type M. Taking one hundred of these at random, we 


can for convenience classify twenty as A grade (excellent), thirty 
as B grade (good), thirty as C grade (fair), and twenty as D 
grade (poor). For purposes of determining prevailing require- 
ments of the vocation we can confine ourselves to the B grade. 
The vocational activities of these B grade homemakers can 
readily be classified under such major and minor heads as those 
given in the following table; and a consensus of competent critics 
could assign to these various groups of activities, for the type of 
homemaker under consideration, crude measures of their relative 
importance (weightings) along the lines tentatively suggested by 
the figures here arbitrarily assigned (it is assumed that total 
optimum competency would be rated at 10,000 units; and that 
optimum competency in any one division would be rated as given ; 
and that individual MBx might be rated as shown): 


Optimum Rating of 

Activity Group (Majors) Standards Individual 

for Type M MBx 

1. Foods (buying, preparation, serving) 3000 2000 

2. Clothing (buying, up-keep, making) 1500 1200 

3. Household care and up-keep (beds, cleaning, 

etc.) 1000 900 

4. Laundry r 500 400 

5. Care of children 3000 1500 

Activity Group (Minors) 

6. Accounting 300 \ 10 

7. Sick nursing 300 250 

8. Housing and furnishing 100 50 

9. Adult sociability 150 150 

10. Garden and yard 150 100 

Detailed Analysis Required: But it is clear that such an analysis 
as that given above is too crude and general to serve for practical 
guidance. For one thing, it makes no distinctions between skills 
and related technical (or artistic and scientific) knowledge. Some 
homemakers are strong in certain skills acquired purely on the 
basis of imitation and "trial and success" methods under compe- 
tent direction; and weak in technical knowledge. Some have 


excellent technical knowledge but inferior skills. Possibly a third 
type of power (or appreciation) should also be distinguished, 
namely, social insight, or, more adequately, physical, social, and 
cultural insight. It is also probable that distinctions should be 
made between manipulative and managerial skills. 

Furthermore, any adequate analysis must distinguish, weight, 
and evaluate numerous concrete subdivisions in the above 
scheme. "Skills" in preparing foods are not general, but often 
very concrete and specific. Skill in bread-making may coexist 
with lack of it in beefsteak broiling. Competency in making 
certain articles of clothing may be found alongside of low ideals 
of up-keep. 

Let it be repeated that the first object of the analysis and 
evaluation suggested above is to ascertain what powers and 
capacities are now prevailingly found among homemakers of 
slightly more than average ability as found in a certain type or 
class. Such analysis should normally precede attempts to deter- 
mine what powers and capacities the next generation of home- 
makers of similar groups should possess as a result of purposive 
vocational education. In much of current literature on the aims 
of home economics confusion exists because aspirations are not 
presented separately from diagnoses of existing conditions; and 
also because in diagnoses various types and grades of homemakers 
are jumbled. (The problem of vocational education for the girl 
or woman whcTin all probability will direct the labor of two or 
more servants will undoubtedly be found to be different in many 
essential respects from that of the girl or woman who is almost 
certainly destined to carry the full load of homemaking by her- 
self. No less important at certain points are distinctions between 
rural and urban homes, and between homes in apartments and 
homes in detached or semi-detached houses. Scientific study is 
certain to reveal other classifications of importance, based, 
perhaps, upon climatic, occupational, and other considerations. 


i. There are in the United States some 16,000,000 women, 
chiefly married and widowed, whose principal vocation is home- 


making. Of these probably 90 per cent are unable to divide 
work or responsibility with co-laborers; hence they must carry on 
all phases of homemaking work by themselves conspicuously 
the procuring, preparing, and serving of food, the making and 
up-keep of clothing, laundry work, house care, care of children, etc. 
For women of this class, homemaking, therefore, at least among 
white people, presents relatively few variable features, as between 
East and West, North and South. Hence, homemaking is the 
most numerously followed of all vocations. Next to it, in point 
of numbers, is "farming." But "farming" includes many very 
unlike vocations, from cranberry, orange, asparagus, cotton or 
sheep growing as specialties to dairy, grain, market garden or 
"general" farming. 

Domestic service for hire, or favor specialized and unspe- 
cialized may be classified here as "assistant homemaking." 

2. From the standpoint of the sociologist the central fact in 
homemaking is the rearing of children. The monogamous mar- 
riage and the home have evolved side by side, most conspicuously 
in the north temperate zone, probably in chief measure because 
of their suitability to the rearing of the children to the making 
out of children the kind of men and women who could best 
cooperate in producing and sustaining the valuable elements in 
civilization. /All adults must, of course, have places of temporary 
or permanent abode ; but the beginnings of the most realistic home 
are laid when a man and woman form a partnership in marriage 
and soon face their responsibility of rearing through the "pro- 
longed infancy" the children born of the union. 

3. Endless conventions, customs, and laws have been evolved 
to perpetuate and to improve the home as a social institution. 
Most conspicuous is the division of labor between husband and 
wife. The prevailing American standard, which expresses in 
fullest development the standards aspired to in other countries, 
requires that the husband shall be the "money getter" of the 
family that he shall produce the marketable goods (or services) 
wherewith goods for the home can be purchased. The wife is 
expected to do the "elaborative" or preparatory work required in 
the home to make goods purchased in more or less raw form 
suitable for immediate consumption. To the mother falls the 
prolonged and sustaining care of children, especially when small. 


To the father falls induction of boys, as they mature, into pro- 
ductive service. To the mother falls the vocational "by-educa- 
tion" of the girls. 

a. Space need not be taken here to elaborate the biological 
concomitants of these sex differentiations of work, attitude, and 
responsibility. Doubtless the respective "natures" of men and 
women have become somewhat biologically differentiated toward 
the best rearing, as well as toward the best begetting and bearing 
of children. On the other hand, many apparently deeply rooted 
differentiations are founded only in the social inheritances of 
customs, conventions, and other "social" habits and traditions. 
These last can, obviously, be much more readily changed than 
the former. 

b. A secondary function of the home is to reinforce and 
develop personality and community of interest in the adult 
members of the family group. For these it gives a place of rest 
and some forms of recreation, protection from invasion of 
weather, and privacy for the social intercourse valuable to the 
family group. 

