Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In the Kitchen

The kitchen can be such an amazing classroom. There are lessons to be learned about the natural world, chemistry, math, language - you name it, it can all apply. Let's look at something as basic as making cookies together.

But first, you have to promise not to worry about making a mess, or having things turn out just right. No control freaks! Any mess can be cleaned up, and the cookies will turn out just fine if there's an extra tablespoon or two of flour, or a tiny bit too much salt. (But please do spill the vanilla - yum!)

So you get out your ingredients, and there's a vocabulary lesson. Flour, sugar, baking soda, butter, eggs, salt, chocolate chips. And equipment: spoon, bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons. You soften, mix, measure, level, cream, stir, scoop, spoon (and spill).

You mix the butter and sugar together and start to cream it. That's hard work! First the sugar stays looking like sugar, but then it dissolves into the butter and gets fluffy. Isn't that interesting!

You break the eggs and look at the parts - shell, white, yolk, and what's that little white stuff? What's the yolk for? What's the white for? What's the shell for? Your child starts to stir and sees the yolk break and how it mixes together. A little biology lesson.

You start to measure the flour, sugar and baking soda and vanilla with the cups and spoons and learn about the different sizes. 2 cups, 1 1/2 cups, 1 teaspoon. Now we have math going.

You can talk about what the baking soda does, and how the heat makes it change from a liquidy, mushy substance into soft cookies, and how when the cookies cool they get harder. Chemistry!

Then you put on some fun music really loud and dance as you clean up, starting with licking the spoons and bowl, of course! Hey, you're a homeschooler!

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