Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Schooling in the kitchen

 Here in the UK, we prefer to talk about home education rather than home schooling. Education outside of school isn't, well, school. Children, whether in school or home educated, receive at least some of their education at home and the kitchen is an important part of this.

As home educators, we use the kitchen for many purposes other than cooking!

This does have a fair amount to do with cooking but my younger children learn simple addition and subtraction from laying the table.

      "There are eight of us and we have two guests for lunch. How many places should we lay?"

Multiplication for recipes and of course, weighing are important.

Most of our practical science takes place in the kitchen. There are limits, of course. Activities have to be  safe and not likely to poison anyone! This leaves many, many activities including volcano making, ice activities, planting cress, mirrors and so on.
Our favourite books for inspiration for kitchen science are Fizz in the kitchen by Susan Martineau and the Usborne Big book of Science things to make and do. The website Science Sparks is also a place to look for ideas.

The kitchen is an art centre for much of the year. While I might prefer to have paint outside, it isn't fair to make the children either do without art or paint in the cold and rain for much of the year.
Art in progress

A vital piece of equipment is an oilcloth to cover the table. My oil cloth has saved me so much stress.

The Usborne first book of art is one resource that we often use.

We like to make a national meal to go with country studies.
Sri Lankan curry
We have also made cookie and salt dough maps. A useful resource is the book I want to be a chef around the world.

Sometimes there is a meal or recipe that goes particularly well with a book. Recently, I read The duchess bakes a cake with the younger children. In this book, the duchess makes a cake with yeast which rather outgrows expectations so we made cakes with yeast although our cakes behaved rather better.

Discussion is a vital part of home education and much of this happens around the meal table. Like many things, I wish that we could improve this and this is very much a work in progress. Some days are much better than others but the kitchen table is a place to talk about the Lord and His Word as well as many other things. We often find that we are discussing world events and economics, history and science.

Other bloggers from the Schoolhouse Review Team have been writing about this theme today.

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