Churros y Chocolate – Tasting Spanish

Frying

Today in the kitchen I cooked up something special for my Spanish 1 class at co-op to celebrate how great the kids are doing and add a bit of the Spanish culture to our class.  Our text book is called Churros y Chocolate so I chose churros.

It was fun, simple, and I wanted to share the process with you.   You may want to make them for one of your lessons when covering the Spanish culture.  ¡Son delicioso!

I found a simple recipe online here, http://allrecipes.com/recipe/churros/.   It was so easy I cooked four batches up in an hour.

They were so yummy and irresistible.

I did make one change in the process. The recipe calls for putting the dough in a piping bag.  I did not have any and tried to substitute a Ziploc bag with the end cut off. The Ziploc bag did not work because the dough was hot.

Its like playing with PlayDoh!

Its like playing with PlayDoh!

Instead I just rolled the dough in my hand like you would Playdoh. This would be a fun way to get your little ones involved in this cooking process.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/churros/

They were so delicious and everyone enjoyed them.

¡Buen provecho!

Science Class in the Home

Science can be a blast at home and sometimes messy. Ok mostly messy.

Have you ever thought how can I combine science with something I want or need to do anyway?  Cooking can be counted as math, art, (if you are really into decorating) home economics and yes-even science.

MC900195834

Here are a few cooking options and the category of science it can relate to.

Making Simple Syrup:

1 cup of water

2 cups of sugar

Pour in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until most of sugar is dissolved then watch it carefully. The mix will look cloudy then after a few seconds of boiling it will turn clear.  Remove from heat and let cool.

When the mix becomes clear is when all sugar molecules have combined with those of the water. In chemistry this mixture is called a solution.  A solution is usually made up of two compounds in this case it is water and sugar. The solubility of a solution is measured when one stops dissolving into the other. So you can add the sugar slowly spoonful at a time and as soon as the sugar starts to build up

Le Chatelier Principle

you have reach the point solubility. If you do not change the temperature the solution is referred to as a saturated solution.  Adding heat will loosen the molecule bonds of the water and sugar and thus more sugar can be dissolved into the water. Now we have unsaturated solutions. Adding heat or doing anything to affect the equilibrium is known as Le Chatelier’s Principle.  Now you have a nice sweetener you can add to tea or any other drink or dish. Store in a sealed container in refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Another way to bring science inline with your day-to-day cooking activities is keeping in mind that osmosis is the movement of water molecules through a selectively permeable membrane.

Cleaning lettuce that you grew in the garden is a great example. Washing it in salt water will kill the bugs and the bugs will come off because salt water moves from high to low

concentration. The bugs are not made of salt and cannot tolerate it but now you have salty lettuce so you then wash in cold non-salty water.

What happens here is the high concentration of salt is moving from the lettuce back into the water.   You can try this for lunch once day even without the bugs have your kids sample the lettuce before and after.  OH! Look at that, now they have eaten something green!  Here is fun video to watch the process in a time lapsed photos.

This also works when brining or pickling.  Now you truly are a homeschooling momma who can turn anything into a lesson!

Here are some links to read more about the above processes and other great sites with more great ideas for science in the kitchen.

http://kidscorner.org/html/science2.php

http://www.sciencefair-projects.org/index.html

http://www.factmonster.com/cig/chemistry/disturbing-equilibria-le-chateliers-principle.html

http://www.biology4kids.com/files/cell2_passivetran.html

Enjoy!

Why I Love to Teach Art Class

I am not an Artist.  I am a mom.  I homeschool only boys.  I have 3 and they are ALL boy.  Just ask my furniture/house/tables/bathrooms.  I have never had an art class in my life.

I want many things for my boys, for their future and heart.  One thing I want for them is an intense appreciation for all the beautiful things around them created by the Creator.  If you know boys you know they don’t stop long for beautiful things.  They do not often use the word beautiful.

Another thing I want for them is the understanding that its okay to try and fail.  For us, art was a great way to teach all this.  I began 3 years ago with 2 of 3 boys scared to use crayons.  They frequently panicked knowing they could never color in the lines despite how many times I told them it didn’t matter.

