What a fun challenge it has been to put together a list of homeschool lunch ideas for us to share! I found that there are many, MANY people that are much more creative than I am, and I am excited to incorporate a lot of these ideas into my own family’s lunch rotation.
There are several ways to use this chart. The first way I’m going to try is to allow each child to pick a lunch for the school week. I have 2 very adventurous eaters, so hopefully they will be able to expand the palates of their siblings as we go along. Perhaps that final day’s pick (I have 4 children) could be a reward for something.
No matter how you choose to use this resource, I hope it will be a help to you and your family. Most of the recipes are listed with suggested ingredients, but they could easily be modified to suit your tastes and dietary restrictions. I would love to know your thoughts and ideas for more additions, changes, etc. Please leave comments with your thoughts– how you plan to use the sheet, things you think should be added or removed, great ideas that have already helped you in your meal planning, websites that we could all learn from, etc.
Can’t wait to hear from you!
Leslie TTD Meal Ideas
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This year has been one filled with change and challenge for our family—as it has been for many of you, I’m sure. This time last year, we would have never imagined all that God had in store for us; in fact, I have found that I severely under-estimate God on a regular basis, even when I let my “imagination and dreams run wild.” This has been a year of new opportunities, and we have eagerly anticipated what God had around the next bend. There have also been great challenges that we would have never imagined as we adjust to the many new realities that have come with our new opportunities.
There have been seasons of great joy this year as well as moments of discouragement. (Isn’t God good to give us seasons of joy and generally only moments of discouragement?) During one such discouraging moment recently, when I was lamenting some of the “things” I felt I had given up over the past year and was fretting over some things I knew lay ahead, God graciously pointed out to me something He said to Joshua when the time came for him to take Moses’ place and when he knew that great opportunities and challenges lay just ahead of him. I can imagine an exchange Joshua had with Moses around the time of Moses’ death—“These people are impossible! God does great things for them, yet in the first sign of trouble, they turn on Him! AND, if they had just listened to me in the first place, we would have been in the promised land for the last 40 years!” (Important note: there is NO indication that the conversation I just mentioned took place. I am sure that I am much more carnal than Joshua was!!) But God, in His incredible grace and lovingkindness gave this promise in Deuteronomy 31:7-8,
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them: and you shall put them in possession of it. It Is the LORD Who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
I don’t know what God has been preparing you for this past year—or what He will call upon you to do in the coming year. You may be dreading a leadership role, a confrontation, a step of faith or something else you know God wants you to do—but thanks be to God, I DO know that He will go before you (and me!) He will be with us. He will never fail us. He will never forsake us. Why should we be dismayed? Thank God! He loves us enough to carry us through our hard times, prepare us for service, and make sure He gives us the grace to carry through if we look to Him!
I am now more excited than ever about what this coming year holds, for I know that I won’t have to tread alone. My God—the God of the Ages!!—will be with me! How could I fear?
May God encourage your heart as you look ahead at the new year. May God strengthen your resolve as you serve Him. May God use each of our families in great ways to display His love and grace to all those who see us.
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Once again, we have a very accomplished homeschool graduate offering great encouragement to all of us who are currently in the homeschool trenches. It was so exciting to me to read through the following article from Israel Wayne. I was able to be reminded of the goals and purposes of our own journey in homeschooling. I hope that as we all look ahead to 2012, this insight and wisdom from the other side of the homeschool desk will help us focus our efforts on what’s truly important and even encourage our hearts as we let go of what’s not important at all.
Have a wonderful afternoon!
Avoiding Burnout in Homeschooling
By Israel Wayne
Has your decision to homeschool your children ever left you feeling tired, overwhelmed or stressed out? As a student who was homeschooled (my family began homeschooling in 1978), I have learned a few things and over the years about how to avoid burnout in your homeschool.
