Homeschooling Elementary Home Economics

Homeschooling Elementary Home Economics ~ Our Cozy Den

This post is a long one, but it’s PACKED with goodies! Scroll down for both a FREE printable {Marketing Scavenger Hunt} as well as a GIVEAWAY!!! 

I’ve shared in the past a little about how we homeschool. One of the things we do in our homeschool is that we have 1 elective each year that rotates. The reason I do this all goes back to my first year of homeschooling…

Connor was 5, and we were doing Kindergarten. I also had a 3 year old, a 1 year old, and I was pregnant with Finn. In addition, it was the year we moved from Tennessee to Germany. To say it was a crazy year would be an understatement. On top of all that, I was terrified that I would somehow screw up this homeschooling thing, so I was teaching my five-year-old over TWENTY SUBJECTS. We were literally trying to do it all. Reading, writing, math, spelling, art, music, history, science, sports, Spanish, German, Arabic, health, geography… and more. 

Then I met Jennifer, my first homeschooling friend, who is now one of my closest friends. I look to her often for homeschooling and parenting advice. She quickly eased my fears and helped me to learn that I don’t have to do it all at once! 

So now, we switch out our elective each year. Last year we did health. Next year it’s going to be art. But this year we’re doing Home Ec.

Right now, my {school-age} kids are 5, 7, and 9 — so I knew that whatever we covered would have to work for those ages. However, it wasn’t quite easy to find curriculum on this subject for younger ages. Most of what I found was for high schoolers.

I considered what I wanted to cover, and came up with 6 subcategories: sewing, etiquette, cooking, baking, personal finance, and home management. Since our school year is 36 weeks, it was easy to divide it up into six 6-week sessions. These are the materials we used and my plan for each category!

Etiquette

Homeschooling Elementary Home Economics ~ Our Cozy Den

The books I used for teaching etiquette and manners were these two from Emilie Barnes, called A Little Book of Manners: Courtesy and Kindness for Young Ladies, and A Little Books of Manners for Boys: A Game Plan for Getting Along with Others.

This is what we covered in our 6 weeks of etiquette:

Week 1: Greetings & Introductions

Week 2: Talking to adults, answering the phone, respectful responses

Week 3: How to treat guests, how to be a respectful guest, and how to deal with conflicts

Week 4: Dinner etiquette, table manners, proper table settings

Week 5: Saying thank you, writing thank you notes

Week 6: Self-control

Sewing

Homeschooling Elementary Home Economics ~ Our Cozy Den

The main core of our sewing unit was this book, called Sewing School. The other materials we purchased to go along with it were a needle threader, needles, embroidery floss, stuffing, ribbons, and fabric.

Week 1: we worked on threading needles, types of fabric, sewing basic stitches (straight stitch and whipstitch), and we picked out our projects for the following five weeks. This book has tons of projects, each rated 1-star (easy), 2-star (medium), or 3-star (hard).

Week 2: each child chose a 1-star project.

Week 3: another 1-star project.

Week 4: 2-star project

Week 5: another 2-star project

Week 6: final project, a 3-star project

Sometimes they would need help (especially Sophie, my 5-year-old), but for the most part the did it all on their own! By the end of the 6 weeks, they were sewing like pros. Now the book and all of their sewing supplies are in their own sewing bin, and they keep sewing for fun in their free time, even long after the classes are over.

Home Management

Homeschooling Elementary Home Economics ~ Our Cozy Den

Our home: 3 floors, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1600 sq. ft., paid in full!

The only “curriculum” I used for this unit was our house! I wrote up a plan for what we were covering each week, and it looked like this. It involved a lot of housework, but also learning! The main things I wanted them to learn was how to take care of the home, including how to clean properly, how the inner functions work (insulation, plumbing, electricity), and why we do certain maintenance.

Week 1: How to clean windows, baseboards, & curtains; basics of electricity; periodic home maintenance items, such as changing furnace filters, flipping mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries.

Week 2: How to clean walls, floors, & furniture; how to do laundry

Week 3: How to clean the kitchen; how appliances work and how to clean/use them

Week 4: How to clean the bathroom; plumbing basics

Week 5: Exterior home care (gutters, foundation, other maintenance); lawn care (mowing, weeding, trimming)

Week 6: Vehicle care (what all the gauges on the dashboard do, how the engine works, how to check fluids, how to get gas)

Cooking

Homeschooling Elementary Home Economics ~ Our Cozy Den

For our cooking unit, we used The Children’s Quick & Easy Cookbook. It has an assortment of appetizers, sides, entrees, and desserts. It also has an introductory chapter, all about rules of the kitchen and how to get started. There is also an index, with instructions (and photos) on how to do things like basting, blending, beating, mixing, whipping, etc.

Week 1: We went over the introductory chapters, read instructions in the index, and chose our menus for the other 5 weeks.

