This post is for letter “Z” in the 2016 ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.
Happy Holidays to you all! As we wrap up the ABC’s of Christmas I’m taking it into the home stretch with a bang! I am always looking for ways to promote independence in my children. And with all the craziness that surrounds the holidays this is the perfect time to step out of the box and switch up the routine just enough to catch their attention.
I am not a morning person. The only thing that makes o’dark o’clock manageable is coffee and this breakfast smoothie which is truly an invention of necessity. I designed this Zany Breakfast smoothie to be a way for my kids to prepare breakfast for themselves in the morning (thus allowing me to delay pushing the covers back until there is at least a crack of dawn on the horizon which makes me very happy). I’m utilizing one of my favorite organizational tools, a rubric, to keep track of where everyone is in the learning process. Which is also incredibly useful during these busy holidays because I can keep track of where everyone is in the learning process. The recipe will appear at the end of the blog post. I have not included clean up in this rubric it would be a great next step after the kiddos have completed the four steps introduced here!
Why a rubric?
I have found a rubric to be one of my favorite educational tools for unconventional subjects. It allows me to keep track of where each of my kids are in the learning process for whatever skill I am teaching. Somehow the unconventional subjects only happen once a week around here. And with three kids, I’m always trying to remember what I did or didn’t teach to each individual child. Simply keeping a folder that has a rubric with each child’s name at the top saves me. I even write notes when it is necessary which allows me to pick up and teach a lesson whenever I have a few spare minutes. It is simple and I find it saves my kid’s a lot of frustration as well because I know right where we are and I can teach more effectively. I can do a quick review and we are off to the races!
Here is my rubric
Step One: Show. I call this the cooking demo stage. I literally talk through each step of making the smoothie. We read the recipe together, gather the ingredients and ay out all the tools that we will need. I like to give myself bonus points for talking about the health benefits of each ingredient as I add it to the blender! This is the introduction to the skill. During this step I do all the adding and the measuring because the end goal is to demonstrate the process from beginning to end. I personally love this step it is hands on and I love to joke around through the whole process. It always amazes me how moving outside of our normal routine allows me to connect even more with my children. Nothing beats one on one. It is priceless.
Step Two: Share. This is where you make the smoothie together. Let them take the lead. Prompt them when they need some assistance. This isn’t totally hands off but by the time they are finished with this step they should be ready to attempt the smoothie preparation solo. Help helps so never hesitate to help when they need it. This is a time of relationship building. It doesn’t have to be serious. Some kids need one time through together and some need a month. It depends on the kiddos so be patient. Joke around. Ask what is the first thing we need? You can even make a little cheat sheet if they need it.
**note the procedure is going to change depending on the age of your children. My four year old is able to make a smoothie when I have all of the ingredients pre-measured for her and all she has to do is dump and blend but my 6 and 8 year old can measure out the ingredients and complete their smoothies all on their own**
**Set them up for success. Make sure they can reach all the tools and ingredients that they need.**
Step Three: Here is the fun part. You let them fly solo! Some kiddos are going to want to be alone in the kitchen trying it on their own. Some of them are going to want you to be there. Resist the urge to do it for them. They have this they can do it! If you are there in the room and they ask questions reply with a question first and then if they are getting totally frustrated help them! This is not an exercise in frustration! However, the goal of this step is to do it without you. It is another step in self sufficiency. And it can feel a little bitter sweet I heard an anonymous quote that really resonated with me, “A mothers job is to teach her children to not need her anymore. The hardest part of that job is accepting success.” It is a little bittersweet every time a new skill is conquered but the goal is that they can make the smoothie solo without you in the room at least once. Now maybe they don’t really have a lot of opportunity to make the smoothie. Maybe you make their breakfast every morning and you aren’t ready to give that up. But I would recommend giving them time at least once a week to do something like this on their own. It is so empowering and such a great life skill! And they can do this!!! This is one of the beautiful benefits of homeschooling. It doesn’t look like school. It is a rich fun blessing for our kid’s lives!
Step Four: Teach. Teach a sibling that doesn’t know how to do it. A friend, a neighbor, mom or dad, a grandparent even a teddy bear or if you are feeling really crazy set up a recording device and let them record a “youtube” whether you publish it or not is up to you. If you do email me because I would love to see it. Or tag me on IG or Facebook.
Why teach? As so many of us are experiencing as we navigate through this journey called homeschooling, being responsible for someone else learning has really solidified our learning. Giving kids a chance to demonstrate what they are learning is so much fun and they gain so much confidence from it.
**Don’t have them teach the person who taught them. It is just too hard to separate that out and honestly us parents want to take over the teaching duties. The goal is to share knowledge and give the gift of a skill to someone else so resist the urge to just have your student teach you.**
I also like to make the note that this isn’t always a linear process. There are times when it is necessary to reteach a skill that you feel like they have already accomplished. That is ok. Life isn’t linear and learning isn’t always either!
Zippy Zany Smoothie Recipe (makes 2 smoothies for little bellies)
- 2 bananas
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed (I grind mine in a coffee grinder dedicated to this purpose-you can substitute whole chia seeds —no coffee grinder needed— or skip this all together)
- 1 cup of spinach greens
- 1/2 cup of frozen berries
- 1/4 cup of rolled oats (feel free to add more but it will thicken the smoothie, I have one who loves to eat his smoothie with a bowl and spoon)
- 1 cup of orange juice (you can substitute water and it is every bit as delicious)
- 2 tbsp of honey (you can add more or leave it out but I find it is a great way to introduce smoothies)
Put the bananas in first along with the liquid this will help the blades spin. Add in the ground flax seed. Place in the oats, spinach berries and honey then blend. If you are using a normal blender (as opposed to a high speed blender) just blend between each addition. You might also find it easier to add more liquid or even a couple ice cubes just to keep everything moving.
Pour your smoothie into a glass and drink up! Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Mali Roberts mom of three, running on obscene amounts of coffee, finding myself, and learning how to homeschool without doing school at home in beautiful Pennsylvania. Check out my odyssey at I’d love to connect with you at http://truehomeblog.com/ on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mali.roberts.12 , IG maliandcrew and Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/mali/
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