Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beyond the Academics: Laundry (and some other thoughts)

We've mostly been talking about survival skills here lately. Sewing, cooking...these things are stuff our kids NEED to know. That and, apparently, fire prevention. I want to talk about one more survival skill and then I have some other things to say. So stay tuned.

Laundry is a really easy thing to get the kids involved in at a very early age. First of all, it's constant so there's lots of time to practice and furthermore, who couldn't use the help? But, oh! This is supposed to be for the children. Sorry. Yes. They NEED this skill or otherwise they and their future family will be naked.

Really little kids can help sort laundry. Heck, it's like homeschool curriculum 101 isn't it? It teaches them colors. It's great. Teach them to check Daddy's pockets. Let them rub stain remover on spots. Laundry is a blast when you are little. My kids LOVE to spray their stains and they never forget to either.

Then, my girls graduate to helping me throw things in the dryer. Little Bit used to love this job. She also got to toss in the dryer sheet and push the ON button. What could be better? Sweetheart is finally tall enough to be able to get the clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer herself so that is a real help. Come to think of it, they would make a great team out there. Hmmm. It's going to be a while before they are allowed to load the washer though because it is old and testy and if you get the clothes the slightest bit uneven it has convulsions.

My nephew has been washing his own clothes since he was 10. He's really good at it but I'm glad my sister started so early with him. He tends to be thick-headed and as recently as last summer he was still waiting until he had NOTHING to wear but a towel while everything he owned was in the washer. So, part of learning to wash clothes is knowing when to wash, right?

Then there's folding clothes, putting them away properly, and ironing. Carrie mentioned the other day she was going to start teaching her daughter to iron on pillowcases. I learned on pillowcases too its just that I never remember graduating to men's dress shirts and pants. And I'm still really bad at those. (Sorry, S!)

If nothing else, thinking about all these things makes my head spin. Ha Ha laundry pun. Sorry.
There really is SO MUCH to teach our children besides reading, math, history, science, spelling, etc. I know I have been guilty of over-thinking the academics and neglecting the other important stuff. But I don't think we need to get over-whelmed by all this. These things are learned a tiny bit at a time over many years. We just need to be mindful to stop and think every now and then, "What can I teach them next?"

I am not capable of teaching my children every homemaking skill they will need. It's not even possible. I must teach them the basics, but there is another way to approach all the other things. What I think it boils down to is making homemaking, to them, interesting. If I am excited about learning to embroider, they will see that. Perhaps I have decided to learn to make my own soap. I don't know...throw in your own examples here. If I am creative with my homemaking and it doesn't only seem like the world's most boring occupation and chore, then maybe I can inspire my girls. I want them to see all the things you can do at home. Sweetheart is interested in being an artist. Let's get some paint-by-number prints and do them together. Then frame them and talk about all the ways we can make our homes lovely. Little Bit loves taking pictures. Let's get some developed and frame those to give as gifts, wrapped up in lovely paper and ribbon. I think part of this is about inspiring my girls. Yes, there is drudgery to this job and they must learn the character to get through that with a thankful example. But there is also the blessing of being able to do so much for your husband and family. They can learn that from other examples than me too!

I don't know, I just get excited thinking about all the things we could learn to do. They will probably be interested in learning some things that I don't care one thing about. But I will encourage them. I hope they learn from me that you can always learn new things and there are lots of exciting things you can do as a homemaker. Right after we finish that laundry.


  1. Yes! Laundry is great! All my girls (even the five year old) can do their own laundry. Why? Because it's all on their level and both machines are front loaders. LOL

    The folding and putting away, however will take some more training.

  2. I LOVE this blog. You have inspired me every day this week! I am SO glad I found you!

    (Looking forward to my first post for fitness Friday tomorrow. I had a great week!)

  3. Nice! My kids sort the clean laundry and put their own away. Hubby washes and dries. Hmm...I steam some things every once in a while. Lol

  4. Fire prevention, ha ha!

    As for the laundry, mu kids do a lot of their own, also, though not all the time, being in school and all that. But you're right about knowing how important it is to know WHEN to do it. It can pile up in a heartbeat if you don't stay on top of it. And in a family our size,it seems that I'm washing towels every other day.

    As for ironing, I learned by trial and error. My mom worked a lot during my teen years so I ironed most of my dad's clothes. I hated it at the time but I do apreciate the experience now that I'm ironing for my own husband.

  5. once again - a subject my mother failed to school me in....sadly, my husband had to!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)