Archive for homeschool

Cooking School for Kids: The Three Course Meal

Today’s menu:
Caprese salad, skillet pasta, lemon sorbet

Today’s concepts:
one-pot meal, menu planning, balancing your ingredients

When my son was little, the idea of making and serving a three course meal at home fascinated him. “Can we do that at home sometime?”

Sure we can, kiddo. Here goes:

Job 1: Skillet Pasta

I love this recipe because it’s so, so, so simple. Build a sauce by warming some minced garlic in olive oil, then adding a large can of crushed tomatoes and other seasonings. Here’s the brilliant part: instead of boiling the pasta separately, add 28 oz of water and bring to a simmer, then add the pasta directly to the pan. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stir in a handful of cheese, and you’re DONE. No extra pot of boiling water, no draining a giant pot of pasta. And as an added bonus, the pasta absorbs the flavors of your sauce as it simmers. A couple of cheats:

  • You can use a jar of sauce in place of crushed tomatoes.
  • You can drop in add-ins (pepperonis, meatballs, chunks of sausage) with the pasta, it will cook in the sauce
  • The original recipe tops the dish with shredded mozz and bakes 5-10 min to brown it. I skip this by simply topping with mozz and putting a lid on it, and letting it sit with the heat turned off for 5 minutes.

Job 2: While the skillet is going, Caprese salad gave us an opportunity to practice knife skills, and learn a new trick – how to chiffonade basil. (Roll it up lengthwise, cut in 1/4″ intervals. You’ll end up with a pile of beautiful little basil ribbons.) When I asked them to arrange alternating tomato and mozzarella slices on their plates, most of the class went for the haute cuisine look – stacked straight up. One student wisely took into account the But How Do You Eat It? and went for artful but easy.

While the pasta was simmering, we began discussions on how to pick dishes for a multi-course meal. Everyone was familiar with the idea of appetizer, main course, and dessert, but then I asked, based on what we’ve already cooked in this series of lessons, what they would select for each slot?

One student immediately selected his greatest hits – cheesy garlic bread and pasta. Ooh, and souffle. Okay, I said, but let’s look at what you’re really serving: starch and fat (garlic bread), starch and fat (pasta), some starch, a little more fat (souffle). Where’s the veg? And then there’s also the time consideration.

While cheese and starch are all well and good, it can be overwhelming for three courses. If you finished off the meal with tiramisu, your guests would go into a starch-induced coma in record time. That is, if they made it that far – heavy app, heavy main, heavy dessert. So, we looked at our lunch:

Appetizer: caprese salad. A few slices of cool cheese and ripe tomato, with a little basil to keep it fresh. Not too heavy, but gets your appetite going.
Main course: skillet pasta. Hearty, warm, filling.
Dessert: A scoop of lemon sorbet. Good as a palate cleanser after a heavy, rich dish, and light enough to finish off the meal. I also figure since they’re cooking two out of three courses, they can take a shortcut on the last. (They also took teeny basil leaves to garnish the sorbet.)

I sent everyone home with a shopping bag that contained a jar of sauce, a box of pasta, a few cloves of garlic, and a directive to cook for their families. Best homework ever.

Posted by on April 3rd, 2017

Teen and Family programs at the National Gallery of Art

Today’s cool thing: student and family programs (all the way up to teen art studio programs) at the National Gallery of Art. Check out the menu on the left side of the page; there are 1-hour guided programs for smaller children that include a docent, a story, examining one work of art, and a hands-on activity. Plus, the children are given a notebook to work in for the program.

For older kids, there are teen programs that include workshops, films, and behind the scene and volunteer opportunities.

Posted by on April 3rd, 2017

Why use the Oxford Comma

Because: “I would like to thank my parents, Mother Teresa and the Pope.”

Posted by on March 16th, 2017

Ellen 11/3

Math – Khan Academy

Language Arts – Gatsby Chapter 1 Questions COMPLETED

Social Studies – Unit 1 COMPLETE, INCLUDING short essay response

Art – Finish whatever Art History assignment you may have; artful journaling work

Science – Physics lesson

Posted by on November 3rd, 2016

E 10/14 Assignments

Math – Han Academy, 40 min
Physics – Complete lesson 8
Social Studies – Unit 1 of US History questions
Language arts – Begin reading Gatsby.

Posted by on October 14th, 2016

E, 10/4

Math – Khan Academy

LA Antigone Essay – discuss, edit

Physics – finish Unit 1 Day 5

PE – treadmill

Social Studies – US Govt

Coop: Art History, Psychology reading

Posted by on October 4th, 2016

W, 10/3

Math : Khan Academy

Language Arts: Begin essay on Winterdance.

Science: Physics, Unit 1 Day 6, Episode 102. Note taking guide pt 2 with problem set, conversion factor worksheet.

Social Studies: Watch first 20 minutes of The Story of US. Today’s question: What was the Powhatan Confederacy, and how did the group interact with the British settlers?

Art: Review the Da Vinci packet. Consider what your emblematic portrait would look like, and write down or draw ideas of what would represent you, and what your motto would be.

Posted by on October 3rd, 2016

William, 9/29

Math: I have sent you an invitation to Khan Academy, we’re going to get set up to use their Algebra I course.

Science: Physics notebook, Unit 1 Day 6

Language Arts: Free write continues. Also, if you have finished A Walk in the Woods or Winterdance, I would like to discuss a short writing assignment to tie to one of those books. Your choice.

Music: I’m going to give you the Brave Combo CD to listen to today.

Health: Deodorize. Really.

Posted by on September 29th, 2016

Ellen, 9/29/16

Math: I sent you a Khan Academy invitation for their math. I want you to go through and do the initial placement assessment for Algebra II. If you don’t know what you’re doing, or what to do, come see me with your laptop.

Language arts: Keep reading Emma. You should finish through chapter 18 by Friday.
– Antigone essay, final due Friday

Science: Physics, Unit 1, Day 5 (next one in the binder) SEE ME before you begin

Music: keep on uke’in’.

Coop stuff:
Psych: I picked up your next Psychology book, (the changing brain one) It’s in the library bag.
Art: What’s your new assignment for art history? Is there new reading?
Health: Any homework?
Social: You should have got an email from Temple about Sophie and Emmett wanting to have a party. Decide if you want to be part of this and let me know if I should prod you about it occasionally or not.

Posted by on September 29th, 2016

Writing prompt, 9/28: Good boy!

This week’s prompts come to us courtesy of the crazies over at Reddit.
You are a dog abducted by aliens. A translator appears and offers assistance to all dogs in throwing off the bonds of their enslavement to humans. You, as the goodest boy, must convince the aliens that the complete eradication of humans is not a good idea.

Posted by on September 28th, 2016