Back in the day, Home Ec was a required course for girls in junior high school. I remember well. I remember learning some valuable skills in that class, skills I use daily. It’s a course that isn’t really about being ‘a girl’ but about real-life living in a real-life home.
Some of the skills I learned all those years ago I’ve been able to pass on to my daughters and my sons. Some they picked up just by living and working alongside me. These are lessons that helped prepare them for living on their own and caring for their family.
Over the past three decades of homeschooling and child-rearing I’ve seen a trend to prepare our children for college, making sure they make the grades and get in the course subjects they’ll need for the career path of their choice, but giving little effort to training them in life skills (such as how to feed themselves!)
Sadly, that often means practical skills like basic cooking, cleaning, mending skills are never addressed. Along with academic skills, wouldn’t it be wise to equip our children to be able to fend for themselves and start life on their own knowing how to care for their own basic needs?
While they are still living at home is the best time for kids to learn basic homemaking/housekeeping skills. To get them prepared think about what your child will need to know and what will they need to do when they are living on their own. Thank practical. Whether living in a college dorm, a rented room or house, there are some things they’ll need to be able to do (unless Mom is planning move in a be their care-giver forever!)
What does it take to run a household? Whether big or small, every household needs to be cared for. We take it for granted that our kids will move out and know how to do the most basic of tasks. After all, they’ve probably seen you do these things all their lives. Maybe they’ve been part of their chore lists. But have they been put in the context of “when you live on your own, who will tell you or show you how to do this?”
For high school credit, you can create your own Home Economics or Life Skills course. You’ll want to work up a list so sit down for a brainstorming session and write down any task that a person will need to do for basic daily household maintenance and routine. Some ideas would be:
- wash dishes, load and run dishwasher.
- sweep, mop and vacuum floors.
- dust furniture and clear away cobwebs.
- wash and dry clothing.
- change the bed sheets.
- clean the toilet and tub.
Now, schedule some time to teach, train and practice these skills. The goal is for your child to know how to do each one, NOT to be in charge of it all for your whole household. The goal is for them to be able to step in and do these things when they have to do it for themselves when the time comes that they are living away from you.
Most of the things on this list are not going to be very exciting. Therefore, it’s important to discuss with your teen how taking care of the mundane, everyday things in life helps make all of life flow more smoothly. Be realistic with your expectations, make it clear how much time will need to be spent and help your student carve out a little bit of each day to focus on the task at hand. It won’t take much and will build good character as they become more disciplined.
I have found it helpful to demonstrate how I expect a task to be done and provide a checklist of what is to be done. Some tasks can be part of the daily routine and assignment. Once it’s mastered, you can either switch to practicing another skill or add a weekly task they could be working on.
Checking things off or making note of day/time it was accomplished will give you some record keeping for your Home Ec course. In the upcoming days I’ll be sharing ideas for basic meal planning and cooking, mending, sewing and more. You can see the full line up in my intro post!
Once again, I am joining my fellow Homeschool Review Crew Mates for our Spring Homeschool Blog Hop! Enjoy the selection of great ideas and helpful posts in our link party below.