Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Class De Jour... or De Année even

I've always admired these people who have managed to beautifully integrate math, English and sciences into an art-based curriculum. I remember finding online information about a charter school who does this kind of stuff. They're in Asheville, North Carolina. That would be nice, but back to my point: There's a lot of real life stuff that has this built-in integration going for it.

Not too long ago, in fact, education came from apprenticing trades or learning skills needed to keep the farm running, and such. That is to say, education happened by doing it, not being told about it. To many homeschoolers, I know this is nothing new. It's one of the distinct pleasures of the journey, getting to be a part of learning and involved hands-on with it.

And I'm not saying this next thing is anything that I invented. I've not even Googled it-- maybe I should, though-- but for me, it was an epiphany. I believe it was somewhere between fixing that 3rd snack of the day and prepping dinner, when I was asked by my kiddos if they could help. At first, I thought it was too complicated and slightly dangerous if you didn't know how to wield a knife correctly. Then the a-ha... They were really interested in it! And I had to stop cutting while the cogs sped up in my head. You see, I need these fingers-- all ten-- for future projects. Reading recipes, weighing, measuring, fractions, patterns, time management, writing notes, assessing calories and properties, reviewing supplies, evaluating costs, research, history, origins, enhancing skills... THIS IS SCHOOL, MAN! It's a full set of integrated subjects, put in savory bundle of learning! Education you can really sink your teeth into! Studies that would be absolutely devoured! Dude!

I almost cried when I though of reducing my kitchen hours to less than half-a-day. Perhaps have time to read a book. Or take a shower-- hold on. Let's not plan our retirement quite yet. There's a lot of work to be done. But if I document this well, it's a homeschool supplement that could really help a lot of people. In more ways than one.

Wish me lots of luck. And feel free to shoot me any yummy/healthy recipes you might wanna share...


Candy Cook said...

Good for you! My oldest son (6) loves to cook. He's been cooking for quite some time. We even made a YouTube movie about how to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. (I do not recommend that one LOL). Something super easy to get kids used to handling a spatula at the hot stovetop is making pancakes. They're really easy to scrape up and flip over.. and it builds the kids' confidence in being so close to the hot stovetop.

Make breakfast for dinner, one night. Biscuits are simple to make, they can learn cracking and beating eggs, and of course the pancakes.

Try making deviled eggs. It's cool because when you get a hard boiled egg, you can crack off the tips and blow in it really hard and the egg pops right out of the shell.

To build confidence with knives, start with butter knives cutting through softer items like blocks of cheese (leave them to sit at room temp for a while to really soften them up) and make grilled cheese sandwiches.

Teach them that when they are cutting anything "wobbly" (like tomatoes) to cut our a flat area to stabilize the item, first.

And always keep your knives very, very sharp. Sharper knives are actually safer.. because they are less likely to shift when cutting, or cause a person to use more pressure. :D Just in case you didn't know. :D

Mister Dad said...

You know, if you comment on my posts, Candy, I may start reading my blog as much as Raising Explorers-- which I love, thanks.

Great advice. And we're big fans of breakfast anytime. if IHOP can do it, we can do it! Right? Besides, we too often finish leftover pizza, cold casseroles or PB&J's for breakfast...

I'm glad you mentioned sharp knives. You're dead on. The only time I've got cut was when I used to woodcarve. I kept chiseling because I didn't wanna stop to sharpen it. A nice little nick and I was done carving for a week.

Have you seen those pronged slicer holder thingies? I think Pampered Chef calls them something else. But they're great for holding the food still without getting your fingers close. I freak out too easily if the food isn't soft enough to cut. I'm regularly outta band-aids...

Okay. Now I'm starving. But thanks for the great comment!

Candy Cook said...

OH, I thought I'd let you know.. that I just posted a project we're about to start. The Digestive System.. which includes making a model of the stomach and a meatloaf dinner at the same time. :D Thanks for reading the blog, also. :D

Kris said...

I just discovered your blog -- by way of nosiness and being curious about who links to mine. lol Thanks, Google Analytics.

Anyway, I just wanted to say, I really love your blog! I found myself nodding my head and laughing as I read. I'm adding you to my reader.

I also thought it was cool that you mentioned that school in NC that intergrates math, science, et al with art. I just read about that in a book I read to review for Around Zine, the new homeschool magazine that I'm contributing to. I won't give any spoilers since the review won't be out until the second issue of Around, but the book is called The Element and it's by Ken Robinson. I bet you'd like it.

Have a great day...and thanks for linking to my blog!