4. From the sociological standpoint, therefore, the primary 
standards of good homemaking are to be found, first in the 
children brought to appro vable manhood and womanhood 
through this agency; and, second, through the enrichment of 
personality (health, sociability, culture) accomplished for its 
adult members. 

a. It is obvious, of course, that each age brings new conditions 
to assist or restrict the home in the discharge of its social obliga- 
tions. Schools take over certain functions; adults resort to clubs 
for sociability and other recreation; the man's workshop is 
removed to a distance, so that he loses contact with adolescent 
boys ; many productive operations that once gave variety to the 
work of the wife and opportunities to share work with children 
are being removed from the home. 


One great mistake has frequently been made in constructing 
programs or curricula of vocational education in that teachers 


and administrators have proceeded to work with existing limita- 
tions always in mind from the outset. This procedure is funda- 
mentally unscientific. Programs and curricula should first be 
worked out on the assumption of optimum conditions; then revi- 
sions, corrections, reductions, and other accommodations should 
be made with reference to known and defined limitations or 
other modifying conditions. 

For example: Assume the problem before us is that of pro- 
viding vocational homemaking education for certain women who 
are usually factory hands from fifteen years of age to marriage, 
who commonly marry at from 22 to 25, whose family income from 
marriage to forty-five will range from $1000 to $1500 (the 
mother not being a wage-earner), who will rear from four to six 
children, and who will live in small urban or suburban houses. 
It is desired that this homemaking education shall function in 
reasonably immediate competency when first children are born. 
Let us assume that we are working in a manufacturing city with 
large numbers of recent immigrants. 

We know that the actual situations confronting us are endlessly 
varied. Some of the girls go to work at fourteen, having -finished 
only the fifth grade; others leave after going half way through 
high school. Some at fifteen have been well trained in home 
craft by their mothers, some possess little or no skill. Some have 
been wise "little mothers" and know much about the care of 
babies, even at twelve years of age; but most of them will have 
learned nothing of child care by the time their own first baby 
arrives. Some of them will approach marriage with considerable 
appreciation of the responsibilities of homemaking, others will 
rush in heedlessly. If a good day vocational school of home- 
making were available, a few of them would stop work and attend 
it for one or three months in preparation for their new vocation ; 
but most of them would not. If well advertised evening classes 
in "short units" of homemaking were available, many girls would 
come for some months, but their interest would center chiefly 
in making articles of personal wear or adornment or in cooking 
dishes suitable for "parties"; but a few would do genuinely pro- 
ductive project work in evening classes. 

Confronted by this heterogeneous and confused situation, how 
shall we proceed to devise curricula? Efficient procedure cer- 


tainly requires that we first determine and document in detail 
curricula and programs on the assumption of clear-cut and 
optimum conditions. 

1 . We can assume as basal these factors : (a) All the girls and 
women we are to deal with are wage-earners from 14-17 to 21-25. 
(6) All will marry, and have families, (c) All will be wives of 
workingmen, having family incomes of $900-$! 500. (d) It is 
desirable that all families shall live in accordance with "good" 
American standards. 

2. For the purposes of getting our "total" or "complete" 
curriculum defined we can assume the existence of these condi- 
tions: (a) Women engaged to be married and eager to qualify 
for the vocation of homemaking. (&) The prior experience or 
home training of these women is so slight and ineffective as to be 
negligible, (c) The woman free to give three or six months as 
may be required to "full time" (eight hours daily) for this voca- 
tional education, (d) The woman living with her parents in a 
small home which can be used in any and all ways as a "productive 
shop" for educational practice in homemaking. (e) The woman 
living in the midst of neighbors among whom she can find oppor- 
tunities to care for sick or to assume charge of infants when work 
of this character becomes essential to her program. (/) The 
school so staffed and equipped as to give all needed individual 
instruction, supervision of home projects, laboratory work, 
related reading, etc. 

In the light of these conditions we produce curricula, programs, 
courses, projects, etc., having paid due regard to the various 
kinds of educational products to be produced skills, applicable 
knowledge, ideals, managerial abilities, appreciations, etc. 
Overzealous or "theoretical" teachers might well consider warn- 
ings, and queries at this point: (a) We are not expected to train 
these young women for a "profession." (b) In view of the 
multiplicity of operations involved in homemaking, we are not 
expected to train these young women to be as good cooks as 
hotel chefs, as good nurses as hospital graduates, as good seam- 
stresses as those working for wages, or as good teachers of little 
children as kindergartners. Overambitious standards or ideals 
here defeat their own aims, (c) What additions to their powers 
and capacities can we expect these people to make during, say, 

the first five years of married life, as the burdens of homemaking 
rapidly increase? (d) (Remember, always, that technical knowl- 
edge not built on experience is apt to be a useless possession, 
whereas skill, even if unaccompanied by technical knowledge, 
has a large place in the world. The ideal, of course, is skills, 
manual and managerial, illumined by technical knowledge and 
social insight. 

3. Having made our curricula and programs for the situation 
described above, we can then proceed to make adaptations and 
adjustments of it for situations like these: 

a. Where young women have had a substantial apprentice- 
ship in their own homes. 

b. Where it is not practicable to reach young women, but it is 
practicable to provide two to six hours weekly of training and 
instruction in regular public schools during ages 12 to 15 or 1 6. 

c. Where young women are eager for homemaking education, 
but home facilities for training are unavailable. 

e. Where no school facilities are available and teachers must 
do all work in the homes of the girls. 