One of the most common reasons for weariness and frustration among homeschooling parents is the weight of self-inflicted deadlines and standards. It is good, of course, to have goals in mind, but we must always ask ourselves: “Am I seeking to do the Lord’s will, or am I merely pursuing my own agenda?”
As Christian families, we need to view homeschooling not as a glorious end, in and of itself, but rather as a means to an end. The main goal is to raise children who love the Lord, and are committed to following Christ. It is not to produce robots that can recite random facts and data at the drop of a hat.
What a child knows is really insignificant compared to what he or she believes. We must move beyond facts to convictions. It is vital that our children know:
1. What they believe.
2. Why their beliefs are true.
3. How to articulate their beliefs.
4. How to live their beliefs consistently.
Getting the right answers on a test is meaningless unless a child knows how to apply those truths to everyday life. Non-applicable knowledge is worthless. As parents, we want our children to excel academically, and homeschoolers usually do. Our main motivation for homeschooling, however, should not be academic prowess. Instead, we should “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these (including academic) things will be added to us.” (Matt. 6:33)
We should always stay focused on our long-term goals, but we must consistently follow the leading of the Spirit. Why are we homeschooling? Our main objective should be to fulfill our God-given obligation to “train up our children in the way they should go.” (Prov. 22:6) Psalm 78, Deuteronomy 6 and 11 and many other passages stress the importance of teaching God’s laws to our children.
What is the purpose of an education? God’s primary reasons for commanding you to teach your own children are to:
1) Enable God to purify you (the parent), as you allow the fire and pressure of the homeschool setting to make you into pure gold.
2) To help your children know and love Him, and become prepared to serve Him.
God desires for us to have close family relationships, and He uses the process of family discipleship to develop Godly character in both the children and the parents. God has established and He designed parents to be the primary influences in shaping their children’s values. Parents can’t expect to receive a Godly harvest unless they labor during the planting.
We must learn to view home education as a lifestyle decision, and not merely an academic alternative. Use every available moment to teach eternal principles. Developing a Biblical worldview in children is not something that happens by accident. It is taught by formal instruction and caught by the Godly example of the parents.
By keeping in mind that we are homeschooling because we want to raise children who love Jesus, we won’t be so frustrated if our child doesn’t understand Phonics or Chemistry. I’ve seen some mothers become so frustrated by their inability to communicate math facts that they scream at their children and throw books! In trying to teach academics, are we achieving our ultimate goal of developing Godly character? Nothing is so important that it overrides our relationships with God and each other.
It is also easy to get caught up in the busyness of activities, running our children here and there, and over-committing ourselves into panic. Are all the programs we are involved in bringing us closer to God and each other, or are they mostly wearing us out? We may need to recalibrate our compass. What does God expect of us?
“He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you. To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ec. 12:13)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
”Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)
If we focus on teaching eternal principles, and developing Christ-like character in our children, we will have academic success as a natural result of our obedience to God. We should not merely teach our children what to believe, but show them why our beliefs are true. They should be able to determine, from the principles in Scripture, what is good and what is evil. They should recognize absolute truths and be able to reason from a Biblical worldview.
By keeping obedience to God as our primary reason for homeschooling, we will have the flexibility to change our educational approaches, relax in the face of deadlines, and put family relationships above SAT scores. We can have a joyful, peaceful, loving family and still achieve an academic standard superior to the world; but we must keep Christ as the focus and avoid humanistic expectations.
Israel Wayne (www.IsraelWayne.com) was home educated and currently serves as Marketing Director for Wisdom’s Gate, publisher of the national magazine Home School Digest. Israel is the author of the book, Homeschooling From A Biblical Worldview, published by Wisdom’s Gate, and is the site editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net
Israel and his wife Brook (also a homeschool graduate) and reside in SW Michigan and are homeschooling their seven young children. Write to: Wisdom’s Gate, P.O. Box 374, Covert, MI 49043. 1-800-343-1943, www.WisdomsGate.org
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‘Tis the season for making our trips “over the river and through the woods…” We could probably all benefit from taking a deep breath, grabbing a nice cup of coffee or tea, and reading the following article by Rob Shearer (and then making sure that the DAD of the family does the same.) It’s full of good advice to help us and our families make the most of our travels.
