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.

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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?

Our 2015 Curriculum Roundup – GROUP SUBJECTS

group subjects

Yesterday I told you about how I plan my school year. Over the next few posts, I’m going to show you exactly which books we’re using for each subject!

Let’s start with the group subjects. I teach these subjects to all my kids together. I tailor the work to each individual’s grade level. For example, my kindergartener might have to trace a few key vocabulary words, my 2nd grader writes a sentence, and my 4th grader writes a paragraph.

These are our group subjects and the curricula we are using this year:

Science

This year in science we are doing animals! We are going to start with a lesson on classification, then do a different animal for each lesson. There will be one “intro” lesson as we introduce each new category of animals (birds, reptiles, mammals, etc.). We also have a membership to the local zoo, so we will be heading there at least once a month to study the animals we have been covering in school.

ScienceThe books we are using:

History

We have been using Story of the World for a few years now, and I love it! This year we are up to Volume III: Elizabeth to the 49ers. Story of the World history is my favorite, because it covers history for the entire world, chronologically, starting in volume I with creation, and moving up to volume 4: modern times. It is written from a Christian-based point of view, but it does cover all world religions and beliefs. I love the way they do this – when telling a story from the Bible, they introduce it as fact. Abraham said this, Moses did this, etc. When they tell of other belief systems, they phrase it like this: “Ancient Egyptians believed in many gods…” Being that we are Christians, I love this. I do however, have a few friends that are not Christians that use Story of the World with no issues, by a simple rewording of a few phrases.

I also use the Story of the World Activity Book, which comes with fun maps, coloring pages, and games to supplement the reading.

Story of the World Volume III

In addition to Story of the World, we will also be reading historical fiction novels that correspond with that time period in history. And of course, I have a few fun field trips planned for history as well! See why we needed a Field Trip Friday?

Historical Fiction Novels

Geography

For geography this year, we are doing the 50 states. In years past, geography was an independent subject, and each child did their own book. But we are taking a break from that this year to do the 50 states all together. We’re also taking a pretty big road trip later this year, so they’ll get to experience several of those states in the flesh!

Geography

Our geography books:

Spanish

For Spanish, we are going to continue with a book we started using last year, which I love, called Song School Spanish. It comes with a teacher’s book, student book, and CD. The kids enjoy learning new words and singing the songs!

Song School SpanishWe also supplement our Spanish with Lil Pim Spanish DVDs, Twin Sisters Spanish workbook and music CD, and even just watching our favorite movies with the Spanish language track on!

*I should note that I do actually speak Spanish, but all of these resources can easily be used by someone who has little or no Spanish knowledge!

Home Economics

Home Ec is the subject my kids are most excited about this school year. Like I mentioned yesterday, this is our rotating elective, and not a subject we have done before. When planning, I decided that in Home Ec I wanted to cover 6 areas. This works out, because we have 36 weeks of school, so we’ll spend 6 weeks in each of the following areas:

  1. Manners and Etiquette
  2. Sewing
  3. Home Management
  4. Cooking
  5. Finance
  6. Baking

Home Ec

The books we are using:

1. Manners and Etiquette

*I want to say that the last 2 books on this list^ are sufficient in teaching this subject. I’m not the biggest fan of the first 2 on the list.

2. Sewing – Sewing School

This fun book has great projects for beginners. Use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to look at the page with the supplies needed, so you can pick those up as well.

3. Home Management – a.k.a. chores! Haha!

Really, though, we’re going to talk about the various tasks that need to be completed in each area of the home to make sure it is managed properly. This does include things like cleaning, but also things like changing batteries in the smoke detector, flipping mattresses, changing furnace filters, changing a light bulb, leaky faucets, blown fuses, lawn care, and other home-related stuff. To make it a little more fun, I bought these Melissa & Doug stickers to go along with our lessons.

4. Cooking – we’ll be learning kitchen safety, basics of measuring, and how to make some of the recipes in the two books I picked up: Children’s Quick & Easy Cookbook and The Mother Goose Cookbook.

5. Finance – Dave Ramsey, of course! We’re all about living DEBT FREE! We’ll be using Financial Peace Jr, Dave’s curriculum for kids.

6. Baking – same as cooking (above), but focusing on baked goods as opposed to meals/snacks. And since we finish up our school year in November, this one will be just in time for pumpkin bread, apple pie, and other fall treats!

So that’s it for our group subjects this year! Next I’ll tell you about the individual subjects and which books we’re using for those!