When homeschooling, I liked to try fun and interesting ways to teach my kids. I think looking back I had mixed results but I always enjoyed trying. I did have one experience though that produced disastrous results.
I started with good intentions, as always. We were reading the book Homer Price, a wonderful book that I highly recommend. I read it as a kid so I was over the moon to introduce it to my kids. As with most elementary age homeschooling materials, there are several different lessons to reinforce the concepts.
For Chapter III, The Donuts, the curriculum suggested we fry up donuts with oil in the kitchen. What a fabulous idea! I should probably mention at this point that I am not the most talented cook by far. In fact the kids offer to cook for me when they come home. But I am getting off topic.
After following the recipe and mixing up the dough, I poured vegetable oil into a pot and turned it on to the recommended temperature. We waited patiently but nothing happened. I turned up the temperature but still nothing. Hmmm, I thought-strange. I dropped a donut into the pot and that’s when the real science lesson began.
Thick black smoke shot up into the air as a loud popping sound came out of the pot. A small black donut floated up to the surface. I quickly turned off the pot but smoke was still billowing thicker and faster. We couldn’t breathe and began choking. The fire alarm began to blare, which was the signal to my kids. They quickly dropped to their hands and knees and crawled to the sliding glass door in the kitchen. They opened it and ran outside, all the while yelling “Mom! Mom! Hurry up!” I quite honestly was still in shock, trying to figure out what happened.
The kids crawled back in to save me as the fire alarm continued to blare, excitedly yelling, “It’s true! You really can breathe closer to the ground in a fire!” I ran to the sliding glass door and opened it as much as I could while trying to get the dog to stop barking. I said a silent prayer that God would prevent the neighbors from seeing the smoke and calling 911. I also promised God to avoid teaching any more lessons involving fire. To this day I have kept that promise.
My husband came home from work and got to hear the entire story from my kids of course-I certainly wasn’t going to tell him. I really didn’t want them to tell their dad either, but I didn’t want to start a behavior pattern that what happens at school stays at school. So their dad got to hear how Mom almost caught the kitchen on fire while making donuts for homeschool. I don’t think I have to state the obvious-he was not very happy with me and gave me a stern lecture detailing the scientific differences between boiling water and boiling oil.
I had hoped that my children would forget about that day-I really did. But about ten years later my youngest son came home from school and announced he had received an A on his oral and written presentation on a personal event that impacted his life. Yes, he had written about Homer Price and the Great Donut Experiment. He said he had received a standing ovation, but I really think he was teasing me.
I find a lesson to be learned in all my past deeds. I’m not even sure I need to spell out the lesson I learned from this life experience. Let’s just say I leave most cooking to the experts.
Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post. Please share any life experiences you’ve had that turned out rather disastrous-it would make me feel a lot better!