This is a guest post written by Mandy Jones, blogger at Life On The Moon.
As the school year starts to wind down, I begin looking for signs that my students are showing a special interest in a particular topic so that we can spend much of our spring, summer, and fall focusing on that topic. My son was clearly developing an interest in MineCraft so it was only natural to sign him up for a few classes via a homeschool Minecraft server. On the other hand, my daughter Ronin’s interests lie in food. She loves food and she has requested that I teach her how to make (more of) it. Easy.
At age 8, she has already mastered many basic kitchen skills. She can pop her own popcorn in the popcorn popper machine. She can warm up taquitoes in the oven. She can make her own eggs, toast, smoothies, sandwiches, and mac-n-cheese. So the next step was to help her learn how to follow a recipe and make measurements.
First, I conducted an interview. I asked many questions and collected her answers on a sheet of paper. We discussed exactly what it was she wanted to know how to make. I learned that the number one thing she wanted to make was a cake with frosting, and to eventually move into using fondant. She always had a desire to learn how to make a pizza and a soup from scratch. And maybe even a fancy sandwich, like the Monte Cristo.
Then we discussed how she’d like to record her experiences. Did she want to create an old fashioned recipe box? Perhaps a book in a binder? Or maybe a web show? Finally, we settled on a blog which is good for me because I’m already a blogger so… it just worked nicely.
The next thing I did was to ask for reinforcement. I can bake but most of my experience in baking revolves around alternatives to gluten and sugar. She was requesting that she make one good, old fashioned, sugary, gluteny cake. Who better to help her with that than her grandmother? So I called in reinforcement.
Then we met some new friends from church. The new minister from our new church and his wife had just moved to the area. But not so long ago they lived in Brazil as missionaries. And they may have learned how to cook Brazilian food while they were there. Nancy offered to have Ronin over to create a Brazilian meal and we took her up on the offer.
So far, Ronin has completed three cooking lessons. The first one was with me. She requested that I teach her some of my own original recipes. My almond butter freezer cups seemed like an excellent way to reinforce measurement and to teach her how to write a recipe. She’s made her cake with her grandmother and she has also created, nearly all by herself, an entire Brazilian meal which she shared with lots of new friends.
Ronin now has a food blog as well: http://roninlovesfood.wordpress.com/
While I’m calling this a “cooking unit”, I don’t intend for this project to end. We might take breaks from our cooking lessons but I hope that it’s something we’ll enjoy working on together for a very long time. I also hope that more friends and family members will step up and offer to teach Ronin how to make things that are special to them. So far, this has been one of the most meaningful uses of our time together as a homeschool family and I’m looking forward to many more years of Ronin loving food.
Ronin made a Brazilian dessert called Brigadeiro. They were delicious.
My thanks to Mandy for providing this article for Little Log Cottage School! I invite you to ask any questions that you have for Mandy in the comments below. If you have any articles that you would hope to see, please let us know! Also be sure to let Mandy know if this article was helpful. We love encouragement, right?