Anna is in one of those phases where she wants to read the same books over and over again. A current favorite is Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. In this story, a girl makes a “thunder cake” with her grandmother as a storm is approaching. At the back of the book is a recipe, which Anna has been eyeing with great interest.
Today, the weather and our schedule cooperated to create a thunder cake opportunity. There was mixing and bowl licking and rain-watching and frosting spreading.
We also had a surprise visit from the notorious “Chocolate Lips” (her name for herself):
In the book, Grandma tops the cake with strawberries, but the girls were inspired to use the honeysuckle they found newly blooming in the backyard.
Looking at these pictures, you might get the impression that we had a dreamy homeschooling afternoon, filled with literature-linked scratch baking and foraging in the yard. And in some ways it was all of those things, ending in a messy chocolately dessert for dinner. But it was also an extremely challenging afternoon, filled with a fragile and melting-down 4 year-old, an impatient older sister, a tired mama, and more than our share of hollering. Of course, those aren’t the moments that make me pull out the camera.
I’m realizing that one thing about homeschooling is that when we are cranky and tired and just having a tough time with one another, we have to figure out how to get back on track. When we have six or eight or ten hours stretching out ahead of us, we can’t just retreat to our own corners or grit our teeth until we go our separate ways. It sometimes seems impossibly hard, but I’m discovering that we can find our way–take a breath, go outside, find a little space, snuggle up close, run around, make a joke, or do whatever it takes to push the reset button and feel those easy connections again.
I don’t think there’s a standardized test to measure that.