/. Where women can or will take training only after marriage, 
but where their own homes can then be extensively used for that 


Probably the most profitable methods of approach to the 
problems here under consideration from the standpoint of the 
determination of desirable objectives of vocational homemaking 
education are to be found in the provision of curricula and 
programs for typical "case" situations, as illustrated below: 


A woman, 22 years of age, expecting to be married, wishes six 
months' full-time training in homemaking. She has been an 
industrial wage-worker for seven years and knows nothing on 
the "doing" side about homemaking. She cannot cook, set a 
table, make a bed, or patch a dress. She has had no experience 
in handling babies, entertaining small children, caring for the 
sick, buying furniture or keeping household accounts. As a 


"boarder" or consumer in her own home she has the usual "appre- 
ciations" of good cooking, well-kept rooms, etc. 

Assume that at 30 she is to have three children, that she will 
have a five-room house, in a suburban or village community, and 
that the family income will be $1200 annually. Assume that after 
marriage she will have to rely largely on herself (not having a 
mother or other elder person living with her), and that she is 
ambitious to start married life as a good worker in her new voca- 
tion as homemaker. 

Assume also the availability of sufficient means to give her a 
good vocational education a home as a workshop to meet re- 
quirements for prepared food, patched clothing, care of babies, 
on a strictly productive (as opposed to "exercise") basis, as well as 
books, laboratory facilities, etc. 

Problems to be Solved 

Problem I . What should be the specific aims of the six months' 
vocational education to be provided? 

Problem 2. What amounts of available time (assume 150 
working days of eight hours each) should be given respectively to: 


a. Foods: selection and purchase, preparation, serving, dis- 
posal, re-use, dishwashing, etc. 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical studies. 

(c) Related social studies. 

b. Clothing: selection, purchase, making, remaking, repair, 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical studies. 

(c) Related social studies. 

c. Care of house: bed-making, sweeping, keeping articles in 
order; cleansing furniture, wood, glass, stoves, bathroom fixtures, 
etc. ; making minor repairs to lights, plumbing, locks, etc. 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical knowledge. 

(c) Related social knowledge. 

d. Laundry, including ironing, etc. 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical knowledge. 

(c) Related social knowledge. 

e. Children, including sociability and by-education. 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical knowledge. 

(c) Related social knowledge. 


f. Household accounting, including especially planning of 
expenditures, budget making, use of inventories, segregation of 
expenditures, investment of savings, etc. 1 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical knowledge. 

(c) Related social knowledge. 

g. Housing and furniture: selection, fundamental or long- 
period readjustments and renovation (not included under "care 
of house"). 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical knowledge. 

(c) Related social knowledge. 
h. Care of sick. 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical knowledge. 

(c) Related social knowledge. 

i. Adult sociability and social culture (excluding sociability 
with children). 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical knowledge. 

(c) Related social knowledge. 
j. Yard and garden. 

(a) Skills, practical performance. 

(b) Related technical knowledge. 

(c) Related social knowledge. 

Problem 3. What order of presentation of the above subjects 
would be followed? 

1 For some type of homes, and perhaps eventually for all, this should be a 


Problem 4. In each case what provision would be made for 
training in practical skills? 

Problem 5. How should related technical knowledge be given, 
and in what relation to practice on productive, useful, skill- 
forming work? 

Problem 6. Should "practical" exercises (non-productive) be 
accepted in lieu of productive work? 

Problem 7. How should related social knowledge be given? 

Problem 8. What tests of final competency in each case would 
be provided. 


Identical with Case A, except that the total time available for 
training for vocation is three months, or seventy-five working 
days, of eight hours each. 


Identical with Case A, except that women must continue wage- 
earning, and can give only four (evening) hours weekly for sixty 
weeks, divided between two years. 


Identical with Case A, except that women can give only time 
after she is married and living in her own home. Can then give 
six afternoon hours in school and twenty-four (or more if neces- 
sary) hours to productive work in her own home, weekly, for 
sixteen weeks. Assume teachers with ample time for visiting 
and supervision of home work. 


Farmer's daughter, 22 years old, eighth grade education. Has 
always helped in farm home and can perform all ordinary opera- 
tions with the moderate efficiency produced by home apprentice- 
ship, including care of small children. Has little technical 
knowledge or social insight relative to the homemaking vocation. 

Expects to get married within a year, to have a farm house 
(northern Mississippi Valley), with cash budget of $600 yearly 
and income in "kind" (owned house, water, wood, vegetables, 
fruit, milk) equivalent to $250. Assume three children at age of 
thirty and only occasional household help. 


Assume possibilities of her attending full time for three months 
a vocational school of homemaking distant 100 miles from her 
home. Assume this school to possess all reasonable equipment 
and teaching force required to carry into effect such programs as 
it might decide to be desirable for students of the class of Case E. 

Problem I . What would such a school establish as its standards 
of vocational proficiency for such a woman? Classify objectives 
separately under the categories given for Case A, distinguishing 
under each between practical skill, related technical knowledge 
and related social insight. 

Problem 2. How will the school test and evaluate the powers 
and capacities in homemaking possessed by the woman at 
entrance? How will it correlate these with the new powers and 
capacities it will seek to produce? 

Problem 3. What will such a school seek to offer as training 
and instruction under each of the categories given in Case A? 
Or, what will be its programs of instruction? 

Problem 4. What will such a school provide in the way of 
facilities for practice? In foods? Laundry? Child care? Sick 
care? Housing? 

Problem 5. How will such a school avoid stressing urban 
conditions? How can it keep solidly in touch with rural condi- 


Identical with Case E, except that the woman has gone to 
high school and normal school and has taught two years, as a 
consequence of which her skills and technical knowledge of home- 
making at the outset are negligible while her appreciations arc 


Identical with Case E, except that the woman can give three 
hours daily to the homemaking school, located one hour away, 
and the remainder to her mother's home, where productive 
educational work can be done. 


