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It is now possible to state the general practice of American schools with regard to the time allotted to instruction in the two usual divisions of household arts, cooking and sewing, throughout the different grades of the elementary school. (Table 5, A, B.)

First of all, the placing of these subjects by grades is important. Sewing is reported as follows: First grade, 20 schools; second grade, 25 schools; third grade, 45 schools; fourth grade, 82 schools; fifth grade, 236 schools; sixth grade, 345 schools; seventh grade, 377 schools; eighth grade, 316 schools. In other words, while sewing has been taught in all eight grades, it has been most commonly placed in the four upper grades, and of these more often in the sixth and seventh grades than in the fifth and eighth grades. Cooking is reported by no schools as taught in the first grade; in the grades thereafter as follows: Second grade, 1 school; third grade, 2 schools; fourth grade, 6 schools; fifth grade, 15 schools; sixth grade, 48 schools; seventh grade, 174 schools; eighth grade, 242 schools. Cooking is therefore confined practically to grades fifth to eighth, inclusive, and has been placed especially in the seventh and eighth grades.

A searching question that every community should ask is, Are these essential arts of living so placed in the elementary grades that they will reach the largest possible number of girls? In view of the fact that so many girls leave school in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, it is poor policy to place cookery, which is obviously the most essential of any of the arts of living, so late in the grades that large numbers of girls never have a chance to learn it. Until it is possible to advance the school age or hold girls longer in school, a practical and comprehensive course in cooking should probably be placed in the sixth grade in most communities, with a return to such instruc、 tion in the eighth or last grade of the elementary school.

In considering the amount of time allotted for household-arts instruction in the grades, the school week may be considered as providing 1,500 minutes of instruction. Our data will present the minutes per week allowed for cooking and sewing in the various grades. While Table 5 gives the full statement of facts, some of the comparisons are noteworthy here. The instruction in cooking is generally allotted 90 minutes a week in all grades when taught. This period appears both as the median time allotment in each grade and as the most common mode in every grade. Fifty per cent of the schools in each grade, also, either give 90 minutes per week to this teaching or not less than 75 nor more than 120 minutes per week.

Ninety minutes per week for instruction in cooking in the grades may be taken therefore as the usual time allowance for the food arts in elementary schools in the United States.

Sewing in the grades tends to be given a slightly increasing period as children proceed to higher grades; expressed by the median time. allotment, sewing is given 40 to 45 minutes in the first grade, 45 minutes in the second and third grades, 60 minutes in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, 75 minutes in the seventh grade, and 75 to 80 minutes in the eighth grade. This is in contrast with cooking, which, wherever given, tends to secure a level mean time allotment of 90 minutes a week throughout the different grades.

The modes in the distribution of sewing time allotments also indicate an increase in the amount of time given; as much as 30, 45, or even 60 minutes a week is common in the first four grades; 60 and 90 minutes in the fifth, sixth, and seventh grades; and 60, 90, and 120 minutes in the eighth grade. "Half the schools" change similarly from 30 to 60 minutes for lower grades to 60 to 90 minutes for upper grades. While the median time allotment increases from 40 to 80 minutes as one passes from the first to the eighth grade, the maximum allotment increases from 100 minutes in the first and second grades to 140 minutes in the third, 180 minutes in the fourth grade, 450 minutes in the fifth grade, 225 minutes in the sixth grade, and 600 minutes in the seventh and eighth grades. In terms of the various measures, therefore, sewing instruction tends to secure a lengthened time allotment in the higher grades.

The question of the entire time allotted to household arts in the grades is perhaps more important. (Table 6.) As a basis of comparison it is possible to take the unit suggested above of 1,500 minutes per week extended through eight grades, or 12,000 week-minutes for the total time involved in eight grades of teaching. Examining the time allotments of 468 schools, the mean total time allotment for household arts for eight grades is 230 to 240 week-minutes out of the total of 12,000 week-minutes of instruction, or 2 per cent of the total time spent by the elementary school child upon all studies. The most common time allotments (modes) are 120, 180, 240, and 360 week-minutes of teaching; and 50 per cent of the schools allot between 150 and 360 week-minutes for the eight grades. The maximum time allotted to household arts in any elementary school is 1,200 week-minutes for sewing in all eight grades, and 1,350 week-minutes similarly for cooking, or 10 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, of the total school time.

TABLE 5.-Time allotments in elementary schools, in minutes per week.


Schools Shortest time
and longest
of grade. instruction time reported


in grade.

for grade.


































Branch of

Number of cities rehousehold porting in elementary grades.




20, 100












30, 600

30, 450

Median number of minutes reported for grade.

Smallest and
largest total
minutes re-
reported by
any city.



30, 1200 45, 1350

[blocks in formation]

Minutes taken
as limits to
include half
the schools.




1 30-60

2 40-60

2. 60-90

1 Includes 75 per cent.

2 Includes 50 per cent.

a Includes 46 per cent.

TABLE 6.—Total minutes per week in all grades combined for sewing and cooking-General tendencies.

(Comparable with 12,000 total minutes per week for complete school program).1






Modal, or most frequently reported times for grade.

Total minutes taken as limits to include half the cities.



