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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homeschool Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This cold time of year reminds me of a time, many years ago, when we had an ice storm here in Ohio. Like many homeschoolers, I like to take advantage of natural events and find ways to incorporate learning into daily activities. So on this particularly icy morning, I went out into the yard and found a stick that was thickly coated in ice. I took it inside and showed it to the children, who were fascinated with seeing the stick that now looked similar to an icicle. We set it in a bowl so we could observe it and see how long it took for the ice to melt. With AD/HD children, simply waiting for ice to melt would be torturous. So we needed to do other things and periodically check in on our stick. We started a cooking activity to make pumpkin bread. I wanted the kids to be actively involved and thought it would be good if they learned some skills and practiced mixing, adding eggs, etc. When it was my son Josh's turn to add an egg, he managed to crack it but somehow the egg ended up on the floor. Amazingly, the yolk stayed intact. After examining it, I invited Josh to poke the yellow part of the egg with his finger to see what would happen. How could I forget in that moment that my son had sensory aversion issues with such textures? He reminded me by quickly putting his hands behind his back and leaning away from the egg. Then he came up with a solution that would satisfy his curiosity about what would happen if the egg were prodded as well as protect his fingers from a slimy assault. We used the icy stick for poking the egg, then cleaned up the mess and discussed how having raw egg on the stick might somehow affect its melting time. I didn't know about the "incidental" learning that took place that day until the next time I made pumpkin bread. I asked the kids if they remembered how to make pumpkin bread and Josh quickly piped up, listing the ingredients and how to mix them together. When he came to the part of the recipe when eggs should be added he said, "Then you get out four eggs and Mommy puts in the first one, then Beth Lee puts in the next one, then I drop one on the floor and poke it with a stick..." Clearly, this is a special family recipe that just might be passed down through the generations. Especially if there are future homeschoolers!

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