Meal Planning for Busy Homeschool Moms

Our lives have been greatly simplified over the past year.

It all started with the need I had to deepen our homeschool.  By getting rid of unused resources and only keeping the very best materials on our shelves, we've been able to open up so much space in our minds.  It's AMAZING. 

This urge to simplify has begun to trickle into all areas of our life, from how much STUFF we keep out, to the number of activities on our calendar.

Meal planning has also been greatly simplified.

I've found a tool that helps me store recipes, plan meals, generate shopping lists, and even share recipes with friends.  

Plan to Eat is my online hub for meal planning - it has simplified this once stressful area for me!.

(And by the way -- this is NOT a sponsored post -- Plan to Eat is NOT paying me to say these things. I just love it and want to tell you about it!)

This post contains affiliate links. 

Saving Recipes

I have quite a catalog of recipes online that I love, and recipes that I want to try. 

Using the Plan to Eat bookmarklet on my computer I can easily (with the click of  button) import a recipe from a website to my Plan to Eat account. 


I can add tags to my recipes like gluten free, easy to make, and kid favorite. It also allows me to group recipes by main dish, breakfast, salads, desserts, etc... 

If the recipe isn't online, I simply type the recipe into Plan to Eat and it's stored there. 

This means I have my recipes anywhere I am (because Plan to Eat is mobile friendly and I can view a recipe on my phone!).

Here's a little snapshot of just SOME of my main course recipes. You can see the tags, how many times I've planned them, and where they come from. 

Planning Recipes

When I sit down each weekend to plan meals, I go into Plan to Eat, search for recipes, and simply add them to my planner. 

It's THAT easy.  

Here's an example of what a week might look like. You see I can also say "dinner on the go" or "dinner at granddaddy's" - so everyone knows the plan for the week. (My husband loves to be able to look at Plan to Eat and know what's for dinner - helps him plan his lunches at work accordingly!)

Automatically Generated Shopping Lists

Once the meals are on the planner, the ingredients needed are automatically added onto the Shopping List.  You can also manually add any extra items you need.

(If you want to get really fancy you can catalog everything that is in your pantry and Plan to Eat won't put an item on your list if you already have it in your pantry! )

You can either print the list  or check off items via your smartphone or tablet while you shop.  There's NO MORE forgetting your list at home this way! 

Sharing Recipes With Friends

I have several friends on Plan to Eat. 

I'm also friends with several blog readers on Plan to Eat.

One night last year my Anna came home saying the tacos they had at youth group were great. Well, I know the mom that made the dinner and I know she's on Plan to Eat. I texted her and she said, "It's in my Plan to Eat - Oven Baked Tacos".  I went to her profile and saved the recipe to my recipe book.

It was that easy. Now, Oven Baked Tacos are a staple in my house!  (go ahead and grab the recipe - it's super EASY)

Try Plan to Eat for FREE

You can sample Plan to Eat FREE for 30 days.  

If you like it - it's just $5/month or $39/year. 

It's the BEST $5 I spend each month.

It keeps my life SIMPLE, and my family HAPPY. 

Meal Planning Made EASY with Plan to Eat

Planning & Organization for Classical Conversations Cycle 1

It feels so good to have all of the planning and organization COMPLETE for this year's CC Cycle 1.

For the past couple of years I've been creating videos and posts to share how our family approaches the Foundations memory work.

This year I've done the same. Please enjoy, and know that this is only ONE WAY to do CC -- I know of so many different approaches and resources.  

My philosophy with CC (as well as with homeschooling in general) is LESS IS MORE.  You will find that I keep it all contained to one bookshelf and really try to minimize excess STUFF! I have a few tried and true resources that we return to each year.

Classical Conversations is such a blessing to our family.

What an honor and joy it is to KNOW GOD and MAKE HIM KNOWN!  

Organizing & Planning for Classical Conversations Cycle One

This post contains affiliate links. 

Favorite "Tools" for Organizing Foundations

The key (for me) to success is ORGANIZATION. 

