Posted by Sarah in Homeschooling on July 26, 2010
There has been a lot of backyard culinary creativity going on around here. Lani, Eli and Lilly have all been totally hooked on MasterChef and Lani is thrilled that Adam her favourite since about half way through took out the honours last night. She would like to be a fan of Japanese food (which Adam cooked a lot of) because it’s so pretty, but like her fractured relationship with strawberries, she has learnt that just because you like the look of something doesn’t mean you can stomach the taste.
Since their sudden interest in food I have been noticing many food related schooling opportunities. We have been shopping and cooking together, reading the labels on the back of food products and talking about all the additives and preservatives that are hidden in food. Alanah has also asked to stay up and watch Jamie Oliver’s show Jamie’s Food Revolution which we decided to let her because it shows quite dramatically the difference between healthy and processed foods.
So when the kids went to see Wombat Stew I wasn’t surprised to see their passion for cooking to develop into a passion for cooking lumps of backyard goop. After tipping out yet another plastic bucket full of gooey brewy brown goodness that had found it’s way into the house I had a brilliant idea. I’ll get them to create their own masterpiece meals then write down the list of ingredients used so that we can make our own Gooey Brewy recipe book. I thought we can even have a go at being food stylists and photograph the finished dishes. How brilliant am I, I crowed inside, I can even turn mud into school work!
I’m pretty sure the bible has something in it about crowing. I’m also pretty sure we have all lived in this world long enough to guess the lesson that was about to be learnt, It wasn’t the lesson I intended but it did have to do with cooking, well eating at least, eating a specific type of pie…
I presented my Really Cool Mum schooling idea as a surprise when they were having an outside break after maths. I waited positively glowing inside for the squeals of delight. The two girls were sufficiently impressed and ran of to hunt down the best ingredients our backyard could produce (please note we don’t have a veggie patch). Eli however stood stock still staring at me, a look of horror slowly consuming his features. “I’m NOT doing that” he finally blurted out followed quickly and firmly by a “I”M GOING INSIDE!!!” “Oh come on Eli” I responded softly “It’ll be fun” (doesn’t that just sound like one of those teachers) I even offered to help him with the writing thinking that might be the problem. “YOU”ER NOT GOING TO MAKE ME DO IT!!!!” he screamed backing away from me outstretched arms protecting himself from the horror of mud pie schooling.
Now I don’t know whether it was PMS or just not being back in the swing of things after the holidays but this performance was like a red flag to a bull. Fully aware that my gardening neighbours were only 5 millimetres of metal away from us and with all the blood in my body rushing to my cheeks I growled back “Yes I am, this is school work and you are going to do it” (Grrr). And as the girls skipped happily around the backyard filling their buckets with twigs and leaves Eli and I performed a dance that would put any pantomime to shame. He ran, I followed. He climbed over play equipment, I followed. He dashed through the dark garage, I followed. He clambered on top of a rickety pile of old furniture and perched like a living gargoyle baring his teeth at me, I yelled “Get down here now” He responded with “YOU can’t get me” and then just in case the lovely neighbours weren’t worried enough already “DON”T MAKE ME DEAD”
It was at this point I think that the sense kicked back in and I asked the bleedingly obvious question “Why don’t you want to do it?’” “I don’t want to get the yucky stuff on my fingers” he said “but you are always making soup and potions in the backyard, you like doing it” (That’s why I thought of this totally stupid idea) “No I don’t” he shouted down indignantly “Lilly makes them for me so I don’t get it on my fingers” “oh” I said.
See this is the reason I chose home over school, so that if anything stressed Eli out he would be able to approach the task at his own pace. So that he would be free from pressure and here I was practically dragging him kicking and screaming into an activity that was causing him anxiety. granted he can sometimes refuse a task just to be defiant and I am pretty sure he has touched gross things before but that is beside the point. He was stressed and after all my back patting earlier I turned out to be the worst educator in the world that morning. Let’s face it people my pride was hurt by his reaction and instead of focusing on the ones keen to do the activity I entered a battle of wills I shouldn’t have been in.
I apologised to Eli told him he could go and find something else to do and walked over to help the girls. The girls and I had fun, the rest of the morning played out as excepted and low and behold as Lilly was plating up Eli rocks up cool as a cucumber with his bucket full. As soon as he had time to think it through he wanted to join in and was just as keen as the girls.I’m not sure how much education the kids got that morning but I learnt my lesson and the dish I plated up was flavoured humble.
Lilly’s Snake Stew
Alanah’s Zebra Stew
Eli’s Red Belly Black Snake Stew (He did do the writing, in fact he insisted only I have temporarily misplaced his writing book, see what a bad mother I am)