Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another Analogy

Yesterday the Squirrelings took a walk with Mama Squirrel (in this insanely warm October weather) and we decided to pick up some bananas at a gourmet food store that was on our route. It's the sort of place that's fun to browse in but also a place mostly for Serious Cooks. There are bottles of olive oil that cost as much as wine, more kinds of cheese than there probably are cows giving the milk for them, and jars of capers and all such things that have very limited use for the Treehouse brand of cookery. Crayons got to try a sample of cheese that had chopped oranges sandwiched in the middle--that got mixed reviews. We ended up buying the bananas, a piece of Gouda, and a two-dollar chocolate bar to split later for dessert.

Does Mama Squirrel know how to cook? Yes, she puts three meals on the table every day for the five squirrels, along with the occasional company meal, Christmas dinner and birthday cake. (All right, Mr. Fixit does the turkey roasting. And he cooks some meals on weekends. And makes pancakes.) Does Mama Squirrel know how to cook with $40 olive oil and capers? No, and the squirrelings wouldn't eat it if she did. Would Mama Squirrel know how to work a shift in a restaurant kitchen? Does she know how to make a roux? No, although she did work one summer with a chef who showed her how to bump lettuce, chop onions with a mean-looking chef's knife, and squish garlic. What are the Squirrels having for dinner tonight? Farmer's sausage sitting on some sauerkraut in the crockpot, frozen perogies, and some vegetable yet to be decided.

Does Mama Squirrel know how to teach the Squirrelings? With modesty, she thinks that the Squirrelings seem to read, write and figger as well as most other kids. Are the Squirrelings socially competent? Have they missed out on not having to share their Legos with the rest of the class? No, they still have to negotiate for the pieces they want and refrain from bashing each other. Is Mama Squirrel happy when she sees not one but two pairs of feet sticking out from under the Chev Caprice during an oil change on a beautiful afternoon? Oh yes. (And Ponytails would be under there too if Mr. Fixit would let her, but this activity is restricted to those who are actually getting credit for Transportation Technology.)

Does Mama Squirrel buy all her groceries at the gourmet store or her teaching supplies at the teacher's store? Nope. Does she get her recipes from Gourmet or her teaching ideas from whatever the teacher's magazine is? Nope. The last time she made a dessert from a magazine like that, she ended up pushing raspberries through a sieve and making this cream thing, having to chill the thing about three times, and ended up with something that pretty much resembled raspberry yogurt. The last time she flipped through some classroom ideas, she was dazzled (not) by the fun little ditties we could sing about making people graphs (see a previous post) and the wonderful idea of demonstrating the letter D by having children paste dimes on their letter D's.

Does that mean professional chefs and professional teachers are wasting their time? No, it's just that Mama Squirrel has other things to do than sieve raspberries and paste dimes. She'd rather eat the raspberries and spend the dimes.

And that's the difference between classroom schooling and homeschooling. Bon appetit.

10 comments:

tootlepip said...

Amen sister. Boy, you really did have some thought rolling around in your head!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

You are so smart.=) I'm proud to know you.

Mama Squirrel said...

LOL Tootlepip, and thank you DHM.

coffeemamma said...

What a perfect analogy! I think I'll have to use that one next time my "ex-principle, ex-teacher, strong-proponent-for-all-day-school-for-three-year-olds, why-do-YOU-think-you-can-teach" uncle is visiting! ;-)

athenainaminivan said...

Thank you for the inspiration. As I sit between the unwashed laundry and the sink of dishes, I am grateful my family could spend the weekend together instead of doing housework and I can do my least favorite job (laundry) today while my little ones play.

Ann V. said...

I don't know how you picked the best of 2005 over here, Mama Squirrel, with so many to choose from---but this one sure was creme de la creme---par excellent!

And as far as I am concerned AO serves up the finest gourmet as to be served to the most selective of tastebuds. Thank you for all your efforts to make our every learning day a memorable experience!

Warmly,
Ann V.

Kathryn said...

Loved your post!! Blogged on over from 2 Talent Living!

Mama Squirrel said...

Welcome, come back anytime!

Deb said...

Your description of pushing raspberries through a sieve made me laugh out loud. And this, even though the kids are asleep! Found you through Sallie's TTL Carnival.

Kim Anderson said...

Too fun! Funny thing, though, it seems to me that down-home teaching tends to produce gourmet kids....

I love this TTL Carnival!

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