Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Lessons

One of the things I hear a lot about when I tell people we are homeschooling is how to teach Jewish themes. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you can teach everything through the Torah and by keeping your eyes open you can find lessons everyday for your children. Yesterday the girls learned about hashgacha pratis. (Hasgacha pratis is commonly translated as divine providence or guidance. It is the idea that G-d is controlling every detail of the world.)

We went strawberry picking yesterday. We hit traffic heading out to Cal Poly Pomona so the drive was almost twice as long as expected. Then Brenda at the Farm Store was explaining that there weren't many berries ready. It seems that kids are so excited to be picking that they grab anything that looks like a strawberry even if it is green. Then the parents dump them onto the ground and move on. At first glance it looks like there are plenty of berries almost ready, but there aren't and they never get ready because the green ones keep getting picked. She said they were planning on closing the field for a week or so to let everything ripen up.

I was explaining to the girls that we would go look, but there probably wouldn't be much to pick and Shira started crying. Brenda felt so bad that she let us into the employee only area so we got four baskets. After we paid we were going to put the berries into the car and get out our lunches when the rain started. So we had an impromptu lunch in the car before heading out.

I explained to the girls about what hashgacha means and how we need to be sure to say our brachot when we eat the berries because if it had started raining at any point before we got to the farm we wouldn't have gone. (I had a back-up plan for the Natural History Museum if berry picking got rained out.)

A note on Cal Poly: If you are going, definitely call first. They have a small store with some beverages, produce, candy, wine, plants, honey, etc. and picnic tables out front as well as a large grassy area so you can plan on having lunch there before or after picking berries. If you are using GPS the address might not work (it didn't for me) but there is a sign for the  Farm Store at the intersection of University Drive and Temple Avenue. The berries were $1.99 a pound and are irrigated with grey water so bring a bottle of water to wash berries you or the kids might sample in the fields.