Tips for Homeschooling Mamas

The Lunch Crate. Circle Time for High School.

This is the third year that I’ve replaced our morning basket with a Lunch Crate. Why? Well, why not? It just works better for our family, and it may work well for yours as well!

The Idea Behind The Crate

Several reasons contributed to the birth of the lunch crate for our family. The first reason is I’m not a morning person. I like to drink my coffee uninterrupted, and get my thoughts and prep for the day. That usually includes making a to do list for the day, checking social media and email, and tossing a load of wash in the machine.

The second reason is that the timing is better suited for our family. My high school kids usually get started on their work first thing in the morning. After they get a couple of subjects out of the way, they are ready for a break, and I’m finally ready to talk!

Last, I think it is still important to have “circle time” with big kids too. While we’re no longer practicing the days of the week, or filling out a weather chart, there are plenty of things you can do with older kids that would otherwise get overlooked. Oh, and “lunch crate” just sounds cool, and who doesn’t want to be too cool for school? Homeschoolers, of course!

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What’s in this year’s crate?

One of the most fun parts of planning a new school year is putting the crate together. This is the fun stuff that often get pushed aside or forgotten if I didn’t use a dedicated lunch crate. There’s only a few things we will do daily this year. The other items are educational games that can be played in under 10 minutes.

  • Current Events: As much as I despise most news media, and rarely watch or read it, during the school year we view CNN10. Despite the reputation of it’s counterpart, I have found that CNN10 has remained a neutral news show. Geared toward tweens and teens, it is a 10 minute news segment with current events, an inspiring story, discovery, or other story of interest. We have also had the opportunity with the Review Crew to check out WORLDWatch News. So far, it has been very comparable to CNN10 with similar format and content. It has a biblical worldview and is available through subscription. My full review will be available this week.
  • Fine Arts: This year, I’ve decided to include readings from Lives of the Artists, Lives of the Writers, and Lives of the Musicians. I have had these books for a couple of years, and we have used them here and there in our studies. This year, I wanted to make sure we cover them all, so they can at least be familiar with some of the masters. I intend to incorporate games or activities with them and a full review of how we use them later this year.
  • Memory Work: We will continue to use our dedicated time together to learn Bible verses and vocabulary words from It’s Not Greek to Me.
  • Days to Celebrate: If you’ve been following my series, “Something to Celebrate” this year or following me on Instagram, then you’ve seen there are things to celebrate every day! You can grab a free printable of the current month’s special days in my Free Resource Library.

10 Games in 10 Minutes or Less

Looking for games that enhance learning, requires little instruction, and can be played in under 10 minutes without paper, pencil, or a gameboard? Some are old favorites, and some are new. Check out the list of goodies I’ve thrown in our lunch crate this year!

  • Giant Playing Cards – there are so many games to play with a deck of cards, and the bigger, the better!
  • Pictionary Card Game – No drawing is required. Simple images on picture cards are used to build each clue.
  • Chemistry Fluxx – a new one for us! The Elemental Card Game with ever-changing rules sounds promising to me!
  • Tenzi – Versitile, fast, and fun! Check out my full review here.
  • Last Letter – This one has been in the crate before, but it’s a new game each time you play this word game.
  • Bananagrams – A fast paced game to build your own crossword grids.
  • Word-A-Round – We discovered this last year. The game is simple, but you’ll find yourself baffled as you race to call out words! A fantastic mental exercise.
  • Bible Trivia Cards – A fun, simple way to increase Bible knowledge.
  • Racers Ready – Get up and get moving! This game uses everyday household items in challenges and contests. It’s similiar to minute-to-win-it style games. Multiple ages can participate.
  • Professor Noggin Games – We have three of these, and they can be played quickly. I like that they have two levels of difficulty for a variety of skill levels.
  • Bonus: Bottlecaps. This DIY game is so versatile and can be used to reinforce or quiz whatever you may be studying. Play a game of 20 questions, practice spelling and vocabulary lists, math problems & more!

The Lunch Crate takes about 30 minutes. Most of my kids’ subjects are all done independently, and this is great way for us to come together during our school day. I’ve also found it is a great way to utilize my collection of “ohhh this looks fun” things that I have collected over the years. If you’d like more ideas as to what to put in a lunch crate for older children, check out my previous posts here and here. If you’ve found you have more in your crate than you have time for, I have a printable blank loop schedule in the Free Resource Library! I’m always up for new ideas, especially for big kids! Drop a comment of what’s in your morning basket or lunch crate in your homeschool!

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