In the framing and passage of the Smith-Hughes Act, granting 
national aid to certain forms of vocational education, home eco- 


nomics was included at the eleventh hour. (A distinguished 
member of the Federal Board for Vocational Education has 
publicly asserted that the home economics provision was a 
"monkey-wrench thrown into otherwise perfectly good machin- 
ery. "^JMany teachers of home economics in elementary and 
especially in secondary schools who were serenely pursuing the 
even tenor of their way before the enactment of the Smith-Hughes 
law now find also that that law is playing the disastrous part of 
money-wrench in their heretofore smooth-running machinery. 

JWhat is the vocational education that prepares for home- 
making or the work of housewife? Under what conditions is 
home economics "vocational"?' What else can the subject be, if 
not vocational?^ These, and many other similar questions are dis- 
concerting, if not haunting, many of our home economics teachers 
to-day. They are destined to put to the test not a few of current 
traditions as to aims and methods of education in fields only 
distantly related to the homemaking vocation. They show the 
utter inadequacy of some current interpretations of educational 
values made by men of strong academic prepossessions. 

The immediate difficulties confronting home economics teachers 
arise from a few simple but more or less conflicting conditions: 
(a) Congress enacted the Smith-Hughes law to aid vocational 
education, and only vocational education. (b~) The public has all 
along believed that the home economics courses which had be- 
come so generally established in progressive school systems were 
vocational in intent and results. Hence the public has insisted 
that schools maintaining these courses should proceed to claim 
their due share of "Smith-Hughes" money, (c) The administering 
authorities have in some cases denied that home economics 
courses as ordinarily found are in fact vocational, and have in- 
sisted on new and sometimes difficult modifications. 

Now, it is well known that many differences of mind in this 
imperfect world are due to failures to define terms and standards. 
How far is this the situation here? On the other hand, sore 
contests always arise when progressive action is being taken, the 
very nature of which necessitates discarding of familiar habits, 
and readjustment of standards. The authorities charged with 
the enforcement of the law claim that such is often the case 


The history of the evolution of vocational education shows how 
present confusion in almost all fields of vocational education 
arises under both the conditions stated above. A few basic in- 
quiries will make this clear. (What does "vocational education" 
mean? Does it include all those forms of experience, instruction, 
and training, in school and out of school, which, superadded to 
the individual's native endowment, finally give him that which 
we recognize as vocational competency?) Then it will be admitted 
that, in the sense iised, every one, substantially, for thousands of 
years, has received a vocational education good, bad or indif- 
ferent, complete or incomplete, wasteful or economical, as the 
case may be. In that sense, then, every housewife and every 
domestic servant in the United States to-day has received some 
vocational education, although few have received any part of 
that education through an agency which could properly be called 
a school. 

We are now on educational bedrock. When and why do we 
/seek to establish schools for vocational education to supplement 
or replace the other agencies? Only when these other agencies 
are insufficient to the needs of the time and when a type of a 
school is invented that can give the education. That has been 
the history of vocational schools of war leadership, medicine, 
priesthood, pharmacy, navigation, law, civil engineering, stenog- 
raphy, telephone switchboard operating, nursing, and elementary 
school teaching. It will probably be the history of schools of 
journalism, acting, indoor salesmanship, waiting on table, poultry 
farming, house carpentry, school nursing, automobile repair, 
homemaking and engine firing. (It can hardly be said that W3 
have vocational schools for this second group of vocations as yet; 
current attempts are hardly beyond the experimental stage.) 

Do vocational schools at first undertake to give complete com- 
petency for a given vocation complete, that is, as reasonably 
practicable for the age at which graduation is expected? Rarely 
ever.^ Sometimes they assume a previous period of apprentice- 
ship^ as did earlier schools of law, medicine, engineering, and 
teaching (under the pupil-teacher system in England). Some- 
times they have counted upon what is in effect an apprenticeship 
subsequent to schooling as do present-day schools of law, 
medicine, stenography, and engineering. Sometimes, however, 


they have paralleled practice and study in order to dispense with 
prior and subsequent apprenticeship, as do present-day schools 
of nursing and elementary school teaching and as some engineer- 
ing, trade, and farming schools are endeavoring to do. 

It is now good usage to call that vocational education in 
schools which presupposes previous or concurrent practice of an 
occupation, extension teaching; all that instruction in the art, 
science, mathematics, and language of a vocation which antici- 
pates or precedes practice of a vocation, technical instruction; 
and all that vocational education which undertakes to teach prac- 
tical skill and related technical and social knowledge in close 
correlation as basic vocational education. (But technical in- 
struction not directed towards, and usually functioning in, 
vocational practice cannot properly be called vocational edu- 

In discussing standards for vocational education let us frankly 
recognize that many professional schools, notwithstanding the 
years of history behind them, are far from having yet determined, 
with any useful degree of precision, either their aims or the 
validity of their means and methods. Even the best engineering 
schools are to-day only higher technical schools, although some 
are now attempting, through summer practice, to give a certain 
amount of skill and managerial ability. In general, their facul- 
ties still satisfy themselves with the easy assumption that prac- 
tical skill and mangerial powers are things that must be learned 
in "the school of experience" with all the wastefulness and mal- 
adjustment which that involves. Most varieties of commercial 
education are still on an essentially technical basis they do not 
prepare for a given vocation, but only give the instruction sup- 
posed to be useful to one beginning what will be practically an 
apprenticeship in the practice of the vocation. The one sub- 
stantial exception is stenography and typewriting here the 
candidate is, in the best schools, actually prepared to begin at 
once the commercial practice of her vocation. 

