Why We Have School In The Kitchen

Yup, that’s right – the kitchen. I put quite a bit of effort into creating a stimulating make-shift classroom for my daughter before we embarked on our first year of homeschooling. I say make-shift because there was no extra room in our home to designate to education. So a portion of our livingroom got an overhaul and became homeschool central. Why? Because I wasn’t sure which was better; homeschooling with a designated classroom or homeschooling wherever it just so happened to happen. I was talking to and reading from mom’s taking both approaches – successfully.

And while it has been very helpful to have all of our homeschooling stuff in one location, I’m finding out that our kitchen is really where the learning happens most days. Partially because our counter makes a great location to spread out worksheets, books or artsy projects. But also because it’s a place we use to learn with life experiences.  Thank goodness I didn’t rearrange more than the livingroom to make a classroom. Here’s what is so great about a kitchen…

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  1. It’s free! Need I say more? It’s already there, full of tools that will facilitate practical application of the things your kids are learning. Whatever you are learning, chances are the supplies and tools you need for some practical application are in the kitchen – free for the using.
  2. So many subjects can be experienced in the kitchen. Weather it’s math, reading, science, history, or geography there is some way you can experience it in the kitchen.
  3. It keeps us creative. Some of my favorite school activities (for both learning and reviewing) have been based out of the kitchen. It’s a space which seems to help us stay out of any ruts.
  4. It provides tangible results. Even if we aren’t eating the outcome, we at least end up with something that can be held, touched, or experienced. You start with one thing, or group of things, and create another. Tangible results seem to make lasting impressions; especially for those who love hands-on.
  5. It an environment suitable for any age group to learn in. This isn’t just for preschoolers or elementary age kids. You can create challenges in your kitchen for any age.
  6. By learning in the kitchen you’re not only working towards your school related goals; you’re building life skills. Knowing how to perform basic functions in a kitchen is a skill set any young adult should possess. It’s amazing how many adults forge their way into life without knowing the difference between a TBSP and  TSP.

I’m not suggesting that all homeschooling needs to take place is a kitchen making concoctions and confections. But I am saying it’s a great resource that we all have. Even if you’re not much of a kitchen loving cooking enthusiast, it worth giving your kitchen a chance as a classroom every once and awhile. We use YouTube to get ideas for fun kitchen based projects. Watching videos in advance seems to save on messes and frustration later. I’ll list a few of our favorite kitchen projects from this year below – may they help get your creative juices flowing!

  • Making hard candy lollipops – reviewing shapes and experimenting with creating secondary colors from primary colors. This was not the scary and complicated endeavor I had anticipated. We used corn starch to make no-cost molds.
  • Potatoes as growth medium – that’s right, you can grow bacteria on potatoes for a lesson about germs.
  • Making bread & pizza dough– which has led to other yeast related experiments – Google ideas.
  • Acorn flour – a great project which help us explore our local ecosystem, talk about Native American history and learn more about health and nutrition. I’ll post more on this cool backyard project later.
  • Buy or prepare food in bulk – we use a small kitchen scale (with a dial) to divide out portions to help learn about weights and measurements.
  • Cereal – we make patterns, shapes, words and numbers with it as will and simulate math equations. Of course, having our handy construction site vehicles to move it around adds some extra fun.
  • Dinosaurs fossils – this was a super easy project I easily found online which turned into an entire afternoon of adventure in our kitchen. We talked about all kinds of biological and geological “stuff” that day.

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