Teaching Moments

Yesterday was the annual fun run/walk that kicks off a local festival weekend.   Secunda was set to participate, so I got her from afterschool a bit early, ran home, refried some canned black beans and grated some cheese, and we had quesadillas. We had leftover side salads from Memorial Day (Broccoli Slaw) and Tuesday (Iceberg and tomatoes), so that served as our veggies.   Everyone was done eating by 5:15 and the dishwasher was running.

Primo is away from home tonight, on his way to a band competition.   In his absence, we always have something he hates but Secunda loves – Macaroni and Cheese.

I make it from scratch – nothing against Kraft Dinner, but old-school mac and cheese has always been one of my comfort foods. And it’s not hard – boil water, cook pasta. While pasta cooks, make a quick white sauce with butter, flour, mustard powder, and two cups of warm milk, and stir in a pile of grated cheese.   I like to put that in a casserole and bake it with crumbs on top, but you don’t really have to.

And I’m going to make this part of something else I’ve been talking about: “Homeschooling Home Ec.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a homeschooler at heart. But I’ve been working on teaching the kids the tasks needed to keep the house running. They clear the table and wash the pots and load the dishwasher every night.   We do “family cleaning hour” where we each get a weekly task (bathroom swabbing, vacuuming, mopping the kitchen). It’s time to start making sure they can feed themselves. If, when they leave home, they choose not to? At least they’ll have some of the skills and knowledge they need, so if hard times hit and they need to live on very little, they’ll have a starting point.

So tonight, I’m going to stand behind Secunda and have her cut off the two tablespoons of butter, melt it until it foams, and whisk in the flour and mustard. I’m going to have her grate the cheese, put the pasta on to cook, and set the timer. It’s going to take a lot longer than it would take me to do the same – but its Friday. We’ve got the time. She’s still young enough that she enjoys my company and attention.   She’s eager to learn skills that represent independence.   What better start could we have?


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