Encouraging Maturity and Responsibility in Young Daughters

One of the many things I love about home schooling my children is that I am able to spend the majority of my time pouring my life into them.   Like all mothers, of course, there are times when I feel spent and in need of refueling.  My husband is so great to remind me of the important aspects of life and not to get bogged down in the mire of frivolous trifles such as toy trails left all over the house by the 2 year old.  Stepping back a few steps and evaluating reality is helpful in regrouping. 
Pouring your life into your children is something the Lord commands of Christian parents.  Deuteronomy 6 is pretty clear on how and why we pour our lives into our children and what we are to pour into them. 
For our daughters, I love the freedom that home education provides me to completely train and educate them in all the aspects of Godly womanhood and femininity.  Like I mentioned before, my daughter and I have household notebooks in which we regulary use to do lots of planning for our home.  Since I am a believer in the live and learn approach to schooling, this household notebook has provided not only an outlet for creative writing, artistic expression, planning and other viable real-life skills, but has more importantly been very useful in handing over little pieces of responsibility that in turn produce a young lady that gains maturity through the process of being handed such responsibilities.  
Shelley Noonan hit the nail right on the head when she states in her article Queen in a Home of Her Own

For most of us, the years of 12-18 are the years we begin to purposefully train our daughters in the domestic arts.  But, if we would look at women of the past, a case could easily be made for our daughters to learn much before this time and be capable of running our home by the age 12…..This very idea runs counter to the popular thinking of today that tends to prolong childhood and delay adulthood responsibilities. 

I agree.  Teaching our daughters the how to’s of homemaking starting around the age of 12 is way too late.  We should use the formative years of a young girl’s life, under the age of 12, to take advantage of all the opportunities of home making training.  So practically, what are some of those age appropriate tasks we can expect from our young girls?  And what exactly do you mean when you say young? 
First of all, by young, I mean very young.  I, too, once thought of my children as too little and incapable of most things that now I regularly require of them.  The problem is that many mothers do not readily accept that learning curve phase as one they are willing to deal with;  the mess, the time involved, the imperfection, the repetition and well…”it is just easier to do it myself!” 
Instead of introducing daughters into the arts of cooking at the age of 12, I advocate introducing them into these arts at 3, 4  and 5 years old and by the ages of 6, 7, 8 and 9 they should be actually cooking and producing in the kitchen.  Not perfectly, but well on their way to expanding their knowledge and skills well beyond packaged cookie mix.  By the ages of 8 and 9, it is not unreasonable to regularly taste and smell the wonderful creations coming out of the kitchen and realizing that you didn’t lift a finger to help the cook at her work this time.  And by the age of 12…well, she should be well versed in the kitchen not only in ability but a growing knowledge that only improves with age.  That comes with years of pouring into her starting when she is 3 years old and continuing a consistent training during those most formative years!
I am continually reminding myself that it isn’t just about training in skill, but capturing her heart and attitude during these formative years are the most important! 
To answer the above question on practical tasks we can expect to teach our young girls and at what age?  Stay tuned for some ideas…

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