Family and consumer science

related topics
{theory, work, human}
{school, student, university}
{company, market, business}
{group, member, jewish}
{work, book, publish}
{woman, child, man}
{area, community, home}
{household, population, female}
{food, make, wine}
{disease, patient, cell}

Family and consumer sciences is an academic discipline that combines aspects of social and natural science. Family and consumer sciences deals with the relationship between individuals, families, and communities, and the environment in which they live. The field represents many disciplines including consumer science, nutrition, food preparation, parenting, early childhood education, family economics and resource management, human development, interior design, textiles, apparel design, as well as other related subjects. It is taught as an elective and as a required course all throughout North America. Other topics such as sexual education, food management and fire prevention might be covered.

Family and consumer science is also known as human sciences or home economics. It is also sometimes referred to as human ecology, though this term is used for several disciplines.

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Establishing the field of family and consumer sciences

One of the first to champion the economics of running a home was Catherine Beecher (sister to Harriet Beecher Stowe). Catherine and Harriet both were leaders in the mid-19th century in talking about domestic science. They came from a very religious family that valued education especially for women.

The Morrill Act of 1862 propelled domestic science further ahead as land grant colleges sought to educate farm wives in running their households as their husbands were being educated in agricultural methods and processes. Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan were early leaders palma offering programs for women. There were women graduates of these institutions several years before the Lake Placid Conferences which gave birth to the home economics movement.

The home economics movement started with Ellen Swallow Richards, who was the first woman to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later became the first female instructor. Through her chemistry research, she became an expert in water quality and later began to focus on applying scientific principles to domestic situations. At the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, she designed the Rumford Kitchen, which was a tiny kitchen that served nutritious meals to thousands of fair goers, along with a healthy dose of nutrition education. She shunned an invitation to participate in the Women’s Building as she said none of her research was just women’s work, but rather information for all.

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