It’s almost here, very soon we will be heading back to homeschool.
I have to admit I have loved summer this year. Summer looks a little different as a homeschool family (everything is different really) It’s funny to hear friends, who normally have kids in school, say things about their kids being home with them ALL summer long. and I’m over here like… umm my kids never leave! haha
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But, It has been nice to have the extra time each day, to do all the to-do list, play outside, work on projects, etc. When I think of adding those hours of school back in to or day, I freak out just a little bit!!!
Here on Loveandscribbles, I want to try to write more about our homeschool journey, it’s interesting, because I’m kind of just winging it, so I don’t feel like I have much to offer on the subject. But, maybe some of you mamas out there need to hear that most of us are just making it work however we can. Figuring it out as we go along! Trying lots of things, some that work and some that just don’t!
This Summer is just flying by.. and another homeschool year begins soon!
I can’t believe it. Here we are almost at the end of July!
Are you ready? Where my homeschool moms at? I just realized my kids need things! haha I suppose I should choose what books or curriculum we will be using this year.
We’ve liked bookshark a lot. but this is the first year that I will officially have two students. So I’m a little anxious about how that will all work out. We love that it is literature based. And uses lots of great books by Usborne. and I love that it comes with everything! The teachers manuel is one large book that tells me what to do in each subject, each day. And there are math options and handwriting options to make it fit your student!
We have been using some of these Brainquest and literature work books for summer reminder/school prep. and the boys are liking them a lot!
I also love to attend a homeschool conference during the summer break. We have one not far from us. ( I leave today!!!) I’ll be staying with a few fellow mamas and soaking in the workshops. Most of the time, I get more out of it personally than for my little students. It’s a great way to fill up my heart to be prepared to shape these little learners. There is always awesome practical help too. Topics like ” What to do with littles when you are teaching the bigs” or ideas on organizing the school supplies etc. You can check out curriculum in person, talk to representatives from different book companies, etc. I encourage anyone who is homeschooling, whether it’s your first year or twentieth. to find something like convection or conference. Even if it’s just to remind you, that you are not alone in this adventure!
And then in 2 weeks, we will be fitting in one last little summer getaway with the boys. I’m looking forward to some exploring and fun at the lake for a couple of days, before we dive into another school year!
So, How do you prepare for the school year? Are you also in disbelief that another homeschool year begins soon? Do you squeeze in one more trip to the beach? Are you a packrat like me, so you have to go through all your piles of supplies to even know what you have?
For those days that are just to hot to be outside, we need Indoor Summer Activities!
My boys love to be outside and we usually spend a little time every day in the sunshine, but some days we need to be inside by 10 am, usually just for Mommy’s sanity! And the heat can be intense where we live!
So here are 5 favorite indoor summer activities:
indoor sand boxes.
The boys love these! My Mom gave William one years ago. These box lids latch and keep everything together. The boys spend a lot of time, building moutains, digging, driving their tractors through the sand, and using cookie cutters to make shapes in the sand.
If you’ve been around here a little bit, you probably know I don’t like messy play, as in, My boys will tell you, play dough is illegal in our house haha But, this sand is manageable for me.
It is a mess I can handle
Pretty easy to clean up! Just usually wipe the sand back into the boxes. And sweep what landed on the floor. It’s soooo much easier to clean up them playdough smooshed into everything!!! And don’t even mention slime!!! Lord bless you if you are a fun Mom that can enjoy all that!
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I feel like it is pretty healthy for our kids to have to look at simple supplies and come up with fun on their own. They should have a chance to be creative in their own way. It’s amazing what they come up with!
We also do a very little bit of “school work”. Not enough to make it burdensome but just a little to help us not forget all we learned last year. And prep our in coming Kindergartner! I’m loving the Brain Quest books, the boys think they are fun! And I’m using summer time to introduce the boys to some of my favorite classic books!
It’s summertime which means we will need to prepare for busy VBS mornings! Vacation Bible School (VBS) is one of our favorite ministries to be involved in. They are like summer day camps, usually held at churches for the local area kids! You usually don’t have to be a member of the church to join in the fun! I encourage you to look for a church offering one near you! It’s a blast! But if your family is like ours, you aren’t used to getting everyone ready and out the door so early every morning.
In just a couple of weeks, our two “big” boys will get to attend VBS at a church nearby (where we also participate in Awana club through the school year.) Then a month later we will all be going to VBS every day at our church where I will also be volunteering.
I know lots of families are used to running out of the house in the morning, during school days but for us homeschoolers, it’s a new challenge, for sure! So, there are a few things we do, to help us
Prepare for Busy VBS Mornings
1. Prep Clothes
I lay out all of the boy’s clothes for the whole week! It may seem a little bit overboard BUT, there really isn’t much worse than not having enough clean clothes or someone not being able to find clean underwear, in the middle of a rushed morning!
