Why I Want to Go to Housewife School

A picture of Hússtjórnarskólinn í Reykjavík, via their website.

With my compliments to all the women in my family and life who know how to do stuff (“stuff” encompasses a lot, I know, but purposefully), I give you my most recent foray into long-form blogging: “Why I Want to Go to Housewife School.”

Housewife School” (that’s not the official name, but a nickname that has stuck over the years) is a Reykjavík institution which has been teaching women (and occasionally men) how to do all sorts of useful things—from crafting and (clothing) construction to cooking and cleaning—for 71 years. It was brought to my attention by another Fulbrighter who knows someone who attended the school, but as I’ve been discovering, a lot of Icelandic women have attended through the years.

Photo (I think) of former students at Hússtjórnarskólinn, via their website.

I think it is a fabulous concept and would love to attend myself one day, when my Icelandic is up to par. (Another goal!) In the meantime, I’ve written about it for BlogHer. You can read the full article via the link above, but here’s a snippet:

My great-gram knew how to raise and wring chickens’ necks because she had to. But I’d guess that learning wasn’t much fun (for many reasons), and I’m almost positive that her mom would have been frustrated with Gram’s technique and made some off-hand comments which sparked an argument, and they probably stood in the front yard arguing about correct neck-wringing strategies until they were both blue in the face.

When learning how to do anything, it helps to have an objective teacher.

Cheers to you, great-grama, and grama, and mom and all the rest of you talented ladies who have learned handcrafts and domestic skills without the benefit of a school. And to the women in my life, an extra ‘thanks’ for trying to teach me how to “do stuff” even if it didn’t always pan out. And, lastly, a hearty cheers to my little sister who already knows how to do a lot of cool stuff that I myself probably never will.

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