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Charts and Lists and Chores – Oh My!

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Every year, we have a schedule to make up for our school year. The summer months at first, seem a relief from the busy days, but honestly things run more smoothly when everyone has direction.

By everyone, I also include myself. There is something so freeing, about waking with purpose for the day. Now, I am all about having time to ponder life, just not too much time. Honestly, I ponder all I need to, when I am working on something else. I don’t need it to be quiet to do so.

So back to scheduling. I found this gem at the thrift store last week:

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At $4.00, I think I can make this work. I have never used a reward system with the children, but I do love lists. We check them off for our daily chores, class lists, meal plans, gift buying..you name it. This year, I am anxious to tighten up some areas that could use some work, i.e. some bad habits that need fixing.

I really believe that having a visible list of expectations is so much nicer than nagging, don’t you? This chart will probably become that list. The cute little magnets will end up gone, but a dry erase marker will work great.

What do you use to keep your family on track? I also found some great printable ideas:

Confessions Of A Homeschooler – This is an amazing, printable chore chart, complete with chore chart cards to print.

Growing Up Gabel – has a pretty little printable, a chore chart for us moms. Now, that is something I need! There are quite a few in her post, so you can pick and choose what works.

 

For more of a homeschool schedule chart, I am embarrassed to admit that I am sooo old school. I wrote up some basic pages years ago, and laminated them. Now, I just print out a fresh page (I like a month at a time). Here is a peek:

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A 4 day school week, for 3 kids

 

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 Our monthly calendar, for appointments, days off, etc. 

See what I mean? Not pretty. 🙁 But I have been using it for so long that it works for me. The point is, if it is written down and visual, it’s not overwhelming.

It is fun to see how the kids have progressed, and it really helps me to see that we have accomplished something, especially in March, which tends to be our burnout month. Every day is a challenge. We often take a break, just to appreciate the school schedule once again.

Well, the kids are hungry, so I had better finish up. I would LOVE to see how you organize your lives. If it is printable and free, all the better. Have a fantastic day!

What’s On Your Lunch Menu?

No, I am not going to rant about the school lunch program again. Today, this is closer to my heart, and home. What is on the lunch menu for your homeschooled children?

Our school year starts pretty soon, and that means organizing and preparing breakfast, plus lunch, for school. We start our days at the table, and since trying to keep all the children going in the same direction, is a little like herding cats, I appreciate having my meals well thought out ahead of time. Since I like to be present for the discussion that will inevitably ensue at the table, having the food ready is essential. Here are some of my favorite ideas and recipes:

Granola

Muffins-double the batch and keep them in the freezer

Cheddar and Bacon Muffins

Brown rice-to add to leftover meat/egg for hearty wraps

Yogurt/cut up fruit salad or keep them separate for dipping

Toad In A Hole – fancy term for cutting a hole out of bread and frying that up with an egg in the hole. Kids love them!

 

Lunches are actually a little easier, since I plan on having leftovers when I am making dinner. I let the kids run around and burn off steam, while I put things on the table. That way, they are calm and I have a moment to get everything together without little people underfoot.

Bento is my go-to choice for lunch. I do some fancy things like Onigiri and octopus turkey smokies, but for the most part, I follow the spirit of Bento, and put together lots of little bits for everyone. If you have older children, they might like all the little things on a tray for them to select, instead.

I do try to stay away from a fat sandwich for lunch. The carb overload makes us sleepy, and I find it makes the kids crave sweets right after, too. To avoid this, pile that sandwich stuff onto 1 slice of wholegrain bread, or skip the bread and call it a snack plate. Lunchtime often includes me reading something out loud, and my 4 boys do better, when they have finger food or busy-food to eat. This works for us!

If you like lists, I did make a two week meal list and some tips for frugal shopping here. Those meals are cooler weather ideas, but hopefully that means next month.

What are some of your favorite breakfast and lunch ideas? I am in the market for something new. Have a great day!

 

Wild salad

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This is a lovely Wild Food salad, that someone brought to the Homeschool prom yesterday. Isn’t it pretty?

It had delicious violets, wild garlic, and lambs quarters in the mix. So awesome to see wild bits on the menu.

Apps-School: New Year-New iPad

We use real life living, to teach a large part of our homeschool day. I have never been a workbook/busy work, kind of teacher, preferring to teach lessons with a purpose.
It is a given, that my kids have to be on the cutting edge of technology in order to be productive in their lives. It would be a disservice for me to send them out into the world without plenty of computer time. This doesn’t mean that I allow them to go willy-nilly without supervision, but it does mean that I am not afraid of them learning to use to type (in complete sentences and with proper grammar, thank you), use computers, iPads, Smartphones and anything else that involves the latest gadgetry.

Apps are wonderful! You do have to sift through quite a bit of garbage to find worthwhile, and still engaging, apps for the kids. My dilemma is that I need apps for such a range of ages, it is time consuming to pick through the many places that offer them.

I do love Apps-School.com for this very reason. They send me cool apps right to my email. Nothing a busy mom loves more than that! I seriously do use them, in fact, I filter their email into a folder so I don’t miss anything.

Right now, they are having a huge giveaway that I wanted to share with you. They are giving away a large assortment of homeschool related apps AND a brand new iPad 2! It only takes a minute to enter, and I urge you to really look around their site, it’s a must-have for our family.