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WFH-Schooling is not Real Homeschooling

In Field Notes on 10 April 2020 at 12:28 am

Attention kids! To live the homeschooling life under quarantine, frolic from home.

So just as the Harvard students sent home to quarantine were advised to make clear that their online classes were not the same as others’ online classes, I find myself silently clearing my throat when I hear people speak about homeschooling now that everyone sent home thinks they’re suddenly doing it.  Work-from-home schooling, I am here to say, is not real homeschooling.

As everyone should already know, we true homeschoolers (unschoolers, if you care to be specific), hardly at home and never at school, treat the whole world as our learning environment.  We frolic about like deer, soaking up insights from the birds and the trees. We radiate joy and intellectual adventure.  We seek not to answer the questions but to question the answers.  Mistakes are but stepping stones on our journey.  Apples regularly fall upon our heads.  Like Newton in quarantine, we seek not only to interpret the world but, indeed to change it.  We commune with ideas with the energy and innocence of our unvarnished, unfettered minds.

Assignments?  Deadlines?  Rubrics?  What to the deer frolicking in the woodlands, are these? Read the rest of this entry »

Attention kids! To live the homeschooling life under quarantine, frolic from home.

So just as the Harvard students sent home to quarantine were advised to make clear that their online classes were not the same as others’ online classes, I find myself silently clearing my throat when I hear people speak about homeschooling now that everyone sent home thinks they’re suddenly doing it.  Work-from-home schooling, I am here to say, is not real homeschooling.

As everyone should already know, we true homeschoolers (unschoolers, if you care to be specific), hardly at home and never at school, treat the whole world as our learning environment.  We frolic about like deer, soaking up insights from the birds and the trees. We radiate joy and intellectual adventure.  We seek not to answer the questions but to question the answers.  Mistakes are but stepping stones on our journey.  Apples regularly fall upon our heads.  Like Newton in quarantine, we seek not only to interpret the world but, indeed to change it.  We commune with ideas with the energy and innocence of our unvarnished, unfettered minds.

Assignments?  Deadlines?  Rubrics?  What to the deer frolicking in the woodlands, are these? Read the rest of this entry »

My Old Bra is My New Mask

In What on 5 April 2020 at 8:15 pm

Stuff I should have thrown out long ago that now is proving useful includes … lonely socks, broken hairbands, torn clothes that I knew I couldn’t wear, but couldn’t admit that I’d never mend or make into a quilt (!)… and a bra whose hooks I knew I’d never replace and hence was sitting in limbo in a box along with junk mail that I need to go through and recycle. Read the rest of this entry »

Slow Learning

In How on 22 March 2020 at 2:05 pm

Dear readers, With schools around the world closing to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, many are seeking to understand the dynamics of learning at home.  Here is an article I wrote when my daughter was 9, years before her first day of school.  Were we homeschooling?  Unschooling?  I liked to call it slow learning.

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We often ask, what is learning? Now let us ask, what is slow learning?

1. Slow

In Space and Time in Classical Mechanics, Einstein asks to imagine that he has dropped a stone while in a moving train.  As it happens he asks us to imagine that he has dropped it outside the train, from the window, as the train movedi.

Inside a moving train, if we drop a stone we will see it fall down in a straight, vertical line.  If we are inside the moving train but drop the stone outside the train, we will see the same thing.  To the falling stone, once released from Einstein’s (or anyone’s) hand, it makes no difference whether it is inside or outside the train. Read the rest of this entry »

Millet Salad Picnic

In Recipes on 6 June 2019 at 1:12 am

Thanks to the kind of friends you can make and ask for help in the same breath, the 5th annual Peace, Justice and You(th) camp featured freshly made millet salad. On one day notice Sireesha got foxtail millet and garbanzo beans, cooked them and brought them to the Kiddie Camp (yes that is what it is called) and on site, several parents jumped in to chop the veggies.  Lo and behold by noon lunch was ready.   Apart from the millet salad we had hummus, bread sliced tomato, cucumber and carrot and plenty of fruit.

Putting together the salad at the picnic table!

Read the rest of this entry »

Khorasan Kushari (Bob’s Red Mill Kamut recipe)

In Recipes on 12 May 2019 at 1:30 pm

So in my enthusiasm for new, by which I mean ancient, grains I got a bag of Bob’s Red Mill kamut which for some reason* is always written with a registered trademark symbol, as in Kamut® and after months of wondering what to make with it and thinking I would have to mill it and find a bread recipe I looked at the recipe on the packet. DUH! It was delicious.

Read the rest of this entry »

Whole grain spelt waffles (eggless)

In Recipes on 20 April 2019 at 5:27 pm

Is it possible to make waffles out of freshly ground spelt flour? 100% spelt, not even sifted or mixed with a lighter flour, just straight up spelt?

If you have ever wondered this, then you have come to the right place. I just plunged right in and made waffles with spelt flour I milled at home. The recipe is quite simple and you can use it for waffles or pancakes!

Spelt waffle topped with pear, banana and walnut

Read the rest of this entry »

So I made the Farrotto …

In Recipes on 11 March 2019 at 12:00 pm
Bob’s Red Mill Farro

As the delighted recipient of a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Farro from my dear friend Lisa who keeps introducing me to new ancient grains, I perused the recipe printed on the bag and became, if such a think can be imagined, even more delighted because I actually had the ingredients. They are: vegetable stock, olive oil, onion, garlic, farro, mushrooms, green peas, butter, cheese, black pepper, and salt.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kale Kala Chana Stew

In Recipes on 15 February 2019 at 8:00 pm

I had a pound of kale fresh from the farmers’ market.  I was very hungry and had to go to a meeting, so was wondering what I could make quickly.  Now recently I have noticed that people are making kale salads which are downright delicious, so I thought, why don’t I figure out how to do that?  It requires no cooking and that way I can have an instant meal … as soon as I figure out how to tame this kale.  

