Friday, March 13, 2009


The other morning I set out an oatmeal bar. I had new chewy quick cooking steel cut oats and I thought I'd entice the kids across the bridge to this somewhat new food.

There was a little pitcher of cream, a jar of cinnamon, and bowls of nuts and brown sugar. And bananas and strawberries.

Greta was thrilled. I love how she holds the pitcher by the bottom and pours out the side.

Greta put brown sugar and cream and cinnamon on her oatmeal. She said "steel chopped oats" were her favorite. She watched as my mom and I put nuts and bananas and strawberries on our oatmeal. After a while she decided to try the strawberries.

This morning she wanted the same thing. In a rush, I put out the cream in the carton instead of a pitcher. But it would not do. And I accidentally peeled my banana from the bottom. I laughed at myself but Greta couldn't understand what was funny. I realized how ingrained even simple acts are. Why should there be just one way to peel a banana?

Today she forgot all about the brown sugar and had bananas, strawberries, cream and cinnamon.

This is what homeschooling feels like when things are going well. You lay out the smorgasbord for kids and they choose what appeals to them. Sometimes they go for what they know they like. Sometimes they try something new. Sometimes they grab it at an angle you never would have expected and unpeal it in a new way that shows you you've been stuck in your thinking. And they love it because it is their own discovery and invention.


AM said...

Barry Nalebuff (at Yale) says that monkeys peel bananas from the "other" end, and they probably know best.

New haircut?

Barbara said...

What a nice analogy!

Anna loves oatmeal, but I think she'd love it even more if she got to fix it herself. Especially if there were a pitcher full of cream. Or maple syrup. Or both!

gina said...

We've never had "real" (steel cut) oatmeal. I love you analogy. :)

Kristin Sherman Olnes said...

What I like is the healthy environment your kids are in. Look what they are enjoying eating--real food. They are learning what they like in a self-directed way though, since you set out a smorgasbord of delights for them to choose from.