Home Economics for Scalliwags


“And that you would be diligent, peaceable and occupied with your business,
working with your hands just as we commanded you” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)

“We must not only become reliable, progressive, skillful and intelligent, but we must keep the idea constantly before our youths that all forms of labor, whether with the hand or head, are honorable.”

~Booker T. Washington

It has always been important to me that our children grow up to be competent adults.  Able to manage their lives, finances and homes.  Since they were three they have had chores to do around the house, obviously simple at first, gradually becoming more difficult and complex.  I think my guys are able to do a lot.  They can clean, wash and dry up, look after our animals, sweep, mop, cook simple dishes and they do all this every day.  The problem (as so often it is in parenting) is me.  My head is full to its brim, there is no room for much retention or organisation.    I call it full.  My children call it scattiness.  I’m so busy dreaming dreams and planning lots of lovely times together and how we can learn whatever in a fun way that the important business of home management gets put on the back burner.  In my defence, I am 300 times better than I was when I first had the children 11 years ago, and 11 years from now I intend to have improved the same.  My point is, unlike schooling the children, home making does not come naturally to me.  Each year I pick one area which needs improvement and I work really hard throughout the year trying to get better.  There are so many areas, so much that needs to improve and the progress is so slow.

Often it is the areas in which I struggle the most that become the most important to teach my children so they do not have the same struggles.  I had parents who believed that children should be children and so left us to play, rather than requiring us to help in the home.  I got married at 22, never having done a load of laundry in my life.  As it turned out neither had Gary.  We both looked at the washing machine and then at each other, in unison saying ‘Well, I dunno!’  We laugh at it now but truly I do not want that for my guys.

It had been weighing on me how quickly the years were passing, that the time frame I had to be influential in their lives was diminishing daily.  They are so willing and so capable of learning right now.  To this end I decided to put together a more formal ‘home economics’ curriculum which I intend to use with the children, slowly (there really is no other way for me in this area!) and methodically, teaching them that which they need to know.  They have been nagging me about learning to do their own laundry and make their own cleaning products.  The time is now.  Yet I’m not ready.  I need a few more years to become more competent, more confident even.  The children, bless their little hearts, reassured me everything will be okay, for I will learn alongside them – we’ll learn together.  And in that moment I realised the reality of our home school is that I don’t really teach them.  Everyday we are learning together.  And you know what?  I wouldn’t have it any other way!  So with trepidation, and the feeling of facing something I’d rather not, we will be learning to ‘manage the home’.  Together.


  1. say it with me now, “Get Dave Ramsey stuff,” it’s great, and he has some great picture books that talk about money stuff at a kid’s level.
    I need to start being more methodical about money, but mine are still young to worry too much yet, I have a year or so still……

    1. I’ve gathered together about 10 different books to use as a core ‘curriculum’ covering everything from homemaking, handicrafts, finances and cooking. Funnily enough that is one of them. I didn’t know he did financial management for children- I’ll definitely check that out. Thanks great advice!

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