For quite some time - two years, in fact - I feared that son S might be the type of child who simply does not like school. At all. He was always telling me how he didn't enjoy going, how he disliked all the cutting and pasting, and how he longed for school days to end so that he could go home to play. The prospect of a full day of school ahead would have him sighing and moaning. There would be a look of disappointment followed by a scowl: "Oh no, you are kidding, aren't you, mama; I don't really have to go to school all day today, do I?" And when, at the end of the afternoon, I would ask him what he'd done that day, his answer would invariably be one of two things: "I can't remember," or: "Nothing." Despite all this, he assured me he really liked his teachers and classmates. He just didn't like the work.
This worried me. A lot. Particularly during summer, when the concern of his return to school would always be lurking in a corner of my mind. Particularly since he would be starting groep drie (group three) - the first 'real' primary school year, requiring children to knuckle down to some serious work learning reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is also the first time children are required to sit at their own table in formal rows, instead of in an informal semi-circle as they do in the first two years.
But life is full of surprises, isn't it? When, on the first day back, I picked him up - with bated breath, may I add - he approached me with a grin from ear to ear. He told me the day had been FANTASTIC. That he was relieved about the class having to sit in rows ("We all have to work quietly, isn't that great!"), that he was delighted to have his own desk, with his own trays to put his own stuff into, and how they were finally going to be doing the really important stuff: learning letters, adding and subtracting, and lessons about nature too, yippee!
I cannot tell you how flabbergasted I was. It was so contrary to anything I had expected. I had even spent time looking at another (less traditional) school system, one I felt might suit him better. How wrong I was! It just goes to show how we often waste our energy with unnecessary worry, instead of trusting that life will work out and point the way somehow. Much to my delight his enthusiasm has continued to grow over the past three weeks, and he is always bubbling to tell me of the new things he has learnt on any given day.
And all I can say is: I stand in grateful amazement.
By now you know that I'm unlikely to leave you without a recipe. This time it's an easy one for biscotti. You're probably familiar with them: those lovely, crunchy Italian biscuits good for dunking into hot drinks. S loves them. And so he got one a couple of times in his snack box this week.
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
250g spelt flour
1,5 teaspoons baking powder
100g raw cane sugar
100g almond meal
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
- preheat the oven 160 degrees Celsius
- line a baking tray with baking paper
- place flour, baking powder, sugar, and almonds in a bowl; whisk to combine
- add almond extract to the eggs;
- combine wet and dry with a spatula to form a sticky dough
- divide the mixture into two halves; form two loaves on the baking tray, leaving some space between them
- bake for 35 minutes; remove from oven and onto a rack; allow to cool completely
- when cooled, use a serrated bread knife to cut the loaves into slices
- in a reheated 160 degree oven, bake slices for another 15 minutes on each side to produce crispy biscuits