Thursday, August 25, 2011

learning through soup

In my opinion, one of the benefits of homeschooling is the learning that can take place through senses that are frequently neglected by traditional schooling. Although Elizabeth was fortunate enough to have a K-1st teacher who sometimes cooked or prepared dishes for the class that went along with a unit of study, many children have no education through their senses of smell and taste during the years they are in school.

Another opinion that I carry is that life travels more smoothly and is enjoyed more readily when it flows at a gentle rhythm. One way that this manifests itself is in our daily, weekly and seasonal activities. Now that Finn is homeschooling, our weekly rhythm is starting to concretize into a different main focus for each day of the week. (Nicole wrote a great piece about this subject on her blog earlier this week.) Since Mondays are our baking/cooking days, I decided to start a series, planned to travel at least through the fall, of making soup each Monday with Finn.

I've scrounged our vast book collection and the libraries available to us to find every possible children's book on soup. We'll read a soup story each Monday, then make a pot of soup, hopefully to be enjoyed at lunch. Sometimes the soup will follow the story plot, sometimes not.

This week we read Soup for Supper and then made a recipe for Cream of Broccoli soup from The Waldorf School Book of Soups, which has a great collection of soup recipes, from simple to complex and from light to hearty.

Finn did all of the chopping of the broccoli and potatoes by himself while I sauteed the onions (instead of leeks). This was his first experience with a knife and cutting board, but he picked up the skill quickly.

He helped me measure the broccoli and potato when we were done to make sure we had enough of each, then he poured the vegetables (carefully) into the stock that was just beginning to heat.

The soup needed little attending while it simmered, and I handled the blending of the hot soup. But when it was finished, Finn handled the garnish of parmesan and nutritional yeast. He has the garnishing down pat!

Then we were able to enjoy the fruit of his labors. Not only was he so proud of his accomplishment, "mama, you should thank me for making this delicious soup!" But we were able to share the soup with his brothers and daddy the next day at lunch. They were glowing in their praise and he beamed over their accolades.

And he clearly enjoyed the soup quite a bit himself.

If you have any favorite soup books, please share! I'm sure we'll be looking for new titles in another month or two!


  1. Yum! I'm looking forward to making soup with my boys soon on our cooking day. It's still too hot for soup here. Looks like you guys had a great time. :)

  2. "mama, you should thank me for making this delicious soup!" HA! I love it!

  3. What a fantastic idea - I love how 'living out' a book can be so practical. Unit studies sometimes work so well where everything blends and other times, it feels forced. This will be so neat & give you a lot of one-on-one time. At the beginning of last year, I started a soup post once a week. Maybe some would interest you? My kids loved the Roasted Butternut Squash with Bacon, especially.

  4. I think you're so writing about learning with all of the senses. What a great little project.

  5. Mmm, sounds good. Your post is timely, I'm planning on doing the soup story combo myself after hearing my friend say her kids loved soup after they read this book.
    Currently my boys like chicken noodle and only chicken noodle- homemade at least!

    Thanks for the book idea! Your son looks so proud and cute!



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