The following is a post from contributing writer, Roan, of Joyful Always.
This post is one of a series of posts about teaching high school Home Economics in your homeschool. I have two children who are currently in high school. Using my original plans and checklists, my daughters are earning one high school credit each year in Home Ec. Today I will share how I teach menu planning and recipe collecting.
Provide your student with a recipe binder.
This can be a cute, decorative one that is designed specifically for recipe collecting, or it can be as simple as a regular binder with plain paper and tabbed dividers. You can even have your student create the binder herself using scrapbooking supplies.
Teach your student exactly how to menu plan.
I printed out paper with a table that included spaces to write in breakfasts, lunches, and suppers for a week. At the bottom of the page we also listed snack ideas.
We brainstormed the meals that they enjoyed eating, and they began listing them in the correct spaces on the table. I asked them to think about variety–both in the kinds of foods they were serving and the amount of time that the meal would take to prepare.
Locate the recipes for the menu items.
My personal recipes are in a variety of places: in my personal recipe binder, on my laptop, on my iPad, and bookmarked in various cookbooks.
I had my girls find the recipes that they needed, and create recipe cards or pages for each item. These were put into their personal recipe binders. This is a step that is actually ongoing. As we try new recipes or as they remember a recipe that they would like to include, I always encourage them to put them in their recipe binder.
Learn how to create a grocery list.
After creating two weeks of menus and including the recipes in their recipe binders, the next task is learning how to create a grocery list. I provided them with a typed list of the common grocery items that we buy. This is printed in a tiny font in columns, and I have the items listed in the order that they appear as we are walking through our local grocery store.
I taught them to start at the top of their weekly menu, and highlight on the grocery list every single ingredient that they need. Of course, when they have their own homes, they will first look in their pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to see what they have on hand before they highlight it on their grocery list.
It is important that they pay attention to detail when highlighting the items on the grocery list. Who wants to be in the middle of cooking supper and realize that they forgot to purchase a lemon? If there is an item that they need that is not included on their master grocery list, they will just write it on the list.
This is an ongoing process of learning.
All of the above steps are not done in one day’s lesson, or even in one week. I normally assign them one day a week to work on their recipe binders. I taught them the menu planning in one lesson, and how to create a weekly grocery list in another lesson. Once a week, I ask my daughters to prepare a meal, either breakfast, lunch, or supper.
The final exam.
As a final test (or as a periodic test), I assign each of my girls to plan a week’s worth of meals, and create the grocery list for us to actually use in our family. I also require that they go to the grocery store with me to purchase the food for the week, and they help with preparing the meals that week as well.
Each time they make a weekly menu, whether it is for practice or for our family’s current use, I have them put a copy of it in their Home Ec binder.
I hope that by spending the time teaching careful menu planning and recipe collecting, that my daughters will be adequately equipped to plan for and prepare meals for their own families one day.
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