1 Relax the schedule. Most men, myself included, like to do things on schedule. We are goal oriented. We want to arrive at our destination on time. That means we must leave by a certain time. That means we can only afford a finite amount of time for rest stops and meals. Gentlemen – try to get out of goal-oriented scheduling when you are on vacation. Get reservations with a guaranteed late arrival and relax. If you need to take an extra half an hour for lunch, or an extra break for small bladders, relax. At the very least, take those Google map estimates and factor in a generous additional time allowance for the family.
- 2 Take a break. When driving on long trips, stop the car at least once every two hours. Preferably every hour. And by stop the car, I mean turn the engine off, get out of the car and at least let everyone walk around, stretch their legs, and take a bathroom break. If there’s a scenic overlook, stop and look. If there’s a historical marker, stop and read. My family accuses me of wanting to stop and read every historical marker. Not true. Many of them, I’ve already stopped and read – no need to stop again.
- 3 Listen. Poll your audience and plan at least one thing for each of them. If you’re traveling with several children old enough to express their desires and preferences, ask them what one thing each of them would most like to do on vacation – and then try to accomplish that one thing for each of them. Kids can be amazingly tolerant of a group outing if they know there’s an activity coming up that is just for them. Plus nothing is so flattering or communicates to your child your love and affection than asking what they want to do and then doing it. Actually, this works for your wife, too. I’m just sayin’.
- 4 Give them a souvenir budget and let them buy that one tacky thing that will make a memory for them. See reasons under point three. Also note that your wife will like this idea as well!
- 5 Look for opportunities to serve. You can serve your wife & kids, and your family can be a blessing for others. Especially if you’re visiting family or friends, try to set aside a bit of time to serve them. Help them on a project. Take them out for a meal. Take their kids to the playground or the zoo. It might be as simple as taking out the trash, vacuuming the rug or doing a load of laundry. Guests who do this get invited back and are greeted with joy! Come to think of it, your wife will like this even when you’re not on vacation. Am I developing a theme here?
- 6 Worship together. Even when you’re on vacation, look for a place to worship. If you’re going to be out of town on a Sunday, plan ahead. Ask around. Chances are you can find a place where you will be comfortable worshipping. Do a little research ahead of time to minimize surprises. When I am in Washington DC I try to find a way to attend a prayer or music service at the National Cathedral. I go there because it is a superb place to worship, not because I agree with the theology of the people who run the place.
- 7 Evening activities are something we often don’t think about. See if there’s going to be a play or a concert at your vacation destination. Lots of spots have free or inexpensive events. Use Google!
- 8 Keep the peace. Recognize that close quarters and constant companionship can build up tensions over the days. Look for ways every couple of days for everybody to be able to spend some time independently. Maybe you have to trade childcare duties, but it will be well worth it.
- 9 Books, books, and more books! Books are the ultimate travel resource. I know DVDs & video games are fun, but books don’t need batteries. Ask everybody to pick out three books to take with them on vacation. You don’t have to read all the time, but occasionally, turn off the gadgets and read out loud to them. There is something magical about having a real live person reading a book to you. It’s a luxury these days, enjoy it. Audio books are the next best thing, but an audio book won’t stop and answer a question, or point out an important connection to another book you read six months ago.
- 10 Rest. God made us to work for six days and rest on the seventh. It’s a good plan, even on vacation. In addition to worship we need that break from continuous activity.
Rob Shearer has travelled with 11 kids by minivan & tour bus to most of the 50 states. He also leads regular travel groups of homeschool students & families to Italy, Germany, & England. This article was originally published in Home Educating Family Magazine, 2010 issue 3.
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