Monday, January 02, 2006

Cate Cafe

During our Christmas break, I've been a bit worried that I wasn't giving the kids enough structured work to do. As a homeschooler, this is a worry I often struggle with. Being myself a product of the public school system, I find myself getting nervous when we depart from the public school model (assigned homework, structured study schedules). On a recent trip, I read parts of Joel Turtel's Public School, Public Menace. I came to the conclusion that I may be loosing some of the benefit of homeschooling when I dictate too much of the so-called learning.

A few days ago, while left to their own devices, the older two kids (9 and 11) decided to play "Cate Cafe." They cleared off the kitchen table and set it. They wrote out a menu, complete with a lunch special and a children's menu. They wrote prices on the menu and handed out play money.

They invited Henry, Ellen (5 year old sister) and me to eat lunch in their cafe. They then cooked the food (macaroni and cheese, and oatmeal) and served drinks. They presented us with the bill and Ellen paid it with the play money.

This spontaneous activity covered handwriting, grammar, spelling, etiquette, math, and home economics. And, I didn’t have to make lunch that day.

Tuesday, as we get back into our more structured schedule, I'm going to leave more time for discovery learning and make sure I'm not falling into the "busy work" trap.

I'm also inspired by Spunky's "remodel the basement curriculum." Who knows where that could lead? (Note: This is part of a series of posts called From Honeymoon to Happy Home.)


~ Patricia said...

I love this story, Janine! Blessings ~ Patricia

Janine Cate said...


I just love it when people leave comments.