Probably the most disputed question in recent and contempo- 
rary movements for the extension of vocational proficiency in 
various callings has been the value of technical instruction in 
advance of practice. Long before we had basic vocational schools 
for such occupations as machine-shop practice, electricity, print- 


ing, carpentry, homemaking and farming, our technical high 
schools had developed courses of technical instruction in, or 
somewhat related to, these callings. But practical men have 
always been very skeptical of the results of such courses. It is 
true that these schools can easily be administered so that they 
will select the most promising candidates for the respective occu- 
pations. A little judicious advertising and testing of entrants 
will accomplish that purpose. Having selected personalities 
that are certain to attain success in their callings in any event, 
it is easy and natural, reasoning post hoc ergo propter hoc, to 
attribute the success of these students to the instruction they 
received in school. During recent years a classic example of 
this kind has been given very wide publicity. A certain tech- 
nical high school collected data which showed that boys leaving 
school at fourteen and commencing work at, say, $5 per week, 
will have been advanced to the point where at thirty years of 
age they will be earning, say, $15 per week; whereas graduates 
of the technical high school, possibly starting at age of 18 at 
only five or six dollars per week will be earning twenty-five to 
thirty dollars per week at the age of 30. Now, admitting the 
facts, they, of course, prove nothing as to the value of technical 
high school instruction and training. Every observer of schools 
knows that only very high-grade boys enter technical high 
schools ; that of these only the, best survive the first year or two ; 
and that the graduates are a very picked lot, and destined to 
success in life, schooling or no schooling. 

Among all well-informed educators the conclusion is now 
generally held that for a large majority of callings technical in- 
struction in advance of practical applications which usually 
means applications in productive work and under commercial 
conditions is almost valueless, and sometimes decidedly harm- 
ful. It is obvious that electrical engineering offers a relatively 
large volume of technical knowledge. A person of exceptional 
capacity for abstract thinking can spend several years in master- 
ing this knowledge as organized in mathematics, mechanics, 
chemistry, engineering theory, etc. Then he can begin practice, 
and apply his knowledge as he finds occasion. But every man 
familiar with the conditions of higher education is aware that 
only from one to three per cent of persons between eighteen and 


thirty years of age are able to develop the powers required, 
according to current standards, of electrical engineers. 

In pattern-making, on the other hand, skill bulks large and 
technical knowledge small. The men who ordinarily enter pat- 
tern-making are usually strong in "mechanical instincts" and not 
so strong in those powers of abstract thinking which are exem- 
plified in the study of mathematics. Every educator knows 
that appeals to common experience will help us here. We should 
hardly expect a person to profit greatly from several months' 
instruction in the theory or technique of swimming before he 
enters the water. The writer once saw an advertisement, 
"Horseback-riding taught by mail," but he retained the hope 
that the recipient of these lessons had a horse to practice on 
while learning. In training a man to be a barber or a girl to be 
a waitress, it is apparent that only a very little advance technical 
knowledge could be given with profit. 

In analyzing scores of occupations from this standpoint, it is 
apparent that two types of considerations are involved, (a) 
What, in any given vocation, are the relative values of skill and 
managerial abilities. on the one hand, and what we call related 
technical knowledge on the other? (b) What are the various 
learning capacities of those who are likely to enter such 



It can be readily understood from the foregoing discussion 
what have been some of the obstacles encountered in various 
endeavors to develop vocational homemaking education. In 
earlier stages, when technical knowledge was imperfectly devel- 
oped, only the practical arts were taught cooking, sewing, 
bedmaking, etc. Often, of course, these subjects, as taught in 
schools, were very superficial and artificial. Then came the 
enormous development of technical knowledge, especially in the 
departments of foods, household accounting and household 
management. Under the head of "domestic art" similar develop- 
ments of technical knowledge in departments of clothing, hous- 
ing, etc., were attempted, but with less success. 


A second stage of evolution in homemaking education came 
when, under the collective name of "home economics," courses 
based on the productive activities of the home assumed a largely 
technical character it must be remembered that laboratory 
work, experimentation, and practical exercises are integral parts 
usually of technical instruction, since, almost never, are they 
designed to produce basic skills. 

Hence the general demand of competent critics to-day that 
home economics education, seeking to meet requirements of voca- 
tional education for homemaking shall: (a) provide for the nec- 
essary practical experience in productive work required to pro- 
duce enduring skills, manual and managerial, if it is to be re- 
garded as basic vocational education; or else (b) connect posi- 
tively and purposefully with previous practical experience if it 
is to be regarded as extension vocational education. 

It is denied that vocational competency in homemaking as 
that is found now in millions of American homes, and as it is 
desired on behalf of millions more in the future, can be more 
than slightly produced by technical instruction alone, even if 
that include laboratory and amateur productive exercises. 

It is recognized that some home economics departments take 
charge of school lunches. This is good productive practice as 
far as it goes, even if on excessively large scale for home food 
preparation, but what schools cover the various fields of foods, 
clothing, house care, child care, laundry, etc., in this practical 


I. In the total process of producing homemaking competency 
to function in adult life, we should recognize several distinct 
stages or even different areas of possible operation. For example : 
jra. .In girlhood, from six to twelve, it is obviously possible for 
the mother or for a teacher who can control conditions of time, 
motive, and familiar implements as can the mother, to train the 
girl in various specific skills tea-making, dusting, outing care 
of infant, darning and to attach to these and related operations, 
appropriate technical knowledge, appreciations, aspirations, and 


b. From ten to sixteen, at least during the time of transitions 
from play motives, interests and powers to work motives, inter- 
ests and powers, it is clearly practicable in the case of a large 
proportion of girls, to elicit fairly strong interests in amateur 
homemaking when the desires and motives are for results 
functioning as in the adult world of work, but the appreciations 
and powers are still those of the play stage and spirit, unwilling 
to tolerate long routines, to search for technical knowledge, to 
undergo drill or training. 

