Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Health, Fitness, and Homeschooling
When we first started home schooling, I bought every book recommended for the 1st grade, from Abeka no less. Over time there have been lots of changes. For one thing, I don't use Abeka at all anymore. It is too spendy! And I found they have way too much "busy work". In one of his books there was a list of things to do everyday, and one them was... "smile at your teacher." I wasn't amused because he was already spending too much time just sitting and copying or doing work he didn't need to do. It was like they were just trying to eat up time for no reason. I love smiles from my children, don't get me wrong. But this just didn't strike me as sincere.
Fast forward to now....
With 6 out of 7 children now doing schoolwork, I have learned to streamline and continue to learn to use hands on type of strategy. Over the last 10 years I have found that for our family, using creativity while learning is wise.
What does all of this have to do with the title?
As I said I have streamlined. There are many books I don't buy. Basically for social studies, geography, history, science... text book learning is non-existent. Benjamin is working from a high school level science book for part of the year, but most of it is learning by doing experiments and keeping a journal or lap book. Pretty much what I do with the rest of the gang. For this year, I gave him the choice of working with us for a unit study, or doing a module (a unit) from his science book. I told him he can go from one to the other, but not in the middle of a unit. He has to finish what he starts.
Our first unit study... actually, a mini-unit study, is on dragonflies. I have the cadaver of one that drowned in our pool a couple weeks ago. So, a simple google search later, we are involved in drawing and writing about dragonflies in our newly decorated nature journals. This will last for the rest of this week, and next week we'll start something new. I figured this was an easy way to start out science for this year.
We do much of the same process with the other subjects. Some unit studies take a week, some a month, some more. We go with our interests at the time. When we had our missions conference last year we studied Morocco, for example. We did a very large lap book study on that country. It was fun! We even tried making a couple of Moroccan dishes for our international dinner.
There are a couple subjects I don't even do that much with because they are worked into our everyday life: Health and Fitness.
Once upon a time I bought a "heath" book, with worksheets and everything, for my oldest. It was the biggest waste of money. It talked about everything we already told him to do... teeth brushing, bathing, eating good food, etc. Oh puh-leeze.
To be honest, having "health and fitness" learned from a book seems downright boring. Also, it gives it the stigma of being something just to learn for a time during school, when in reality, it needs to be a lifestyle.
This is one of those things I incorporate into everyday life. For example, yesterday, we made "healthy" cookies. Those in the pic at the top of this post. Now, I didn't sit down and say what each nutrient does, but I did point out what we were substituting for certain usual baking ingredients, and why. I didn't make a "lesson" out of it, per se, but mentioned it in regular conversation. I'm not worried if they understood it all. Why? Because, we'll be doing it again. And again. It isn't a quick lesson from a textbook, it is part of our lifestyle. As I learn more and more about nutrition and health, I use it, and pass it on to my family in a gentle, everyday life type of learning.
Another subject I laugh at is gym. Oh give me a break. I have never scheduled "gym class" in our ten years of home schooling. My kids are "outdoor" kids. They love to be outside. They are always swimming, or bike riding, or playing baseball, or kickball, or just tearing around like wild Indians. Lately the twins (and sometimes Jerusha for a short time) will do the WATP dvd's with me. We usually do about 4 miles, or 5 miles. On days when we are more pressed for time, we do 3 miles, with weights. They do that at least 4 times a week with me... by choice. I don't force them too. In my opinion... "gym class" is a waste of time. Let's use that time to get done the academics that we need to, then you can go out and ride bikes or play kick ball, or tag, or swim, for a long time!
I guess some would call that "unschooling". I don't know what to call it. All I know is that I want health and fitness to be a lifestyle for my children, not a subject they have to study in school.
Okay, as promised, here is my version of:
Whole Wheat, Honey sweetened Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (How's that for a title?)
1 Cup honey ( I think you could get away with 3/4 of a cup)
1/2 Cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBSP non-fat plain yogurt
1 Cup Whole Wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (kosher is recommended, but we just used regular)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 nutmeg (this was a little strong.. I would do about 1/8 tsp next time)
1 GENEROUS cup oats ( we used quick oats, but you can use any kind)
The zest of one orange (optional... we didn't do this... but I will next time)
Chocolate chips (1 cup is recommended, but we used a whole bag. Ahem.)
Mix together, in a large bowl, applesauce and honey. Add the egg, vanilla, and yogurt, and stir until it's all creamy.
In a small bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together and then add them to the wet batter. Stir to incorporate.
Add oats, orange zest, and chocolate chips. Mix.
I added more oats here as I like the dough a bit stiffer than what I was getting.
Spoon out the batter in whatever size you like onto greased cookie sheets, or use parchment paper. We did our cookies pretty large, and due to the stiffer batter, they baked into soft little balls (see above pic). Next time, I would smoosh them down a bit since they didn't spread at all.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies are nicely browned.
I have no clue how many calories these are. I looked on MyFitnessPal.com for something compatible, and my best guess at this point is that they are around 85 calories each, depending on the size you make.
You can really fool around with this recipe... add nuts, use peanut butter, or pumpkin puree, or use raisins instead of chocolate chips (you're kidding, right?), or white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.... etc, etc... use your imagination.
The exchanges I made were:
Yogurt instead of milk
applesauce instead of butter
whole wheat flour instead of white flour
honey instead of sugar.
The eggs I used were farm fresh. You could use steel cut oats instead of quick oats for an even healthier version.
Enjoy, guilt free!