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Everyday Cooking (The Everyday Homemaking Series, Book 1) Review by Kris Price

The Everyday Family Chore System (The Everyday Homemaking Series, Book 2)
Vicki Bentley
Family Resources
PO Box 702
Dinwiddie, Virginia 23841

I think it is very important that life skills and home economics be a part of our homeschooling process. All parents should prepare their children for life outside of their parents' home. There are many curricula out there that cover these skills, but often the easiest subjects to cover first are cooking and cleaning. Children can learn how to clean at an early age, and even basic cooking skills can be taught once the child is school-aged. I have to admit that I fought my mother tooth-and-nail when it came to learning how to cook, and I wished that I hadn't soon after I was married! But she did insist that I learn how to clean a home, thank goodness!

Vicki Bentley has written two books (so far) in her Everyday Homemaking Series. The first book is titled Everyday Cooking, and I have to say that I think this book covers it all. It would make a wonderful book for a young adult to take along to his or her first apartment--after mom has taught them from the book, of course! In addition to containing almost 150 yummy recipes, the book also has sections on the following: timesaving tips, measurement help, meal planning and sample menus, kitchen equipment, and more! The recipes are mostly "tried-and-true," meaning that they use items easily found at the grocery store and do not require the cook to spend all day in the kitchen. The recipes focus on cooking from scratch, using fresh produce and other whole foods. Categories include appetizers, dressings, bread and grains, main dishes, soups and stews, desserts, and snacks. It's all covered in this 100-page guide. As of September 2007, this expanded edition of the original book retails for $14.99.

The second book in the series is The Everyday Family Chore System. Vicki Bentley is a mom of eight children and has been a foster mom to over fifty other children! This book covers organization tips as well as basic principles of child training, and it focuses on teaching children diligence and responsibility for the home that they live in. You can start teaching basic home management skills very early. The Everyday Family Chore System contains a Life Skills Checklist for each year, beginning at age two and continuing to 13+. I have to admit that there are some items on the earlier lists that I have never covered with my children--yikes! I am reminded that children are more capable than I believe them to be at times.

Included in first two sections of this 88-page guide are lots of tips for training children to complete a cleaning assignment thoroughly. There are reproducible checklists for almost any aspect of cleaning a home. But the most valuable part of this book is contained in the third section--the How-to-Do-It chore system, complete with reproducible cards and job labels. My autistic child has to be told exactly how to do something each step of the way. I can't just tell him to "go get your dusting done." I have to remind him each time what needs to be dusted. In this guide, the job card for dusting gives a list of items to dust! So, now he can just carry the card with him and not have to listen to me remind him over and over again. As of September 2007, this book retails for $17.99.

I have been teaching my children life skills and the basics of home economics using various books. But I will definitely be incorporating both of these books as I continue to teach my children all that they need to know to live on their own after they leave the comforts of my home!

Product review by Kris Price, Assistant to the Publisher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2007