In many cases this would seem to be an appropriate time for 
rich offering of household arts as general education. Apprecia- 
tions, insights, aspirations, even ideals, can easily be formed in 
relation to novel situations in homemaking, where familiarity 
with, and en forced drudgery in, domestic operations has not bred 
the blase attitude or even contempt. But teachers should be 
careful not to confuse the results of this general education with 
those to be derived from effective vocational education. 
7 c. From fifteen to eighteen would seem to be an appropriate 
time for offerings of basic or extension vocational homemaking to 
girls who could see clearly ahead of them wage-earning employ- 
ment as assistant homemakers, as trained employees in the homes 
of their mothers or others. For the present, of course, little can 
be done here because popular valuations of the vocations of 
"domestic service" are so adverse that self-respecting and ambi- 
tious girls seek non-domestic vocations by preference. 

d. For young women from eighteen to twenty-five, who expect 
to become independent homemakers, there exist large oppor- 
tunities for: (a) extension vocational education for those who, 
like many farmers' daughters, have already had extensive basic 
experience in a large variety of homemaking operations ; and (b) 
basic vocational education for those who, like a large majority 
of factory and office employees, have had almost negligibly small 
experience in, or even contact with, domestic operations. Mo- 
tives may be strongest just before or soon after marriage. 

e. Other stages or areas could easily be defined, especially by 
taking account of different social classes. 

2. The "project" is, from many points of view, the best educa- 
tional device for basic vocational education. It has not yet 
been tried extensively in homemaking. Its best developments 



are found in agricultural education. As applied to vocational 
education, the project is a "job" or unit of productive work, usu- 
ally of a utilizable or even marketable character, selected and 
organized as constituting a valuable stage in an educational 

3. Homemaking projects illustrated: 

a. A girl or woman of no previous experience undertakes to 
make ten shirtwaists of exactly the same pattern and material. 
From the making of the first she gets a large amount of new ex- 
perience, accompanied by a certain amount of technical knowl- 
edge, appreciation, etc. In making the remainder she increases 
her skill, organization of effort, etc. Parallel with her work, she 
can be helped to insight, as to social, hygienic, and other general 
aspects of her work. If, after the making of ten shirtwaists, 
further increments of permanent skill of applicable technical 
knowledge would be small, then the educational value of the 
project has largely been realized. Further making of shirt- 
waists would be valuable for production rather than education. 

b. An inexperienced girl, directed by a competent teacher, 
gives three hours daily for a month to providing the breakfasts of 
a family of six. Linked up with the actual preparation of the 
food and washing of the dishes, will be such technical matters as 
planning variations in menus, selecting and buying materials, 
keeping suitable accounts. Related studies of nutrition, markets, 
technical processes, etc., can easily be linked up to, and inter- 
preted by, this project by the teacher through lectures, readings, 
problems, etc. 

4. Scores of other suitable projects, large and small, can ba 
devised. Care of the outing hours of an infant for two weeks; 
care of a bed-chamber for two weeks; performance of family 
washing for four weeks; washing and dressing of a child or 
infant for two weeks ; baking family bread for a month ; canning 
four dozen jars of plums; preparation of five successive Sunday 
dinners; keeping the accounts of a family for six months on basis 
of "slips" supplied by the family; keeping clothing of three 
children in repair for three months, etc. For service in schools, 
those projects should be analyzed in detail, reference readings 
specifically indicated, and related technical and social studies 
analyzed in detail. 


5. Where the previous practical experience of the student 
justifies the offering of extension rather than basic vocational 
courses, there may be less place for projects, and relatively more 
for topics of study, collection of materials and reports, problems 
for analysis, laboratory exercises, investigations, etc. 

a. For example, a farmer's daughter, age twenty, coming to 
a short-course, full-time school, who has had much experience 
with her mother (frequently supplementing her), may be most 
in need of technical knowledge which she can relate to her already 
well-assimilated experience. She may most need explanations 
of the processes she has learned by imitation or rule of thumb 
methods, including improved processes, accounting, etc. 

b. Where home economics is taught as one subject in a cur- 
riculum of general education being paralleled by courses in 
English, mathematics, physics, etc., it might be possible to give 
the home economics a vocational flavor by offering it, in the case 
of pupils of known home opportunities, as extension instruction; 
but the difficulties are great, and the method is seldom used. 

c. The "project" is often confused with an "exercise" or even 
with a "demonstration." For the sake of explicitness it would 
seem best to confine the term to a unit of work which combines 
productive and educative possibilities, and possessing possibili- 
ties of repeated performance so as to give skills. 

6. Problems of Project Method: 

a. What should be the "magnitude" of a project? This 
partly dependent on external character of the work, partly on 
psychology of learners. Young learners need smaller and 
shorter time projects than older. Every project should take 
the learner beyond the play stage of experience into work stage. 
Short, fragmentary experiences, even in fields of drudgery may, 
by novelty, sustain play interest for a time. For girls twelve to 
sixteen, it is" surmised that valuable projects should require 
from ten to fifty hours, no period of application being less than 
two, and preferably four to six hours. For young women, pro- 
jects may require 20 to 60 hours, optimum single periods of 
application (in productive work and related study) being four 

b. What should be the "compositeness" or "complexity" of 
projects? For best learning purposes, probably, a project should 


center in one natural or normal "strand" or field of activity. 
Within one day, a housewife dresses children, prepares meals, 
makes beds, etc. But a learner can probably make best progress 
by focusing effort on one or two of these recurrent series of jobs, 
so as to attend to acquisition of skills, interpretations, etc. 
On the other hand, the related minor jobs normally belonging to 
a major job should be included in the project. A cooking project 
not involving related cleaning up; a laundry project not involv- 
ing subsequent ironing; a breakfast project not involving buying 
and accounting these would probably be unwisely broken. 

c. How can related technical knowledge and social insight be 
integrated to the project? Eventually we shall probably have 
hundreds of projects given in detail in booklets, with references 
to related readings, etc. For the present the teacher should seek 
to build about each project a series of readings, technical and 

d. Should cooperative projects be provided? Occasionally, 
but not to an extent which will prevent fullest acquisition of 
individual powers (of execution) and capacities (for appreciation). 
Cooperative sociability projects are especially good giving a 
reception or entertainment, relieving a poor family. Probably 
also certain projects necessarily of an "observation and report" 
character planning the location of a farmhouse, furnishing a 
kitchen, etc., could be of a cooperative character. 


