When a lot of people talk about homeschool home ec it is usually a fun joke about having kids do chores or help with a diy project. While it always makes me laugh, I think there is more to home ec than that. In fact, I want to share some actionable tips and tricks for making the most of homeschol home ec in a fun way. Think I am missing something? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Homeschool Home Economics
My children are 8 and 11 at the time of writing this. Some of these pointers may need to be adjusted to accommodate younger or older children. Take it and make it fit the kids you have and their unique abilities. These are meant to be tips instead of strict rules.
Kitchen Home Economics
So many adults today don’t know how to cook anything that doesn’t go in a microwave. It is important to give you children the skills they need to prepare quality healthy meals. Here are a few skills that I think kids should be learning in the kitchen as they are growing up. I have also included a free printable checklist if you need it to see where you need to work with your kids.
Cooking/ Meal Prep
- The stove and oven settings. – It can be so helpful to know how to use the stove. This can mean that they will be better equipped to cook quality meals. Take a few minutes to show them how to set the temperatures and use the timer.
- How to safely put a pot on the stove and take it off. – This seems like a simple concept but it is important to teach kids how not to get burned while preparing food.
- How to boil an egg, potatoes, and pasta. – If you can boil an egg, potatoes, and pasta there are countless meals you can make. Give your kids the ability to correctly boil these items and you will give them the tools to be able to eat good food they make themselves.
- How to cook a grilled cheese. – I think every child should know how to make a grilled cheese. It will teach them how to handle temperatures and avoid burning it.
- How to safely put something in the oven and take it out. – Giving your child confidence in this area will help your child to prepare more than just stovetop recipes.
- How to cook meat to a safe temperature and how to check that. – This can mean using a meat thermometer and showing them how to cook meat correctly.
- How to read and understand a recipe. – If your child can read and understand a recipe then they have tons of doors opened to them. What they can’t do, they can look on YouTube and figure out how to do.
- How to clean as they go while cooking. (Because who wants a messy kitchen at the end?) – This is such an important life skill to learn. My grandmother always taught me this in everything we cooked. It really helped me to learn how to keep a clean home with less stress.
- Which cutting board works for which items. (Did you know wood is good for produce but bad for meats?) – Wood cutting boards absorb liquids. You don’t want to cut meat on them as they are hard to clean. Use wood for produce and glass/plastic for meat and seafood.
- How to cook rice. – Knowing how to make a pot of rice can help your child to stretch a tight budget.
- How to put out a fire. – Many children will try to blow out a fire. Instead, teach them to cover it with something or pat it out with a towel. You could also teach them to use a fire extinguisher.
- How to put out a grease fire. – Don’t pour water on it. No really. Don’t. Instead, cover it with something or pour baking soda on it.
- How to use a knife safely. – Knife safety is so important. Take time to teach your kids how to use a knife without hurting themselves.
- How to clean produce. – I know many people who don’t clean their produce. Teach your children to clean all produce before eating it.
- How to store meat. – If meat is not stored correctly, it can make them sick. If they store meat next to produce in the fridge, they can also get sick. This can seem like common sense but we only know what we are taught.
- How to store food after it is cooked. – If they are storing leftovers for later, they will want to know how to wrap them up correctly and how to store them.
- How to meal plan. – Meal planning is the best way to stretch a budget. Teaching your children how to meal plan is so important. It can mean something as simple as letting them help you design the menu or helping to shop for it.
- How to wash, dry, and put away dishes. – Unless you want your kids to live in a messy home or eat off paper plates, let them get in the kitchen with you and learn how to do dishes the right way.
- How to organize a kitchen. – I don’t mean that they need to be Pinterest perfect. Simple organization can be such a help though.
- How to deep clean a refrigerator. – It is so important to know how to deep clean a refrigerator. I did this for my grandma when I was young and learned a lot.
- How to clean and wipe down counters. – In order to prevent bugs and issues in the house, teach kids from a young age to wipe down counters and keep them clean.
- How to clean up after cutting meat to avoid cross-contamination. – Basics like using a different rag for cleaning meat spills than cleaning the rest of the counter can seem obvious but it is something that is a learned behavior.
- How to deep clean an oven. – I only know how to do this because of Google. I wish someone would have taught me.
- How to take out the trash. – By this I mean, take out the trash, put a new bag in, and make sure there is not an additional mess.
- How to sweep and mop a floor. – I hate to say that I have met a lot of people who don’t know how to sweep and mop a floor. Teach your children how to do this effectively.
- How to use a dishwasher and knowing what soap is safe to use in a dishwasher and what isn’t. – Make sure they know not to use dish soap in a dishwasher as well as how to load and unload a dishwasher.
You spend a lot of time in your living room. Make sure that your kids have the skills they need to make their house a home when they move out.
- How to sweep/vacuum. – I can’t count the number of times I have had to resweep the floors because people I worked with didn’t know how.
- How to dump a vacuum or change the bag. – Your child will live on their own one day. Teach them how to keep their vacuum functioning well.
- How to dust. – Most people don’t dust anymore but it is so important.
- How to clean out the couch. – I don’t just mean on a conquest for change. Teach them how to clean under the seats and clean the actual couch.
- How to wash the coffee table. – This also helps if you have to show the difference between maintaining a wood table versus a glass one.
- How to hang a photo frame using a level. – Do it for my OCD. Do you know how many houses I go to that I want to fix all the photos?
- How to hook up a tv.
- How to troubleshoot tv issues. – Teach kids how to find and fix a problem with their tv.
- How to clean a toilet. – It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. Teach your kids to clean a toilet.
