What is important for children to learn?
Isn’t that the question at the heart of education? Home-schooling parents shoulder the burden of deciding what is, indeed, important. No one can learn everything. There is no such thing as a “complete” education, and my favorite analogy for education is that it is like crafting a rope hammock for the child – sure, it will be full of holes, but hopefully it will be strong enough to support him through life. (If you know who deserves credit for this analogy, let me know!)
Knowing what to eat, how to obtain food, how to cook food, and how food grows is pretty darn high on my list of what is important for my children to know. We don’t live on a farm. I belive that many issues of “food” have been ignored by my generation, and I think it’s time to turn the tide. Let’s teach kids about food! And let’s start by eating well at home – nothing could be more effective than that.
We will all disagree on what foods are “best” to eat, and each family will have their own favorites, but I think we can all basically agree that obtaining fresh, locally-grown produce is a good thing to encourage and involve the children in. Today I visited our bustling local farmer’s market, and afterwards I purposely left 2 dozen ears of corn on the front steps. When nearly a dozen neighborhood kids converged on my house later, they all enjoyed husking. It’s a favorite “practical life” activity here, and has been for years. The children are not asked to husk, they are simply given permission, and they love it.
It is so easy for me to share files on this site, I’ll add a couple food-related ones here. First, there is a list of foods currently in-season that I printed off, glued to construction paper, and hung up near the table where the children eat their meals: [button link=”https://helpingchildrenlearn.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/aug-sep_seasonalfood.pdf” style=”download” color=”silver”]List of Foods In Season (August/September)[/button] If you want to make it “fancier” print this background first: [button link=”https://helpingchildrenlearn.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/weeds_border.pdf” style=”download” color=”silver”]Background Stationary For Food Lists[/button]
Of course, what’s in season where you live may not be the same as here!
If the task of meal planning is over-whelming you (like it often does for me) consider printing this worksheet to guide you through a simple 5-step process to produce a one-week menu: [button link=”https://helpingchildrenlearn.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/sample_meal_planning_worksheet.pdf” style=”download” color=”silver”]Meal-Planning Worksheets[/button]
If our family meals are carefully planned, and I’ve acquired all of the necessary ingredients, then home-schooling is way, way, way easier for me. If you’d like someone else to do your meal-planning FOR you, then check out the highly rated service called E-Mealz. I haven’t tried it, but I have personally known moms who love it. It’s something like $15/3 months and plans meals around weekly grocery store ads.
If you are wanting your family to learn how to eat more foods that are in-season, consider this fantastic cook-book, Simply in Season:
What works for you? How do you teach your children about food and nutrition?
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