2. Prepare Lunches
Usually, VBS let’s out just in time for lunch. Especially for the week that I volunteer, getting everyone lunch is pretty ruff. So I prep lunches ahead of time for the boys and for me, so we can eat before we leave the church. This really helps keep the crankies at bay 🙂 and sometimes they even fall asleep in the car on the way home!!! One tip I’ve discovered is that if you put peanut butter on both pieces of bread then the jelly, it will help the bread to not get soggy! 🙂
3. Easy Dinners For Tired Days
I LOVE using my once a Month Freezer Meals for these days that everyone is just plain worn out! and rushing around for drop off and pick up means, I don’t have to stress about “What’s for dinner?” Here’s a link to how I use Once A Month Meals
Everyone gets an early bedtime during VBS week. Even Mom!! Nothing is more hindering in efficiency, organization, temperaments, and everyone having a good time, like sleep deprivation! So, get everyone to be early and make sure you shut off the lights at a decent time too!
5. Pray Pray Pray
Pray it up, Mamas! The Lord Sees what we are striving to do with our kiddos. He cares about all of our troubles. Even the “small” things like getting our family out the door in one piece. And of course, Pray that all this preparation and effort provides for wonderful memories and lessons about Jesus for our kid’s hearts!
It’s almost summer and around here that means we’ll be out at the BBQ a lot more often! But you better believe we will still be Freezer Cooking for the Summer!
Once A Month Meals is amazing! It’s easy to use and implement no matter your eating or cooking style! I normally use mostly Instant Pot recipes from my Once A Month Meals Membership (and we love them) But there are all kinds of recipes available. Stove, Oven, No Cook, Easy assembly, crockpot, griddle, and grill!!
For the Grill!! I cannot tell you how many times we have been sitting around and think, oh man, the weather will be perfect for bbqing tomorrow.. but we don’t have anything in the freezer or fridge to grill!
I’m going to do it, I’m switching to Mineral Makeup! Not going to lie, I’m a little nervous and really hope I like it! Have you ever tried switching to Mineral Makeup?
I’ve never been all that fussy about makeup, Didn’t even start wearing it until I was already an adult. But, I enjoy that it makes me feel pretty and put together and I’ve learned to have fun with things like eye shadows and lipstick!!
Young Living has quickly become a part of our life, in every aspect. And you’ll find products from Young Living in nearly every room in our home (in both cars too) And now, you’ll even find Young Living in my make up bag.
Switching To Mineral Makeup
So Why switch?
We really have been becoming more aware of the products and toxins we use in our daily lives. Swapping as many items with synthetic fragrances and other unknown ingredients out for more natural products.
What Makes Savvy Minerals from Young Living so great?
Have you tried the Sous Vide egg bites at Starbucks? Well, these Instant Pot Egg Bites are soooo much cheaper and just as yummy!
You can whip these up in just a few minutes and have them all week long. It’s a great option for when you are all running out the door!
I love eggs, but, sometimes it’s just not practical to get a pan out and fix up eggs in any form, on busy mornings. But with this Instant Pot Egg Bites recipe, It makes it as simple as just grabbing one out of the fridge on the way out! I’ve even seen some people stack these egg bites mold to make twice as much at a time. ( I would just add a minute or two to the cooking time, if you are stacking the molds)
You can make these anyway you like your eggs, I enjoy them with a little spinach, ham and cheese!
I love throwing them into the Instant Pot and letting the magic happen!
I know I say this a lot, but This recipe for Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes really is simple! I think you’ll like them!
Here’s how we make Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
Cut up your Sweet Potatoes, If they aren’t gigantic ones like we’ve been getting lately, you can throw them in whole, just poke a few holes in them with a fork first. (and add a couple more minutes to the time.)
place 1 cup of water in the bottom of your Instant Pot insert. use the trivet and either just throw those potatoes in there or you can put them in a handy steam basket.
Place lid and make sure it is set to SEAL. Then press pressure cook (or manual) and adjust the time to 8 minutes.
Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes in just a few minutes! A great Side Dish for any meal!
For perfectly consistently cooked Sweet Potatoes, I like to slice my them up before cooking.
(you can totally throw them in whole after poking some holes in them if you want, just add 3-5 minutes cook time depending on size)
pour 1 cup of water into the insert of your Instant Pot. Then put the trivet in.
Now either place sweet potatoes right on top of the trivet OR use a steam basket (makes it easier to take out)
place lid and check that lever is switched to seal. press Pressure Cook (or Manual) and adjust the time to 8 minutes.
Naturally Release Pressure for 5 minutes or more. Then Release remainder of pressure.
remove from the Instant Pot
Season to your liking and enjoy!
~ My favorite is simply, butter, pink salt, and a little mozzarella cheese.
I know we are heading into Spring, but we have had a few cold rainy days still. So, this cozy stew was perfect! It’s really one of those recipes where anything goes, and if you like more meat or more veggies, whatever you’d like go for it!
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Beef Stew
Really, this recipe is more like a starting place 🙂
I started this recipe with a “block” of frozen stew meat pieces. You can use fresh or frozen.
Dust it with a little flour and saute with some butter in your instant pot. When using thawed meat you can get a nice sear on the meat and it adds some extra flavor. But, even with the frozen this stew ended up being flavorful and tender!
Add a little oil (any you prefer) and add the onion, salt, and pepper. stir. Now just throw in the mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, and butternut squash to the pot!
Pour in 2 cups of beef broth and all the seasonings!
Now it’s time to cook your Instant Pot Butternut Squash Beef Stew