Practical Homeschooling AdviceNon-Education Related!

One of the most common questions asked, after the dreaded S word (what about the Socialisation?!) is how do you manage the cooking and housework when homeschooling?

 

The majority of the mamas have the same concerns; the cooking and keeping up with the chores at home.

 Shopping

 With regards to shopping, I do a weekly online shop that gets delivered right to my door. For my family, time is money! I can’t afford to spend my precious weekend wasting it on doing my weekly shop. I know many husbands say it’s a waste of money paying for the delivery but if you take in consideration of the time you spend shopping, the petrol and dragging the kids along too then spending £3 for delivery works out much better.

  

 

 Bulk cooking and Freezing

 A lot of people hate the idea of doing bulk cooking and freezing. But if you master the art of it then your frozen food should taste freshly cooked. For example, I cook a big pot of lamb/chicken mince with lots of vegetable in it. Once cooked, I take a quarter out to freeze, this will be used for my shepherd pies. I then add bolognaise sauce to the rest of the mince and freeze in batches to make pasta bake, fillings for jacket potatoes or have with spaghetti.

 The art is thawing. Taking out whatever you will be eating the night before and leaving it out to defrost in the fridge. Once defrosted, transfer it into a pot, heat and garnish with fresh coriander.

 I do the same with my curries. I cook in bulk but at the stage where you add water (shira/shura) to the curry, I take half out and freeze. Just like the mince, I leave it out to defrost naturally but with curries, I fry a little garlic and then add the curry to it. Once it’s completely heated, garnish with coriander. I assure you, it will taste like it’s freshly cooked and you won’t have the smell of ice, which you sometimes get if you defrost in the microwave.

 I have even started freezing ready-made pies which tasted no different from the freshly cooked ones. I made lots of Shepherd’s pies, Chicken and Mushroom/Veg pies as well as fish pies.

 

Prep Work

Preparation is key. If you have older children, get them to cut vegetables for you. My children are in charge of cutting peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and courgettes. Anything that is easy to chop, they chop it Alhumdulillah.

  

 

 Invest in a good food processor. This machine has been designed to cut all your veg and in different sizes! Once a month you can pre-cut all your veg that can be frozen. Whynot chop fresh chillies and coriander and freeze them? This is actually better as it is less wastage. I know my chillies and coriander always go off in the fridge. Freezing them retains the freshness and the aroma.  

  With Asian cooking, it’s the little things that are the most time consuming. For example, grating ginger and garlic. I find this to be the most tedious job, hence why I buy ready-frozen ones! Call me lazy but life is too short for me to spend an entire day peeling and blending garlic and ginger, transferring the mixture into ice trays, freezing them and then putting the frozen cubes in bags. You know that saying? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that! :-D

   

 

 Meal Planner

 You really don’t have to waste a lot of time and money to cook for your family. With a little planning, you can seriously cut down on the time and money it takes to prepare and cook a decent meal.

 It may seem repetitive at first but you can always change it every week/fortnight/month to suit your family’s needs. 

 Here is a meal planner I made for Ramadhan. It was a life saver as I knew exactly what I was going to cook for iftar. I didn’t follow it too rigidly as some days we had a lot of left overs and other times we just ate something very light. The main point of it was to lighten the burden of thinking up on the spot what to eat and going crazy shopping on an empty stomach! 

 

Create a meal planer, print and stick it in your kitchen. This way all the family can see what is planned for lunch and dinner and they can all help to prepare the meals. 

You can download and edit a cute meal planner from here: http://www.noordinarymomentsblog.com/2012/01/monthly-menu-planner-editable-pdf.html

 

 Housework

 Now, housework: trust me, I’m no ‘housewife diva’ but the reason I love guests, apart from the fact that I really do enjoy other people’s company, is that I am forced to clean and tidy! It is a known fact that we can get more cleaning done in the ten minutes before someone comes over than in a week! The pressure of visitors actually makes us tidier!

 

 Chores

 Don’t be afraid of child labour!‘ Your children will thank you later in life insha-Allah. Prepare your children for the ‘real’ world and give them chores to do now.

 In our home, even the baby chips in! She is in charge of putting shoes away in the shoe baskets, putting toys in the toy box and even unloading the washing from the washing machine (I supervise by waiting behind her). And her favourite ‘job’ at the moment is putting all the cutlery away in the kitchen drawer. 

  

 My children loved seeing a tick or a sticker on their completed charts. I made specific charts for the kitchen and their bedroom because those were the most ‘problem’ areas for me.

 

 Chore Money

 I know a lot of families don’t believe in chore money, I was originally against it too. And to be honest, I still am if it is the case that parents are giving chore money for chores that need to be done, without any incentives! 

 Giving children loose change for helping out extra entices them to help further. My children get £1 max for doing a ‘major’ chore. This could be for cleaning the car or cleaning one whole room. Otherwise they get 10p/20p. They usually use their ‘saved’ money to buy penny sweets. 

 That is one thing to consider when giving chore money;what are your children going to use their ‘hard earned’ cash on? Often children will want to save their chore money to buy something their parents have banned, for example a computer game or a toy that is unsuitable for them. So if you are going to give money, make sure your children know what they can and cannot spend it on. 

 

 Here is a list of age-appropriate Montessori chores chart. I would print, laminate and stick it on the fridge for everyone to see:

 

Lastly, the dreaded ironing! Either you love it, or you hate it! I use to love it as I found ironing therapeutic (yes really!) But now with the growing demands of my family, I just don’t have the time nor the energy to spend hours ironing weekly loads! 

 But there is a trick of the trade and it really does work! You just wash your laundry as usual in the washing machine but the most important thing to remember is to take the clothing out as soon as the machine stops! This reduces the creasing. 

Take all the clothing out and one by one give them a few shake to take as many creases out as possible then hang on the washing line or put on radiators. 

  

 

I have been doing this for many years now, even with myhusband’s office work clothing and Alhumdulillah no creasesor complaints.

 

 

 

Bio: Jazmin Begum-Kennedy is an experienced teacher of Primary and Secondary Education and is an acclaimed professional artist (JBK Arts) and published author of Mercy Like the Raindrops. Furthermore, Jazmin is an online counsellor specialising in Domestic Abuse, Rape and Child Abuse. She also physically helps victims of DV flee their abusive marriages! This is a free service Fisabilillah.

Jazmin was the co-founder of the UK based charity Care for Children, helping children worldwide with the necessities of life. She is now the co-founder of the Nisa Foundation, working as a women’s aid worker for victims of Domestic Violence.

JBK is an activist who passionately supports the Palestinian struggle. 

JBK currently homeschools her 3 children full time whilst managing a network for Home Educators in the Greater Manchester area. She also runs her own business selling Educational Resources (The Resource Lady) and leads workshops for The Workshop People.

https://www.facebook.com/JazJBK

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