I LOVE food, cooking and most of all eating. I am very passionate about sharing that love with my children. Food education and cooking provide an excellent example of how unschooling can work. I feel strongly that food education is lacking in the public school system. I remember when I was in school, I had home economics by middle school.I enjoyed home economics in school because my mom had us involved in cooking at home, so I found it easy and fun. I was saddened to hear that any type of food education is often delayed until High School. Often this is after bad eating habits have already been formed and many children are already obese.
I remember watching Jamie Oliver on TV going into public school classrooms and the kids weren’t able to identify the most basic of fruit and vegetables. I thought maybe it was staged, sadly I’ve run into some children since then, that proved it was a sad reality. Trying to give children very basic tidbits when they are in a high school classroom on the importance of a good diet and asking them to color a food pyramid isn’t going to cut it. Leading by example is important, if I make healthy choices for myself and my family, hopefully, they will go on to do the same. Walking through the grocery store and asking them as toddlers to find a green vegetable, including them in my daily activities such as my trips to the market, and prepping dinner was giving them an education.
Unschooling is it’s a great way to share your passions and knowledge with your children in a very natural way. So at an early age, my kids were given a knife and taught the safe way to use it, they were taught to be excited at the farmers market when they spotted a new fruit or vegetable they wanted to try. This isn’t because I sat them down and showed them pictures of proper knife handling or did flashcards of vegetables. It’s because it was a natural part of our life. Cooking together started at a very young age. Now with three teenagers, they all are involved in our meal planning and they are active participants in cooking, and they find pleasure in it.
I think cooking is an important skill for all people to have. Understanding your way around the kitchen can be beneficial in so many ways. Clearly so much learning happens when children are involved in cooking. They are learning skills they will use for their entire life. Reading is involved when they use a recipe, Math is involved when measuring the ingredients, clearly they are learning about nutrition and making wise choices for their health. Baking is a perfect example of chemical reactions (that sounds like science to me). That’s what’s great about organic learning, it happens naturally and joyfully.