Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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University of Housework

Home Economics for the Middle Class Youth.
  (+26, -4)(+26, -4)(+26, -4)
(+26, -4)
  [vote for,
against]

I have been spending a lot of time with students lately. In so doing, I have discovered how completely inept most of them are at looking after themselves when they move out of the family home.

They don't know how to pay bills, how to clean the bathroom, how to prepare and cook chicken, how to bleed their radiators, how to clean their windows... ad infinitum.

I propose a compulsory first year university class entitled "How to Look After Yourself When Your Mum Stops Doing It For You." Everything your mum did for you, they'll learn how to do. The cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, the administration of your life. They'll hate having to take it, but it will be invaluable.

And there will be a module called "Why you should wash more often."
calum, Dec 17 2001

Ideas for consumer education class activities http://www.brightid...36685BA}&bucket_id=
Ideas from yours truly. Posted at brightidea.com before I discovered there were nonproprietary alternatives :) [LoriZ, Dec 18 2001]

(?) Cleaning the Fucking Kitchen for Dummies http://www.fridgema...org.uk/kitchen.html
Very angry tutorial [-alx, Dec 18 2001]

Welcome to the Real World http://www.geocitie.../it2n/realwrld.html
Condensed extract from book by Wes Smith (Readers Digest) [neelandan, Jan 16 2002]

Scruvy http://www.google.c...=navclient&q=scruvy
[hippo, Jan 17 2002]

73,600 hits... http://www.google.c...arch?hl=en&q=scurvy
...as against 103. [angel, Jan 18 2002]

[link]






       Include a "How to iron a shirt in less than an hour" segment and I'll make my spouse take the course.
bristolz, Dec 17 2001
  

       Yes. At university, I used to pretend I couldn't cook to get girls to take sympathy on me and cook me dinner. But I soon discovered girls are very unlikely to become romantically interested in a guy who's pathetic and useless (and by romantically interested, I mean sleep with). Being able to cook them proper stuff would have been cooler.
pottedstu, Dec 17 2001
  

       Sadly, this is true. In fact, I have *never* lived alone (though not by design) and have rarely had to rely on solely my own abilities to get by. At my age it'd be nice to think that I could. Taking a class to simulate it would be encouraging. Sad, isn't it?
phoenix, Dec 17 2001
  

       I'm of the position that Home Economics and Consumer Education should be treated as regular academic disciplines (e.g. Economics) complete with research, peer review and the whole ball of wax. Hence the relevance to both K-12 and postsecondary education. I also have some ideas for classroom activities for students of these disciplines (see my link). The reason I'd like to see more substance and less curricular fluff surrounding these subjects? Industry treats its B2B customers as if they have the resources of a purchasing department. It treats consumers as repositories of emotions and motivations to be manipulated. People say I'm a dreamer, but I believe this too can change!
LoriZ, Dec 18 2001
  

       I disagree. I think the depths that are plumbed when young adults fly the nest are an important lesson. When they have seen how bad things can get in terms of unhygienic living conditions, financial trouble, alcohol & drug abuse, they will soon learn that it is more satisfactory to make the effort and do some work for themselves.
stupop, Dec 18 2001
  

       surely this is just "Bring Back Finishing School", but unisex and for all social groups.
Incidentally, I'm still a student and I have only a vague idea how to bleed a radiator. However, I can pay stuff, clean stuff and cook stuff. No idea how cars work. Not too sure how mortgages work either, but I don't have one so that's ok. Actually, I don't have a car either. And my radiators lost their bleed keys years ago. Must get the landlord round, even though the heating is ridiculously efficient; I think we have far too many radiators for the volume of the house.
lewisgirl, Dec 18 2001
  

       I had a mate at university who asked me, one day, to teach him how to fry an egg. I was gobsmacked. After a few probing questions I discovered that he'd survived for almost 6 months on a diet consisting entirely of rice crispies. It'll not surprise you, therefore, that I vote yea! for this idea.
DrBob, Dec 18 2001
  

       The people I lived with in university did know how to do most of these things. They just couldn't be bothered, lazy bastards.
-alx, Dec 18 2001
  

       Teaching children this sort of "housework stuff" in High School is a good idea, I suppose. But why would they need to learn it in High School? Isn't knowledge like this supposed to derive from parenting? I sure would like a class to take on it, though -- to learn the legal maneuvers of living in your own home/apartment with taxes and your landlord.   

       HOWEVER, my point of view is not a "looking back" point of view -- I am only 18 and I still live with my Mother. I was going to move out of my house until a few days ago when I realized exactly how hard it was going to be. Sorry for babbling.
jimithing, Dec 18 2001
  

       "Mum" is supposed to teach all of those things before one leaves the house, and usually does in a fashion. If one takes no heed of mother's suggestions for keeping tidy and wrinkle-free, why would one take a class on it (Or if compulsory, actually put it into practice)?
dana_renay, Dec 18 2001
  

       Rad-bleeding skills are still best acquired by sudden revelation in a geyser of hot, black pipe-water. I don't think a mandatory course is the answer to the other problems, but it might be useful if schools offered optional survival workshops. Actually, I think most of them already do.   

