Friday, October 08, 2010

Hosting a Homemaking Class

picture source: Country Porches

Homemaking classes are being quietly conducted in churches and homes throughout the nation. Each one is different, depending on the knowledge and experience of the teachers and the needs of the students.  If you have always wanted to attend a homemaking class, you can do it yourself by hosting a class once in your home. You do not need any kind of professional materials and you need not go to any expense. All you need is to have your house prepared for company, and a list of things you wish to talk about or demonstrate.

Woman in a French Interior, by Susan Watkins, American 1908

While each teacher will have a personal preference of the way in which it is taught, it is probably a good idea to include a little talk about the purpose of being a homemaker and the importance of doing a good job. Explain also that homemaking does not mean you have to be always working, but it does not mean you are free to do nothing just because you are home. Show how a homemaker balances her work time with leisure time. I once heard a woman explain it like this:

            You have to prepare meals, supervise the cleaning of the house, pay bills, and, throughout the day, keep a watch on your house to see that it stays orderly. Then, if your work is completed, you might be able to sit down and concentrate on some quiet activity such as a hobby or reading, or some special interest.

Edmund Blair Leighton

It is preferable if the students are accompanied by their mothers, so that all can participate and learn in a Titus 2 class. It would be good if the goal of the teacher was to send girls home with one new piece of knowledge about running a home, that would benefit their own homes and would free their mothers of some of the responsibilities and give them more time to spend on projects they have been wanting to complete.

Home life can be portrayed as a life of variety. There is so much to do. One way of discovering the enormous amount of things there are to keep a homemaker busy full time, is to spend time with the class in making a long list of every possible thing they can think of to do at home, that has to do with homemaking. Explain that homemaking is not just washing dishes and sweeping floors or fixing meals. It is making a home beautiful and comfortable for others. It is keeping track of the family heirlooms and memories. It is making sure that that safety procedures are followed in all parts of the house. It is showing care and concern for other people in that house. Students can list seasonal things that are required in creating home life.  Home life also changes as children grow up and change their habits and needs.

A Quiet Moment by John O'Brien
Keeping house will keep homemakers busy, and that of course is part of God's plan to provide a place of importance for women in the church of Christ, to whom the verses in Titus are addressed. While not everyone will follow the mandate to teach the younger women to be good wives, mothers and homemakers, we can know for certain that it is something for Christian women.  Our example in doing this will win more people than arguments will.  Showing how it is done in a homemaking class can be more convincing, if the teacher can also transport to them the feeling of happiness she has at home.

Hosting a homemaking class need not be stressful. One woman I know, Mrs. L., has had one each month for a year, with a different theme.

Women do not need to think they have to know everything in order to teach a simple class. All they have to do is share an aspect of homemaking and make it interesting. For example, Mrs. J. demonstrated how to hold a broom and how to sweep and use a dust pan. That might seem trite to some people, but there are girls who grow up never having  learned this and are at a loss when it comes to housekeeping later.  Another woman showed her class how to wash dishes by hand, how to rinse them so that they would be free of soap, and how to dry them. She explained things about having the water hot enough and how much soap to put in. Simple, but still needed. She was also trying to show how to enjoy washing dishes and how to make the atmosphere of the kitchen pleasant while doing it. You can learn what to think about , and how to plan for future things,  while doing some of these tasks.

If you are unsure of yourself as a teacher, just consider it an act of hospitality and invite people as friends, to come to your home, where you will share something you know how to do.

Use the list your friends and students have made, to determine some subjects to present to your group. If you know no one and seem to have no one interested, try having something like this with your daughter.  You can serve tea in your finest cups and then get up and go about the tasks you have prepared to demonstrate.

Hosting a homemaking class need not be daunting. Have at least one room clean that you can seat your students, dress like a lady and wear an apron, have a special vase of flowers for the occasion, or bake something that smells good.  Some people just like to be invited to someone else's home to see how they do things, whether it is laundry or ironing, cooking or cleaning.

