Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homeschooling - Mixing it up, plus a recipe...

This is the very inconvenient place where most of my best ideas come to me:
Where is your "idea" place?  Is it convenient for you?  How do you compensate if it is not convenient?  I often take pen and paper into the bathroom and place them on the shelf above our toilet, and make sure my towel is nearby, just in case I need to dry off my hand and arm to write a note.

Today's brainstorm did indeed take place in the shower, but it was one of the few times I hadn't brought my pen and paper into the bathroom.  Thankfully, it wasn't too hard to remember...  We've been struggling  in our homeschool this year.  My son isn't enjoying the free flow approach that has been wonderful over the last few years.  But, he also doesn't want a lot of structure (nor do I!).  I've been a bit at a loss for what to do about this.  He is struggling to get his work done each day, and really hates the writing projects that I've had him doing.  For social studies, neither of us is inspired by any curriculum or materials that we've looked at, and the same is true for science.  In the past, neither of us had interest in unit studies, but I think we are going to give them a try...and, we will incorporate writing into the studies.

In addition to unit studies, we are going to alternate social studies and science.  We will start by trying every other week, but may adjust depending on how well this goes...  I'm going to give JP the option to choose which we start with.  Once he has chosen, I'll be giving him a list of ten topics to choose from, and then we will pull together materials, and if it is practical, will plan a field trip too.  I'm also going to ask that JP take notes so that he can fashion a report of some kind on each topic.  For some topics, it might be a straight essay style report.  For others, he may build a model to go with a shorter report.  We'll see...maybe he'll do a lapbook type of project for some topics.  I see this evolving as we go along.  I also see it being much more interesting than the approach we've been using!  Wish us luck!

(Amended: we are changing our math curriculum too!)

On to the recipe...while looking around for recipes a few weeks ago, I came upon a broccoli-garlic-pasta combination that seemed so yummy and easy that I just had to try making something similar!  I'm so glad I did!  This version is not vegan but is dairy free.  It would be very easy to make it vegan by just omitting the sausage.

Broccoli Sausage Cheezy Pasta
1 pound pasta
2 cups of broccoli florets, or bite sized pieces of broccoli
4 inch piece of sausage, cut into a dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste

Cook your pasta according to the package directions.  While the pasta is cooking, steam your broccoli (I did it in the microwave - just put it in a microwave safe bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water.  Cover tightly with cling film/saran wrap.  Microwave for about 2 minutes.).  Also, while the pasta is cooking, cook your diced sausage.

Drain your pasta, and return it to the cooking pot (or put it in a large serving bowl).  Add the steamed broccoli, cooked sausage, olive oil, and minced garlic.  Stir to evenly distribute everything.  Add the nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.  Stir well to distribute the nutritional yeast as it tends to clump up when it gets moist.  Taste, adjust the salt and pepper, and serve hot.


On another note...if you haven't seen the notice already, we are closing our Etsy shop on December 15th.  We need to focus on other things right now...I hope to reopen our shop over the summer.  So, from now until the 15th, we are offering two deals:
  • 25% off our entire shop with coupon code SHOPCLOSING at checkout.
  • FREE US Priority shipping on all orders over $25 (after discounts) to US addresses. 
Bonus - if you live in the USA, you may combine the two deals! 

Visit our shop at http://maleaab.etsy.com for stationery, art cards, and more!  Great stocking stuffers for Christmas and little treats for other winter holidays, or just because! 


  1. That's funny that you come up with your best ideas while in the shower. For me, it's while I'm driving. I try to grab a paper and pencil and scribble something down without taking my eyes off the road.
    It sounds like your son is going to have a great year. I always liked doing more hands-on stuff.

  2. It really annoys me, but my best ideas come to me when I'm really tired and am trying to go to sleep.

    The other night I was awake for two hours watching a whole book idea (I'm trying to write) unfold in my head.

    I love the inspiration, but it's not so great when I have to get up at 6am the next day.

    Pasta dish looks super yummy!

  3. Your pasta recipe looks really good. I used to make one a lot like that, but I always added quite a bit of parmesan cheese..

  4. This seems like probably one of the biggest challenges of homeschooling (and perhaps teaching kids in general)---keeping it fun and interesting and engaging. I'm so amazed by you and anyone who takes on the challenge of homeschooling, and I'm especially amazed by your flexibility and creative approach. I wish you so much luck with your new ideas! You are surely raising a very creative, think-outside-of-the-box son!

    On another note--I was just listening to a radio show and the host said that the shower is the #1 place that people get creative ideas because it's a place where people let their minds wander.

    On a third note---one of my favorite pastas is very similar to what you wrote about! We make a pasta with broccoli and white beans and garlic and oil that I love, and really, sausage makes anything better! Although the recipe we use calls for anchovies as a base flavor--you don't really taste anchovies, but it just gives the whole thing a deeper flavor. The white (cannellini) beans kind of fall apart as you cook, so they give it a little bit of a creamy texture.


We adore comments! Please leave some! Just note, Anonymous comments go to my spam folder, and I rarely publish them.