The other day I decided to have Ben (9) and Rebekah (7) put dinner into the crockpot around noon. It really got me thinking back to one thing I know I said when we started homeschooling and what I still hear from people who are just beginning to homeschool. The phrase “We can just do cooking for math!” I laugh inside when I hear this as over the past nine years, yes we have used cooking, but no great math curriculum has centered around the kitchen. But, I was thinking of all the other “lessons” that are learned while cooking.
Reading: Reading skills can be enhanced through the reading of a recipe. I insist that the recipe be read through completely before we start making anything.
Listening and Following Directions: Listening to mom in the kitchen is very important. Listening to explanations of how to follow the recipe that was read. You have to listen to instructions on how to beat an egg, or turn on the mixer, Following directions is very important while cooking
Obedience: This skill is of great importance while cooking. Our rule is: if you do not obey, you are done for the day. There are no second chances. I insist on this rule because of safety. Kitchen tools can be very sharp, stoves can be hot,and recipes can be ruined because of disobedience.
Cooperation: The skill of cooperation is really tested in the kitchen. Seeing your brother or sister do a cooking job you want to do, or having to share that job involves a lot of give and take. It may mean, I open this can and you open that one. Sometimes we do things like “we need two cups of water, Ben you measure and pour one cup and then Rebekah will.’
Pride: My kids take great pride in a job well done. They love to serve what they have made. And the rest of the family gives praise for a job well done.
Ability to accept Constructive Criticism: Some recipes work out better than others. At these times it is important to have the ability to listen to some criticism and be able to correct it for the next time. Maybe it means not making something again, or maybe it means changing things to suit our tastes.
Creativity: I think constructive criticism leads to creativity in the kitchen. Creativity comes when you change a recipe to suit your families tastes. It comes in trying new things, which leads back to being able to take some criticism and trying it again.
A lot of school happens in our kitchen, but only a tiny fraction of it involves math. There are many, many wonderful life lessons that take place in the kitchen. And the most fun of all is eating what you have prepared and sharing it with others.