30, 60

30, 40, 45, 60
30, 45, 60
40.45, 60.90
40, 45, 60, 75, 80, 90
60, 75, 80, 90, 120



90 90

60, 80, 90, 120

60, 80, 90

60, 80, 90, 120

Modal, or most frequent, total minutes reported.

120, 180, 240, 360 90, 120, 160, 180, 240, 360

1 This measure is computed on the basis of the minutes allotted per week in the various 8 grades, summed to give total minutes per week for all grades; the standard of camparison for a full program of all subjects is taken as 300 minutes per day or 1,500 minutes per week for each of the 8 grades, i. e., 12,000 total minutes per week for all school subjects through all grades.


One hundred and eighty-three schools furnish a brief statement of their aims in teaching household arts in the elementary school. Some replies stated a single aim; others more than one aim. Three schools state the aim in terms of the school itself: "To broaden the curriculum"; "to prepare for high school"; and "to make the school of use in the home and make school work more practical." Three other schools justify household-arts teaching from the point of view of the child, " to make the pupil able to serve her own needs "; "to give children what they need"; and "to interest children."

Some 32 phrase their aim in the view of education as a discipline, using such terms as the following (the numbers indicating the fre

quency of use): "Neatness" (4), "accuracy" (3), "cleanness " (2), "culture" (2), "general training" (2), "intellectual training" (2), "character building” (2), “practical and educational" (2), “allround development," "self-development," "educational," "broader view,” “practical and disciplinary," "training," "get the means of acquiring knowledge," "lay foundation for future development," "develop initiative," "give ability and confidence," and, finally, "make action depend on thought." While these statements of disciplinary aims in household-arts teaching may not meet the approval of the latest educational thought, they are highly significant and hopeful in a broader way-they indicate that so new a subject as household arts quickly amalgamates with the general school curriculum and easily finds its place in the general organization of the school and its justification and support in the educational thought there current.1

Household arts came into the schools originally in connection with manual training; one would expect, therefore, to find aims in household arts teaching stated in terms of manual training. Only 18 schools, however, directly suggest such an explanation: "Hand teaching" is given as the aim by 6 elementary schools, and "skill" by 5, while "technique" and "the development of mind through the hand". are each mentioned by 2 schools, and "training eye, hand, and judgment," "manual training," and "speed" are each mentioned by 1 school. Limiting manual training strictly to an intellectual betterment achieved by a manual method, one would even exclude from this list the aims of "skill" and "technique," which really belong to that latest educational purpose, the practical arts or vocational education which would fit youth for definite tasks.

Household-arts study in elementary schools, as of significance in the practical work of the home, is distinctly recognized in the statements of aim in teaching by two-thirds of the 183 schools furnishing data. In 61 cases reference is made to the practical nature of the subject matter, in 10 cases to the theory underlying the household arts, and in 53 cases to the application of these arts in homemaking and housekeeping. In 19 cases the aim emphasizes "practical" instruction, education, and knowledge ("utility"); in 37 cases a specific art is mentioned, "cooking," "sewing." "mending," "plain sewing," "drafting," "making garments,' "home work and

1 Or, viewed otherwise, the new subject is submerged in the school. For a discussion of the reaction of the general school situation on the avowed aims of domestic science, manual training, etc., see Social Factors Affecting Special Supervision in the Public Schools of the United States," Walter L. Jessup, 1911, pp. 51–63.


housewifery," "do own sewing," "judging textiles," "practical arts," "sewing as an industry," and (delightful to contemplate) "to prepare and serve a good meal "; while two statements add to practical skill, a knowledge of sufficient theory." Ten schools emphasize this theoretical basis of the household arts by specifying some division of it as "food principles," "balanced rations," "the how and why," or by a succinct reference to "the science underlying the proper performance of household labor."

Three schools speak of the "vocational" aspects, or preparation for a life work throughout household arts, and some 53 schools make distinct and interesting references to the relation of household-arts teaching to the home. Eleven refer to the preparation afforded for "homemaking" or "better homemakers," 11 others to household arts as "fitting for home," and 6, by the phrase education or training" for home life," suggest that a comprehensive view has been gained of the home as a social institution (perhaps the most important need in household-arts teaching today). "Home efficiency" (term used by three schools), "use in home" (two), "better homes" (two), “aid homes" (one), "home improvement" (one), are all aims indicating a most significant policy of home progress and improved housekeeping as a result of household-arts teaching in the public schools, i. e., the school is to become an agency for the betterment of the home. The aim stated in one case "to meet the needs of the average home"-need not be interpreted as indicating satisfaction with the present level of housekeeping; it is just the average home whose greatest "need" is improvement, not a training of its daughters merely to repeat its mistakes for the next generation. Three schools state the aim as "economy" or "reduction of home expenses "—an echo perhaps of the high cost of living.

Another important aim in household-arts teaching is recognized by the seven schools which specify "the development of an interest in household arts," "the dignifying of housework," "the giving of a right attitude." It is always one of the immediate fruits of technical or professional training that it remakes our mental picture of the task in hand, arouses new interests, and taps unexpected reservoirs of purpose and energy-and this not only for the individuals who take the technical training, but for all other persons, those who observe its results as well as those who participate in it. While we have here a psychological change primarily in the young women who in elementary schools or high schools take training in household science and art, we have a great social change going on in the significance of the home for them and for all of us. We are at the

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