The materials from previous cycles all get stored in their own see-through bin.  (I also store Challenge materials in their own bin, but that will be another post!)

I label the bins clearly so that we can get to them easily the next time they are needed. It really isn't hard to just throw everything you used (CDs, maps, books, etc...) into a bin and slap a label on it. 

I use the DYMO Hand Held Label Maker (just $18) - it is the BEST investment I've made in a while! 

Favorite Tools for Organization Foundations

We also stock up on plenty of BINDERS - binders with see through covers are best, because I make pages for the fronts of each subject area binder.  

Finally, I love to always print the Memory Work Flip Chart from CC Connected.  (Thank you melodystroud for making these for each cycle.  They are a HUGE blessing.)

Morning Time & Memory Work

Each morning at breakfast time we do the following:

  • Devotion
  • CNN Student News  (this is a non partisan 10 minute news show that my kids LOVE)
  • Memory Work Review (using the flip book mentioned above)
  • Picture Study or Music Appreciation (using SQUILT, of course!) -- according to the Foundations Guide

Also, if there are mornings when I need to give Anna (my Challenge 1 student) direction before her day starts, Grant will take a few minutes and review with the Cycle 1 app or going through the timeline song with the timeline cards. 

History Resources & Notebooking Memory Work

This year we are keeping it simple.  I've already outlined how we will approach the history work in this post, but I'll repeat a bit here. 

The following are the resources we will use to reinforce the history memory work:

The history notebook, as shown in the video below, consists of notebooking pages I have printed from my Notebooking Pages subscription. There is a notebooking page for nearly EVERY HISTORY SENTENCE in Cycle 1. If there is not a page, I have just printed a generic notebooking page. 

(You can watch my son explain how he notebooks through CC memory work in this video.)

Using Notebooking Pages with the Foundations Memory Work

The nice thing about this notebook is that it gives my son a PROJECT, and then he can also use these pages for presentations on community days. 

The notebook also serves as a great keepsake and record of his learning. 

Notebooking Pages are such a simple, effective way to reinforce the history memory work! 

Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Memberships

Math Curriculum & Memory Work

We will review the math memory work each morning using the flip book and the Cycle 1 CDs.  

Sometimes I find worksheets on CC Connected to reinforce the math work, but generally verbally reviewing the math memory work is enough for my math guy. 

As far as math curriculum....

Grant has always used Saxon Math and it works well for him. We will continue on that course this year. 

An INVALUABLE resource are white boards.

Using white boards during Saxon Math time


I use a board, and Grant uses a board. We usually complete the Lesson Practice together - it's fun and it also gives me a good idea of his understanding. 

Latin Curriculum & Memory Work

This year we are starting a formal Latin curriculum, simply because I have seen the rigorous work required in Challenge A/Henle Latin, and I want my son to be prepared. (My daughter jumped in cold in Challenge A and struggled a bit.)

After researching and speaking to a lot of people about this, we have decided to use First Form Latin from Memoria Press. I feel this Latin curriculum will prepare him for Challenge A. This is going to be an addition for us this year - and probably a time consuming one, but I'm willing to invest that time because I KNOW it will pay off in spades. 

Using First Form Latin in Classical Conversations Foundations

We will review the daily Latin memory work - which will also be reinforced through First Form. 

I'm most excited about this area of our curriculum this year. It's taken me two years, but I FINALLY feel educated and equipped to teach Latin. 

Science Memory Work

We will review the science memory work each day using the flip book, CDs and Cycle 1 app. 

I have a few good science book on our shelves for Grant to dig a bit deeper in the science memory work (possibly for presentation?).  

We will also check the library and online for any sources to help us learn a bit more about the science for the week.

You could say I'm going to fly by the seat of my pants a bit -- but I would prefer to call it "Interest Led".  Cycle 1 science lends itself to some nature study, so I hope we can take part in A LOT of that this year! 

