If I had a maid, a chauffeur, and private chef, homeschooling would be a piece of cake. Ok, maybe I exaggerate a little. We know that even the best laid lesson plans sometimes meet with reluctant learners. But what can break a homeschool mom at the knees are those regular household tasks.
Molding young minds and teaching multiplication tables is tricky enough without the meal prep, laundry, and cleaning tasks that compose a well-run household, not to mention the fact that everyone’s home all day to give the place a rather “lived-in” look.
Jamie recently shared some of her tips for tackling the cleaning tasks. Today, I’m here for the food. Careful meal planning and some make ahead meals can save your bacon when it comes to managing your busy household.
Get a plan in action.
Just as a plan for your student’s course of study guides your days, so will a menu plan guide your mealtimes. Meal planning is one tool in the homeschool mom’s aresnal of sanity savers.
Meal planning is not difficult. Really. You can do it! It’s as simple as jotting down six or seven meals to serve this week. It can be as elaborate as planning out a month’s worth of meals.
As all three meals are often eaten at home, meal planning is particularly helpful in the homeschool household . Make a plan for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and tack it on the fridge for the family to see. This helps other members of the household
- to be mindful of mealtimes and to have something to look forward to.
- to ask “What’s for lunch?” less often
- to be ready to help with meal prep, lessening your load as a parent.
Make it ahead of time
My most successful days are those in which I’ve made some or all of a meal in advance. Here’s how it looks:
Breakfast – Lay out a fruit, granola, bowls, and spoons before you go to bed at night. In the morning the kids can serve themselves, adding yogurt or milk from the fridge. Even if you’re helping little ones yourself, you’ll still be ahead of the game with the non-perishables already assembled.
Lunch – Pack lunches the night before so that each kid can grab a boxed lunch he’s ready to eat. No need to wait for the lunch bell here! Rather than interrupt you and the student you’re helping, the others can get started eating.
Dinner – Set your slow cooker and bread machine to work in the morning so that when the day’s done, you can put your feet up instead of continuing your work day in the kitchen. Dinner’s ready when you are.
One technique that I often rely on is to prepare many meals at one time and to store them in the freezer for use later in the month. Not only does this cut down on the amount of time I spend in the kitchen, but it also helps us save money. I shop less frequently and buy many ingredients in bulk, further stretching my pennies.
Cooking in bulk also conserves resources of gas and electricity. One hot oven can produce many meals or meal components, instead of heating the oven every night of the week.
Plus, having dinner on ice saves me a few brain cells on days when I’m just plain tuckered out.
Freezer cooking does not have to be the canned cream of chicken casseroles you remember from your mother’s freezer. Soups, stews, sauces, and marinated meats freeze beautifully and buy you powerful minutes to do something else besides cook. Plus, you can control the ingredients you use, an advantage over serving your family store-bought processed foods.
Wondering how to get started in freezer cooking?
Check out these posts:
A Quick Start Guide to Freezer Cooking :: LifeasMOM
5 Simple Ways to Fill Your Freezer :: The Happy Housewife
What Can You Freeze? :: LifeasMOM
Freezer Cooking Gluten Free :: Lynn’s Recipe Adventures
How to Have a Freezer Cooking Day When You Don’t Have a Deep Freeze :: Money Saving Mom
The Best Do-Ahead Breakfast Foods :: Simple Bites
Menu planning and make ahead meals are two wonderful tools to help you do your job better as a homeschooling parent. You know that your family is going to be hungry — for food as well as for learning. By honing these skills you can save time and money as well as providing your peeps with good eats.
How do you streamline mealtimes to suit your family and your homeschool?