My Top 4 Tips for Homeschool Cooking with Teens

My Top 4 Tips for Homeschool Cooking with Teens

Last fall I decided to add cooking as a homeschool class with my then 16 year old son. He was super enthusiastic and I looked forward to something different and hands on. Here are my top tips for adding a homeschool cooking class to your routine.

1. Choose a day that will be your cooking day and stick to it.

I chose Thursday because it was our lightest day. My son takes a math class at a local co-op on Thursday which takes up most of the morning so I decided the rest of the day would be his cooking day. One added benefit for us was, as my night-owl child put it, "I don't mind getting up early on Thursday because I know I get to cook when I get home." 

In the past I've been less strict about sticking to a specific day for special classes or activities. It's so easy to make excuses for doing the activity on another day and then forgetting to do it at all, so choose a day and stick with it. 

2. Choose a different theme each month

Having a theme narrows down the recipe options making it easier to decide what to make. In the beginning, I chose the theme and my son chose the recipe. Themes can be centered around an ingredient like vegetables or beef, something seasonal like pumpkin or cinnamon, or a type of cuisine such as Asian or French. 

A year later, my son picks both the themes and the recipes. He asks my opinion but ultimately, the choice is his. He's also 17 and highly detail oriented, younger teens may need more guidance when choosing recipes.

Need some theme ideas? These are some of the themes we've done over the last year:
Candy recipes (great for Halloween or Christmas)
Side dishes / veggies
Carmines of NY cookbook (highly recommend)

3. Find a trusted source for recipes

One year I found a cake recipe on Pinterest that seemed perfect for one of my kid's birthday. My in-laws were coming and I made the dubious decision to make an untried recipe for company - on my kid's birthday. The frosting was amazing, the cake was dense and tasteless. Total fail.

While there are many incredible recipes on Pinterest,  finding recipes from a trusted source will increase your child's chances of success, building their confidence in the kitchen. 

If you don't already have a favorite cookbook or source for can't miss recipes, try Southern Living magazine. This magazine was ever present in my house growing up. The recipes are fairly simple and always so good. And yes, they're on Pinterest.

4. Keep it fun

Not everything your child makes will turn out great and messes will certainly be made. Learning from mistakes and handling failure is an important life skill. One of my son's first cakes fell to pieces as he tried to frost it and he ended up serving it in a pan looking more like a bread pudding. We all had a laugh at the presentation and it actually tasted amazing. 


Still on the fence about whether to include cooking in your homeschool? Let me convince you! Click here to read 5 Surprising Benefits of Cooking with Your Homeschooled Teen.


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