We are gone almost every night at dinnertime. The girls dance, the boys have TKD, and we all have debate. That schedule wreaks havoc with dinner. I honestly can't remember the last time I used my oven. I don't like it to be on when I'm not home (we really need a new one), and I don't find that I have time to make dinner once the afternoon rush is on. Thus - it's
Taco Bell the crock pot for us. There are three ways that I make the crock pot even easier than it already is. First, I don't defrost, brown, or in any other way pre-prepare anything that goes in it. Frozen chicken, pink roasts, everything goes in in its original state. Second, I always use crock pot liners. Eating at 8:30 or 9:30 at night means that cleaning up is the last thing I want to do. Yes, I know it's not good for the environment. I don't care. Third, I take every single shortcut there is. I'm not a homesteader, a frugal blogger, or any of those other things I really admire. I use canned and cartoned anything I can. I still manage to make some darn tasty dinners (N.B., I absolutely can cook from scratch, and when I have time, I do).
|Image Credit: CampbellsKitchen.com|
For example, early yesterday afternoon I threw two cartons of Mexican Tortilla flavored chicken broth, black beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, green chilis, frozen chicken breasts, and tomato paste into the crock pot. About 5 hours later, I served bowls of delicious tortilla soup. I added cheese and crumbled tortilla chips to the top and everyone inhaled it. Usually I would, of course, have added spices, but with the flavored chicken broth, I didn't need any. It took me about 3 minutes to "make" dinner. It took 30 seconds to clean it up. The recipe is one that I have made before, but I have used regular chicken broth and my own spices in the past. By taking this additional shortcut, I saved the time of finding the spices and loosely measuring them (*very* loosely!). Plus, the broth was really good!
I am always looking for shortcuts like this one. When Henry and I were first married, I would sometimes spend 3-4 hours cooking dinner...but I was 21, in college, and had nothing better to do. Those days seem like a million years ago.
- What a Homeschooling Mom Needs
- Preparing Yourself to Homeschool Older Kids With Little Ones Underfoot
- Planning Around Preschoolers
- How Do I Keep Them Busy?
- What Does a 2-Year-Old's Day Look Like?
- How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?
- How Not to Just Kill Time
- Circle Time: Or How We Pull the Little Ones In
- Preschool Boys
- When All of Your Kiddos Are Preschoolers
- Preschool Chores
- Planning for Preschool
- When Mama is Worn Out (or Pregnant)
- Meal Planning 101
As usual, though, I am getting ahead of myself! The Fix It Grammar: Robin Hood student book is 33 weeks of work, coming in at 69 pages of comb bound workbook pages, with three pages of removable card stock flashcards (grammar/usage helps), and a 45 page glossary. All told, then, the book is a slender 115 or so pages. The Teacher's Manual is 256 pages long and is JAM PACKED with information on how to teach the grammar concepts your student will be practicing in the student book. Naturally you have the mirror of the student book page, but you have so much more than that! You are told exactly how to convey each concept to the student. You are told how to discuss the corrections. You are even told how to adjust the pacing to your student's needs. If you don't know much about grammar yourself, this is absolutely the course for you! You will learn everything you need to about how to teach your student without worrying that you are not doing it right or not doing enough. You can see samples of the amazing Teacher's Manual here.
Essentially, what a student does each day is make editorial corrections to one sentence in an ongoing passage (in the case of this book - about Robin Hood). After making those editorial corrections, he rewrites the sentence correctly in a notebook so that at the end of the course he has the correct version of a story (again, in this case Robin Hood). The daily time investment in the course will definitely vary with how proficient your student already is in grammar, but it is not really much at all. For us, it amounted to about 10-15 minutes maximum.
Therese (13) and Fit It! Grammar: Robin Hood
In retrospect, I should have gone with my instincts and gotten Book 3 or even Book 4 for Therese. I have been very intensive with grammar with her from the time she was quite young. IEW recommends the Fix It! series for grades 3 and up and indicates that even older children can start with Book 1, but in Therese's case we definitely should have gone up a couple of levels. I was wary of starting at a level that was too high with a program format (IEW, that is) that was unfamiliar to her, therefore alienating her affections, so to speak. To that end, I am glad that she did Book 2. She does like the program, and I definitely think that we will be sticking around for the higher level books. It is an easy way to review concepts already learned and still be able to continue doing regular grammar work.
Therese's thoughts on Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood: "The actual things I have to identify are kind of easy for me, but I really like the way it is segmented out, although I think it could be slightly longer - maybe two or three sentences at a time. I like that by the end of the book I will have a finished copy of the story. The idea of the flashcards is a good one, but for me the content is below my current grammar level."
Fix It! Grammar has six different levels. The level Therese and I reviewed (Level 2) costs $15 for the Student Book and $19 for the Teacher's Manual. Other Crew members reviewed levels both higher and younger, though, so be sure to click on the banner below to read about their experiences.
|Image Credit: Etude House|