Home education or domestic servitude?

One of the reasons given by the labour government for their investigations into home education and proposed legislation about it was to protect children from domestic servitude. I wonder what they’d have thought about the two hour home economics lesson that took place over yesterday and today, and resulted in Big providing tea for the family tonight?

She looked through our recipe books and chose macaroni and cheese with an apple crumble dessert. She wrote out shopping lists (which we obviously then forgot to take out with us!) and came with me to do the shopping. We substituted reginette pasta for macaroni (neither aldi nor lidl sell macaroni as far as I can tell) and pancetta for bacon as it was pre chopped. That was the only thing that pushed the price up actually, but otherwise it was a pretty cheap meal.

She did all the preparation – I helped her work out what order to do things in, and sat in the kitchen offering what I fondly hoped were helpful words of advice. I remember my first home economics lesson way back when – we made baked stuffed apples. I also remember my sister’s at the local comp, they made angel delight. From a packet.

We had to adjust the recipe somewhat – the dairy cookbook advised 75g of pasta to feed 4 which seemed somewhat optimistic. And the half pint of milk was a bit miserly sauce wise. I’ve suggested that she uses an exercise book to write up her versions of the recipes after she’s cooked them, then she should end up with a really good resource for the future. And of course she has to adapt for the finicky vegetarian in the family (that would be me 😉 ).

The apple crumble didn’t require any tweaking. And was lovely. As was the custard she made to go with it.

Basically, the meal was a success. And as such she wants to do it every Tuesday (that being the day that she has no evening activity, so actually has time to be in the kitchen). Which sounds like a definite result to me.

Actually, it’s been an excellent education day all round. Small is learning about nutritional needs and how to do research and structure an essay around it. I’m hoping this might also improve his eating and drinking habits. Smallest did crafts with Big while I was at osteopath (yes, dp was in the house, I didn’t just abandon them to look after each other before I get a second black mark against my name…) and I also bought a pair of scissors with soft handles and she spent quite literally hours cutting. Meaning the kitchen floor could do with a sweep now 😉 I do love the montessori approach with that sort of thing, recognising that children will spend time on a new skill that interests them. I foresee lots of little bits of paper in my future.

So, apart from the fact that all of this structured organised education rather gets in the way of me loafing about online during the day, it’s all good. And it’s the way it’s going to be from now. Lists are already written up for tomorrow 😉

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 14 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

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  1. I plan to have the boys cook a meal a week each. At the moment they help out in the kitchen and MIni is a very enthusiastic helpper, always by my side.

  2. We always use cookery (as it was called “in my day”) for educational purposes… great for my Sous Chef to learn about weights and measures, scheduling, lists and method. Even better, as far as he’s concerned, there’s something tasty to eat at the end!

    I still have the recipe book I started writing in when at school and it contains oodles of family favourites from over the years. Now I print out recipes from the internet and shove them into a folder for future use (and intend at some point to stick them into my book.)

    Without a doubt, being able to cook is a life skill and one that keeps us alive seems pretty basic to me.

    Happy cooking!


  3. I decided very early on in my home education journey, that I wanted my children to be equipped for ‘real life’.

    My parents did it with me, and I thought it was fabulous, being able to go off to uni, knowing how to cook, wash, iron, budget, as well as how to use my brain.

    It has always been a requirement in our family that children have/do family contributions (chores), occasionally cook etc.

    I think the government really needs to take a chill pill and look at what domestic servitude is.

    I AM responsible for my children, in teaching them to cook, clean, run a home, budget, do diy, sew (yes boys included), I haven’t relinquished my responsibility I am fulfilling it. I work along side them.

    If I was sat on a sun bed sipping margarita’s while my children slaved away in my home, raising their brothers and sisters, their would be a problem…. I think as inviting as that thought is.

    I simply do, what is my job to do. Raise functioning, contributing, members of society.

    Well done you…. bigger clap for Big.

    Ria recently posted…Poem: Pea and ham soup day…My Profile

    • Argh, should have proof read again. I hate it when I use the wrong their…… bugger.

      Just wanted to add, I was also taught how to mow lawns, drive cars, and do many, ahem… manly jobs as well.

      All of the above sounds very feminine. Which is ok because boys need to know how to do that stuff too.

      I mean do I really want to dump my son on some unsuspecting woman, who has to molly coddle him, because I haven’t taught him how to be independent?

      I don’t think so.

      Boys and girls, need to learn how to care for themselves, and be responsible for themselves and their living environment once they are in the big wide world.

      Ria recently posted…Poem: Pea and ham soup day…My Profile

  4. ah yes, I remember the practicing cutting out phase….. I tried very valiently to introduce such Practical Life Activities as sweeping up at the same time but somehow they never caught her attention quite the same way 😆
    TBird Anni recently posted…Internet Safety education provided by Horrible Histories of course!My Profile

  5. I can’t imagine anyone even contemplating for a second that a child of 12 cooking a meal was ‘domestic servitude’. And I agree 100%, as usual, with Ria!! xx

  6. Oh honestly!

    My children cook every day, it’s hardly domestic servitude, but rather teaching them skills that they NEED!

    They are also expected to help tidy up, help clean, wash up, etc, etc. Indeed, my 8 year old recently stayed with a friend of mine in Leeds (to attend a shadow puppet workshop) and my friend found her happily cleaning the kitchen and washing up (and then didn’t want to bring her home ;0)

    My 6 year old son helps every day with such tasks as chopping carrots, baking, etc.

    And whilst doing all these things they are learning other valuable skills, the measurement of ingredients, the effect of heat on food, that vinegar cuts through grease on windows, I could go on and on and on.

    Both of my teen boys can cook, although my 17 year old will avoid it where possible. My 15 year old is currently living with his Dad and is expecting to cook at least 2 meals a week for the whole family and rightly so (although he does occasionally phone me up with a list of stuff in the house and ask what he can do with it ;0)

    An absolutely crucial (IMHO) part of their education. As Ria says, why on earth would I want to see my children unable to be independent as adults?
    NinnyNoodleNoo recently posted…Odds and sodsMy Profile

  7. Blimey, we do 400g of past a for the four of us these days! Well done to Big.

  8. Well all my kids go/went to school. At home DD1 learned to cook, care for children, clean, iron, change light bulbs, pay bills, wash the car and cut the grass. Is that domestic servitude ? DD2 will probably never be able to do any of those things. But DS1 is keen to follow in his big sister’s footsteps, perhaps I should stop him? BTW the home home ec lesson sounds like great fun and not the scary stressful time that I always imagined home educating to be 🙂
    Blue Sky recently posted…Pretty ‘subscribe’ buttons for Blogger BlogsMy Profile

    • Home education isn’t always scary and stressful – though you’ll find I’m writing more about the strengths and weaknesses atm.

      The domestic servitude thing is a crack at the last government, I must find the article and link it.

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