We were starting a co-op with some families from our church and I saw an opportunity.  An opportunity to teach a subject I never had time or motivation to follow through with otherwise.  I had skimmed the book, this book.DrawingwithChildren.book

I knew I could probably pull it off.  Turns out I loved it.  I loved sketching and thinking about elements of shapes.  Suddenly looking at objects and drawing them made perfect sense. landscape.oil.Ian I wished someone had shown me how easy it was when I was younger.  And now I was determined to teach these children the same thing.  We ended up with 8 children in the class, ages 7-12.  We finished the year with an oil painting. (My son did this oil painting.  He was 9.)

Now I have MUCH to learn but when I teach Art my target student it not the one who loves to draw.  It is the one who thinks he/she can’t draw.  It is the child who is impatient with the process that grabs my attention.  I want THAT child to know he may not go to art school but understanding color, line, space, and perspective are important in the world around him not just in art class.

My boys now beg to do art at least twice a week often sitting for an hour or more working on projects.  My middle son insists on illustrating his reading worksheets.  My youngest who still hates crayons loves using all the different markers I keep on hand now.  They have notebooks of creatures drawn and colored, not perfectly but they no longer care.  They are excited when I talk about going to an art museum and now I am excited too.

I won’t delve into all the various things creativity and drawing help children develop.  That is a long list but I plan to continue the art whether we are in a class or not.kandinskyskyline.Ian

Here are some more of my oldest son’s art projects from the class 2 years ago. (These were just the final finished projects.  They had many drawings and smaller projects that were not displayed.)

abstract.stainedglass.Ian

Also because I was new to teaching art I forgot to take pictures of all the kid’s pictures together.

I didn’t know I would love it but I took a chance.  I didn’t know children would benefit from it but their mothers tell me they did.  I can’t teach advanced art or prepare a child for Art school.  I can’t cultivate a lifetime of creating art for a person.  I can help a child believe its possible.  I can introduce them to basic concepts that lay a foundation for learning about color, shape, line, and perspective. 

So if you think you have nothing to offer other homeschoolers I think you are probably wrong.  Homeschoolers are creative in a thousand different ways as we push, pull, and prod our children along.  We can turn anything into a lesson.  Sometimes those lessons are that much more fun when taught to a group.

Why Co-op? I thought we were homeschoolers!

I teach 3 grade levels, all classes.  I am with my students almost 24/7.  I am excited when I get to shop for groceries alone and not simultaneously turn every question into a lesson.  Some days are golden with school done early, no one is arguing, and they all happily are reading instead of begging for cartoons. 

Other days, well, are not as pretty.  Those days you forget that you are still in pajamas at 5:00 pm and then don’t see the point in dressing.  You might as well roll right back into bed.  You are concerned your middle son might be a socio-path and pray it is just a phase.  You feel like calling your mother-in-law crying “Why did you do this to me? They did not get this from my side of the family.”

But in between the gold and dross we have these sweet moments of learning and growing.  Moments we would not be witnessed to if we chose another path for our family.  We treasure those, don’t we?

Then there are moments that we realize we cannot reach all our goals and keep clothes on everyone.  We are holding onto to many hats and bear much responsibility.  And there are times when others can help us meet our goals.  There are times when asking for help to teach a subject we will never get to on our own is good.  It is good to gain perspective about how others do that same thing.  It is good to see that your son isn’t they only boy who struggled with potty training.  It is a blessing to know that you are not the only one who thinks they can’t do it all or maybe even half of what is set before you. 

Here is a link to an opinion on both sides of the homeschooling learning co-op. 

http://www.worldmag.com/2012/09/homeschool_co_ops_point_counterpoint

I see advantages to both perspectives.  For me this has changed over the years but most importantly I think we need to realize that home, public, and private schools change for everyone.  There are seasons to life and things change whether we say so or not.  We are the best judge for what works for our family and our children’s education.

(I will caveat all this by saying we are the best judge for our family within the bounds of the law.  I am not referring to a family in crisis that needs professional help or legal intervention.)