(Organization and Administration of Home Economics 

This bulletin "may be considered as an official answer to the 
many inquiries concerning matters of policy in home economics 
education received by the office of the Federal Board." 

In general, the definitions and interpretations found in this 
bulletin represent the best of available knowledge and practicable 
expectations in homemaking education. The problems sug- 
gested below, dealing mainly with questions of objectives, are 
expected to arise as further developments take place in this field ; 
but for sake of concrete analysis these problems are here stated as 
of the present, and with no intention of conveying adverse criticism. 


1. It is unfortunate that the Jaw uses the term "home eco- 
nomics" which describes neither a vocation nor the common 
characteristics of a group of vocations as do the terms "commer- 
cial," "professional," etc. The words "home economics" will long 
continue to connote a group of technical studies only, in spite of 
all effort to the contrary. Educators should now make con- 
certed efforts to settle on more serviceable terminologies. 

2. Why should it be held that in "separate vocational schools 
of home economics" which have "but little articulation with the 
other phases of work of the school system" the courses offered 
"are usually two years in length, although a few schools offer 
four-year courses"? Are these arrangements defended? Ought 
not administrators move steadily toward short, intensive courses, 
each composed of short units, in vocational homemaking? Will 
not "long courses" perpetuate the weaknesses of "long course," 
over- technical, insufficiently practical, industrial, agricultural 
and commercial courses? 

3. Is it well to try to force the word "laboratory" to .include 
the meanings given on page 33 and elsewhere? Etymologically, 
the word "laboratory" may mean the same as workshop or place 
of productive work; but historically and practically, in thousands 
of industrial establishments, colleges, and other centers of re- 
search, it now means specially equipped places of experimenta- 
tion, investigation, testing, and study. It once meant, also, a 
place of production of drugs ; but even this meaning is becoming 
obscured. To try to use the term in a special sense as designating 
a place for "practice in all the home activities which are taught 
within the (vocational) school, such as housekeeping, garment- 
making, etc.," is to court endless misunderstandings, misdirected 
effort and perpetuation of old traditions of technical instruction. 
A laboratory is not a place for the practice of a vocation: 
that is a farm, shop, office, kitchen, home, or school. Let a 
homemaking school, using "local (or actual) homes" or "school 
homes" for practice, have one or more small laboratories for 
testing, experimentation, etc. ; but call the practice place a school 
home or an actual home/) 

4. Is it wise to provicle so extensively for the necessarily arti- 
ficial equipment suggested on pages 19 and 20? Homes are 
found in large numbers within a dozen blocks of almost all 

except country schools. These are real homes, where real pro- 
ductive work must be done. Judging by experience in other 
fields of vocational education, artificial equipments of this kind 
can be used for genuinely laboratory purposes and for demon- 
stration purposes, but never effectively for practice purposes. 
More readily than in almost any other field it should prove prac- 
ticable in homemaking to establish cooperative or part-time 
arrangements. To realize the maximum benefits, these should 
be on a project basis. 

; 5. "Vocational subjects to be selected (for a course in voca- 
tional home economics) should be determined by an analysis of 
the occupation." This is, of course, indispensable, but it should 
be noted that, for practical purposes: 

a. Such an analysis by strands of work or types of daily 
duty is almost valueless unless it also somehow indicate degrees 
of proficiency in each. All homemakers in America now, the 
very poor no less than the good, can cook, serve, repair clothing, 
care for children, buy furniture. But we want the next genera- 
tion to do these things better. 

b. Because of the few fundamental types of homemaking and 
the universality of home activities, central authorities (state or, 
preferably, national) can make these occupational analyses to 
best advantage. Individual teachers need much help here, espe- 
cially while standards are so vague. fAs suggested before, home 
economics teachers are usually insufficiently equipped with 
practical knowledge of home productive processes (as carried on 
in actual homes) as these should be scientifically analyzed, de- 
scribed, and evaluated.) 

6. "The law provides that schools or classes giving instruction 
to persons who have not entered upon employment shall require 
that at least half of the time of such instruction shall be given to 
practical work on a useful or productive basis." But the Federal 
Board here holds "practical work on a useful basis" to mean 
"instruction in vocational subjects designed as preparation for 
homemaking." Experience will undoubtedly show that this 
interpretation is indefensible either as good law or good pedagogy. 
Practical work on a useful basis is just as capable of recognition 
and of being provided in homemaking as in gardening, dressmak- 
ing, carpentry, elementary school- teaching, and hospital practice. 


y. Home projects are recommended (pp. 28-34). But the 
rank and file of teachers can make little or no progress in home 
project work until the leaders shall have worked out guidance 
materials no less elaborate than are those now found for labora- 
tory practice in technical instruction. Many model projects 
worked out in utmost detail, and hundreds in outline involving 
close adjustments to varying conditions, are required as pre- 
liminary to any effective utilization of the project method. These 
should be available in booklet form. 


It is very important that schools of general education, and 
especially those dealing with girls from 12 to 16 years of age (the 
period of true amateur spirit of production) should offer courses 
of household arts, conceived very much as are now home gar- 
dening, scouting, and the best manual training, as a means 
of genuine liberal education. Such courses should preferably 
be elective, should occupy from two to four hours weekly, 
and should center in "project" work and general inspirational 
reading. For a few girls vocational skills and knowledge will 
doubtless accrue from these courses, as they do for boys in 
home-gardening and shopwork; but unless these are regarded 
as incidental products the "liberalizing" spirit of the work will be 
spoiled. Probably appreciations and ideals of ultimate vocational 
significance will also accrue for many, but these also should 
normally be regarded as incidental or secondary accompaniments 
for these ages of effective liberal education. A few general theses 
are submitted: 

i. The fundamental difficulties now encountered in realizing 
valuable results from home economics instruction by depart- 
mental teachers with girls from 12 to 16 years of age are due in 
large part to confusion of purposes between vocational and liberal. 
The courses offered constitute minor offerings in schemes of 
education primarily liberal or general; the specialized teachers 
have in view ends that are somewhat vaguely vocational, at least 
so far as technical instruction can serve these ends under the 


2. The primary purpose of schools for children from twelve to 
fourteen years of age is the giving of liberal, as distinguished 
from vocational, education. For pupils who elect to continue 
their general or liberal education in regular high schools, primary 
purposes should also be found in liberal education. There is no 
evidence that a small amount one-tenth to one-third of total 
time available, given to vocational education, can be made to 
function as assured vocational competency. 

