How to Feed The Kids (and Still Have A Life)

Contributor Amida writes for Journey Into Unschooling.

One of my biggest challenges when it comes to homeschooling is not the schooling itself but the fact that we are always home — and hungry.  Because we are home the majority of the day, mealtime — and hence meal prep — takes up a huge amount of time for me.

Being the sole cook in the house, some days it feels as if I am a permanent fixture in the kitchen, making breakfast, cleaning up, prepping for lunch, and brainstorming for dinner. By the middle  of the week, I am usually clear out of ideas or tired of cooking. On the days the children have multiple classes outside the house, it becomes even more challenging as I figure out how to feed them quickly and healthily.

It would be awesome if the children could cook for themselves, but that is just not always practical, especially for the younger crowd who still require supervision and a parent helper. To help move things along, there are a few short cuts and techniques that I’ve found helpful in the daily struggle to feed everyone (and still have time left over for life outside the kitchen!).

In the same boat and need ideas to get you started? Read on!
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Amida’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 1, 5, 10, and 13-year-old)

Written by contributor Amida of Journey Into Unschooling

A lot of people assume that, just because we are homeschoolers, we spend the majority of our days at home. But between field trips and lessons for three kids, there are days where we are anywhere but home.

So when my son suggested we have a Stay At Home Day, I was all for it.

It happened to be rainy that day and we didn’t have anywhere to be until 6pm. We ate a leisurely breakfast before spreading out some plastic on the table in preparation for art time. I had recently learned a new technique called Visual Teaching Strategies, and wanted to test it out on the kids.

It involved showing them a picture, in our case, a Ranger Rick photo, and asking them three questions:

  • What do you see?
  • What more do you see?
  • Why do you say that?

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Stopping What You’ve Started

Written by contributor Amida of  Journey Into Unschooling

Recently, my kids wrapped up their science lesson from the previous weeks. They had a little mad science action going on as they mixed different substances to see if there was a reaction, both with specific combinations and ones of their own choosing. I think this particular lesson went a little too long (three sessions) and for the most part was a bit redundant, as far as what they already knew.

One of the moms in our co-op had acquired a complete chemistry curriculum with almost all the materials necessary for a middle-grade class. It included everything from textbook, experiments, lab books, and even teacher resources that told you exactly how to teach the class — all of which seemed very exciting but  was, in actuality, a little on the dull side.

Which of course, leads to the question, why was it so dull? They’re sitting around out in the beautiful sunshine (mostly), hanging with their best friends, and learning about what promises to be an engaging, well thought out exploration of chemical reactions. They get to conduct experiments, fill out lab books, and learn state-aligned science standards! What was wrong with these kids?
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Amida’s Biggest Homeschooling Mistake: Saving Projects for a Rainy Day

Written by contributor Amida of Journey into Unschooling

I used to be a hoarder, stashing away all sorts of goodies for a rainy day. Sometimes, these were fabulous books I had found that I wanted to look over with the kids. I’d read them (in private) and put them away for that perfect time to share. Or I’d acquire some new art supplies, and then store them away for that next great project.

Other times, they were more ordinary things such as math manipulatives or even interesting paper. A big component of my secret collection were the science kits for every subject imaginable, from owl pellets to solar models, carefully hidden away in the garage.

Unfortunately, the rain never came and my wonderful resources just collected dust. Sometimes the perfect opportunity presented itself but I either couldn’t find the time to share the item, forgot where I had stored it, or worse, forgot it even existed.
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First Day of School

Written by contributer Amida of Journey Into Unschooling

By now, a lot of you have probably started school again. If you took the summer easy like we did, you might have found it a little difficult to jump start the ol’ school bus. Sure, we knew the day was approaching but even so, it caught us off guard and totally unprepared.

I wasn’t the only one. One friend decided to postpone the first day all together, starting next week instead, and the others downright ignored it. Between bites of my sourdough toast and sips of coffee, I decided to jump right in.

While the kids finished up breakfast, I announced our plan for the day and did a quick mental list of what I wanted them to tackle this morning.

Our day went something like this:
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