Friday, September 11, 2015

Teaching Temperature

Elapsed Time went so well, and we were just finishing up Temperature and moving on to Ratio, when things went awry. And it's not Leah's fault. It's mine.

We had a great lesson yesterday, reading chapter 18 of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

I told Leah that today we would explore the Candy-Making Stages, which she had carefully written in her MLB (there are nine so we made a three square by three square grid, and since the MLB page is a rectangle she had extra space to draw a detailed candy thermometer alongside). We also had, beyond just exploration of the stages of candy and how they would act in cold water, two recipes to consider: Wet Caramel and Psychedelic Lollipops.

Now, I've never made candy. And I'm scared to death of it. I was worried and rushing and half-listening for the baby to start crying, hoping he would get me out of this. Leah picked up on my anxiety and started rushing and when she went to put the sugar in the pan she knocked off my Grandmommy's vintage candy thermometer and broke it.

Leah is devastated.

Is it her fault? NO. It's mine. I should NEVER have tried with a child beside me to do a recipe (or any science experiment) that I am uncomfortable with. I needed to do it on my own first, at night, when all the kids were sleeping and there were no distractions.

I'm not sure what it is about homeschooling that makes me skip basic teaching preparation steps sometimes. I guess I think that since I'm waking up each day in my classroom -- and living alongside my students -- that I can just make it work, do things more organically. The truth is that no lesson is successful without a prepared environment, and careful preparation and reflection on the part of the teacher. I need to be just as professional with my own child as I would with someone else's.

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