I think one of the greatest educational benefits of homeschooling is the chance to learn and study family and home economics. Homeschool home ec class is the most natural of our daily learning.
I decided Friday morning that I was tired of cleaning being the last priority every day. The house just seemed cluttered and dirty. Those dust bunnies in the corner were taunting me. So we switched our schedule around and started with chores. Home Ec class time!
My kids (ages 2 and 6) helped with cleaning the floors (with the Swiffer), vacuuming, dusting, tidying rooms, cleaning the bathroom counters and toilets, and scrubbing the kitchen counters. It felt good to me to see my kids working like that! And it felt good to me to show my kids that cleaning is a priority in our home.
We did school, too, after our chores were done. But I will admit that I let history go in order to get the house cleaned up! And it felt good to let my son be an active part of that task.
As I pondered these necessary, every-day skills that he needs to learn, I began to think of other ways he learns about family and home economics during our homeschool weeks together. Here are just some of them that come to mind for me right now.
Budgeting. I tell Raisin our grocery budget for the week and while we shop, he helps me estimate how much all of the items in our cart add up to. A few times he’s stopped me. “Mom, that is not on our list and it costs $___, are you sure we need it?” I love seeing him recognize limits.
Laundry. My son regularly is the one that collects and sorts a load of laundry. Many times he then starts the laundry too! The other day, I was working upstairs getting my toddler down for a nap: when I came down he had moved the laundry into the dryer and started it! I love to see him taking the initiative on family chores like that.
Chores. As I mentioned, Raisin (and less so, Strawberry) was very helpful in doing some routine cleaning around our house today. Although he often complains about cleaning chores, today he was pleasant and helpful for a long time. As I said, I love seeing him take part!
Cooking. I informed Raisin that this year I’d like him to step up and prepare dinner. I initially told him “once a month” or “every few weeks.” His response was that he wanted to do it every week! We found recipe books at the library that he likes (his current favorite is a Sesame Street “themed” one). He selects the recipe, writes me a shopping list, helps me find the items in the store, and then helps me prepare it. Yes, cooking takes far longer when he’s the one in charge. And his recipes have not been my favorites. But I find he is more daring that I expected. He did not know what tuna was, for example, but the pasta and tuna salad recipe caught his eye. It turned out that he does not like the tuna (I don’t like canned tuna either) but he’d never have considered it before. I was so pleased that he tried something new like that.
Sewing. I admit, I am not a seamstress and I don’t even have a sewing machine. But in our co-op class last year, Raisin learned some basic stitches. He is always eager to try his hand at sewing a button back on something!
I am always pleased when I see how closely the things we do in our daily life relate to things I feel my son should learn in his school. These correlations continue to keep me happy to be homeschooling. Yes, there are hard days. But as homeschoolers we can always call it “home ec” day and make the daily tasks into learning experiences.
image credit: Dollar Photo Club