Home Economics: A Delicious Mess

Math, science, history, literature—all these subjects are a part of academics and the pursuit of knowledge. But what about the normal, everyday actions you have to do…such as cooking? How about baking? TPS solves that question with Home Economics: Cooking and Baking (along with its second semester course, Canning and Soap Making).

Home Economics: Cooking and Baking was founded by TPS and Samantha Whitmore (now Samantha Shively) on February of 2015 as a first-semester course. A second-semester sequel, Soap Making and Canning, was added as well.

The class teaches students new and challenging information in a fun, easy going environment. Its relaxed environment is balanced with its challenging activities and classes, which focus on making desserts, main meals, and cultured foods—like Sourdough and Kombucha—along with learning to make things through engaging, and sometimes even complex, DIY projects.

During the second semester, students get to make soap from scratch, can foods, and learn to bake and cook more food (after all, food is the most important part of the day)!

Cooking and Baking focuses on the students creating their own recipes in addition to following complicated recipes. Students learn how to properly knead bread and the other basics of cooking. Besides basic techniques and know-hows, Mrs. Shively also teaches complicated techniques in cooking and baking that even many “elite,” experienced bakers and cooks don’t know. 

The class is constructed so that the first half is spent on going over the project due for next class. The last half consists of sharing your masterpiece through pictures and stories about working on that day’s project.

The best part about the class is that the homework—requiring around one to three hours of homework, depending on the weekly recipe/DIY project—instructs the students to make something delicious or exciting they can eat or decorate with.

And on holidays, students get to undertake holiday-themed projects. For example, around Christmas, students make delicious foods and practice creative blessing tactics by inventing ways they can bless others with what they make.

Mrs. Shively has developed most of the recipes used in the class. There is also a recipe book, depending on how she adjusts the course, and some other resources that she uses in class and that will help students in years to come.

This course not only “builds long lasting relationships with other students and good skills, it’s [also] SO much fun and also builds confidence and self-esteem as the student conquers recipes and goals.”

In Mrs. Shively’s own words, “[The class] is such a fun atmosphere that is rich in learning. Overall, my homework gives students a chance to step away from other kinds of homework like writing essays, but they are still learning and completing homework.”

For more examples of class “art,” here is Mrs. Shively’s instagram account:

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