Okay, you’ve decided you want to teach your children some homemaking skills.
But where do you start?
It’s like saying I want to eat the whole chocolate cake.
How do I do it? Bite by manageable bite.
To accomplish anything in a meaningful way we must have a plan. Start off big and then narrow it down bit by bit until you have a manageable plan to work with. Your plan may look something like this. (This is definitely not a comprehensive list, just an example)
- Living Room
- (with each room further being divided into what should be done in each room and how)
- Stain Removal
- Reading Recipes
- Cooking and baking terms
- Knife Skills
- Food Groups
- Menu Planning
- Needle and Thread
- running stitch
- Sewing Machine
- straight stitches
- width variation
- zigzag stitches
- Sewing Patterns
- checking account
- credit cards
- paint colors
- time management
- using tools
Once you’ve written down everything related to managing a home that you can think of, decide which is the most important (for older children) or easiest (for younger children) tasks to work on first. Set aside time to do it with your child, since they learn best by following your example. The best way to teach them is to start doing chores together every day, teaching them how to correctly do each task. You work with them until they can do it well – for some children this will only be a couple of days, for others it may be weeks. Do not be discouraged! Keeping a positive attitude will go a long way in instilling the joy of homemaking in your children.
For an example of how creating a plan and sticking to it can be beneficial you can read how I teach my children to cook in this series of posts.
Teaching Your Kids to Cook Part I: Cooking and Baking
Teaching Your Kids to Cook Part II: Menu Planning
Teaching Your Kids to Cook Part III: Grocery Lists and Shopping
If you really want to know where to start – start with the basics. I love the beginning of Little House in the Big Woods.
“It was always busy around the little log house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, where Laura lived with her Ma and her Pa and her sisters, Mary and Carrie. Every day, except for Sunday, there was work to be done. Pa had his chores to do, and so did Ma. Laura and Mary helped Ma with her chores, but Baby Carrie was too little to help.
“Each morning, right after breakfast, Laura and Mary helped Ma wipe the dishes. Mary wiped more dishes than Laura because she was bigger, but Laura always wiped her own little cup and plate. After the dishes were cleaned and put away, Laura and Mary helped Ma make the beds. Ma made the big bed while Laura and Mary made their own little trundle bed. The trundle bed sat low to the ground. Laura and Mary straightened and tucked the covers and plumped up the pillows, then Ma pushed it into its place under the big bed.
“When the after-breakfast chores were done, Ma began the work that belonged to that day. Each day had its own special work. Ma would say:
“Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday.”
Laura and Mary knew how to make their own beds and wash their own dishes. They were only 3 and 4 years old! Through the example of their parents they knew that each day there were required chores to do, but there was also time for relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, especially in the evening.
Start there. Teach your children how to make their beds correctly. It goes a long way to making a messy room look better! (You can work on teaching them to properly clean their rooms later)
Teach them also to take care of their own plates, cups , and utensils after eating. In our family every person is responsible for taking their dishes and putting them in the dishwasher after every meal. It makes it much easier for the person in charge of clearing the table to only have to worry about putting away any leftover food and and clearing the serving dishes. Even Hershey (15 months) is being taught to take her bowl and spoon to the dishwasher.
Next week, the homemaking post will also be a part of the homeschooling with large families post.