I don’t know where I got this idea from so apologies if it’s yours. I read it this morning somewhere online, on a blog or page or website about home education. That’s as far as I can narrow it down. Anyway…
The idea is simple. Get your children to feed themselves on Friday lunchtime, to give them some responsibility and to give yourself some time to do something else you need to do, or have a break. I often read lots of great ideas about home education, and file them away, wondering if I’ll ever get round to doing them. But this was one I just had to do straight away. I’ve been trying for a long time, with varying degrees of success, to get the children to take on more responsibility for jobs around the house, but very often the emphasis is on them “helping” me to do something I could have done more quickly myself. This was more ambitious, and I really liked the idea that the motivation for learning would be there for all of them: feed yourselves, or you will be rather hungry for the rest of the afternoon.
I explained the plan to the children, and they were quite keen, especially Owl who loved the idea. He quickly took the lead and the others followed, raiding the fridge for anything they could find. I tried to keep out of it as much as I could, though I did make a few suggestions. I also helped Rabbit to wash some lettuce, and showed Owl which knives to use for cutting up cucumber and tomatoes. I was quite impressed by what they chose (bread, cheese, ham, salad, butter, cream cheese, marmite, juice, milk, water) and by how quickly they got it all ready.
I used the time to do some washing up that I’d been trying to find time to do all morning, then joined them to eat my lunch (the only thing I added to the table was brown bread as they had chosen white.) After I had finished, I cleared my area of the table and wiped it, got my laptop and a cup of coffee, and sat down to add the photos to my Legoland blogpost. When the children finished, I reminded them that they needed to clear and wipe the rest of the table and sweep the floor. They weren’t quite as excited about this part of the plan, but they did do it. Fortunately. Because when they finished eating, the table looked like this.
And that was after several spills had been wiped up. It doesn’t generally look like that when I’m in charge! However, I will definitely do this again, because despite the mess it was brilliant. They made sensible food choices, ate the amount they needed, had a lot of fun and felt proud of their achievement. And I got to sit down, eat my lunch and drink a whole cup of coffee (almost) uninterrupted!