Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen

I’m passionate about training my children to one day be capable young adults. This overwhelming desire to prepare my children for life tends to diminish in the day to day requirements of home schooling. In this world there are many things we have no control over, but we can and must control what we feed ourselves.

My two eldest children have never really been interested in helping to cook (can I lick the beater is about it!), but my third jumps at the chance quite regularly. I hear of other homeschooling families where the children prepare dinner and are very helpful and I often feel we aren’t quite cutting it, especially in the kitchen.

I came up with a thought, that by the time each child turned 10 they would be expected to pick a meal to prepare and cook once a week. The day my eldest turned 9 I told him he would have to start helping me prepare one meal each week so by the time he was 10 he could manage unassisted. He protested briefly but seemed to accept the challenge.

Today was our first attempt. My boy surprised me with enthusiasm. The plan is to teach him five to ten meals that are simple and easy. Hopefully he will know these off the top of his head and won’t need a recipe book. OK maybe I’m shooting a little high, I’ll probably prepare a personalized recipe book for each child with their favorites.

Our first meal was pasta bake. We had so much fun together. I felt like I was on a cooking show, talking through everything we did and why we did things in a certain order. My boy was also surprised with how much fun he was having. He chopped, he stirred, he poured, he was very hands on. Now he’s asking if he can help twice a week.

This was a mountain for me, an area that I felt I wasn’t achieving results that I desired. I’m so glad we’ve started, and I’m looking forward to the journey of teaching my children to cook a variety of quick healthy meals, a skill they will keep and hopefully use forever.


  1. Hi Michelle,
    It's fantastic that you're getting the children involved in the kitchen! We've recently been re-inspired by an Aussie TV show, which is a British spin-off, called Master Chef. I've been motivated to get my boys into the kitchen. My girls are both good cooks but I've been a little remiss in teaching the boys. Well, we're having our own little MasterChef competition. :smile:

    Very cool!

  2. What a fantastic idea! I love it. My oldest is about to turn 12 - maybe will make that the age. I like the structure of this; it's something I could do. Thanks for sharing. Love how light and positive your writing is.

  3. Hey, that's a great idea!! Hope they get to cook for their favourite aunt one day. ;)

  4. Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments - we've had 4 lessons now and it's a high light of my boy's week.

  5. Great idea Michelle. I will get my boys into the kitchen for more than licking the beaters once they are old enough!

  6. But licking beaters is great at any age LOL

  7. Great post! Thanks for submitting to this week's carnival!

  8. my kids love to bake too. I can't wait until they are making dinner! this mom needs a break. :)

  9. Your cooking lessons remind me of home economics when I was in junior high. Only I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more if my mom had been my instructor.

  10. What a great idea! My kids tend to be more the type that fight over a chance to help in the kitchen, but actually teaching them some meals would be good.

    My daughter has a strange aversion to actually following the recipe, and I keep trying to reinforce that you have to know the "rules" before your experiments will turn out.


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