I had a bit of a homeschooling revelation over the summer, nothing too major, but it was a useful shift in perception. I realised that the only things I referred to as ‘school’ were more traditional activities like writing or working-on-spelling. I also realised that it was likely that I was building a perception in Huwyl’s mind that school is restrictive and boring, pretty much what I was hoping to avoid.
So Cooking School was born. Alongside Science School, Art School… you see where I’m going with this don’t you? I started to include all of our activities under the banner of school and, in the process, reminded myself of the need for diversity in our approach and attitude to learning. With the cooking element specifically I noticed that I do include the boys in cooking but we didn’t do much that was just ‘for them’. Often the pressure of getting the recipe ‘right’ made me less patient and tolerant than I would like, so I decided to do a cooking task that was just for the boys and focus on process rather than outcome.
I’ve been approaching this activity very much as a lesson, planning in advance who will do what task, thinking about how to expand their skills and confidence, considering the approach and potential difficulties. Crucially I’ve added the task to my planner so it is official, this helps me take it seriously and get on track as my energy starts to wane later in the afternoon. I’m not just making a mess with a questionable food product at the end of it, I’m doing Cooking School.
Our textbook for this class is The River Cottage Family Cookbook, this book was written with the express purpose of adult/child cooking teams in mind. The recipes are varied and there are many pared down classics in there. The pared down element means that the food is unlikely to rock your palate but that really isn’t the point. The point is getting the children working in the kitchen, engaged with food and building confidence; all things I want to encourage. I’ve added a different recipe for each week to my planner which, hopefully, allows me to make sure we have the right supplies and ingredients when Wednesday afternoon rolls around.
When all else fails, whipped cream makes almost anything taste good.