Home schooling and cooking rolled into one.

 I’m brownied off!  I’m having to do my own baking now there are no kids permanently in the house.

This is a bit of a blow because not only do I hate it, I’m not very good at it either – can even burn boiled eggs. The kids were excellent though and we did quite a bit when they were home schooling.

Cooking is underrated in educational terms. It still has that old stigma of domesticity about it, like the term ‘domestic science’ had at school years ago; a subject little better than gender stereotyping for girls. Grooming them to be housewifey whilst the boys did macho things with wood and metal.

Thankfully time’s moved on and celebrity chefs have also helped put a stop to that image. Have you noticed how cooking is considered worthwhile now the men have started doing it!

But twisted bitterness aside cooking is a valuable educational activity. It is an essential part of learning about yourself and being responsible for your diet and health. If better credit was given to it in schools we perhaps wouldn’t have so many overweight, potential parents, who think existing on a diet of salt, sugar and fat is okay. We’d also have better understanding of our food, where it comes from and gratitude to the earth for providing it.

Also, the activity of cooking crosses so many educational subjects it’s hard to define them all; research, reading, interpreting recipes, following directions, use of measurement, estimation, number, time, knowledge of food, food groups, geographical sources, biology and nutrition, practise of many practical skills as well as thinking, decision making…etc. It covers English, Maths, Science, IT, geography and history, if you’re clever with your discussions. So do include it in your home school days if you don’t already.

I think it was actually homeschooling that taught me how to cook, because I wanted the children to understand about food and how to feed themselves well. Plus make the occasional celebratory cake.

As I slap ingredients together now I remember how long it took to cook together and how patient I had to be. Today, I chucked things in the oven in a much more haphazard way and, thankfully, out come the most delicious brownies ever. Ironically this is thanks to my daughter who still does some baking for herself now living away from home and who put me onto the Jamie Oliver recipe. (Find it here).

Of course there is an advantage now – being a bit of a pig with a sweet tooth I get to eat them all myself.

Or is that an advantage, says she, feeling a little sick and catching sight of her waistline!

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9 thoughts on “Home schooling and cooking rolled into one.

  1. Japanese public school include cleaning school, cooking, caring animals, sawing and some gardening to the curriculum. So, I gained knowledge of the nutrition needs for our body, how to cut vegetable using knife (like here http://www.ourharmony.com/diy/knife.htm) and importance of the foods since primary age. It called Shokuiku.
    We also had a school lunch which was coordinated by a nutritionist and cooked at school premises using local products. The menu were different everyday in entire month and ingredients details and calories were printed out and sent to home so mothers will not cook the same one at home.

    Sad things was my first and second year teacher forced me to eat all the foods served on the plates which I could not do. She humiliated me by order me not to move the chair until I finish even other students started clean and sweeping the floor. So, I ended up scared of lunch time and used to throw up everything before even lunch start…
    Finally, a saver came on third year and this new teacher said “We have a choice so if you cannot finish, it is ok”. And that “freedom of choice” made my lunch time as enjoyable one again.

    Although I had a two difficult years, I appreciate the Japanese school curriculum taught me what is important for our body. And I am quite shocked to realise how other countries having problems of eating disorder and diabetic. And how current world become with full of junk foods and majority are actually enjoy eating the junk foods…

    So, I teach my children to cook now. My boys, 5 and 7 years old, have own knives and they are learning how to use and respect it at the same time. We often end up how amazing plants are… such as colour, structure, shape, texture, taste and etc.,and it become part of science study….
    it is all part of fun learning now….but I am sure they realise it is such a beneficial skill to have later.

  2. “Grooming them to be housewifey” What’s wrong with being a housewife? A lot of us are the ones doing the home edding.

    Denigrating the homemaker is part of the attack on home edding. What is done for love, in the home, is seen as worthless or demeaning. What is done for money, for strangers, is fine. Women are told not to nurture their children, that there better things they could be doing with their time. Of course, this implies that children are not worth our time.

    I like your blog and the great advocacy for home education. I wanted to remind you that lifting up the home and the nurture of little people is part of that advocacy.

    • Thank you for this Anthea. I absolutely agree that home making and being there for your children is one hundred percent the most worthwhile thing anyone could be doing and in no way meant to denigrate it. I was reliving the ‘feel’ of the times in my blog where this value was certainly not attached to the work women do at home at that period. I felt it deeply! I totally support women bringing up their own children and try to show that, so I’m always pleased – if a bit shocked – to know if it comes across as anything different. We all see things so differently – thank you for showing me that and posting your comment! BWs

  3. i love cooking – hate the washing up 😉

    we do enjoy cooking together, don’t do enough of it really. 2 of mine like to watch cookery programes and often leads to interesting conversations and even projects! 🙂

  4. ditto, loonyliterature. It boggles the mind how little we as Americans in general think about what we fuel our bodies with. I knew about the math and health aspects of cooking, but I didn’t really think through all the other subjects it touches on, cool.
    I’m looking forward to the days where I can turn over the cooking to my own kids. I’ve told them I’ll take one day a week just to keep my skills sharp, but they’re welcome to the rest. My mom turned over all the cooking to us because she hated doing it. It certainly didn’t hurt us any to have to learn these things.
    I’ve heard that when today’s generation wants comfort food they crave pizza and hamburgers not meatloaf, stew or other homemade goodies, what a loss.

    • Thanks so much for commenting you guys. And that’s an interesting point about what kids crave for comfort – I’ve just realised mine crave home made pasta dishes and flapjack so I obviously managed to cook something decent! Thanks again. x

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