Friday, December 9, 2011

Let Them Learn through Play!

I work at a learning center--the curriculum is based on reading and math and we also implement the Handwriting without Tears program.  A few months ago, we ran a Groupon and it generated a large response.  Interestingly enough, a few parents signed up kids who were younger than three or had just turned three.  This is actually mind-boggling to me.  What exactly do parents expect a three year old to get out of a reading and math program?  They usually don't even want to separate from their parents long enough to do a diagnostic to see how much the child knows.  Usually, we try to interest the parents in the handwriting program (which is really the only part of our program appropriate for such young children) but even that is difficult.  They simply don't have the attention span or the physical ability to even hold a crayon much less trace lines and curves.  I mean, parents know this, don't they?  What do they expect us to do?  Magic?  And not only is it impractical to have three year olds in the program, it's exceedingly disruptive to the older students who are working.  Three year olds will sometimes cry or have a tantrum or even throw things.  It just makes me shake my head in sheer frustration.  I just think it's so obvious.  

The company I work for is a business so we don't make it a practice of turning away potential customers.  We try as much as possible to accommodate folks but why is it that parents won't let their babies be babies?  I actually feel a little deceitful and grimy talking to these parents because I just know their child will get so little out of the program at three.  Just a few more months and it will make a whole lot more sense.  

A three year old is supposed to be spending most of his/her time learning through play!  Not sitting down trying to work out of a book.  In fact, play should be a vital and large part of all children's lives.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Knitting Project and Thanksgiving Cooking

This year, Thanksgiving was at my mom's house. It was my first paleo Thanksgiving and as far as that goes, it was really easy.  I basically ate turkey and vegetables (although I did sample some moi-moi which is made from black-eyed peas and a bit of jollof rice). This was my first attempt at paleo-friendly and vegan sweet potato pie.  This was the crust which was made with almond meal, coconut flour, coconut oil, sea salt and some cold water.  I pressed it into my baking dish and it stuck together just fine:

Here was the completed pie:

It was very, very good.  I basically used my old sweet potato pie recipe and switched out the organic can sugar for maple syrup and added some coconut flour to hold it together.  This was pretty experimental so I don't have a recipe to share.  I'm a pretty experienced baker at this point so I kind of just knew what to look for and I'm happy to say it turned out so well.  I wasn't sure if I could actually achieve a paleo-friendly AND vegan sweet potato pie but I did and it was great.  

I also made some collard greens which came out very well too. My trick is caramelized onions, lots of fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, good quality celtic sea salt and liquid smoke seasoning:

Next year, I have to double the amount I make.  It was that good.  

And my latest knitting project, the Helmet Liner.  It was a great little creative project: 
I knitted it using KnitPicks Swish Worsted.  I love the color and the feel of the yarn.  Just beautiful.  And what made it even better was that mid-project, my HiyaHiya interchangeable needles arrived.  These are probably THE BEST knitting purchase I have ever made.  They are just wonderful and I have no complaints at all.  The join is smooth and secure and they came in the most lovely case.  I still have my Denise Set but honestly, I can't imagine choosing those over the HiyaHiya set for any project.  I still don't want to get rid of the Denise Set because they represent to me the day when I became a serious knitter.  
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