Friday, March 02, 2012

Today's Homemaking Class

Notes for the Homemaking Class 

Today in Lisa's class, which I will be attending via Skype, (free video calls)  I am to speak briefly about her theme of "Each one teach one."  I first heard this phrase in a history lesson, where the country of Mexico was examined for its literacy program. In the 1950's, their president apparently launched a program called "Each one teach one." Anyone that knew how to read and write was encouraged to teach at least one other person how to read and write, and within a very short time, and without a government program involving huge amounts of money or government agents,  the literacy in the country was increased.

Tutoring is always more effective than the classroom, in my opinion. Home schoolers have experienced this. Sometimes a child who has trouble learning in a classroom situation with all its distractions can be brought up to a higher level of learning within a very short time when taught at home by his mother and others who love him.

Homemaking classes are wonderful, and the wives and daughters who attend them always glean a lot, but that is just the tip of the iceberg, the hem of the garment and the icing on the cake.  Personal tutoring that takes place when a daughter learns at the elbow of her mother is more foundational and lasting.  Homemaking becomes so automatic to girls who follow their mothers around, that they hardly know they are doing it. 

There are a few Biblical examples of this private tutoring. Samuel was sent to Eli, the priest to become a priest. Ruth put herself under the authority and care of her mother-in-law when her husband died, and was gently guided to become the wife of Boaz.  In the New Testament, the apostle Paul stated that he had been taught the Jewish faith by a teacher named Gamaliel.   Most importantly, Titus 2 teaches the older women to teach the younger women the things they know that will help them as wives, mothers and homemakers.  

To the ones that claim to be disciples of Christ, the Titus 2 instructions are not just a preference or, to use a popular word "optional."  Instead, they are essential.  God loves women and knows what is best for their care and protection. Jesus valued women and taught them one-on-one, as indicated in several places in the scriptures.  He has given them an important place in life. Guarding, guiding and keeping the home are enormous responsibilities. I always look at it as not only a choice, but a duty.  To the woman who wants to do what is right, there is no choice but to follow the Word of God, and that makes life's choices a lot easier. We hope Christian women will choose to do what is right and good; choose to do their duty.  Of course we realize that each person must be personally persuaded by the scriptures and come to the decision to be a good homemaker. Christ does not force anyone to obey him, because he wants them to come to Him willingly, with loving hearts. 

We live in a time where many of the things women used to do at home are accomplished by mechanical things or by the convenience of grocery stores, but still it is possible to be home-centered. Yes, we must go out and get groceries, but is not it wonderful that we can choose fine food "from afar"  and stock our pantries with supplies!  We may have machines to wash clothes, wash dishes, sweep the floor, and slow-cook our food, but we still have to know how to operate those machines and keep them in good repair so they will serve us well. A home keeper still has to understand how to load up the slow-cooker and season the food so that it is nutritional and tastes good.  In spite of all the conveniences of machinery and grocery stores, there is a lot of work to be done in the home.  

Each one teaching one can guide the next generation of young women into caring for the home. It is great to use conveniences but young women should be taught how to do without those conveniences if they find themselves without out them. Knowing how to make things from basic ingredients, or what kitchen products you can use for cleaning supplies in a pinch.  Older women need to also teach younger women about family matters: what to do when a husband is discouraged or when there is no money, how to teach children to behave themselves, natural health habits, and what to do when there is a family crisis. This is the value of the older women, because they have been through all these stages of life, from placid times, to joyous time, in prosperity, and in grief.

As to waiting til you find a "mentor" to coach you in home living, that is not necessary. Everyone is older than someone, and can teach someone, and if you find there are no older women qualified to teach you, you will just have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps (an old expression meaning get some courage) and become that older woman by teaching yourself. These days, information is attainable all over the place, and even if all you have to read is a few ancient stories, you can learn a lot about human nature from them. The pioneers in places like Canada, Australia, America, South Africa and others, came across the plains with not much more than the Bible and Pilgrim's Progress, and were able to establish themselves and teach the next generation. Many brave women learned to cook and sew out of necessity, and today some of their primitive quilts and clothing are treasured and displayed in historic homes today.   The women of the past, at least that I knew in my own life, did not seem too worried about finding mentors. They seemed to learn and catch on to the things necessary to keep their homes and take care of their families. Just like today, there were some who did not do it very well, and there were some who did it more excellently.  

To teach one, all you need to do is prepare one thing that you already know how to do, and show it to someone else. It will be less awkward if you'll get out tea cups and serve tea and sandwiches and then start your show-and-tell.

I once had a gathering which I called my Annual Homemaking Tea, where each lady who came had a show-and-tell, which would be helpful in the realm of the home.  Some showed how to make quick snacks (which we ate afterwards) and others showed how to teach Bible lessons to children. Each show-and-tell was short and simple, from how to take care of indoor kitchen trash (some things we did not all know) to safety in the home.  All a homemaking class amounts to is a show-and-tell situation.

Even if you are just a quiet person that does not need too much socializing, you can do something just by your example. Being clean and organized at home, and having a good appearance when out of the home, teaches and influences more than you know.

While speaking of the each-one-teach-one idea, I'd love to speak personally to any lady who would like to have a Skype talk with me on a subject her choice, at a convenient time. Remember, Skype video calls has a free version.  Just email me and I'll give you my skype address and we can connect in any country.


Anonymous said...

