Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Class, or Unschooling the Mother

I don't know if you remember health class in school.  I don't remember a thing that I learned.  I remember it was taught by the gym teacher, and seemed like a HUGE waste of time.  I do remember the girls being somewhat fascinated with Mr. Dean's legs because he always wore gym shorts to class, but I digress. Somewhere down the line in this homeschooling journey I believe that the state requires us to show that we are teaching our kids "health" using some stupid curriculum.  I wonder if I would be able to cite Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution as a curriculum.  Let me explain.

We had an insane week last week, complete with a weekend that was packed just as tightly with commitments and activities.  There was barely a moment to breathe, and so this morning I let the kids sleep in, woke feeling slightly guilty that on this Monday morning, school was not going to be in session for any reason other than we needed a break and some time to clean up the house and regroup.  If they were public school kids, I would have dutifully put them on the bus, they'd have had their proper lessons, and I would have stayed home and cleaned up the house and done the laundry.

Instead we all three got distracted watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution premier online.  Matty was completely fascinated, and all of a sudden decided he needed to go through our pantry and start reading labels.  He put out everything that needed to get tossed out onto the middle of the table.  Products containing high-fructose corn syrup, soy bean oil, hydrogenated oils, MSG, and things he was unable to pronounce were evicted from the pantry.  Thankfully there weren't a lot of items, but the important thing is that they were all his choice.  We also found very healthy things in the pantry and decided to make some soup.  I asked him if he wanted to learn and  he said yes.  So we pulled out lentils, an onion, chicken broth, etc, and I taught him to make lentil soup.  It was as if he finally understood the changes we've been trying to make and suddenly, he was a part of them. Molly too--in her little way--is understanding.

I suppose this is a two-pronged post.  The first prong is that I take issue with the state's requirements that I have to jump through some distorted hoop to prove that my kids have been properly educated about health.  Everything I know about eating well and living well I learned from my mother, who took great pains to teach us the best that she could, and now I am adding to that knowledge and teaching my children.  The second prong is that I still can't believe that I give in to the guilt associated with not sitting down with the textbooks and the chalkboard in a little mini school house to do "school" with my children.  UGH!  What they learned today will serve them a healthy dinner not just tonight but for the rest of their lives. 


  1. I love this post. Your children learned a lot and applied it immediately. It doesn't get better than that!

  2. Thanks. I have such a hard time releasing myself from the proverbial box. But what I want are free-thinking, healthy individuals who can bend in the winds of change and not break, not little drones who blacken bubbles on printed sheets. This was one of those experiences that reminded me that we are in fact on that path.


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