Why You Should Be Teaching Home Ec Skills to Your Children

10 days of Home Ec Skills

I would hope that it is obvious why you should be teaching home ec skills to your children, because, of course, they are life skills.  No matter where your children go to school each day (the local public school, a private or parochial school, or your kitchen table), they are depending on you to teach them how to function in life.  These are some of the skills they need!

Before I get into my Top Ten {Tuesday} (which is hosted here each week) list of why you should be teaching Home Ec skills.  I want to talk about something else very quickly so that I don’t have to touch on it later in the series.

My Method for Teaching Home Ec Skills

I want to share something about what I have found, in general, while trying to teach a variety of Home Ec skills to my children.  When I try to help all three of them at once on a skill, different children need help in different ways.  I am often pulled between kids and their needs, and the how experience can sometimes be frustrating.

However, when I take time to work with just one child at a time on one skill, it gives me time to focus on their unique needs.  We both end up having a nice time and we walk away feeling successful.

So, if you have had difficulty trying to work with Home Ec skills with multiple children at the same time, try to find time to work with just one at a time, and prepare for a huge difference in the outcome!

10 Reasons You Should Be Teaching Home Ec Skills to Your Children

1. Tradition – Throughout history, there is a long tradition of the skills of life being taught by parents and older relatives.  There is a reason that this has been the way of the world for thousands of years.  It works.

2. Training, Instead of Trial and Error – While there is something to be said for being self-taught at a skill, by training up your children with skills for running a household, you are blessing them for the future.

I love that my Mom showed love for us by doing so many things for us as we grew up.  But, it means that I went into marriage really lacking a lot of skills for running our home.

3. A Concrete Way to Give Back to the Family – As a general rule, children like to feel like they can be a help.  By equipping them with the skills to be helpful, they can recognize that their efforts are actually a support to the things happening in your home.

4. Extra Hands for Tasks – For almost all of the last five years, I have made gift baskets of baked goodies for therapists, people we take lessons from, Eric’s employees, etc.  Most years, this leaves me exhausted at the end of the day when I have worked on it.

While I was still exhausted the last time I did it, my workload was lightened because my kids felt confident enough to help.  And, they weren’t that kind of help where it actually takes more time to have the kids “help” with a project.

5. A Sense of Accomplishment – My children are so proud when they are able to finish a project, whether it be to dust the living room or to sew a pillow for a doll.

However, times when they want to do those types of projects but I take over and finish them quickly, rather than teaching them how to do something, it steals that sense of accomplishment from them.  If I teach them the skills, however, then they not only get to take pride in a job done, but they learn how to do it either on their own (or more independently, at least) next time.

6. Learning Where Their Interests Lie – Just like many other things that your children will come across in life, learning how to do Home Ec skills may help them to find out something that makes their heart sing.  You just won’t know until you work on these skills with them that something like gardening or cooking or baking or sewing or any number of other skills that you teach them is where their passion lies.

7. Save Them Money – When you teach your children a variety of skills around the home when they are growing up, they will be less likely to have to pay someone to do them later in life.

I still remember sitting with a group of friends when someone said that they couldn’t sew at all.  (I totally get this – I can’t sew either, other than some pretty simple things.)  The friend told us all that when she has buttons come off clothes, she pays $10/button at the dry cleaner to have them put back on.  That really adds up over time, and isn’t a difficult skill to learn.

8. They Can Teach You – When my middle son showed an interest in sewing, I did some simple projects with him that were within skill set.  Then, we were blessed to have the option for him to take a sewing class at our co-op.  Now, because it’s something he loves to do, he can help me with something that I don’t really do.

The moral of that story, of course, is that you shouldn’t be intimidated to teach some Home Ec/Life Skills that you are just barely familiar with.  Give them some basics, even if it means that you have to learn it to teach them.  You never know where they may surpass later.

9. Take Advantage of the Age When Kids Love to Help – There may come a time when your children have zero desire to help you with household tasks.  Take advantage of that golden age when they are raving about how much fun doing the dishes is.

Yes, my seven year old daughter really was singing the praises of dish washing just yesterday.  She washed (as I gave her tips on how to wash different things) and I dried.  Many times throughout the experience, she told me how much she was enjoying it.

At the end, she told me she couldn’t wait until we would do dishes together again.  (She probably won’t be talking about washing dishes the same way a few years from now, so this is the time to enjoy it.)

10. It Encourages Family Time and Relationships – The very nature of teaching any kind of skills (and especially teaching home ec skills) is to closely spend time together in a purposeful way.

I tend to keep myself very busy, so when we work on these life skills together, I find that the speed at which I’m living life suddenly slows down.  I see the little joys in life come into focus.  For me, it’s hard not to be struck by the beauty in parenthood while watching my children learn how to become more self sufficient.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.

You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!

Angie Kauffman
Angie, a domestically challenged nerd and mom of three very fun kids, is the founder of Real Life at Home.  Angie also listens to music every chance she gets, writes eBookspodcastsloves Pinterestdocuments the little moments in life on Instagram, and occasionally sleeps.


  1. says

    I especially love #9. My girls are at the ages (4 and almost 6) that helping with household chores is “fun” . . . so I’m going with it while it lasts! They especially love unloading the utensils from the dishwasher and laundry. (Even little Agent A will put clothes in the dryer for me.) Thanks for sharing. I just linked up, too!

  2. says

    This is a great list, Angie. I am with you with #9 and #10. I get a kick out of my son saying that he loves to dust and wash dishes. :) And, I love the time we spend together doing those things. We have had some wonderful conversations while performing various life skill duties.

  3. says

    I love this list and how true it is! I wish I had done this more with my older two. I guess the 3rd time is a charm because Gavin is learning a lot and we are having so much fun together!

  4. says

    I am happy to say that I thought of your series this week when I was getting up this morning…so I had my 1 1/2 year old and my 6 year old help me make breakfast. I taught the big boy the proper way to crack eggs and the little boy got to stir. Then I taught my big boy the finer points of scrambled eggs–the importance of having enough oil/butter, the heat, the spatula, etc…Both of them thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the big boy enjoyed eating *his* eggs!

    Thanks for the reminder on how important this is for them!

  5. says

    My children are both grown and married now but when they were at home, I did teach them basic home ec skills but I wish I had teached them more.

    I didn’t work with them on cooking as much as I could have. I don’t exactly know why. But when my daughter was in her early 20’s and still living at home, I was working full-time and she was between jobs. I started leaving her a list everyday and having her do all the housework and all the cooking. It was a HUGE relief for me and she learned SO much. Since she was still at home, she could ask me questions (especially about the recipes). She was working hard but she felt a huge amount of pride in her accomplishments and the fact that she was helping.

    Children of all ages need to feel ownership in the family and the home. This is a great and much needed article.


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