Things You've Never Thought to Try

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Cristi posted a photo of homemade marshmallows in the making. Brittany made marshmallows once. They turned out a tad different than the kind that come in a bag (more like cubes than cylinders). They weren't as light and fluffy. They tasted fine. And had you asked how to get marshmallows before my wife made a batch at home, I would have told you to try Aisle 6 at the store.

Square-Marshmallow
A Square Marshmallow?

Same with mayonnaise.

I know we can make food at home. I realize it's totally possible to create stuff you can buy from a brand. And while I gladly support the move away from processed foods, why do these kinds of things keep catching me off guard? Why is it so surprising to think of making marshmallows at home?

Let's step out of the kitchen for a moment. A similar resignation to outside processing is rampant in our society. It's largely an artifact of specialization. Why would I need to know how to work on my car? I can take it to a mechanic. He has the tools and the training to do it faster and better than I. So when I stop to see if I can help a stranded motorist, if they need anything more than a battery jumped, a tire changed, or a push ... I'm not going to be of much help.

Homeschooling has much the same shock value as, say, making your own vanilla or laundry detergent. Once you've done it, you realize there is no guarded secret to the process. This may explain why so many of us homeschoolers make our own vanilla and detergent. We've discovered that while store-bought marshmallows all look the same and have the same light and airiness, we'd really like a little more control over the ingredients. We're not looking for conformity. We're looking to do something that matches our child's needs.

This analogy helps us see the other side as well. There are times when outside resources are super helpful (like my auto mechanic who is currently fixing a window stuck in the down position). There are times when it benefits our children -- and us -- to send them to a "specialist" be it in an advanced subject or sports or band or otherwise. We're not fundamentally against using resources available to us, we're just more selective in what resources we use when. Because we've realized we have that choice.

Many people never even think to try homeschooling.

And that is unfortunate because, like homemade doughnuts, homeschooling is amazing.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian

P.S. One last food thing before I sign off: French fries. I'm still looking for an easy, uber-tasty way to make them at home. There's something about the processed starches and grease of a restaurant that we just haven't matched at home. ...that's probably a good thing.

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