I made some awesome chocolate-chocolate chip cookies last week. I used real butter, real vanilla, farm fresh eggs, real dark chocolate chunks and mixed the batter oh so gingerly so the cookies would be a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy. I scooped out rounded masses of the buttery mix, baked them on parchment paper for exactly 12 minutes and slid them on to waiting cookie racks.
Can you smell the buttery, nutty, chewy chocolatey morsels? They are crisp on the outside and gooey and rich in the inside. Oh, my...heaven in my mouth [recipe below].
Now, contrast that with a bag of store bought chocolate chip cookies. I mean, they are both cookies, they both have chocolate chips, they both are round--but what exactly is partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil and artificial flavoring?
They are not gooey. They do not melt in your mouth. But, in a pinch they will do and when you have a hankering for a cookie, they are not too bad.
While I was thinking about cookies, my brain leaped to thinking about curriculum. When you teach your kids by reading them great literature and exposing them to ideas and thoughts contained in literature, it is like the homemade chocolate chip cookie.
It is pleasing and satisfying. Kids want more--they want to dig deeper, they enjoy the experience and learn an incredible amount as they go along. Learning through literature appeals to old and young, rich and poor, eager learners and slower learners. We can learn so much through stories--we can be transported across time and space and can experience more than we could possibly experience in our own lifetime. It is rewarding and satisfying.
But, when you learn through text books, it is kind of like a store-bought cookie. It is kind of the same--but it is not really the same at all. Textbooks take a bunch of great history or science and pre-digest it in a sort of "readers-digest" format so you get the gist, but none of the passion.
Incredible events such as the explosion of the space shuttle are briefly covered, a date given, and then the article ends with something like "but even though this launch was not successful, the space program learned from their mistakes so future launches were much safer." UGH! Where is the passion? Where is the mourning? What is the point of the event? It leaves one wondering why they bothered to even read this book and how many more pages are assigned. Kind of like wondering why you are wasting your calories on a dry out-of-the-bag cookie, when you could eat a warm homemade one.
There is just no flavor, no satisfaction-- no character at all to the cookie or the text. Whether you are homeschooling or your kids are in a traditional school--please read to them.
Read them books with passion and excitement. Introduce your kids to your heroes or read classic literature to them. If you don't know where to start, ask me, ask your librarian, ask an English teacher or get a Sonlight catalog and use it for a reading list. By reading aloud to your children you can ignite their interest and imagination and strengthen family bonds. You can have true quality and quantity time with them.
Read to them and maybe whip up a batch of cookies too! It couldn't hurt!
CHEWY DARK CHOCOLATE-CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
This is my favorite cookie to bake as needed. I make the dough into 1 oz balls with a portioner [like a small ice cream scoop], freeze and then put in freezer bags. When I want a cookie I bake at 350° for exactly 14 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 325°--Beat together in a mixing bowl till creamy:
2 sticks butter [1 cup]
2/3 C granulated sugar
2/3C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Add: 2 eggs, one at a time beating after each one
Mix together in another bowl and then add slowly to butter mixture:
2 C flour
2/3 C baking cocoa [dry]
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 package chocolate instant pudding [dry mix-4 serving size]
Stir only to combine all ingredients. Do not beat. Add:
2 Cups [12 oz] chocolate chips
1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans [optional]
Stir till chocolate chips are combined. Do not beat or over-mix. Drop cookie dough onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets. I make rounded Tablespoon size cookies and bake for 11-13 minutes till cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.