Editor’s note: Amish Cook columnist Gloria Yoder is taking some time off after an accident. Her representative reports that she and her family are OK, just shaken up. This column is excerpted from a column from this same season, just last year.
I’ll stick with my promise and fill you in on our homeschooling days, or perhaps I should say “moments.” It seems that though I try to stay with routines, my days pass, taking a moment at a time, trying to keep things as calm and cool as possible.
OK, as you know when we first began homeschooling, I had no idea how things would ever come together or how we’d balance it all, so in all honesty every little stitch of organization and success in our days is owed to the only One who can turn an impossibility to not only a success, but a thriving endeavor. To those of you who are new to the Yoders, welcome aboard, we have a young family with five little darlings who keep our lives filled with love, laughter, and challenges. (Two of the children are foster, and according to the last report, it’ll be at least another six months before adoption.)
Julia is in second grade. She loves school, which has proved to be a blessing for her and me both. Our sewing room has been changed into a classroom. We put in three little desks, one for Julia, another one for Austin and one is shared by the youngest three when they color or do their “school work.” I hung up some posters, a dry erase board, and of course the children’s art work.
In the morning after breakfast, Julia is ready for her morning walk. A few weeks into school, we saw that it just wouldn’t do for her to not get some fresh air before digging into schoolwork, so she started taking 10 to 15-minute walks before school. This morning when it was raining, she suggested getting her fresh air on the porch, so she trotted around on it and did some exercises to get her circulation going and brain sharpened. While Julia takes her walk, I try to get at least a few of the little ones dressed and ready for the day.
Next, the children and I have what we call our “Bible time.” We all sit down with Bibles, our Bible storybooks, and have some quiet moments. An older more experienced wife and mother suggested this, and we find it to be well worth the time and efforts to get it into a routine. God has a way of blessing those moments in ways I couldn’t.
Next, it’s time for school. Sometimes I feel like a little girl myself as I anticipate our day together. I used to dream of being a schoolteacher, and now I get to teach my own daughter! First, Julia and I have a prayer together, asking God to bless our school day and thank him for healthy minds and bodies. Her first lesson is mathematics which includes flashcards, a speed drill, and reviewing her lesson for the day. As she launches into her work, and my teaching part is done for the moment, I move on to whichever child needs mama or other demands that have landed on top of the list. Thanks to Daddy dear for easing my load and often helping with the dishes or straining the fresh cow’s milk before heading to the shop.
Once Austin has done the morning chores, he also does a few pages in his preschool books. What satisfaction is greater than to see little eyes widening with delight as they discover various sounds of the alphabet and how these sounds make up words?
When Julia has a question with her school work, and I’m not in the schoolroom at the moment, she whistles to summon me to her side. On some occasions when I’m rocking an infant, or I’m tied up with something else, I ask her to bring her lessons to me.
After math is completed, she takes a quick break to do jumping jacks before doing language arts, followed by a 15-minute break and her reading lesson. Not all days contain the same assignments. German, art and the Bible are other subjects she also enjoys. Unlike the books I used at school, her Language Arts also includes writing, phonics and spelling. Most of her workbooks are from Christian Light Education. We’ve been very thankful for this curriculum, which teaches so many things in a practical manner.
After lunch and break time, Julia and I sit down together and help each other check her work from that day. Both of us enjoy this quiet portion of the day while most of the little ones are still taking naps. You know how it is, every child needs and deserves some alone time with his parents.
So I’ll wrap up with sharing this never fail recipe I made this morning for my hungry little family. Are children always hungry?
Apple Oven Baked French Toast
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
12 slices bread
2 cups apple pie filling (opt)
6 ounces whipped or regular cream cheese (opt)
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Melt first three ingredients together in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil then pour into a 9 x 13 inch cake pan. Place 6 bread slices on top, then dab with cream cheese and pie filling. Top with remaining bread. Now beat up the eggs, milk, salt and vanilla. Pour over bread and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Cut into squares and if desired invert onto a serving tray or another cake pan.