About Me

I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure (using font only to enable access in settings with poor internet)

Saturday 14 July 2012

Embracing learning from daily life: Cooking

On several occasions recently, I have considered the amazing learning opportunities which arise during everyday activities, and have reflected on how, if you choose to rush from one thing to the next and never really spend time on these, that these opportunities are lost. My boys and I were making an apron for my husband (our recent wedding anniversary was number 13, and the ‘modern’ gift option was ‘textiles’. The boys also thought he needed an apron as they are very proud of theirs). Around a photo of the boys in their baking outfits, we printed words to summarise what ‘daddy in the kitchen’ means to us. These included:

Teacher: Many aspects of cooking and baking can be taught. Recipes need to be read and understood.

Demonstrator: As he shows how things should be done

Chef: That one goes without saying

Artist: As he shows how to arrange things beautifully and make a meal look (as well as taste) fantastic

Economist: As they go shopping and make appropriate choices

Nutritionalist: As consideration goes into making each meal balanced

Chemist: The different interactions whereby the addition or omission of an ingredient can make a key difference

Physicist: Why does a cake rise? Why do some flop? What is ice? What is steam? Why is cooking with gas better in some circumstances, but electricity better in others?

Mathematician: Measurement is precise. Numbers need to be understood.

Biologist: How does yeast make bread rise? Why milk go thick when making yoghurt? How do you make blue cheese? Which vegetables are seasonal? How does fruit ripen? Why are there seeds inside this?

Inspiration: Because that is what he is, as he patiently and enthusiastically embraces his role as father

I could write something similar about many of the day-to-day activities which most of us are engaged in. To me, this is one of the great beauties of home education, in that children learn without even realising they are doing so. There is no formality, no clear transition between ‘school’ and ‘fun’ and ‘the rest of life’. It is seamless, and we all live, learn and grow together as a family. I often hear comments such as, ‘I would find home education too much hard work’, or when I talk about something we have done together as a family, ‘I wish we had time for these things’. Sometimes others say, ‘I wish we could afford to work part-time and spend more time with the family’, yet when you look at their lifestyles, they are spending a lot on external ‘activities’ for their children. I hope you can see, from the example of cooking, that this does not need to be hard work, does not need to incur huge expenses, and can be a great opportunity for children to develop in a wide range of disciplines and subjects.


  1. Hi Kondwani, I found this interesting. I always find it hard, when talking to others about home schooling kids, who ask, how do you do it. This summaries it well. Certainly for me it's about questioning every activity I do with me children, and seeking to teach them something different out of it each time we do it.

    Trend educator types may go as far as to say I use a spiral ciriculum to build on previous educatinoal expereineces to help them learn something new the next time we do it.

    I would encourage anyone to sit down with pen and paper for 15 mins (you don't need either for that long!)! and see what you can teach by making bread.......

    The 1 minute version goes along the lines of

    Reading - if you choose to use a recipe
    Maths - adding subtracting, percentages as they get more advanced and you scale up the amounts
    Time keeping skills
    Yeast - Chemical reactions, Physics about it rises and then falls if left to long. Biology, as you consider natural yeasts etc.
    History, as you think about yeast, types of bread, crops and spread of different additives to bread over time.
    Geography, variation depending on where you live
    Guess I don't need to keep going on.

    Even before you think about social things
    Obeying instructions
    Gentleness as they kneed
    etc etc.

    Enjoy your home educating, my children enjoy ours, especially the bread making.

  2. Dear Anonynous,

    It is encouraging to hear of your experiences. Please could you explain a bit more about a spiral curriculum? - it is not a term I have heard very often and I believe it might not be well known to other readers.

    I had not thought so much about the social benefits of some of these activities, but I can see that they are clearly there! I hope this post encourages others that there are multiple wonderful opportunities in day to day life, if we only open our eyes to see them.

    And I agree - bread making is a sure favourite!