3. Household arts for girls from 12 to 16 years of age (and, if 
motive can be enlisted, for boys as well) can certainly be made a 
means of liberal education. To effect this will probably require 
some important modifications in the means and methods now 
usually employed. 

4. The objectives of liberal education are less easily defined 
than those of vocational education, the most visible and measur- 
able outcome of which is power of producing in a specified field 
and for a prolonged period, valuable service or goods, commonly 
of the kind called "exchangeable" and the exchangeable worth of 
which is usually for convenience given a money value which 
readily serves as a measure. "Liberal" education has as its ob- 
jectives the product of a variety of qualities, many of which may 
be included under such terms as appreciations, tastes, sentiments, 
ideal valuations, ideals, insights, understandings. Liberal educa- 
tion in a given field language, literature, science, sociability, 
art, nature, society, religion, government, agriculture, household 
arts, urban surroundings, etc., etc. seeks the humanistic ends of 
deepened and widened social sympathies. 

It is very difficult to get teachers to understand the difference 
^between, for example, vocational training and amateur execution, 
/ because too few teachers have ever been definitely trained for their 
vocations, as have been physicians, nurses, locomotive engineers, 
dentists, military officers, and architects. College professors, 
superintendents, principals of schools, high school teachers, and 
home economics teachers are rarely, if ever, trained to a deter- 
minate work of teaching. They have received much instruction, 
of course, which, more or less vaguely, has been assumed to be 
necessary to their success as teachers or executives. But for the 
rest they have "picked up" their vocations in a nai've, primitive, 
and more or less "hit or miss" fashion. Hence, educators find it 


exceptionally difficult to form distinct ideas of what is meant by 
specified specialized vocational training. 

5. What will be some of the means and methods of "liberal" 
household arts education? 

a. It must not be obligatory. The girl must be attracted to 
it, not driven to it. 

b. It must, to the maximum extent practicable, use the girl's 
own home, yard, bedroom, mother, father, brothers and sisters, 
pets, dress, health, and aspirations as means of objective inter- 
pretation, but always only in the friendliest cooperative spirit. 
Nothing forced or inquisitorial will do here. To a large extent, 
teaching must be impersonal, reference always being made to 
"third parties." 

c. Much reliance must be placed on stimulating reading. 
We have hardly begun yet to produce readings idealizing and 
interpreting the home, as the army, scouting and business enter- 
prise have been idealized for boys. Results of individual reading 
must, of course, be socialized by conference, discussion, reports, 

d. The demonstration of standards by "model apartment," 
house, room, article of furniture, curtain, bed, set table, dress, 
home apparatus, should play a part as objectifying means, but 
due allowances should be made for the "soullessness" of these 
when they are not in practical operation or use. 

e. Demonstrations of process cooking, clothes-making, bed- 
making, washing of baby, gardening give vitality and concrete 
interpretation of standards. The apperceiving powers of girls 
are obviously great here toward the formation of tastes and 

/. Projects are especially valuable as educational means, and 
naturally the majority will be "home projects" that is, the in- 
spiration and direction will come from the school, but the time, 
place, and, largely, the means of execution will be provided by the 
home. The range of projects offered by the school should be as 
extensive as practicable so as to give utmost latitude for choice 
by learners. Projects for purposes of liberal education should 
possess elements of novelty, appeal to creative powers, and should 
enlist all that can best be summarized as "amateur powers." 


6. What would be some of the' specific objectives of household 
arts organized as a means of liberal education for girls from 12 to 
1 6 years of age? 

a. To help the girl to see her own home in its most ideal light. 
All over southern France, we read, the war-dislocated women will 
take even one room, a bed, a trunk and a little stove and will 
make a nest, a home, a haven, a foyer, for frightened, tired, and 
sleepy children, a place to which the lonesome hard-driven man 
comes back as to the center of existence for rest, the supreme 
recreative activities, and social uplift. Only the woman, rich in 
homemaking instincts, customs, and, perhaps, training, can make 
the real home. Can we not, by readings, pictures, discussions, 
model apartments or houses, help to see the home as the little 
central power plant or cell whence radiates much of the social 
energy that makes the world go well? 

b. To help the girl appreciate the facts and problems of the 
financial up-keep of the home through labor given outside. 

c. To appreciate the fact that labor, devotion and management 
wisely given in the home, are in the highest degree productive, 
even though not appearing in the United States Census as "gain- 
ful occupations." 

7. The spirit of the school of liberal education is largely that 
of high-grade play; the spirit of the vocational school must be 
that of serious work. Only one worker in ten thousand can afford 
to pick daisies as he travels the roads of work. The spirit of 
liberal education is that of the traveler for recreation and 
enlightenment; the spirit of the vocational school is that of the 
man who has business at a given destination, which destination 
he must reach at the earliest possible moment. The spirit of the 
school of liberal education is diffusive, catholic, rich in varied 
human contacts; the spirit of the vocational school is one of 
concentration of effort, singleness of purpose, and contacts 
limited to those essential in the economic process, that moving 
toward fulfilment. "Work while you work," is the motto of the 
vocational school; "play while you play," of the liberal school. 

For interpretations as to what is meant by "liberalizing" 
education, we must go to such fields as literature, music, history, 
geography, plastic art, travel, the moving pictures, current read- 
ing and gardening.