Monthly Archives: October 2013

Cooking and Baking with Children – Teaching Science

Cooking and baking are my favorite science experiments with children. When else can you take a few items (for instance, flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and apples), mix, add heat and be able to eat your end product (apple crisp)?
Science of cooking

Here is another way we can use the Around the World Recipe download that we are giving away on our Facebook site ( If you haven’t already done so, just like the page and then download the Recipe book under free eBook.

Cooking with children provides an opportunity to enhance numerous science skills. A discussion about hygiene when handling food could lead to learning about germs and cross contamination. Ask leading questions as you work together; why is it okay to eat cooked egg but it is not recommended to eat raw egg?
Encourage the children to use all their senses: smell the nutmeg; feel the rice; hear the sizzling; see the cake rising; taste the result. Point out chemical reactions and ask more questions. Why do you add warm water and sugar to yeast? How does yeast grow? How do you stop it from expanding? And how does baking powder and baking soda work? What about crème of tartar? How does heat make a difference? Have the children predict what will happen and note changes in texture, consistency, size and colour.
Take the opportunity to talk about the importance of nutrition and the different food groups. Discuss how our food is grown and processed. Where does sugar come from? What about milk and cheese?
The opportunities for learning are endless. Don’t think you have to have all the answers either. Research is another important facet of science.

Have fun and remember to post your creations on Pinterest


Cooking with Kids – Using the Recipes Around the World Free Giveaway

Around the World Cooking with KidsPhoto Credit:H. Arstrong Roberts/Getty Images

In light of our Facebook Recipe giveaway I thought it would be pertinent to share some thoughts over the next few days about cooking with kids and the myriad of benefits they get from it.

Given the title of the collection we shall start with the benefit they get from the global selection of recipes. Using recipes from our free giveaway download, you will help your children cook foods from around the world and teach them about other countries, the people who live there, and that food is one thing we all share as people on the planet. This is a great complement to our geography series and kids cooking items.

Download your absolutely FREE 700pg Recipes from Around the World eBook below

Facebook Free Recipes from Around the World Giveaway

Just remember to like our page to get access to the download!!

If you are having problems with the link, go to “like” the page and then go to our free eBook tab at the top and then scroll down, there is a green “Download Now” button. Click there and download the Recipe book as a PDF!

What do children learn from pets?


Our family loves cats, although we have nothing against dogs. It is simply a preference. When our children were young we had an assortment of cats, each with its owndistinct personality. We also had a menagerie of fish, lizards, mice, turtles, gerbils and budgie birds.

Having pets was often messy, sometimes inconvenient and many times stinky. Pets can also be expensive. So why did we bother?

I believe our children learned valuable lessons having pets.

They learned patience and responsibility. Animals need to be cared for, and if a cat wants food it won’t let up until it gets fed.

They experienced compassion and empathy. I remember my great big 13 year son softlycradling an injured cat in his arms.

They learned cause and effect. If you don’t change the aquarium water, your whole bedroom smells.

The children also learned about the realities of life and death. They saw guppies being born and tearfully said goodbye to beloved cats and gerbils.

They experienced unconditional love, not so much from the lizards but definitely from the cats. When life was unfair they could hug the cat.

Having pets is a commitment and requires responsible parental involvement. Small children need to be taught to be gentle. Young ones have to learn that pets are not toys. One time I asked my 3 year old son to put away his toys; a little later I heard a soft meowing and discovered the cat, along with my son’s toys, stored neatly in the toy box. Children will require reminders to feed and water their pets.

Pets are not for everyone and the decision to add a pet to the family can be a major decision. I found the effort worthwhile; the memories and anecdotes have lovingly added to our family union.

Parents make mistakes

Parents make mistakes


I know this is hard to believe but teachers and parents make mistakes:)
When my son was very young, he did something that greatly irritated me. I don’t remember what it was and it really isn’t tantamount to this story. My reaction was swift however. I said to my little boy, ” I love you but I don’t like you.” As the words came out of my mouth, I knew they were just plain wrong. Of course I loved him (and still do) and I do really like him.

There are many things one can learn from this interaction.

The first is to focus on the action and not the person. What I could have/ should have said is “I love you but I don’t like what you just did.”

And it would have been productive if I told him exactly what he did that was irritating. Words are powerful.

It reminds me of my own childhood experience: a teacher graciously volunteered his time to take a group of students horseback riding. It was a wonderful day, full of fun and exuberance. The guide led us into a full gallop. We were riding through deep ruts and I was worried about the horse faltering. I pulled the reins to the left and veered out of the path. At the finish of this exhilarating ride, my teacher said to me, “Don’t ever do that again!” To this day I don’t know what I did wrong…. How does one learn from that!

And finally, in general parents do the best they can. Learn to forgive yourself. Parents make mistakes. If these mistakes are isolated (and not abusive) children will survive. My son is a remarkable, successful confident man, despite my parenting. I have never asked him if he was impacted by my words; I am not brave enough to ask.

It takes a village to raise a child – Different voices

It takes a village to raise a child - Different voices

I have always been a great believer in the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child. The more voices or perspectives that we can get, the better parents or teachers we will be. There is wisdom from those who have done it before and there is innovation from the young. With that in mind, I thought it would be great if we could hear from voices other than myself all the time. We will be getting blogs and e-mails from Sandy to lend us some wisdom and share her voice and experience.

Sandy has raised 2 children into very well balanced, wise, kind, insightful and successful men. She has taught young minds and is a retired social worker. I believe her insights, compassion and empathy will benefit us all.

We shall be adding a different voice periodically to raise a child (our children) as a village. Look in your in boxes for her insights.

Obstacles to Success in Montessori Teaching

Montessori Teaching

Obstacles to Success in Montessori Teaching

We have so far tackled 2 of the 3 obstacles to success inMontessori teaching and homeschooling; fear and isolation.

Today we will focus on the last one

Obstacle to Success 3 : Confusion and Lack of Direction:

The 3rd major obstacle to success in Montessori Teaching that many teachers and parents face has to do with overcoming the confusion of just how to get started or what to do next. Having heard much conflicting advice and not having a plan to follow leads to many homeschoolers not knowing which direction to move in.

Can you relate to this feeling of overwhelm? In my opinion one of the most important parts to effective Montessori teaching is having access to Montessori albums, sequences and Montessori materials. These 3 things help simplify the complex world of educating your children so that you have a crystal clear, specifically defined, plan of action to pursue.

This same lesson is tru for our children. If we provide them, clear concise plans of what is expected and the steps to get there, many things become easier. A science project, once it has been broken down into its component parts and a plan is drawn, then it becomes simple and the overwhelm is gone, removing a major obstacle to success!