Homeschooling

Making the Most of Meal Times

Multitasking isn’t generally considered a good thing, but I can’t help it. I’m a homeschooling mother. Therefore, I love multitasking, especially if it involves learning.

Now, from the title of this post, you may have thought I was going to wax poetical on the importance of sitting together as a family at meal times in order to strengthen family bonds or some such thing. But you already know that.

No, today, I’m going to show you how I combine meal times with School. This is the best kind of multitasking I can think of–eating and learning.

Breakfast

Yes, we eat breakfast together. We eat every meal together. If we didn’t, then my kitchen would be a perpetual mess with kids in and out all day long. Eating together is practical because then every child has a Clean-Up Chore, and I’m not, therefore, slaving away all day.

But I digress.

While the children chew away at their peanut butter toast in the mornings, I commence Religion Class. Over the last few years, we’ve been making our way through the Bible, reading it in its entirety–a paragraph or two in the Old Testament and another in the New Testament. Sometimes I’ll read a whole chapter. It just depends on the content, the attention spans of the children, and how cold I want my toast to be at the end of it all.

After I read, we talk about it a bit. I keep Jeff Cavins’ The Great Adventure Bible Timeline up on the wall for reference. (Once upon a decade ago, I was a high school Old Testament teacher. Did you know that?)

The best part about doing Religion Class at breakfast is that the children are actually quiet, due to the food in their mouths, which is an especially great way to occupy the little ones, who are not always interested.

Lunch

We always eat lunch with an audio book. I started doing this years ago because my brain was so fried by lunchtime that I needed a break–a break from answering a thousand and one questions from the children about everything under the sun.

My solution? Play an interesting audio book, like, say the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and play it loudly. This way, I can mentally check out and just serve the food and eat myself.

It’s rather peaceful. And we’ve listened to a score of good books over the years.

Dinner

Dinnertime coincides with more Religion Class, but this time, it’s Dad’s turn. While his food turns cold and stiff, he reads the Saint of the Day from Butler’s Lives of the Saints. This book was originally published in the 1750s and is based on the Traditional Calendar, which we love. The other great thing about this book is that the entries are not too long, which allows for plenty of discussion about the topic at hand and everybody’s day, etc.

Dinner last night. Taco Soup, with the Littlest One protesting under the table.

Happy Ember Days!

2 thoughts on “Making the Most of Meal Times”

  1. Thanks for the peek into your routine! At some point I’m thinking we will have to eat breakfast together as I see “more kids eating at separate times”= “chaos”lol. Totally with you on listening to something interesting at lunch! We do podcasts with my little kids (saint stories for kids, short fairy tales, Thomas the tank engine, classics for kids). I need a relational break and it I agree that it is peaceful to have everyone quiet and listening! It’s still a shared experience too as sometimes we will comment on familiar things in the excited way that little kids do oftentimes.

    Like

  2. These pictures and your descriptions remind me of monasteries and convents where one member reads at mealtimes. I like the idea a lot.

    Like

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