Incorporating Student Organizations Into Family & Consumer Science Curriculum

Instructor: Susan Graziano

Susan has taught high school English and has worked as a school administrator. She has a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

In this lesson, you will learn about ways to incorporate student organizations in the Family and Consumer Science curriculum that will complement and reinforce the program standards.

And Sew It Goes

Picture a room full of high school students learning to sew for the first time. They are sewing a pillow featuring an object of their choosing. You see a variety of images, including dogs, cars, and hearts, with a few of the traditional colored circles and squares sprinkled in. Every so often, you hear an ''ouch!'' from some indeterminate corner of the room. Thread is strewn across the working stations as the students make their way through the project at what seems to be a painstakingly slow rate.

It's likely that you probably have seen this scene before, or perhaps you've even been one of these students. As you may have guessed, these students were in the traditional Home Economics class. You also likely know that this scene is quite outdated. Family and Consumer Science, formerly known as Home Economics, is a course designed to produce graduates who are college and career ready. The curriculum is a blend of life skills, financial literacy, and career awareness. When the curriculum incorporates student organizations and real-world experiences, it's a recipe for any student's success.

Sewing Accessories
Sewing

What Is Family and Consumer Science?

Home Economics was a course that was typically taught in isolation. Few connections existed between the course and other content areas, leaving the Home Economics teacher on an island to develop a curriculum that focused on the art of practicality. In today's Family and Consumer Science (FACS) curriculum, you will find many references to Career and Technical Education (CTE), an entire field devoted to life skills and career readiness in the modern world.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation's largest education association devoted to providing quality academic programs to prepare youth and adults for entering the workforce. FACS is one of several divisions of ACTE. Think of the ACTE as the large umbrella over all education programs and careers. FACS falls under this umbrella.

Family and Consumer Science education programs are designed to prepare students for the challenges of living and working in our ever-changing global society. The curriculum incorporates topics that address the following eight core areas:

  • Consumer education/resource management
  • Early childhood education
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Food services
  • Health, wellness, and nutrition
  • Housing design
  • Family planning/parenting education
  • Textiles, apparel and fashion

Student Organizations and FACS

As we just discussed, FACS covers a broad array of skill sets. This allows the FACS teacher to incorporate a wide variety of student organizations. In partnering with these organizations, the FACS teacher can create engaging and authentic learning experiences for his or her students. Consider the following list of student organizations and their connections to FACS.

  • Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA): This organization is a nonprofit education association for middle school to college-aged students. Students who are interested in learning more about business leadership are encouraged to join this organization. It ties directly into the consumer education and resource management area of FACS.
  • Future Teachers of America (FTA): This organization recruits top-performing high school students who are looking to pursue a career in education. The program focuses specifically on helping these teenagers develop a toolkit to help elementary school students who have been identified as struggling readers.
  • Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA): This is another national student organization that provides leadership training, career preparation opportunities, and opportunities for personal growth for students interested in pursuing careers in Family and Consumer Science.

Schools must be approved to start a chapter of each of these organizations, and at least one teacher must serve as an advisor on each of the established clubs. This process is relatively simple and just requires securing the approval of school administration, filing the appropriate paperwork, and paying any annual dues to maintain active membership. If your school already offers these organizations, most of this work is already done.

Consider partnering with these organizations to incorporate some additional learning opportunities for your students. For example, students who belong to FTA often shadow teachers in their school building to gain a deeper understanding of the daily responsibilities of teaching. They also take field trips to elementary schools to read to students or lead small group activities. Think about the ways that this could enrich a FACS curriculum. Your students would be learning about careers in education and early childhood education through these experiences.

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