Saturday, March 08, 2008
The Intellect and Education of the Keeper at Home...
Contrary to our culture's belief, being a keeper at home provides a woman with many outlets for improving her mind. Those of us who choose to tend to family and household as our primary career need never let the world make us feel inferior on that account. Likewise, if we feel that our daily tasks are becoming routine -- as can happen with any endeavor in life -- we can refresh ourselves by learning new aspects of our vocation.
Have you ever pondered the following topics?
1) The principles of chemistry related to baking and cooking.
2) Economic principles; the historical connection between household economy and a nation's economy; the current economic situation and how it affects your household economy; how your household economy might play a part in the larger economy; stewardship; consumer science; how to assess quality of basic household materials and goods; how goods are made and merchandised and shipped
3) Nature as viewed from your back yard; the trees and flowers that grow in your area; principles of landscaping and gardening; botany; your area's environmental health or needs; ornamental plants and plants grown for food; indoor plants; historical varieties of plants; cultivating soil for lawns and gardens; the components of soil; the science of composting; chemistry as related to botany and also to plant care; stars seen in your area; effect of sunlight on a household
4) All about your pets; local animals; local birds; migration patterns of birds in your area; local butterflies and other insects; animal science as is related to your household's needs or to animals that live near you
5) Your area's climate and weather; how the climate affects your household management; the delights of your area's seasons
6) The principles of chemistry related to cleaning and laundry
7) The development of your area's style of cooking; your favorite country's cuisine; kitchens and cooking around the world; cooking seasonally
8) The principles of art as they relate to creating a comfortable and attractive living space; color, shape, arrangement, flower arranging
9) How fabrics are made; properties of various fabrics; how clothing is designed and made at a commercial level; home sewing
10) Family communication; childhood development; language arts
11) Nutrition, health, physiology; the development of a child within the womb; gerontology; how children grow physically
12) Computers, cars, appliances, a little bit about home construction; energy sources in the home (such as electricity)
13) Historical styles of home furnishings; houses from different countries; local houses of interest; houses in your area that have been turned into museums or bed-and-breakfasts; notable women of the past who managed households well
14) The history of manners; customs from different countries; changing views of manners in modern day; etiquette in the home; law as it affects the family and household
15) Principles of efficiency, more effective ways to accomplish tasks in the home; principles of organization and time management
These are just a few examples of subjects that relate to the management of a home. As you manage your household, your curiosity may be sparked by one of these topics or by something else entirely. In today's world, you have a number of options for further study: your own personal observation (keeping journals and sketches add to the fun), library books, the Internet (though be sure to check sources), asking people who have already studied these topics (asking intelligent questions will make you a more interesting conversationalist), visiting local museums, and taking a class.
It's not necessary to study all of these things in order to keep a house well. Just as you can drive a car without knowing what's happening underneath the hood, you can cook without knowing the chemical principles behind it, sew without knowing how certain fabrics are made, use a computer without understanding anything about software or hardware design, and balance a checkbook without knowing anything about economics. I, for one, couldn't tell you much about the inner workings of a car, much less of a computer.
You may find great satisfaction in your work simply by mastering the most basic concepts needed to manage a household, and that's wonderful. Or, you may choose to follow the elementary principles of home management in most things, but take an extra interest in one or two particular aspects of homemaking.
That's the beauty of being a keeper at home: All you really need for success is love, faith, courage, willing hands to work, and attention to detail. However, if you do want some extra intellectual stimulation, the possibilities for learning about subjects related to home management are endless. Have fun exploring the topics that interest you!