Monday, April 16, 2012

Something's Cooking in the Classroom

Today the Drama Queen helped me make a fantastic homemade potato salad and bake hamburger buns. We worked out problems with fractions as we measured the flour and sugar. We talked about the parts of an egg and where eggs come from as I showed her the proper method to hard-boil an egg. She practiced her reading with the recipes we were following. As we rolled out the dough, she tried to think of as many adjectives as she could to describe the texture and appearance of the dough. "Squishy, sticky, smooth, tan, stretchy," she chanted as she used an empty tuna can to cut out the buns. We practiced important life skills, such as cleaning up the kitchen as we used various utensils and being aware of the dangers of hot stoves and sharp objects.

All of this was my attempt, in part, to rethink my homeschooling methods and make school "fun again" for my little girl. In the past few weeks, I have received a lot of resistance from the Drama Queen when it came down to getting schoolwork done. Math papers that should have taken minutes stretched out over hours, with tears and sighs and lots of distracted behavior. I would get frustrated and try everything I had in my arsenal to "hurry her along" and get the schooling done for the day.

But I came to realize that the success of homeschooling is not measured by how many worksheets a child does in a year, or how many books she has read, or how many painstaking sentences she has written. No, one of the main reasons we chose to homeschool our daughter this year was so that we could capitalize on her passions and help prepare her to live life armed with the skills that God has already put inside her. My daughter loves helping out in the kitchen - who knew it would be such an easy and natural "classroom" for us today? And with this new restrictive diet that our family has undertaken for the Beast's sake, I am spending more time in the kitchen anyway preparing the foods that we are able to eat.

Tonight, our entire family sat at the dinner table, savoring homemade ranch burgers and delicious potato salad, while the Drama Queen regaled us with all the details of just how she had made the buns and how Momma had let her use a knife to cut up the potatoes. I smiled at her eagerness and watched her little legs swing away under the table as she polished off all her food and asked for more. "Momma, I hope I get to go to cookery school again tomorrow," she announced. "It was so much fun!"

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