First, the turkey.
For our Thanksgiving crew of three adults (one of whom is a vegetarian) and two children (both of whom go on apparent hunger strikes during special occasions), we had a 12-pound turkey. Which means lots of leftovers.
Yet through the miracles of turkey curry (pretty good), turkey sandwiches and Jim throwing out the carcass with all the dark meat still on it, yesterday we were down to the last few deliciously moist, divinely flavored slices of bird. And this is the recipe in which I used them up:
- 1 med. onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. salt, or more, which I think I used
- Lots of cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp. or so of dried thyme
- 5 c. chicken broth (or turkey stock, if you are Domestic and Thrifty enough to have made it, which I’m not), or 2 cans broth, 2 tsp. bouillion granules and 1-1/2 c. water
- 4 smallish red potatoes, unpeeled, cubed
- 4 medium-smallish carrots, unpeeled, sliced into half-moons
- 2 med. zucchini, sliced into half-moons
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
- 3 c. (or thereabouts) chopped cooked turkey
- Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat; saute onion until translucent; add garlic and saute 1 minute more.
- Stir in flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook, whisking briskly, until flour browns very slightly and develops delicious toasty smell.
- Whisk in broth, a little at a time. When broth is incorporated, add potatoes and carrots. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes.
- Add zucchini, apple juice and turkey. Return to boil; reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
Very yummy, especially with corn muffins and applesauce, which is how we had it. Enjoy!
And after the Recipe, the Epiphany!
So I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the nature of education and children’s learning processes and the non-academic things children learn in the school environment. And these are the things that brought this line of thought to a head:
- The whole Hayes/bullying drama. Or whatever is happening there. Fisher says kids are picking on him at school. I don’t really know what the heck is going on, but there’s something that’s making him less than enthusiastic about the whole school routine.
- Somewhere, Fisher has picked up knowledge of the Evil One, the Great Corruptor of Society, the Pernicious Influence that Ruineth All Neuronal Complexes it Infests. (No, not Karl Rove.) I’m speaking, of course, of Britney Spears. Britney-freakin’-Spears. He’s going around singing "Hit me baby, one more time," which is not only morally worrisome, but woefully out of date.
- I’ve been reading A Devil’s Chaplain by Richard Dawkins. One of the entries is a paean to his wonderfully free-form and inspirational high school science teacher, combined with a rant about how the current political direction of education emphasizes rote learning and standardized tests at the expense of creativity, discovery and all the other things that transform one from a mere student to a bona-fide learning addict.
- Rhys doesn’t want to go to kindergarten next year. He wants to stay home and play with Mama (note: yesterday our "play" included looking through Dwell magazine and recreating some of the structures with blocks; counting the money in his piggy bank and learning coin denominations; doing Lesson 3 in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons; making scratch art; emptying the dishwasher; and making lunch).
So. Anyway. The notion of homeschooling has been heavy on my mind. But wouldn’t I go crazy with the boys home all day? Don’t I need heavy doses of Mama time to get work done? And what about socialization? I would hardly fit in with the local SPICE homeschooling group ("Supporting Parents Involved in Christian Education;" you must sign a statement of faith to join).
Then I stumbled upon this:
Classes (hundreds of them). Activities (ditto). Ranging from Lego robotics (!) to Magic Tree House book club (!) to chess tactics to public speaking to world geography to Hogwarts Academy. All parent-directed, volunteer-based… and it’s in Portland. Even if you don’t live in the area and have no interest in homeschooling, you should check this out just to marvel at how freakin’ creative and FUN it sounds.
(cue angel choirs, or at least the Mystere des Voix Bulgares)
As soon as I told Fisher there was a place he could take classes in Lego building, he wanted to drop out of 1st grade that minute and pack up to go…
(I’m so excited… and I just can’t hide it…)