July 8, 2020 – Making Mealtime Matter

As a homeschooling parent, you will find yourself having 3 meals a day with your children. That’s 3 meals that you have to prepare, or at least plan, on a daily basis. Most people have been accustomed to having the children out of the house for at least lunch, if not breakfast. So how do we handle 3 meals a day with our kiddos?

Your breakfast time can determine the tone of your day. Some people do not allow their children to get out of bed before a set time, let’s say 7 or 8 am. That gives mom time to get herself up, have a bit of quiet time to herself before the day begins. Then you can all meet at the breakfast table for 7:30 or 8 am – or even 9 or 10 am if your family members are late risers.

You can make breakfast as quiet and peaceful as you want it to be. Everyone can share morning small talk, get organized for the day, or just sleep as long as possible before the house gets going. You can share breakfast together with a morning devotional or by reading aloud together as a family.

We have loved sharing this book over the years. It’s favorite Bible story book of ours. Catherine Vos wrote this as a book to read to her children. It’s a beautiful book written by a loving mom.

Lunch is our together time. Even more so than dinner. We have always played games, read together, discussed the morning accomplishments, plans for the afternoon, and just spent time together. Lunch isn’t about the food, it’s much more about communication and team building and learning to get along, win or lose.

Lunch can be leftovers – this works really well before the teen years, but after that, there is no such thing as leftovers. Sandwiches, grilled cheese, quesadillas, chopped fruit with peanut butter, veggies with hummus, and salad are all quick, easy lunches. Try to keep healthier options around because you all will be home snacking more.

The most important thing about lunch is the time spent together. You only have your children for 18 years. Homeschooling allows every single day to count building your relationship and helping you to know your child. We love to play games over lunch. Games are educational both for the mind and the emotions. Children need to learn to lose gracefully. They need to understand life doesn’t always work out to their benefit and losing a board game at lunch with their family provides a safe space for that to happen.

Of course we make them educational games. Here are some of our favorites:

Muggins is a math board game. It is so much fun and educational at the same time. You roll 3 dice and use those 3 numbers in any addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problem to come up with a number between 1 and 36. The goal is to get a “run” of marbles in a row. So every turn you are trying to make a number that is next to a space where you have a marble. The goal is to get the most runs of 4-5 marbles. You can strategize to block other people’s runs. It’s a fun way to learn strategy and friendly competition in addition to bolstering math knowledge.

Geography learning comes in game form over lunch as well. One of our favorite games over the years has been a card game from a company WorldWise. This is an older game, so ebay may be the only place to purchase, but it has been a cherished game for us through the years. It plays similar to UNO but the cards are countries and bodies of water. The Africa edition has been our best-loved one. My children know all of the countries in Africa and the basic location of each one. In order to play a card, the country showing must touch a country that you put down. It’s really simple and enjoyable.

Spelling games like Scrabble, Boggle, Bananagrams, and Upwords are all good choices for learning and sharing. Both Scrabble and Boggle come in Junior versions. Hangman is a time-tested game that children love to play. You can use a whiteboard to play together as a larger group.

Basic card games like Rummy, Go Fish, War, Solitaire, and even BlackJack are all educational. Traditional board games like Monopoly, Clue, chess, and checkers are all staples at my house as well.

I hope you have been able to think “outside the box” as you have read this post. Take meal times to slow down, have fun, read together, and build your family bond. Mealtimes have been some of our most memorable times through the years.

Please share any family favorite games you may have found.

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