       Also, I want to compete with DrBob in the helpless-roommate-anecdote thing: I had a university housemate who asked me how to prepare a Pop Tart. It was day after we'd moved in and I guess he found that he was getting hungry.
Monkfish, Dec 18 2001
  

       Adult education classes should be offered as well for those who missed this important stuff when they were younger. Send your spouse in part-time & find out what he learns & actually uses!
bluerowan, Dec 21 2001
  

       Oh -alx! That (link) is about the funniest thing I've come across for a while. I plan to point that out to a few folks I know.
bristolz, Dec 21 2001
  

       I recall reading about a study done several years ago that equated the young male suicide rate (males 18 to 25, which I believe leads the demographic pack on those who off themselves) with malnutrition due to the inability of this same group to feed themsleves properly.   

       Due to many of these men growning up in a household where cooking and meal prep was 'woman's work', the ability to put together a nutritious meal was lost.   

       So, after a few years on their own eating pizza, burgers and other lesser quality foods, depression, a side effect of poor nutrition, set in and eventually sucking on a shotgun seemed reasonable.   

       I think this type of education should be necessary to graduate from high school. Now, with regard to general housekeeping: Hey, an unmade bed never hurt anybody!
RobGraham, Dec 21 2001
  

       Sounds like natural selection to me.
stupop, Dec 21 2001
  

       I guess I'm fortunate to have been raised with knowledge of just about everything required to run a household. I can build a house, wire it, plumb it, etc., then build the furniture, decorate it, sew the curtains, and cook a fabulous christening meal.

Guess most folks who raise their children for archetypical roles don't realize the disservice they're doing.
quarterbaker, Dec 21 2001
  

       Um...with regard to the use it or toss it approach, both my wife and I work under the principal of 'Has it been used in the last decade? If not, put it back in storage...it might come in handy some day.'   

       Perhaps it's time to get his and hers warehouses.
RobGraham, Dec 21 2001
  

       For Men In Training (MIT), Uncles are excellent sources of teaching the rudiments of cooking - they speak your language, know how to skip the BS and are basically fearless in the kitchen. My Uncles were/are anyway.
thumbwax, Dec 21 2001
  

       [link] for book. Essentially the same thing.
neelandan, Jan 17 2002
  

       Horror story aside: I lived briefly in a shared flat with one guy whom I had to teach to cook rice, pasta and boil potatos. I thought this was appaling enough, that he should have no concept of how to cook at all.

That was until he went one step further and contracted scruvy. Croissant.
mcscotland, Jan 17 2002
  

       Scruvy? Ooh, nasty.
angel, Jan 17 2002
  

       <obligatory>See link</obligatory>
hippo, Jan 17 2002
  

       Scurvy is obviously nastier (link).
angel, Jan 18 2002
  

       When I moved out, I always wondered why my clothes stopped magically disappearing from my bedroom floor then subsequently re-appearing in my warddrobe all clean and ironed. I was thinking about complaining to my landlord about it, but then I realised I didn't need clean clothes anyway. Or a visible bedroom floor.
aaarrrggh, Apr 27 2002
  

       those of us with actual parents would find this class insufferably dull. the human race has survived up until now without paying $400 a credit hour to learn how to fry an egg.
efarns, Apr 27 2002
  

       I can't see why Son_of_Minya finds the idea 'offensive'. Teaching kids to cook is a hell of a lot more useful that most of the crap they lear at school.I learnt to cook at a fairly adanced age (due to suddenly straited finances) and, I can't believe how cheap it is, and how much better healthwise. My food bill is <$50 US equiv weekly & choc full of vitamins etc.
pfperry, Jul 16 2002
  

       The idea itself isn't that bad; I suspect that Son_Of_Minya objects to the 'compulsory' element.   

       The answer is simple; in their first week or so of college, students have to undertake a test (both writtten and practical) in "How To Look After Youself". Some will pass without problems and need do nothing more. Some will score poorly, and be 'recommended' to take the course, or some selected portions thereof. The ones that do very badly will be obliged, for their own health and safety, to take classes in domestic survival techniques.   

       We expect people to pass a test before driving a car or flying a plane; why not for running a house ?   

       By the way, I blame the parents. Parents who bring up their children but leave them incapable of automomous survival are causing harm rather than good. If mother lions never allowed their cubs to learn hunting, pretty soon there'd be no more lions.
8th of 7, Jul 16 2002
  

       How shocking for universities and schools to impose compulsory courses on their pupils! That's Stalinism for you! (But anything has to be better than the compulsory and irrelevant study skills modules I had to sit through.)
pottedstu, Jul 16 2002
  
      
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