- How to plunge a toilet. – Save your kids money in the future. Teach them how to plunge a toilet to avoid calling a plumber.
- How to stop a toilet from running. – I know tons of adults who don’t know how to open the back of a toilet and fix a toilet that is running. Help them to know this basic skill to save them money on their water bill.
- Hot to shut off the water supply to a toilet. – If the toilet is clogged, help your child know how to shut off the water supply to avoid future messes.
- How to clean counters and sink. – This is a basic skill that can help your kids to feel confident in their space.
- How to clean mirrors. – Please tell me I am not the only one who has a child who has used a wet wash rag to wash the mirrors! Teach them how to clean it well.
- How to clean the tub. – Whether your child is a bath person or a shower person, they need to know how to clean a tub and clean it well.
- How to unclog a drain. – What can go down a drain? What can’t? Help your child to learn how to safely unclog a drain.
- How to organize drawers and cabinets. – This is more of an efficiency issue than anything. It will help them to keep things cleaner if everything has a place and they know where to put it.
- How to put on a fitted sheet. – Let’s not wrestle a sheet. Instead, teach them how to put on a fitted sheet.
- How to make a bed. So, honesty here. I am not a bed maker. That said, it is a life skill kids should have. In fact, it bugs my youngest that I don’t make my bed so he makes it every single day.
- How to put a pillow in a pillowcase.
- How to put away your belongings.
- How to clean under your bed.
- How to set a table. – I am not talking about a perfect meal from a fine dining restaurant but teach them how to set up a meal.
- Basic food courtesy. – Think chewing with your mouth closed, using a napkin to wipe off hands, properly using utensils.
Lawn and Yard
- How to mow the yard. – Depending on the age of your child, this will need to be a supervised task but it is a great life skill to have.
- How to use a leaf blower.
- How to rake.
- How to pull weeds.
- How to check the oil. – No one ever taught my husband this. I actually taught him this when we got married.
- How to safely check the radiator. – Do you know how many people try to open a hot radiator? Teach your kids to wait until it cools down to check it and fill it.
- How to clean the car on the inside and outside.
- How to check tire pressure.
- How to add air to a tire. – This is another skill I had to teach my husband. It’s not just about adding air. It’s about adding the right amount.
- How to change a tire. – AAA and tow trucks can take forever to get to you. Give you child the ability to handle this on their own.
Finances and Budgeting
- How to compare prices before buying. – It can be easy to overspend if you don’t look for the right prices and shop around. Teach your kids to price compare and check places like Amazon or thrift stores before paying a higher price.
- How to shop online safely. – Online shopping is taking over. Teach your kids as they get older how to shop safely online.
- How to know the difference between a deal and a rip-off. – There are so many marketing tricks out there. Teach your kids to do the math on bogos and on specials to make sure that they are really a deal.
- How to make a budget. – Budgeting is a forgotten skill for so many. Teach your kids to spend their money on paper before they ever actually spend it.
- How to balance a bank account.
- How to write a check. – A lot of people use online banking but it is important to know how to write a check as some places still require checks.
- How to set up a bank account. – Take your kids to the bank and let them work with the banker to set up their own account.
- How to tip and how much to tip.
- How to file their taxes and when they should file taxes.
- How to separate whites from colors.
- How to decide whether to use cold or hot water. – I learned this on Google as this was never taught to me.
- How to turn on, run a load through the washer, and how to move to the dryer, and dry them. – Save yourself some stress and get your kids in the laundry room. They are able to help with laundry or wash their own depending on their age. For younger children, let them help move clothes out of the dryer. For older ones, teach them to wash dry, fold, and put away their clothing.
- How to remove lint from the lint trap. – Not handling that lint trap can cause a dryer fire. Teach your child to clean the lint trap with every load.
- How to measure laundry soap out.
- How to get stains out before washing. – You might need a cheat sheet for this one but it is a great skill to have.
General life skills
- How to make a doctor’s appointment. – Have your child call the doctor’s office and make their appointment as they get older. It will help them to handle these things when they move out.
- How to make a phone call and deal with adults with respect on the phone. This could include calling the doctor’s office, calling a store to ask if something is in stock, or calling to find out what time a restaurant opens or whether they need a reservation.
- How to take a message.
- How to dose yourself with medication. **This comes with a huge disclaimer! Supervise this and make sure your children are being safe with dosages.**
- How to pick up a prescription. – When your children move out they will have to pick up their own prescriptions. Start when they are younger by giving them the confidence to pick up their own prescriptions.
- How to pump gas. – Mine started this with their dad at a young age. Would you believe my grandma didn’t know how to pump gas until her husband passed away when she was older? It surprised me but grandpa always pumped the gas for her.
- How to vote. – So many young people don’t know the physical mechanics of how to vote. I am not talking about who to vote for. I’m talking about how to register for a voter registration, find their polling location, and sign in to vote. Bring them with you the next time you go to vote.
- How to get cash and how to count cash. – With the focus on a digital age many people don’t know much about cash. Teach your children how to withdraw, count, and manage cash.
- Read a map and follow directions. – Google Maps won’t always work. Teach your child how to read a map and get from point a to b.
- Know basic first aid and how to use it. – This means knowing when to use tylenol versus ibuprofen. Know that a BRAT diet is great for an upset stomach. Know how to bandage a wound and when an injury deserves an ER trip.
- Know their allergies and what to do in the case of exposure/reactions.
- Know their social security number. – I know adults who don’t know theirs. It is so important!
- How to tie a tie. – Complete transparency, I still tie my husband’s.
- How to write a resume.
- How to apply for a job. – This includes skills for interviewing, what to wear to an interview, and how to follow up after an interview.
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