Homeschool food preparation begins with a plan.
I’m a real homeschool mom with a real day of kids disinterested in math problems, interrupting during the latin lesson, and me running to change the washer, again.
I’ve got kids that complain about setting the table and not getting into the van fast enough for piano lessons. Yup, real mom.
Plan in advance for greatest simplicity.
Plan in advance, and you’re more likely to make healthier choices, you’ll always have ingredients on hand, and you’ll spend less. (When my eldest daughter recently began housesitting, she returned home and expressly thanked me for having a stocked pantry. Jaw drop.)
I’ve found my own rhythm. Every family will find their own too. Since we have children eagerly involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, we find ourselves in town plenty of days. But I prefer shopping once a week, every Tuesday afternoon.
My weekly plan looks like this:
- Monday Fish night.
- Tuesday is Chicken night.
- Wednesday is Vegetarian Night.
- Thursday is random night.
- Friday is Fun Food.
- Saturday is Date Night (kids can make whatever while we eat our Lemon Picatta Halibut with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in our room with candles).
- Insert a random leftovers night somewhere in the week.
- Sunday is a meal shared together: fancy night (unless it’s not fancy).
Do you need a few more tips to menu plan for your homeschool? I’ve got that here.
Do you need a few tips to manage the grocery store, and even to cook for your homeschool household? I’ve those here.
As with all things on Fun Friday (cause we play a lot of games on this day too), food has got to be fun, but peanut butter is not on my Fun Friday menu plan.
On Fridays, the weekly routine is finished, possibly even completed, and we’re settling into a less focussed routine.
So why not make this evening a kick-off for fun?
To a homeschool mom, cooking might signifiy doldrums. But to a kid who’s not accustomed to playing in the kitchen, with real utensils, cooking is fun!
Fun Friday is an easy way to introduce cooking lessons.
If this is an introductory cooking night, ask the kids what they want to eat. They’ll come up with something, I am certain: mac n’ cheese, pizza, hot dogs, tacos, or pasta. Repeat the teaching process a few times and you’ll not have to cook every meal in the week.
Madelyn’s favourite fun foods surprised me: meatballs, pizza, lasagne, perogies, and that stuff we always make on New Years (vereneke, a perogy-like pocket with cottage cheese curd)…
What is your favourite fun Friday food, I ask my five year old.
He says, “don’t know…” I asked him at the wrong time. He was playing Minecraft.
What’s your favourite food? I try again.
“Uh, hot dogs“. Okay, so he’s too young to know that hot dogs are not actual food.
I could teach him how to prepare hot dogs, but I’ll convince him that learning to top a pizza is far more fun. And if I can convince him that hot dogs belong at baseball games, firepits, and carnivals, all the better…
Myself, I can always eat pizza, and put it on the table and everyone else will too.
What you’ll need:
- olive oil
- and consider mixing in a teaspoon of basil, oregano, or garlic salt to heighten the flavour.
I’ve discovered that throwing crust ingredients into the mixer and letting my Kitchen Aid can help knead dough, and letting it sit on the counter for a couple hours, is a super-easy way to make your own crust.
These crusts really are favourable to the grocery store pre-bought pizza crusts (and a lot less salt). But this requires a little 3 o’clock prep, and I don’t know about your schedule, but I am often occupied then. (So if you’re not as industrious as I was on this day, you can always buy a Pillsbury dough roll, tortillas, pitas, or pre-packaged pizza round.)
Throw a few pizza ingredients on the counter and let them cut, and build, their own pizza.
Show them how to tuck their fingers and let them cut the Caesar salad with a steak knife…
Let them feel you roll out that dough, but don’t insist on perfection. An oblong pizza is as tasty as a circular pizza.
Cooking for the littles might not be more exciting than learning to cut safely with a knife…
Or understand that boiling something requires boiling water before putting in the pasta…or teaching them how much dried rice is required for a family of six. You might teach them meal planning: the art of menu combinations, when to start the veggie steamer, or when to turn the slow cooker on in the morning.
Yes, I know it is EVEN MORE WORK to teach them to cook than just DOING IT YOURSELF. But the more effort expended in the beginning, means less effort required for you later.
My daughter, Madelyn and I have been recording and creating cooking demonstrations, The Homeschool Kitchen, found on my YouTube channel if you’re looking for other inspired meal ideas:
- Veggie Burgers & Homemade Buns
- Creamy Cashew Pasta
- Fish Tacos
- Spicy Tofu Bowl
- Roast Chicken
- Bean Chili & Cornbread
- Black Bean Enchiladas
- Chicken Curry