Hopefully I will also find some fun experiments and other activities via CC Connected if we have time for them. 

We will NOT notebook the science, simply because I don't want to notebook Grant to death! 

Science Resources for CC Cycle 1

Geography Memory Work and Map Tracing!

Admittedly, this is our FAVORITE area of the memory work. 

Grant LOVES to trace maps and it seems that the geography memory work just sticks with him through tracing.

Normally, after our morning time, this is the FIRST activity Grant likes to complete!

I've created a notebook for Cycle 1, with a map for each of the 24 weeks (thank you CC Connected user MomBrown for the maps!).

Cycle 1 Geography Notebook for map tracing

Here is a video I created so you can see EXACTLY what our geography notebook looks like:

English Grammar Memory Work

Basically, we just review the English Grammar memory work during our morning time. 

I trust that Grant is getting whatever else he needs in Essentials (he will be a second year Essentials student this year). 

I would like to make better use of some of the songs on CC Connected this year, because I think they will really help him. I have a friend who makes a CD of songs for her kids before the year starts, so that's my next project!


Timeline Review

The timeline is always practiced in our van! We keep this very simple and just make sure to listen to the timeline song at least once whenever we go somewhere.

Also, Grant goes through the timeline cards (I store them in small binders) while listening to the song when he has free time during the day.




This is our PLAN for the year. 

Sometimes things don't go according to plan, but I appreciate having a plan in place. It just helps our days run smoothly.

If there is one thing I want to convey to you -- it is that THE MEMORY WORK IS ENOUGH.  If you do nothing else but review the memory work (and include a good math and reading program), your child will be JUST FINE.  

If I can't fit everything for Foundations in ONE bookshelf, then I need to get rid of a few things!  

Classical Conversations/Foundations Resources:  All on ONE Bookshelf

How do YOU plan for Foundations?  

Do you have any tips/ideas to share with me about reviewing/reinforcing memory work?  

Planning & Organizing for Classical Conversations Cycle 1

Music Appreciation for Patriotic Days

Free Music Appreciation Lesson - The Stars & Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa: a 12 page SQUILT download

Do your children know about patriotic American music?

Are you teaching them about American history through music?

We can learn so much about history through great music, and through the lives and times of the composers who created the music. 

I've created a free download for you - to help you teach your children about the National March of the United States: The Stars & Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa. 

This 12 page SQUILT download includes listening links, notebooking pages, and a full SQUILT lesson.  Your children will learn about The March King, the specifics of the piece, and also a little about the Piccolo. 

If you've never done a SQUILT lesson before, you are in for a treat.   

(Grab your download at the end of this post!)



A Little Bit About SQUILT

SQUILT stands for Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time.

It is a method I used as an elementary music teacher many years ago. Your children listen to a piece of music QUIETLY -- and in this stillness and quiet they listen for certain elements of music - Rhythm & Tempo, Instrumentation, Dynamics, and Mood.

The SQUILT Curriculum teaches your children the grammar of music, and allows them to listen to and articulate their thoughts about beautiful music. 

Each SQUILT lesson contains everything you need - links, notebooking pages, and EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT THE MUSIC the parent will need to know. 

SQUILT is for the non musical parent. It is for the musical parent.  It is for multiple ages. It is for the WHOLE FAMILY.

My goal is to make beautiful music accessible and understandable for children everywhere! 

Patriotic Fine Arts: Celebrate Freedom!

I'm so excited to be teaming up with my great friend, Tricia, at  Hodgepodge.

Tricia is providing the art lesson, and I'm providing the music. How fun is that? 

(Be sure to pin and share this so other homeschoolers can join in the fun!)

Patriotic Fine Arts - Celebrate Freedom with free music and art lessons

Click over to Tricia's site to receive your FREE art lesson!


Grab your  FREE SQUILT Lesson --> The Stars & Stripes Forever By John Philip Sousa! 

(And, when you download the lesson I have another surprise for you, too!)

Please enjoy a special time sharing patriotic art and music with your children!!