My BFF from Virginia (Yes, mommies need and have BFFs, too!) was in town recently and we met up to have our usual girly-mommy chat. Of course, we never miss to talk about our kids and update each other about them. We’ve been friends since Grade 7 and so, we practically grew up together from the teenage years to motherhood.
After asking how her aunt’s passing, wake, and funeral went (the reason for her trip), we talked about Kayla and Arielle. Kayla first. Where I plan to transfer Kayla by next schoolyear, Grade 10. How different senior high school here is from the U.S. (Junior High School is Grades 7 and 8; Senior High School is Grades to 9 to 12) and most especially, how SERIOUS and EARLY they do career planning over there as opposed to how we’re trying to implement it here only in the last two years of high school under the K-12 program. (It really makes we wonder if the Department of Education will be able to successfully implement the program and really prepare the students in the fields of their strengths or choice.) Her daughter is in 7th Grade and they’re already carefully planning courses she will take now so she can start getting high school credit. HIGH SCHOOL, not COLLEGE! My friend said that choices in high school are overwhelming her and she herself has so much to learn about how high school works! Her daughter’s school (and I believe, all U.S. schools) has a database where each student has a record, an inventory of strengths and goals, career explorations, documentation of activities, volunteer hours, and most importantly, they already begin to identify courses they may want to take in HIGH SCHOOL (again, HIGH SCHOOL, not college yet). All these so they can do a goal-setting and a learning plan IN HIGH SCHOOL so by the time they enter college, they are all set; they are prepared; they are focused and they know what they want to do. How amazing is that! It just MAKES SO MUCH SENSE, right?
That’s why I am taking a conscious effort now to really find out Kayla’s strengths and interests. I plan to let her take an assessment with Career Direct (just like what Arielle took where art was an obvious result of the assessment) this coming May or June after she turns 15. Hopefully, we would be able to clearly identify what careers she will really thrive in and be successful at. I’m also praying that her golf would open doors of opportunities and more specific options for her.
With Arielle, it’s another kind of planning. My friend and I first talked about how her scholarship application with SCAD is going and then, we eventually ended up with the topic on how she will eat while in college! You see, Arielle will be staying in a residential unit in Hong Kong with two roommates and she will be in charge of her meals (and laundry). Since SCAD-HK is just a building, not a campus, it has a small cafeteria which doesn’t really offer much or offer meals on a regular basis. That only means one thing: she has to cook. She can’t buy her food all the time. That would not come out budget- and health-friendly (the MSG in Chinese food!). And this is exactly what Arielle and I have been working on these past weeks. Skills in cooking, food preparation, and meal planning. It always makes me so happy when my BFF and I are always thinking about the same thing. We call each other “my other brain” because we help each other process each other’s thoughts and we think of the same things 99% of the time! You see, I feel that Arielle doesn’t seem to understand my point when I tell her that she has to P-L-A-N her meals AHEAD of TIME. She just can’t go to the kitchen 10 minutes before mealtime, thaw frozen meat that can take hours, prepare the ingredients and cook. It just doesn’t work that way. I’m just glad my BFF and I were on the same page and she started talking as if I was the one talking to Arielle. Her mommy talk was just what I needed.
And that brings me to another point. An important one: why it’s highly recommended for homeschool parents to meet up and do activities or fellowship. Because the meetups and gatherings are not only venues to get out of the house, relax, but more often, it is a venue to exchange notes and tips on what works with you and what works for the others that could be worth-trying. Just like meeting up with my BFF for lunch and dessert, the face-to-face encounter with other homeschool moms and dads brings a different personal interaction (as opposed to FB or Viber groups, although they have their own benefits and advantages) which I believe becomes a soothing therapy, and a much needed encouragement and inspiration.
So, the talk on meals then reminded me of a pin I recently saved in my Pinterest. It was about meal planning using Post-Its and a binder. Ok, who doesn’t love Post-Its??? I knew Arielle would need this and with the colorful and easy-transfer Post-Its, Arielle will survive college! It’s also making me think now to redo my recipe binder into this one!
After showing her how this meal plan binder works, I told her to make a spreadsheet of all the recipes she knows how to cook or wants to cook. Categories were:
- Smoothies (If she can’t always cook vegetables, then she has to drink them!)
- Dessert (her favorite!)
After creating the file, we were able to see visually what she lacks (more recipes on fish!) and what recipes she needs to learn and practice some more.
Plus, we also realized that she not only has to learn how to cook but what would help her save time every morning before she leaves for school are:
(1) make-ahead meals
(2) freezer meals
(3) one pot or one skillet meals
In order to complete her menu planner binder, Arielle still needs to do the following:
(1) type out all the recipes she will put in the binder
(2) print out the menu planner printables
(3) assemble/put them together in the binder
(4) make categories for the Post-Its (green for vegetables, yellow for beef, blue for pork, and so on)
(5) and start doing a mock-up/sample menu plan for a week
(6) plus, make a list of pantry/kitchen ingredient staples
With a lot more to do and teach about menu planning and cooking, Google and Pinterest are now my new best friends 🙂 They will not only make teaching more fun and visually appealing but it will also make life much easier for a homeschool mom like me with a college-bound, visual-learner daughter who will be living on her own overseas.
How do you plan your menu and organize your recipes? I would need all the tips I could get!