School in the Kitchen!
I. Love. Food.
To me, it is an expression of love, a masterpiece, an expression of culture. And now, it is a vehicle for learning!
Basic Life Skills
Of course, our goal as homeschool parents is to prepare our children’s minds for the world they will one day face independently. So how do you teach 5 year old Charlie to make chicken cordon bleu?! For now, let him watch, let him help in small ways, let him make a mess. Every moment he spends doing basic life things with you is a moment of experience gained. One day, he will only need minor supervision, and after that, he’ll be inviting you over for dinner! When kids learn the value of a home cooked meal over convenience, they grow up with healthier habits and a know-how of culinary skills- something many children are growing up without today. So, teach them the basics. Kitchen safety, measurements, how to know when you’ve added enough salt, these lessons will be invaluable to them later in life, not to mention stick in their hearts as a good memory from home.
Let Them Make a Mess
My motto is, moments over perfection! Messes in the kitchen are bound to happen when you let the littles help, and that’s okay. Don’t shame them or make them feel bad for spilling flour or dripping oil. Through their little eyes, this moment is huge and exciting! They are getting a taste of responsibility and putting their own ideas to the test. Once they taste the meal they’ve helped to create, their confidence will soar, and that’s worth a little extra cleanup time.
Following Directions… or Not!
Reading and following directions on a recipe is a big part of cooking… for some. And here, that is really a lesson in itself! For others, the baking pan is a canvas, and the stock pot a wide-open road. Teach your kids what each individual component does and what happens when they come together. From there, experiment with what happens when you tweak the recipe a little. What happens when you use applesauce instead of butter? Two eggs instead of one?
Some of my favorite memories as a child revolve around helping my mom in the kitchen. I hardly remember what we were cooking, but I remember clearly the conversations, the feeling of a warm home, and feeling so proud of myself when I made an entire meal on my own. As you are bringing your children into the kitchen (or garden, or grocery store, or work shed) with you, remember that those moments mean more to them than you know.