Weeks 2-6: Each week, each child prepared a part of the meal (appetizer, entree, side, or dessert). So every week, they all had their own dish to prepare. I made a chart so that each one would prepare each type at least once. They made lots of delicious things, like Spicy Chicken Burgers, Peppermint Creams, Thai Kabobs, Tiramisu, and more!

Personal Finance

Homeschooling Elementary Home Economics ~ Our Cozy Den

For our personal finance unit, we used Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr.  {This link goes to amazon.com, which is currently the cheapest place to buy it, at $19.99 plus free shipping. Occasionally, daveramsey.com runs sales that make it cheaper, especially around the holidays – so check there too!} I teach his grown-up Financial Peace University classes often, and I’m a huge believer in the principles he teaches! I also went to the kids & money section at my local library, and we read TONS of books about money, banks, saving, spending, investing, and more!

Week 1: Lesson 1 (working);  books about the history of money, plus we looked at money (both U.S. money, and our collection from our world travels) and discussed the images on it

Week 2: Lesson 2 (giving); books about giving back and volunteering, Bible verses about tithing

Week 3: Lesson 3 (saving); books about banks, how they work, activity about compound savings and how it adds up

Week 4: Lesson 4 (spending); books about spending, discussions about making good spending choices

Week 5: Field trip to the bank – we learned about the parts of the bank, how it works, and the bank let the kids go look in the vault

Week 6: Field trip to the mall, where we did a fun Marketing Scavenger Hunt — to learn about all the different tricks that stores use to entice us into spending more.

{FREE DOWNLOAD!!!}

CLICK HERE to download a FREE copy of my Marketing Scavenger Hunt — along with a Parent’s Guide full of marketing strategies you can discuss with your kids!

{GIVEAWAY!!!}

How to enter ~ leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. Each comment is another entry. Earn additional entries for sharing this blog post on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, liking us on Facebook, and becoming an email subscriber!

Win a full Financial Peace Jr. curriculum set from Our Cozy Den!!!

Giveaway rules: open to residents of the US. Winner will be drawn Sunday, September 27th and notified soon thereafter by email. Failure to claim prize within 48 hours forfeits your rights to the prize. This prize was purchased by me (Christy) and was in no way sponsored by any company. It’s simply a product that I love and wanted to give away to my lovely readers!

Baking

Baking is our last unit — perfect for the cooling days of fall, and the season of apple pies, pumpkin bread, and lots of yummy baked deliciousness. For our 6 weeks, each of the big kids (Connor, Lia, and Sophie) are choosing 2 items to bake. They can choose out of the Children’s Cookbook we used for cooking class, or out of my own arsenal of recipes. Then each week, all 3 kids will help make the baked good of the week, while we learn about measurements, cook time, preheating the oven, how to blend ingredients (wet first, then dry), and professional taste-testing!

So what do you think?

Do you teach Home Economics with your elementary school kids? Which subjects do you want to cover but haven’t?

Advertisements

How To Use The Envelope System (& WIN an Envelope System Wallet!!!)

How to Use the Envelope System (& WIN an envelope system wallet!) ~ Our Cozy Den

I’m a HUGE fan of the Envelope System. You may have heard of it – Dave Ramsey has been touting its benefits for years, and frugal housewives have been using it for decades. It can seem overwhelming at first, but here’s a quick tutorial on how to get started using it to save your family BIG money.

First, let’s talk about WHY.

To put things simply, people spend more when they swipe a card over using cash. It’s all about the way your brain registers the money as a tangible resource leaving your possession. When you swipe a card, it’s an abstract thing – you never see the money, or feel it in your hand. It doesn’t feel like you lost anything, only like you gained (your purchase). However, when you pay cash for an item, it is a real exchange of goods, one item for another, money for product. You feel it.

All this means that people spend more when using plastic over cash. They tend to go for upgrades, upsells, and add-ons. They grab extras in the checkout line. They spring for the warranty they might-but-probably-won’t need. McDonald’s figured this out when they started accepting credit cards: the average bill for people paying with a credit card is $7, versus $4.50 for those paying cash. (source)

Studies show that people spend an average of 12-20% more when using plastic. When you have cash in hand, what you have is what you have, and you CAN’T go over that amount. There’s no overdraft for cash. If you have too much on the belt, you put something back. You pay attention to prices as you shop, keeping a mental tally so you don’t go over. (By the way, this is great math practice for your kids — Connor keeps track of mine for me!)

In recent years, they have been trying to even further remove the customer from the payment process, by making it even faster and less tangible. With each upgrade, people spend even more. They have come out with keychains, bracelets, even phone apps that allow you to pay by only hovering your item near a payment device. It’s SO easy to be parted from your money.

