Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great Gift Ideas for Homeschool Parents

Homeschooling is a lot of work, as anyone who's done it for a while will tell you. It seems like we forget that we need to invest in ourselves as teachers, just like the teachers down the street at the public schools do when they take teacher-in-service or continued education days. In the same way, homeschool parents need to invest in their own ongoing education; we need refreshment, tools and resources to do our job, and sometimes renewed inspiration. There are many great 'helps' available for homeschooling parents today, and some of them could even find their way onto your Christmas list! If your family or friends are asking you for some gift ideas, here are a few I suggest you put on your list!

Some gifts for home educators will actually help us to be more efficient, and give us more time for homeschool tasks. "Managers of Their Homes" is a book that will help you with organization skills. It will help you schedule your day, help your children know what time to do what subjects, and help you figure out how you fit in your little ones and handle the toddlers.

This book is one of the best things that you can give to another homeschooling parent, too. A weekend away from homeschooling will help that parent regroup, take a deep breath, and realize it's not as horrible as it seems. If they read this book, they will figure out why they're overwhelmed, and learn strategies for not being overwhelmed in the future.

Another book I recommend is "The Sidetracked Home Executives," which will help you with household chores. Often it's not so much the homeschooling that's hard; it's the home that's hard. This book can really help you with that.

Another type of gift that will help you cope is gifts that help with cooking. Freezer cooking is one kind I have had great success with. If you just cook on the weekend, and enjoy those meals throughout the week, or cook two days out of the month to make freezer meals and eat those meals during the rest of the month, you will save a significant amount of time.

There are two books that I recommend for freezer cooking. One is the manual by 30-Day Gourmet and the other is their seasonal cookbook, "Holiday Freezer Cooking" from 30-Day Gourmet. "30-Day Gourmet" is a little bit of a misnomer, because the recipes are very down to earth and standard, so they're really not very gourmet. The "Holiday Freezer Cooking" book is worth its weight in gold. I can make ahead so many things for our Christmas meal.

Crock-pot recipes are another great cooking method to save time. If you normally start your school day at 8 or 9 in the morning, fifteen minutes before you start, you put your meal in the crock-pot, and then it's done at 5 o'clock. Two good starting cookbooks are "Fix It and Forget It" and "The Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes."

Remember to invest in yourself this season. You need time to continue learning about homeschooling, especially high school.

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