When my kiddos were little, I would eagerly soak up wisdom I found in other homeschooling families. What worked for them, what didn’t; ideas I wanted to incorporate into our own family’s routine. One of the funnest ideas I heard was ‘It’s Your Night!’
My friend has several daughters. Once her daughters entered high school, her girls found themselves responsible for dinner one night a week. From start to finish, one meal a week, their job was to handle dinner.
One of the many important aspects of cooking dinner once a week, was for the girls to plan the meal for themselves. They needed to learn how to decide on a meal which could be made within a given budget, thus teaching them to be financially responsible. They needed to take into consideration food allergies, what their family liked or disliked, and how long it would take them to make the meal.
Shopping for Dinner
After their menu was approved, the girls would need to turn over their grocery list to their mother, who would then do the shopping for them and make sure the girls had what they needed.
From prepping to the actual cooking, the girls did all the work. They cut, chopped, grated, and cleaned everything for the entire meal themselves. The girls learned how to manage their evenings, ensuring they had enough time at the end of their day to prep and serve dinner at a reasonable hour. They learned how to cook, and developed their own methods of working around the kitchen.
Besides cooking of the actual dinner, the girls were also taught how to set a table and serve dinner to their family. They learned proper table setting, how to make clever name cards (for fancier meals), fun napkins folds, and more. The girls would go out of their way to make their tables look special, fun, and meaningful.
Just as mom would do, the girls were also responsible for cleaning up after dinner was over. They would clear the table, wash the dishes, and make sure the kitchen was just as they had found it before starting the meal. Clean and tidy is the goal!
While, at first, these girls needed help and encouragement from their mother, they soon began to develop their own rhythm. They could cook almost as well as their mother and took pride in their night. They learned appreciation for all mom does on her own nights in the kitchen; this was laying good groundwork for when they were managing their own homes.
These girls are now fully grown, married and with families of their own. I can see the results of the discipleship their mother so lovingly took care to provide. These young ladies are wonderful hostesses who still love creating a lovely table. In fact, they often host holiday meals to perfection.
This year, my oldest is starting high school. I think it’s high time we started implementing ‘It’s Your Night’ in our own family! Together, we will pick one night of the week (not necessarily the same night each week) for her to work her magic. At first we’ll work together to help her become familiar with creating a meal entirely on her own (the kids already help on smaller scales now). As she progresses, she will be working completely on her own.
Hopefully she will learn to not only enjoy these nights but start looking forward to them; making each meal her own. I know she can do it. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how well she does. And, after all, it means one less night a week for me!
🔔Time to Chime In: How often are your high schoolers in the kitchen?