This week I began cooking on more of a regular basis. What I mean by regular is actually daily. As strange as that may sound, for the mother of ten; I will proceed to explain how this has come to be the case around our home. Yes, of course we do have regular meals; although I'm not necessarily the one who prepares them.
The days when I used to cook daily are all a blur now. A faint memory is all that's left. Why and when did I stop cooking? The answer is quite simple really. As our family grew and our home education began to take on more of a formal approach, we began to teach the kids some basic cooking skills. With time they begin experimenting with new recipes. Mostly at the beginning, the cooking was along side mom or dad. But shortly after, the kids were allowed to cook on their own due to their progress in learning.
So many benefits stemmed from this first decision to teach them cooking. To begin with, working with recipe books proved to be an excellent way for learning fractions. All I recall, is one day asking my daughter how she had come up with the correct quantities for doubling or tripling the ingredients. She went on to explain to my amazement how she had added the fractions. She was at the time around six or seven I think. This was such a surprise to me, specially since I had not deliberately introduced her to fractions. Besides learning a necessary skill for life which is great in itself, another added benefit was teaching character; for in preparing meals for others, one also learns to serve. As if this all wasn't enough we had the added benefit of more help to get things done around the house, which is actually pretty terrific.
Cooking and baking has been a natural learning process around my home. My older kids I taught, naturally, However my younger ones mostly picked up this skills from their older siblings. I don't think a week passes by without the younger ones 8-12 baking some cookies, trying a new recipe, or preparing a dessert for Shabbat. I have then come to the conclusion through personal experience that work and education go hand in hand. What an advantage it has been to us, the freedom to teach at home with more of a hands on approach.
To conclude, I'd like to add that I'm proud to say the students have exceeded the teacher. The food the kids help make is always tasty and prepared with such creativity. I want to specially give credit to my two dear daughters. They do an excellent job. I'm glad to think that in this area at least they are preparing well to be future homemakers. And as for the boys, it's great that they can depend on themselves when necessary too. So now I'm off to start my new week preparing dinners, and as crazy as this may seem, I'll be asking for my daughters' input and opinions. It seems to me they have a much better idea when it comes to deciding on the quantities I'll be having to cook. =)