HOW TO GET STARTED:

  1.  First, you need to make a budget. I’m planning on an upcoming post about how to write a budget (WITH your spouse if you have one). You can also read about our budget here and here. Write out all of your bills and spending categories, and give each category a set amount each month. Give every dollar of your paycheck a place to go.
  2. Decide which categories are going to be cash-only. I recommend doing this for as many as you can. My cash categories are: groceries, miscellaneous (household items, office supplies, clothes, etc), fun money (eating out and activities), date night, and spending money, and gas. Gas used to be one where I would swipe the card (there are no impulse purchases at the gas pump), but recently we had a gas station open near us where it is 5¢/gallon cheaper if you pay cash, so we pay cash for that too now.
  3. Once you have it set up, get an envelope system wallet. It can be simple at first – a small accordion file or just some actual envelopes. Or you can buy a nicer one. See below to find out what I use, and enter the giveaway for a FREE Envelope System wallet!!
  4. When you go to the store, check how much money is in the envelope for that category, and don’t go over that amount. Also, never borrow from other envelopes.

TIPS:

  • When you are first beginning, take the credit and debit cards OUT of your wallet. You don’t want it to be accessible as a back-up plan. We need to cut the cord, here, and change is tough at first. But believe me, it’s worth it.
  • Reevaluate your envelopes each month. If you had too much or not enough money in a certain category, sit down with your spouse and make a plan to adjust the budget.
  • To use the envelope system with 2 spouses, you have several options:
    • you can have 1 set of envelopes, and whoever is going to make a purchase takes that to the store with them.
    • you can have 2 sets of envelopes, and split the money between the two, sharing when needed (within the same category, grocery money for grocery money).
    • you can have 1 person in charge of the spending, and the other spouse only carries their personal pocket money in their wallet (this is what we do).

SHOPPING ONLINE WITH THE ENVELOPE SYSTEM:

I’ve been teaching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University for a while now, and one of the common complaints with moving to an all-cash system is “What about shopping online!?”

There are two ways to deal with this, personally, I tend to use a combination of the two.

  1. Buy gift cards for your favorite online stores at the grocery store. At Walmart and Kroger, you can get gift cards for dozens of online places. My favorite online store is amazon.com, and I can pick up a gift card when I do my grocery shopping, and pay cash for it. Sometimes, when Kroger has their 4x-fuel-points-on-gift-cards deal, you can pick up online gift cards, swipe your Kroger plus card, and save money on your gas too!
  2. Keep a paper envelope in your desk drawer. Every time you want to shop online, take cash OUT of your wallet and put it into the envelope in your desk drawer. Then use your debit card at the online store. This works because: a) it gets the cash into your hands, and you SEE it leaving your wallet; and b) you still can’t overspend. To spend it, it MUST be in your wallet. At the end of the month, take the cash in your desk drawer, and use it toward next month’s cash. *This option only works if you have a little cushion of extra money in your bank account. If money is tight and you don’t have a cushion, use option #1. 

THE GIVEAWAY

I used Dave Ramsey’s paper envelopes that came with his FPU class for a while, until I found this AWESOME envelope system wallet from the Etsy store Thrifty Zippers. I’ve been using it for 2 and a half years now, and I LOVE it! It has 6 zippered envelope pouches for all of your cash, change, and/or receipts. It has plenty of pockets in the front and back for ID cards, debit cards, gift cards, discount cards, voter registration cards, insurance cards, and whatever else you carry around. It’s made of durable oil-cloth, which won’t rip or stain or get worn out. Mine still looks as new as the day I bought it!

Win an Envelope System Wallet ~ Our Cozy Den

I contacted Thrifty Zippers to find out if she would be willing to give one of these away to you guys, and she agreed! Take a look at the entry box below to enter for your chance to win a free wallet of your choice from Thrifty Zippers! Click here to be taken to rafflecopter.com to enter. Leave a blog post comment about which wallet from Thrifty Zippers is your favorite before you go!

{Giveaway Ended ~ Congratulations to our winner, Aliyana!}

Thanks for visiting, and I hope that using the Envelope System greatly blesses your family and your finances!

Living Like No One Else

Life is changing. We are moving into Lockdown Mode with our budget, facing the very real possibility that we could be unemployed in 9-18 months. I just made up the budget for 2013, and I’m very excited about it. I have to be excited, because looking at the goal is going to be the only way to do it. This is going to be hard.

I showed Byron my budget, and he wasn’t so excited. I told him that our savings rate is extremely high, and he didn’t quite grasp how high until I showed him this chart:

Picture 3

See the US rate there at the end? It’s 2.1%.

In 2013, we’ll be saving 65%. If we didn’t tithe, it could be 75%, but of course giving money to God is more important than any of my financial goals. I pray that God gives us the strength to stick with it, and that He protects us from hardships that would throw us off-course.