“Degrees of Homemade Glory,” Ensign, Aug. 1978, 69–70
Relief Society sisters of the Kahului First Ward, Kahului Hawaii Stake, recently doubled their attendance at homemaking meeting with an innovative “degree” program, part of a series of miniclasses. By completing specified requirements in different areas of homemaking skills, women were able to obtain a bachelors, masters, or doctorate degree in the “Art of Homemaking.”
To obtain a bachelors degree, a sister had to complete fifteen out of twenty-three listed goals. Her visiting teacher or the Relief Society president verified the completion of each item by signing her goal sheet. These goals represented achievements in basic homemaking skills, such as making a crocheted or knitted item, darning a sock, making a girl’s dress or a boy’s shirt, baking bread, making a white sauce, setting in sleeves, sewing an item with gathers, making a tossed salad and a jello salad, sewing in a zipper, organizing a recipe file, giving the lesson for family night, and giving increased attention to one’s husband for two consecutive days.
Once the sisters had obtained their bachelors degrees, they could work toward a masters. The requirements for this degree emphasized more difficult tasks based on skills learned in the bachelors program. For instance, the sisters had to make a one-piece dress or suit for an adult, make a throw rug, prepare a year’s supply of sewing items, make a flower arrangement, make a quilt, add two new recipes to four sections of their recipe file, make a raised sweet roll, make one foreign dish, plan and serve a dinner or luncheon party, avoid gossiping for three consecutive days, or be patient, kind, and understanding for, three consecutive days with either children or husband. The sisters had to complete ten of twenty-four suggested items for the masters degree.
Seventeen enterprising ladies went on to earn their doctorates in the art of homemaking. They completed ten of twenty-one challenging activities, including painting a room, sewing on cording, putting a washer in a faucet, refinishing a piece of furniture, putting up a shelf, weeding the yard or garden, upholstering a piece of furniture, baking all the bread the family used for a month, making and following a schedule for routine work for two months, adding to their book of remembrance, reading the scriptures at least fifteen minutes a day for two months, having family prayers in their home night and morning for three months, and anonymously giving something homemade or homebaked.
The degrees were conferred on the sisters at the Relief Society opening social the following year. Each sister received a beautifully lettered certificate and a lei, and those women who earned a doctorate also received the Relief Society pin, presented to them by their proud husbands.