Read the rest of this entry »

Run Me Down

In Field Notes, Real Talk on 9 February 2019 at 12:38 pm

Guest post by Hema Gopinathan in a new series called REAL TALK where Ask Amma explores issues we face when engaging with womanhood.

I look wistfully at the cute pair of neon running shorts with its matching tank top that I picked up from a big fitness brand store. An expensive waste, when I am fully aware, having been told over and over, that if you want to run you can even do it in a salwar kameez or a saree. The critical point to remember is to never call attention to oneself. Because that’s very bad, calling attention and any consequence would entirely be my fault. So I put on a pair of leggings long past their lycral prime and a XXL t-shirt in a colour that can be only described as puke-sia. The hair is bound tightly as are the breasts, so as to not swing and you know, call attention.

Read the rest of this entry »

OMG Einkorn!

In Recipes on 5 February 2019 at 2:09 am

I think 2018 will have to be remembered as the year of Einkorn. Recently when trying to convey to my sister how ravenously exhilarated, how irrationally exuberant, how transcendentally euphoric I had become in the sannidhi of einkorn, Khiyali said, “I think it has replaced Taoism as her new religion.”

She said this because just a few months ago I was transported, I was understood, I was spoken to, by a verse from the Tao the Ching.

All the world talks about my Tao
with such familiarity — 
What folly!
Tao is not something found at the marketplace
or passed on from father to son
It is not something gained by knowing
or lost by forgetting
If Tao were like this
It would have been lost and forgotten long ago

Let us simply say, I exhaled.

A sigh of such satisfaction, of longed-for understanding, such sense of being found, being at once remembered without ever having been forgotten, a reassurance of trust in the world, a touch of the ancients, the likes of which I had not felt before or since … until I found einkorn.

Is there anything like einkorn? No there is not.

To think I stumbled upon it almost by accident. For introducing me to einkorn I must thank my friend Lisa Kinney, who has been purveying the goods of the Amish to me … when I asked her if she could bring me some wheat berries, she also brought einkorn. Not knowing what to do with einkorn I used up all the wheat berries first. Having resolved not to buy flour, back in my early days of milling when such resolutions were required to prevent me from taking the benighted way of seeking things that are to be found in the marketplace, I one day found myself out of wheat berries.

Freshly milled einkorn!

And so the einkorn pulled up to the front of the pantry and made its way into the mill. Now, for a recipe. I found one that said “if the thought of baking is daunting …” I thought, no, the thought of baking bread is not daunting, give me a recipe for the undaunted. Nonetheless, since this was the only recipe for plain wholegrain einkorn bread I could find, I followed it and found that there is little that can say “Tu Zinda Hai” with the wisdom and confidence of fresh baked einkorn.

Moreover, I can also attest that, for those daunted by baking, the process is simpler than baking with modern wheat, as there is little or no kneading involved. 

Step 1 – Mix water, honey and yeast. Let sit for 5-8 minutes as the yeast proofs.

Note: If you know your yeast is active you can go directly to step 2 without waiting for visual proof. If you do opt to confirm, or have littles who want to see the yeasties plunge down into the sweet water and foam up to the top, here is what it will look like after a few minutes:

Yeast after a few minutes in sweet warm water will look like this.
If nothing like this happens, your yeast is probably inactive and you need to get new yeast.

Step 2: Add flour and salt. Mix with a fork until all the flour is wet. No need to knead einkorn. In fact, after mixing, the dough gets half an hour to rest and rise. Don’t wait for it to double in bulk, just let it start rising and move to step 3.

All five ingredients for einkorn bread are mixed. The dough is too wet to roll or shape.
But it will rise.

Step 3: Stir down and transfer dough to oiled baking pan.  Keep in a warm place and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.   Don’t expect it to double in bulk. If you let it rise until it doubles in bulk, it might collapse while baking. Note that I am speaking from experience. If this happens though, all is not lost. The bread will still taste good, get eaten, and you can try again in a couple of days.

Step 4: Preheat oven to 375 °F and then put the pan in the oven to bake for 35 – 40 minutes.

 

It usually rises a bit more than what you see in the above pictures (will try to remember to take pictures again and put them in here for comparison) but even so the texture will be more dense than bread made with modern wheat.  

I found these proportions on the Jovial website and I have been using them ever since.  So simple – one pound einkorn flour , one ounce honey, half a teaspoon salt, half a tablespoon of yeast, and 350 grams of water.  Here it is in grams (mostly): 

456 grams whole grain einkorn flour
350 grams water
28 grams honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Basically – stir everything together, let rest for 30 minutes. By this time it should start rising but not double in bulk.  Stir down and transfer to an oiled baking pan.  Let rise 30 minutes.  Again, don’t wait for it to double.  Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.

Don’t forget to preheat the oven so that it is ready at 375 by the time the 30 minutes are up.   Otherwise the dough will keep rising while you wait for the oven.  Timing is important in yeast-based baking, and especially so with einkorn where the rising time is short to begin with. 

Thanks to Jovial Foods for the recipe. 

 

 

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