Feeding the Doves, by Sydney Muschamp, English 1870-1903

Teachers should be aware that there will always be those who will attempt to discredit them or dumb-down the class by distracting or behaving as though they are bored. There is usually one one person who is like this, but carries others off into that type of attitude. Others, even older women, may act rather superior to the whole idea that you have to teach homemaking to anyone. In the time that spans before the next class convenes, some negative type students may spread enough naysaying  that makes fewer people want to attend. There is a technique that has gone on for centuries where this is used. If you want to destroy an idea, a belief, or a way of life, create controversy around it, even if there is none. You might say "I've heard about marriage, but there is a lot of controversy surrounding it." That way, the hearer focuses on the fact that there is controversy (even if there is not).  Someone might say, "I have heard there is a cooking class, but there is some objection to it." There might be absolutely no objection to it, but the hearer will not want to be involved in anything that spells conflict, so will avoid the whole class. There are people who know from childhood how to work this kind of technique to destroy any attempt to make life better. 

Another thing that teachers will have to expect is that there will be a certain amount of rolling of the eyes and boredom. She should cover all this with introductory remarks which also are typed on paper that can be given out at each lesson. Make it short and memorable, stating that they should save their objections until the end of the class, and write them down, to be answered later. The reason for this, is that many of their questions and challenges will be answered just by observing the teachings.  The paper should state that no student should try to detract from the class if they want to be invited back, and that the teacher is giving freely of her time with no charge and is not obligated to accommodate dissention or undermining.  Some students will visit each other during the week and may indulge in gossip about the teacher or the class. This ought to be warned against by suggesting that if they do mention the class to anyone during the week or month between classes, that they should talk about it in a good light.

 If anyone remembers teaching the Fascinating Womanhood classes, there was a teacher's manual that was very well laid out with instructions for the teachers to read to the class, and they were also copied out and passed around for their notebooks. They were very kind in nature, and not difficult to follow. The list mentioned things like not arguing and not being close-minded. It explained that some people would already know some things that were taught, and that those things would not apply to them, but might be of interest to someone else. Everyone would be at a different level of maturity and a different stage in learning, and each one might glean something from the class.

In this day and age, such classes are rare, so , to be invited to attend one is a privilege and the hosting teacher should be treated with great appreciation. Girls are constantly being told to go to college, and the colleges actively recruit students. Recruiting campaigns through mail and telephone and other media are constantly launched to get girls interested in college. Rarely does anyone teach a class to get girls interested in marriage, children and homemaking. So, to be invited to one such class is not to be taken lightly. If a girl thinks she knows everything about homemaking and is invited to a class, she should try to attend just to encourage and help the teacher and the students. It will help build others up, as the Bible teaches.

A teacher might seriously consider only teaching one class, one day a year, or she might have several informal classes, seasonally, throughout the year.  She has to decide what she will be able to do.  Weekly classes can be too exhausting for some women, especially if they have pressing responsibilities at home.  Once a season, by invitation, might suffice. It all depends on the preference of the teacher.

Hamilton Collection


Lydia said...

It is better to have one or two classes, well attended, than to plan a long term class that will dwindle out.

Anonymous said...

I just hosted my second Titus 2 class at Keepers of the Home. I had 6 little kids today. I taught them the 10 commandments with hand gestures so they could remember them in order.

The we talked about the first commandment. I asked them how could they love someone they didn't know? They all agreed it was hard. I shared with them that the Holy God wanted a relationship with us.

Also what the bible says about sin and how it separates us from God.
Then I shared how God sent his only son to pay the penalty for our sin and through his son Jesus Christ we could be forgiven and the relationship with Holy God could be restored. Their eyes grew bright like they might be catching on.

I said lets pray and ask Jesus Christ to forgive our sins and come
live in our hearts. We asked the Holy Spirit of Jesus to fill us with his presence. Every child bowed their heads and had gleaming eyes and smiles after their prayer.

