How to homeschool home ec

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

I’m getting ready to show my age. Back when I was in junior high (See? The age-showing is happening already because middle school wasn’t even a thing back then), we took our first elective class in 8th grade. Except it wasn’t really an elective.

All the boys took shop and, directly across the hall, all the girls took home ec. (See? More age showing with all that “boys build things/girls cook and sew things” stuff.)

I still remember proudly making biscuits, as I’d learned in home ec, for my dad one weekend.

(He was either being exceptionally kind or I have totally forgotten those 8th grade lessons because I can’t make biscuits worth a flip anymore.)

There is still an embroidered, apple-shaped pillow somewhere, and the latch-hook rug I made for my grandmother still hangs on her bedroom wall, even though she passed away many years ago.

What is home ec?

We’re long past the “boys take shop/girls take home ec” days, but that doesn’t mean we should be past teaching the skills of home economics.

Home economics encompasses all the skills needed to maintain a home such as:

  • Preparing healthy meals
  • Sewing (at least enough for simple repairs like replacing a button)
  • Housekeeping
  • Basic household repairs
  • Menu planning and grocery shopping
  • Budgeting and money management
  • Balancing a check book/finances
  • Laundry
  • Lawn care
  • Making appointments (Some people hate calling to make a doctor’s appointment, but it’s something we all have to do at some point.)

Basically, what was once called home ec is what most of us now refer to as life skills – and it includes skills that both boys and girls need.

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Make dinnertimes easier this school year


Written by Jessica Fisher of Good Cheap Eats and Life as Mom

Several times during a school year, the thought hits me: I just can’t do it all.

I can keep a perfectly tidy home, or I can rock an awesome homeschool, or I can make healthy, three-course meals three times a day, or I can run a great home business.

Did you see the or’s?

I simply cannot do them all, all the time. When school lessons are going great, the house is often a mess. When I am writing great content and keeping up on all aspects of my writing business, I might end up skipping science for the week. When my house is spotless, it’s probably a sign that everything else has fallen by the wayside.

There are only so many hours in a day. None of us can do it all on her own. We all have areas where we need to simplify, pull out a few tricks, and delegate.

You gotta eat, right? Thankfully, my desire for good meals has helped me identify shortcuts to meal times that mean I can do at least two things well in a given season.

Is dinner prep one of those tricky spots for you? Consider these tips for making dinner quick and easy this school year:

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How I taught my kids to clean…so I could stop cleaning

How I taught my kids to I could stop cleaning
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

Lean in closer, let me share a secret:

I don’t clean too much anymore…and I love it.

Why am I whispering? Well, I guess it doesn’t feel proper for a busy homeschooling mama to admit something like this.

Over five years ago, while reading one of the books that has become a foundational part of our homeschool, Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning, I came across this quote:

“A significant part of Love of Learning Phase is to learn to work like an adult, thus many responsibilities can be given to Love of Learners. Still, Love of Learners need to be trained to do jobs well, so we recommend that Mom be released from any cleaning and instead be given a training and supervisory role only.” (page 121)

As my kids were ages five, four, and three at the time, I’m pretty sure I snorted at this impossible and lofty way-too-far-in-the-distance aim that seemed unlikely to ever appear on my messy home horizon.

But now Trishna is 11, Jonathan turns ten on Labor Day, and Elijah is nine. Life looks different around here–far from perfect, mind you–but definitely different. And one variation is the amount of time I spend cleaning.

Looking back, I can see we went through the following phases of cleaning to reach where we are now. 
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Eating better as a family in two easy steps


Written by Amida of Journey Into Unschooling.

A few years ago, I had the most horrible rash known to mankind. It started as a small, itchy patch that I took for bug bites. But then it grew bigger and other patches started popping up until my whole body was covered with it.

I went to the doctor, who quizzed me and determined that I was allergic to the new dog living in my home.

I went to the allergist, who examined me under a microscope, and declared I had scabies.

I went to the dermatologist, who took one look at my arms, and he said it was obviously eczema. While they all prescribed me ointments (I declined the scabies treatment) that offered relief of my symptoms, not one of them offered any long term solutions to the problem. I was still breaking out and scratching myself bloody. Something had to be done.

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Why we practice life skills summers


Written by Kara Anderson.

It was a few years ago now that we had our very first life skills summer. And it all began really simply.

I made each of my kids a morning checklist:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Brush hair
  • Make bed

My daughter was a pre-reader at the time, so we made her a picture checklist. And for the three months between our regular co-op meetings, from the end of May until early September, we practiced the items on the list every day.

Until it became automatic.

Until all I had to say was “Ok guys! Do your checklists!” and everyone knew what I meant.

What was remarkable, though, was how much this one little thing helped us when the school year started up again.

[Read more…]

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