Patterns, recipes and insurance policies are required reading at Hinsdale Central
Students pick out the ingredients to make quesadillas in an Intro to family & consumer sciences class at Hinsdale Central High School, which includes cooking, sewing, consumer education and interior design units. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
In interior design, the students determine the cost of decorating a room as they designed it.
In sewing, they not only learn the fiber content of a specific fabric, but also how much it would cost per yard, if the price were 40 percent off.
In the cooking segment, the students calculate the price per ounce of apple juice for different-sized containers and then do a taste comparison between a brand name product and a store brand to decide which is the best value.
Updated: February 21, 2013 10:38AM
HINSDALE — In 21st century classrooms, not all high school students are preparing PowerPoint presentations or using software to animate 3D architectural models.
Some students are learning how to sew on a button and bread chicken.
Students in the yearlong introduction to family & consumer sciences course at Hinsdale Central rotate through six weeks of interior design, three weeks of childcare and nine weeks each of cooking, sewing and consumer education.
The philosophy of the course has changed from home ec classes in the 1950s when young women were groomed to be housewives, said teacher Elizabeth Meersman.
In the consumer education unit, students learn about interest rates, apartment leases, car insurance and budgeting.
“I needed my consumer ed credit and this gave me it,” said senior Rachel Collins of Clarendon Hills, as Meersman had the class review cooking terms, such as basting, browning and breading.
Nadia Zogbi, a sophomore from Clarendon Hills, is enjoying the cooking quarter the most. The nine weeks of consumer education were the toughest, she said, but it was interesting to learn about checking accounts and credit cards because those are thing used in everyday life.
Usually, about 70 percent of the students are girls. Christian Moran, a sophomore from Clarendon Hills, is among the other 30 percent.
“I have never sewn before,” Moran said, as he ironed a piece of fabric, admitting he took the course for the needed credit.
“It’s been a fun class,” Moran said, although sewing is not his favorite part.
Some students think they are getting off easy with only nine weeks of consumer ed, instead of a taking a semester-long course to graduate, said April Tatro, who is teaching sewing this month. What they don’t realize is consumer economic lessons are taught in each unit.
The students get a taste of a variety of careers and acquire life skills.
When they finish the course, Meersman’s advice is, “You have these tools under your belt, now use them.”