Monday, June 25, 2012

just watching the yeast fart



One of my kids is fascinated by yeast. (He is also has a deep love of entomology and herpetology). He frequently takes yeast and jars and sets up his own experiments. I have tried to interest him in becoming a master bread baker, thinking we would all benefit form his knowledge and product - but he was not interested. 


This is one of the types of things you can not anticipate a child being interested in. I mean, who would think? But here we are, watching the yeast wake up, bubble and then eventually die. He has wondered if you could get the yeast to eat things other than sugar, which led to a discussion of the oil noshing bacteria used in oil spills. When we wondered how we could catch wild yeast, an answer came while reading The Long Winter and we soon understood why Ma kept her starter underneath the stove. 


We had discussions of bread making courses I took in France and how different bakers have different methods for developing flavor (some that deal with yeast). We also talked about and tasted all sorts of fermented foods and thought about why they might be healthy for us.


And on and on....


In interest-led learning, or unschooling, or organic learning or whatever you want to call it - this is how it goes. An interest in something seemingly common and inconsequential opens the door (and sometimes the floodgates) to so much more. Connections and relationships between things, events, and ideas begin to weave webs of understanding that are deep and real and as individual as the learner. The universe has a way of offering up the most perfect education for the truly curious. And the beauty of all this is that it does not matter what the "entry subject" is. You can learn about the world by studying anything - calligraphy, zoos, perfume, comics and even just yeast. 


What is something you have studied that led you to unexpected places?


We have done another really great yeast experiment here.




 
full disclosure - if you buy one of these books, i get, like a nickel.

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