I figure one of the big “themes” of home school is letting Katie try to do things on her own. Giving her the freedom to experiment, fail, succeed and having me stay out of it. But holy crap is that hard!

It started last weekend. She had a good friend over who she hadn’t seen in a long time. The weather was kind of cool and cloudy so they were spending a lot of time indoors. I was on a roll, cleaning house and really tried to leave them to their own devices.

I think that was my tactical error.

Around 3pm, the girls decided they wanted to “cook.” Oh my. Katie really hasn’t done that much cooking yet. She’s helped me a few times, but typically lost interest before the job was done.

Thankfully, we had an “Oreo Pie” box mix on the shelf that I had clearly bought in a Safeway stupor. Most likely it was something Katie had picked out and I didn’t have the wherewithal to fight. Who knew it would end up working in my favor?

The girls did a great job making the pie. They used every bowl in the house and had no idea what a pie pan was (even though they have both had pie in their lives – sheesh). I think they discovered the process was more fun than the finished product. And I learned that holding my tongue and staying out of it is MUCH harder than I could imagine. After two hours I was a wreck from holding it all in and we needed to take a walk that evening so I could get my wiggles out!

But Sunday’s training (and patience) paid off when Katie received a late Christmas present yesterday that was a cupcake decorating kit. She wanted to make “four” cupcakes. Imagine her surprise when I explained she had to make the whole box – which was nearly 24 cakes! I handed her the package and told her to read the directions and go for it.

Then I left the room.

I figured this was a home school experience. Following directions. Problem solving. Self-reliance.

It was going okay until she asked how long she had to pre-heat the oven (hmmm, interesting question, never thought about it in terms of time), what is oil and where do we keep them (oil, plural, another strange question), and what happens if she mixed the batter too long (she found out later, the cupcakes were slightly rubbery).

I learned she’s not great at reading directions – I sense a career in technology, none of my high tech friends ever read directions – and she’s really good at cleaning up after herself. She still has to learn to do only one thing when she’s cooking; that playing with the cat during food prep is gross (and dangerous, that’s a huge cat scratch on her nose!).

The cupcakes turned out great. Frosted very creatively and pretty tasty.