Effects of learning to cook


Here are a few examples of a 5 year old child’s learning in 3 years of learning to cook. These demonstrations of learning are taken from her experience of preparing “apple kesaribath”, a South-Indian semolina pudding sweetened with apples.

  • She has learnt several topics of mathematics while measuring out ingredients – including basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction and multiplication for now), fractions, ratios. For this recipe, we needed 1/4 cup of semolina (rava) and double that quantity of water. She was able to accurately measure out a quarter cup of semolina, and then calculated that double of quarter cup would be half a cup. This demonstrates an understanding of multiplication.
  • She has demonstrated the spirit of scientific inquiry, through observation of reactions between different ingredients and application of different processes to ingredient. For example: what happens when heat (a process) is applied to applies (an ingredient, a fruit)? She observed that the apples turned from crispy to soft, became stickier, and changed in color from pale yellow to light brown. She observed that cooking apples caused steam, despite not adding water to the pot, and was curious to know why. She asked questions about these reactions, and learnt that apples contain juice (which upon heating produced steam) and sugar (which upon heating caused caramelizing that made the apples turn light brown).
  • While preparing this recipe, traditionally served along with a spicy semolina porridge called “upma” or “uppittu” in small street-side cafes called “Darshinis” in Bangalore, Karnataka, she demonstrated a desire to understand culture, asking us to tell us the story of the dish, where the dish comes from, and how to eat it.

These are just a few examples of how cooking integrates education across disciplines, in a manner that makes learning natural, engaging and integrated into real life!

Homeschool Day 1 – plans vs. reality

Let me preface by stating that today would be our second day of isolation. This means, no playdates, no meeting anyone outside of home unless absolutely necessary (such as a grocery store visit) and following all precautions even if we do step out.

The day started off well. We managed to stick to our schedule for the most part. I was very proud of A for grabbing her workbook and working independently at the same time that she would when in school. The morning went smoothly, with us sticking to the general plan with minor delays/alterations. In addition to the math worksheets, A chose to draw and make stories today, an activity full of whimsy as she dreamt of squirrels and kids playing in the forest.

This afternoon, our county along with other counties in the Bay Area announced a complete lockdown. This means, all 6.7 million residents of the Bay Area are ordered not to leave home except for food and medical reasons for the next 3 weeks. This is a difficult and crucial step in order to contain the spread of the virus. While that debate belongs on a different platform, it did derail our afternoon education plan. Anyway, more tomorrow!