I like your idea of example. Sometimes I feel very outgoing, but these are short lived. When I clean our home and dress nice to walk around the block, I know I'm doing something. Thanks for the encouragement.

JES said...

What a lovely offer! I may take you up on that! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...


This is perhaps one of the best articles you have written in which your articulation of the Biblical truths for we women is presented clearly, succinctly and with none of the caveats that many supposed Biblically faithful pastors across the denominational spectrum place upon these facts. Even among the pastorate of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, the truths of Titus II/Prov. 31 are disregarded; many of their number ridiculed for the truth

Jenny said...

Tutoring sounds amazing but at the moment I would be happy with just a homemaking / dressmaking class available anywhere near me. There is nowhere here to go and be taught all those important skills.

It can get discouraging when all of the hobbies I have and skills I want to learn are so disparaged and ridiculed. I am learning to knit at the moment (very slowly) and most people say what is the point!

p.s. Thank you so much for putting my blog on your blog roll!

Finding Joy said...

Jenny, I felt very sad to read that people ridicule you for your choice of hobbies - keep up the good work. There is always a point and if it is only enjoyment, then why not. We have a knitting circle at work, where a group of ladies get together each lunch time and knit or crochet (and share ideas) and there is another group who do quilting. It is lovely to see women enjoying their interests together.

There is some very good links on Youtube that I have used to learn crocheting, perhaps there are similar ones for knitting. I am not a great sewer, but I make little things like lavender bags or pot holders to improve my skills, then move onto something a little more ambitious. Slowly your skills will develop.

Blessed Homemaking said...

I still have to look into how Skype works. I would love to have attended one of your classes!

It is also enjoyable to see how older daughters will help their younger sisters to learn a homemaking skill! I love to see mine do this.

Rightthinker said...

I love the homemaking class idea! I would love to participate sometime!

Your wisdom is so wonderful here. I agree with you 100%.

I can relate to your instructions to "pull yourself up from the bootstraps" if you have no mentors. You know I recently blogged about that..the lack of willing/available/qualified by experience women to be the Titus 2:5 mentors commanded.

I think this is a very sad state, as fewer and fewer young ladies are being raised to understand the blessing of the role of wife and mother, and how to even go about it practically.

I had a mother who was a homemaker, and I am thankful because I learned all the basics. Still, no amount of mentoring could have prepared me for doing things in my home for my very own self..for guarding, etc.

I've chosen a few different paths than my mother, and she is now quite close with the Lord (praise God), but these mentors are largely absent in my life..yet...I am managing to grow into my role (I hope so after the better part of two decades) of homemaker!

God Bless you today, Lady Lydia, and thank God for you being one of the examples that the women struggling to find another with practical experience to mentor them, can find with a bit of resourcefulness!

Lydia said...

You can use various events and experiences at home to form your own curriculum and teaching subjects. No two homemakers are alike, but they can pass on their individual knowledge to someone else.

Anonymous said...

"Each one teach one" was a phrase used by Frank Lauback, the only American missionary pictured on a US postage stamp, who developed a literacy program that was used worldwide. He also wrote "The Game with Minutes."

"Laubach Literarcy" became part of Proliteracy. For mature teens, tutoring reading could be a good service opportunity and useful skill to learn.

Anonymous said...

Jenny, I knit also, and I am sorry to hear that you are receiving discouraging comments. Fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, quilting, weaving, tatting, etc.) are wonderful things to know, and I feel sorry for people who cannot understand that. I always tell people it keeps me out of trouble, what I make fits me and is always the right size and right color! Or sometimes I say, to paraphrase Ghostbusters, "Back off, man, I'm an artist." Keep on knitting, there are lots of us people out there who do it! There is a lot of satisfaction in wearing something that is made by your own hands, and sometimes you can make things that cannot be purchased anywhere.

Anonymous said...

My midwife told me this story:

Also, a good place to go for knitting encouragement is You can join all kinds of chat groups with people who have similar interests as you, such as homeschooling, cooking, a certain kind of knitting, etc.

You will have to be careful to pull yourself away, though!

I always knit while sitting beside children who need company while doing their lessons, this keeps me from getting too bored or frustrated, and I can simply pause as often as they have a question I need to answer.

I have even made large projects, and then un-done them, and didn't feel it was a waste, as I learned something about what I don't like each time, and I was still being present in the home while doing so!
It gave me more creative ideas.

Santie said...

This is such a wonderful sentiment. I don't know if I ever thanked you formally(I know I thank you in my heart every time I read your blog):
thank you Lady Lydia for gently tutoring me from afar, and for showing me time and again that I do not need any justification for my choice to be a homemaker. It is my destiny, and my privilege.

Alexandra said...

"It can get discouraging when all of the hobbies I have and skills I want to learn are so disparaged and ridiculed."

I know this feeling! My whole lifestyle(homemaking and homeschooling) is disparaged. Just keep coming to places like this for encouragement, and reminders that if you live for God, and by God, everything else will fall in place. You'll feel at peace having the Lord as your measuring rod.

Keep on knitting! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you dear Lydia for your excellent articles. "Older women need to also teach younger women about family matters. What to do when a husband is discouraged.." I would love some ideas on this subject if every you feel you want to... Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

This is most definitely the best way to go about learning homemaking skills!

For example, when I wanted to learn how to make bread by hand, I simply asked a friend from church who made all her bread by hand. We had a delightful afternoon together and I learned a needed skill.

I have found that the older women in my church, particularly retired widows with much extra time on their hands are delighted when you ask them to teach you something.