You see, I think the child has to know why they are learning to be Christian homemakers. Otherwise the works that they learn have little purpose or meaning. Its like building on a foundation. They now know that there is a real relationship to build on.

By the way two of those kids were little brothers who had no one to stay with today so they joined the group and had fun learning right along with their sisters.

After the character lesson we went to the sewing room and learned another different hand stitch in our sewing lessons. All of the girls improved their stitch lengths from last month and two of the girls are trying to design clothes by drawings.

Hmmmm, am I looking at tomorrows designers?

Anonymous said...

I'm middle aged and would love to attend a class--and I promise I won't roll my eyes or gossip unkindly between classes!! My momma taught me that I was given only one mouth, but two ears, for a very good reason, and if I'd keep both ears open and my one mouth shut, I'd learn a lot. You know, that advice has served me well! I still love to learn...
Thanks for the ideas and encouragement.

Anonymous said...

I would also love to attend a homemaking class, but I certainly don't have any idea how to find even one like-minded lady in my town or even my church.
The only ones of know of are on the lovely websites I read every day to keep my spirits up. I am thankful for the women who faithfully encourage us on a daily basis through their websites. They really don't know how much it means to some women. We appreciate you, Lady Lydia.

Anonymous said...

I too would be interested in a class like this. We live in a small town dominated by liberals and New Agers (even at our church), and I have no friends and know no one who is a homemaker and tradition minded.

Anonymous said...

To the ladies who'd like to join a class:

A year or so ago I started looking for a class too. Didn't find anything. I met Lady Lydia on her blog and she encouraged me to start a class of my own for girls. She and a friend of hers that also has a Titus 2 class for girls mentored me.

If you have any homemaking skills and find other ladies that would like to join, maybe you could start a class for women.

I went to our church pastor and told him what I wanted to do and why. He told me that our church was having a ministry fair and I could set up a table and display. That way people could see what I was doing.
You could share with friends what you'd like to do and have a few over for tea and share skills you've learned and then learn from them what they know.

From that fair I received one mom and two little girls ages 6&7. The class is growing.

I try to have the moms come too because I think they need to be spending some time with their girls and this is the perfect mom and me program.

Class is held once a month from 11am to 1pm and in that time I have the table set for tea and a small snack for them. I use my prettiest dishes and centerpiece. I want them to feel special because they are.

The first of the homemaking skills our girls are learning is simple hand sewing stitches so they will eventually learn to use a sewing machine, design and make their own clothes. Two of the girls are already drawing pictures of dresses with different styles.

The girls are learning the virtues of the godly Proverbs 31 woman as their role model and I encourage them to have a relationship with the Lord.

I gave them a supply list of a few essential tools to purchase and a few ideas of things they can make without patterns. Then showed them how to thread a hand sewing needle and tie a knot in it.
It took a while before they got the hang of it, but they ended up taking a simple drawstring bag home with them.

Lydia has given lots of ideas already on her blog even a sewing plan of practical things one can make without patterns for their home or gifts for others.

If they can make something and take it home with them they will feel good about themselves and it will encourage them to keep trying. That goes for any craft they do. Greeting cards, fabric, crochet, knitting, paper crafts, baking, painting, etc.

The girls will also learn how to clean house and menu plan, grocery shop, care for babies the sick and the elderly, gardening, food prep, food preservation, handwriting, some etiquette, hygiene, modesty, and more.

Lydia encouraged me not to take this too seriously and have fun with it. Its good advise.

Janet, at Keepers of the Home.

Anonymous said...

Our Lord taught us to be the salt of the earth. Salt makes a person thirsty.
If you have love and are enjoying your life as a homemaker, share it with others. You might be surprised to find a new sister in Christ someday.

Sometimes God plants us on compost heaps, its perfect fertile ground.
Bloom where you're planted for Christ.