To be honest, as homeschoolers, I never considered home economics as part of our homeschooling curriculum. I always assumed that as part of our day to day life, my daughter would naturally help out with cooking and learn all that she needed to learn. How could she not, I assumed. She does much of her schoolwork sitting right at the kitchen table, where I’m always cooking or baking, so I reasoned that her proximity to me would help to teach her.
And in a way, that’s true. Many times we’ve taken a break from working on school to bake cookies or to make some other yummy baked treat, and my 5th grade daughter simply loves helping out. She will go and get my cookbook, add ingredients, mix or stir, and put the cookies on the baking sheet or pour the batter into the pan, depending on what we’re making. Another favorite of hers is when we make meatballs; she loves getting her hands right into the meat mixture and forming the meatballs before I put them into the oven to bake.
Recently, though, we were visiting some friends, and they have a girl the same age as my daughter. I watched as this girl actually cooked lunch for herself, using both the stovetop and the oven. Teresa turned to me and said “Hey, why don’t you ever let me use the stove? Why haven’t you taught me?” That was when I realized that despite all my involving Teresa in many aspects of cooking, I had never given her any instruction at all in the usage of the oven, other than not to touch it or turn it on, ever. How could I have neglected this most basic teaching?
So this year, we’re embarking on some serious home economics. I’m not doing Teresa any favors by not teaching her to use the stove. When she was younger, yes, it made sense for her not to touch it. But there isn’t any reason she can’t learn to use the oven, with my supervision of course. She’s thrilled to have this addition to her studies, and I’m proud of how careful she is in all aspects of cooking. And 5th grade is a great time to start learning how to use the stove, because she’s old enough to understand safety measures and how to properly cook or bake.
All in all, I’d say this has been her favorite part of this school year.