Home Economics. What ever happened to that class? It seemed to disappear rather suddenly, and it was one of the most needed classes in my opinion! When we started homeschooling our 13 year old, we knew Home Ec was going to be the core of our teaching. We want her to have life skills needed to survive by the time she's ready to move out on her own.
In addition to teaching about cooking and sewing, it's important to teach about budgeting and taxes. These are topics that can be covered in Home Ec; you can work them into your Math classes, too! 😉
Be sure to check out our post about the best Facebook groups for new homeschoolers!
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What is Home Economics?
In our Home Ec classes, we mostly learned about cooking, sewing, and “keeping house”. This included budgeting, yard work, laundry, simple home and auto repairs, and other basic household duties. This blog post will focus more on the “keeping house” aspect rather than yard work and household repairs.
Want to learn more about the areas covered in Home Ec? Resource: 7 Fundamentals of Home Ec
Remember when you're teaching your kids at home, classes will overlap. While cooking, you can teach math (measurements) and science (temperatures). Don't feel like you have to put each topic in its own class. That's the freedom of homeschooling, we are able to do things how we feel they work best. This means combining classes and saving time, so we only have to do school for a few hours a day.
Teaching Home Ec
Many of the resources you'll find online for teaching Home Economics are religious. This may be something you're okay with, which is fine, but if you're not okay with it, preview the material before buying it. Send an email to the author or to the blogger selling the resource and ask if their information is based on religion or leans towards “keeping women in the kitchen”.
Home Ec is about life skills for both genders, and the skills we learned in Home Ec have helped us – whether we are working, staying home, or somewhere in between. We don't focus on gender roles for our kids, though ironically enough, at least two of them want to be housewives. We support them no matter what! 🙂
Cooking and Nutrition
Cooking and nutrition go hand in hand. If your child has never been near a stove before, start with simple things like how to boil water, how to boil eggs, how to boil pasta, etc. Take a trip to the grocery store and teach your child how to pick out the best produce, and how to calculate the unit or ounce prices versus the total price, to get the best deal.
Talk about measuring and how it's important to use exact measurements in baking, versus how cooking recipes still turn out great when you don't measure. With that being said, measurements are important for nutrition and serving sizes.
Macaroni and cheese is a childhood favorite. Teach your child how to make it into a meal rather than just a starchy side. Adding protein like hamburger or chicken, and serving with a side of vegetables can turn mac & cheese into a full meal.
Menu Planning with Kids
Menu planning is a valuable tool for all of us, especially those with families or those trying to stay on track with a health or weight loss program. Don't worry, teaching kids how to meal plan is actually fun! If you're afraid they'll say “cookies and ice cream every night!”, cut up strips of paper and put a nutritious meal idea on each of them. Let them go through and pick their favorites, and have them plug them into your meal plan for the week.
As they get used to meal planning with you, they'll be able to come up with the nutritious meal ideas on their own. Our 13 year old does meal planning often. She's a bit heavy handed on the pasta, so we have to mix a few of the meals up sometimes, but overall it's a great way to take the work off of our plates and teach her at the same time.
Here's an example of one of our meal plans. We do add a bit more food, because that's a “diet” meal plan… but you can get an idea of how one is set up if you haven't done them before. 🙂
Kids Cooking Videos on YouTube
3 Breakfasts your kids can cook for themselves:
Ruby teaches kids how to cook in this adorable video:
Simple Meals Kids Can Cook
French Toast is a classic, and happens to be one of Sadie's favorite breakfasts!
Pancakes are Kevin's favorite breakfast!
Everyone loves pizza, and it's so easy to make!
Learn how to make rolls!
If your kids are older, or if they're younger and really enjoy cooking shows, check out some of these YouTube channels:
- Pioneer Woman on Food Network
- Chef Steps
- Cooking With Dog
- The Victorian Way (one of our FAVORITES!!)
- Peaceful Cooking
How to teach sewing and such
Do you know how to sew a button on? If so, now's the perfect time to teach the kiddos! If not, head over to YouTube… they teach everything in such simple steps! Some sewing videos are very boring. Watch them first, and pass the tips onto your kids rather than making them watch an hour long sewing video (unless they're interested). Keep it fun!
Tips for teaching kids how to sew:
Keep it simple. Don't overwhelm them with big projects right off the bat, even if that's what they're beggggging for. Building confidence is important, and that includes setting them up for success with simple projects first.
Stay calm. It's easy to freak out when needles and kids are in close proximity to each other, but your anxiety is going to transfer to your child. The last thing you need is an anxious child with a needle in their hand (or a sewing machine within their reach).
Supervise closely. Even if you think your kiddo's “got it”, a sewing machine is not a toy and supervision is necessary. You'll know when your child is old enough to use the machine unsupervised, after lots of practice.
Don't give up. Sometimes kids get really excited about things at first and then it fizzles out. Keep the projects simple, short, and fun. Don't give up on sewing if they don't seem interested at first. It's all about finding something they WANT to make.
This mom shares more tips for teaching kids how to sew.
Here are a few of our favorite simple sewing project ideas:
I love this “first sewing project”, making a scrunchie. Kids are obsessed with these things!
Sewing an easy fabric purse, with kids:
7 things kids need to start sewing:
Great sewing projects to teach kids:
Basic hand-sewing video:
Budgeting and Money
Missouri State University Budgeting and Money Course: Topics include the preparation and interpretation of personal financial statements and budgets, the time value of money, personal saving, financial market and investment fundamentals, the effective use of consumer credit, personal bankruptcy, insurance principles, automotive and housing decisions, principles of personal taxation, and retirement planning.
This free personal finance class is great for all ages, though you'll need to make some adjustments for younger kids. The site covers checking, savings, types of credit, managing credit, paying for college, budgeting, investing, and more.
You'll have to register to access this money course, but it's free. The course can either be run in full as six interactive modules, or as a condensed version by omitting modules one and five. Both options are modular in design with each module designed to take one hour.
Best way to teach kids about money:
10 Things The RICH Teach Their Kids About Money:
Budgeting and prioritizing for kids:
Budgeting and Money Resources
Books About Home Ec
Here are some highly-rated books about Home Ec. You can grab the Kindle versions for free or cheap.
- The Useful Book: 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop
- Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living
- How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew
Other Home Ec resources
- High School Nutrition Curriculum
- Teen Mental Health (not technically “Home Ec” but important)
- Life Skills for High Schoolers
- Home Ec Skills – we especially love the phone etiquette and manners sections