Is there anything more enjoyable and rewarding than having a front seat view—and actively participating—when the lights go on in your kids’ eyes?

One great thing about homeschooling is that we have many opportunities to seize on things that our kids are interested in, to help spark more curiosity, and increase a love of learning. It’s usually not too difficult or expensive to do this. It just takes a little bit of intentionality.

I often read aloud to my kids during lunch time because, honestly, I have a captive audience, and they are less likely to interrupt me or fight with each other while they are shoveling food into their mouths. I’m just being honest, here! So, it’s the perfect time to get more reading in.

A short while ago during our read-aloud time, we came across an article in World Kids Magazine about the most expensive spice in the world, which is saffron.

Saffron comes from the tiny threads in the center of the crocus flower, which only blooms for one or two weeks. The threads are fragile and must be picked by hand, sorted by hand, and dried in small bundles. The harvesting of saffron requires long hours of intensive, manual labor. This explains the high price tag.

While reading the article about saffron I noticed that my kids were listening intently. It’s not very often that every single child in my family is this interested in something. They wondered how much this expensive spice actually costs. Our family will never own the most expensive Italian villa in the world but, hey, maybe the most expensive spice in the world is actually within reach.

Thanks to the ever-handy (and dangerously easy-to-use) Amazon Prime app on my phone, we quickly learned that we too could be the owners of the most expensive spice in the world for a mere $12 for a small but adequately-sized glass bottle of saffron.

We researched some recipes together and ordered the spice, which arrived on our doorstep two days later. I love you, Amazon Prime.

The World Kids article also indicated that some cultures, particularly in the Middle East, think that saffron is the most delicious flavor in the entire world. We were very eager to see if we agreed.

We crushed the saffron between our fingers and made some saffron cookies, and I also made some saffron chicken and rice. I think I used too much saffron in the chicken and rice because it was very, very rich and also much more reddish than the pictures on the internet. Oops!

The kids loved the cookies, but I think it was mostly because they were a lot more sugary than the other cookies we normally make around here! Everyone liked the chicken and rice too, and I would definitely make it again. But, as an aside, because it was so rich, I don’t think having it for leftovers the next day was the most stellar idea I have ever had!

It’s the little things like this—seizing a learning opportunity and making tangible connections—that make homeschooling fun. I did not set out that day to make learning fun, but it was just the natural progression of being there with my kids and seeing the curiosity in their eyes and then taking it to another level.

We cannot teach our children everything there is to know. Not even the best schools in this country can do that. But we can teach our children to love learning and that learning is its own reward.

Hopefully a love for learning will keep our children on the path of new discoveries for the rest of their lives.


Photo Credit: First graphic design by Anna Soltis ; All other images courtesy of author.