Cookie Baking with Adam

Not to be outdone by Leah and her chocolate chip cookies from last week, Adam decided to up the cookie game chez Roy by baking Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies* today.

And because I’m happy to let Adam flex his baking muscles pretty much any time he likes, I suggested he make his way into the kitchen before he lost interest (and the rest of us lost out on the chance of fresh-from-the-oven homemade cookies).

It’s hard to believe there was a time that he couldn’t do all of this on his own. He’s pretty much a pro when it comes to baking now — and if there’s anything he’s unsure of, he asks. Even more impressive is that he completely understands that washing all the dishes and leaving the kitchen as he found it is paramount to ever being allowed to bake on his own again.

And although there were a couple oopses (like a little extra salt and a forgotten tablespoon of peanut butter that was supposed to be stirred in at the end), the cookies turned out remarkably well. Adam and Leah both thought the batter was yummy enough that they weren’t sure we even needed to bother with the whole baking thing, but two dozen cookies did manage to make it into the oven.

Success! An afternoon snack of cookies is a delicious way to mark the midpoint of the week — they pair particularly well with my sixth mug of coffee today (though Leah tells me that almond milk is possibly a better choice).

* This recipe is from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, my most favourite cookie recipe book ever. Seriously, I don’t think a single recipe I’ve tried from this book has been anything less than fabulous.

Is It Friday Yet?

Two days into the post-Christmas stretch of school and I’m ready for a vacation. Or at least a long weekend. Seriously, I’m not sure how I’m going to make it to Friday — coffee can only do so much.

Adam and Leah, on the other hand, are full of energy and enthusiasm and a strong desire to check off everything on their daily lists. In fact, at 9:30 last night, Adam asked if he could work ahead on math and Leah had already finished her math for both today and tomorrow before I’d even woken up this morning. Ah, to be young!

To be fair, Leah was focused on getting to her favourite part of the day and nothing was going to stand in the way of her spending some time in the kitchen this afternoon. Life Skills is one of my favourite things to do with Adam and Leah — but usually not with both of them at the same time because our kitchen apparently isn’t big enough for two aspiring chefs at once.

I’m pretty sure that at this point we’ve baked chocolate chip cookies at least eleventy billion times but it’s Leah’s absolute favourite thing to bake so we baked yet another batch today. Leah can do most of the work herself — she is confident reading the recipe and following the directions. And since I think being able to bake a decent chocolate chip cookie is indeed an important life skill, I’m happy to let Leah perfect it!

As for Adam, I’ve been feeling desperate to get him to spend a little less time on Minecraft and a little more time on something — anything, really — that doesn’t involve the computer. So I’ve added Non-Computer-Based Hobby to his list of things to work on during the week; he decided to pick up his abandoned knitting project and has committed to knitting five rows at a time.

I’ll take what I can get. Adam’s actually quite keen to finish this scarf and move on to another project but he’s also a perfectionist and can’t stand the thought that his tension isn’t yet even and he’s picked up an extra stitch somewhere along the way. Ideally, he would like to rip the whole thing and start over but I think there’s a huge lesson in continuing and seeing his progress as he improves over time. So he knits five rows at a time and I consider it progress that he doesn’t give up.

And that really is a life skill.

Fine-Tuning Homeschool Plans

The best thing about my three-week holiday from homeschooling is that I have had time to plan out the next next several months. It’s been a great opportunity to assess where we are and where we hope to be 21 weeks from now when I close the books on the 2017/18 school year.

For the most part, we’re on track (at least the way I loosely define being “on track” — we’re miles ahead in some subjects and trailing behind in others) but it’s a good exercise for me to take stock of how things are progressing and where we might need to make adjustments.

Since more than half of Adam’s schoolwork is done independently, it’s easy for me to lose sight of exactly where he is — so it was gratifying to see that he’s accomplished almost exactly what I had expected him to at this point in the year. It seems that we need to spend a little more time on science (and possibly a little less time on literature studies) but by my calculations, he’s actually ahead of schedule. Being flexible and following his interests has resulted in focusing a lot on creative writing and math while putting formal science lessons on the back burner, so now we need to switch gears a little to ensure that we check off all the boxes by the time June comes around.

Back in November, Leah and I decided to concentrate on just reading and math for a bit to cement some of the concepts needed to move forwards; now I think she’s ready to add back in most of the other subjects. It was a good plan and I’m glad we had the option to spend lots of time on just a few things; since Leah wasn’t bouncing from subject to subject all day, she was able to slow down, focus her energy, and make significant progress.

And now that I’ve got our plans laid out for the next little while, I can sit back and enjoy these last few days of unscheduled time before we’re back to our regular routine on Monday.