The Mundane Things

The Engineer used to hate oranges.  He complained because the little stringy fibers got stuck in his teeth and hurt.  For years I had trouble trying to get him to eat oranges: the only kind he would eat were the Mandarin variety.  The canned variety, to be exact.

Then his dad taught him how to slurp the juice out of an orange slice.  Now he loves them.  In fact, he loves them so much that he dreamed up a special orange crushing machine to get the juice out, and was himself a bit crushed when I pointed out that we already had an orange juicer.

He promptly wanted to use it.

So, we bought a big bag of navel oranges the next time we were at the grocery store.  The next free day we had (today, because we canceled plans due to the Princess’ unexpected fever and germiness) we washed and cut the oranges.  I demonstrated the manual juicer and he rolled up his sleeves.

By the time his hands were worn out, the stack of oranges was about halfway done and the kitchen was covered in juice splatters.  He did a pretty good job of juicing; he just didn’t get the angle quite right to prevent splatters and drips.  He was very proud of himself!

School for today: oranges.

We juiced them.  Drank them.  Looked at the segments and rinds of them.  We talked about where the orange stem attached to the tree, and we discussed why we cut across rather than up and down if we want to juice them.

He’s definitely not a pulp proponent.  The other two kids slurped the juice down happily, but the Engineer refused to finish his juice until I strained it.

Then we headed to the computer: watching orange groves being harvested and transported (“that’s a LOT of oranges mommy!”) to the factory.  We giggled as the employes “cleaned” the oranges coming off the trucks with a garden hose.  Then the crusher – a fascinating medieval-looking torture device that rapidly smushes oranges into little bits.  We even covered pasteurization – as the juice has to be treated before packaging.  Lots of good learning in there.

I wish I could say that we proceeded to spend our entire afternoon doing orange-themed crafts and enjoying spending time together.  Ha!  In reality, the kids were done – ready to go play.  The Engineer decided to build things and we ended up making a wind spinner from plastic cups, a straw axle, and skewers before lunchtime.  Oh, and lots of tape.  We’re keeping the tape factories in business now that the holiday season is over.

I still feel like we’re not doing “enough” school at times – but then I think about everything he learned.  We just did a virtual tour of an orange juice factory – how cool is that?

School is rarely so tasty – I think next time we’ll study the properties of chocolate!











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