The Big Rocks of Homeschooling: Why Meal Planning Matters

No one warns you how much homeschooling is affected by food! The incessant hunger of the kids and the never-ending siren song of the kitchen promise to continually interrupt your best-laid plans.  We’ve all heard the importance of having dinner together, but have you ever thought about sharing breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, and dinner together –for possibly the next 12 years?

All these meals and snacks can feel like an overwhelming whirlwind of (too much) togetherness and culinary (mis)adventures draining your budget. Meal planning might just be the secret ingredient to transform the chaos into rituals that help forge connections with your children while helping you save money.

Have you heard of the metaphor “putting in the big rocks first“? It’s a concept often found in time management discussions. Imagine your day as a jar with various tasks and responsibilities to fit into it. The big rocks represent your most important tasks or goals, and the smaller rocks stand for less critical tasks. By prioritizing the ‘big rocks’ and addressing them first, you ensure there’s room for them, and there’s ample space left for the less critical tasks. I believe that meal planning is one of those ‘big rocks’ in the homeschooling jar.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why meal planning is a game-changer, especially for homeschooling families. Imagine no last-minute meal decisions (unless you want to make some!), no rush to prepare food, and a happy, well-nourished family. That’s the magic of meal planning—a big rock in the jar of a peaceful homeschooling family.

Benefits of Meal Planning

  • Saves Time: Meal planning gives you control and saves time., Ensuring you always have a plan reduces decision fatigue. 
  • Nurtures Health: A well-thought-out meal plan means nutritious, balanced meals that support effective learning and mental health. 
  • Reduces Stress: Eliminates the daily dinner dilemma and helps cater to food aversions. Some of your kids will hate the mornings you have eggs, others will dislike oatmeal mornings. Meal planning ensures there is something for everyone to love (and hate)!
  • Saves Money: Efficient grocery shopping and reduced food waste provide budget relief – something we all seem to need right now.

How Meal Planning can be Magic for Homeschooling

  • Routine and Structure: Meal planning establishes a daily rhythm. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner serve as natural breaks and offer times to reconnect. 
  • Learning Opportunities: Involving your children in meal planning provides excellent lessons in budgeting, math, and nutrition (and you’ll get more buy-in when your kids participate in deciding what meals are on the menu).
  • Healthy Brain Food: A well-fed family is more attentive and productive. Plan meals rich in brain-boosting nutrients and antioxidants to enhance your children’s focus and memory. Truly, any food made at home is so much better for your brains than school lunches or fast food.
  • Cooking as Science: Turn meal preparation into a science experiment. Encourage your kids to measure ingredients, observe the cooking process, and learn about the chemistry of food. Consider fostering this valuable life skill as an important part of your day. 
  • Theme Days: Adds a dash of excitement and consistency with theme days, like “Taco Tuesdays” or “Pizza Fridays.”

Is Menu Planning for You?

Meal planning can be a significant “big rock” in the jar of healthy  living, making homeschooling a happier and more successful journey. If meal preparation is stress-free for you, you may not need it. Each homeschool is as individual as each of you are. However, if you seek help in saving time, nurturing health, reducing stress, and fostering family connections, give meal planning a try. You can download our simple menu planner sheet to get started.

Happy planning, happy homeschooling, and, most importantly, happy eating!