Another reason to be thankful and grateful we can homeschool! Yes! Be thankful!
I went to the FPEA homeschool convention last week and found two booths with the STEM projects/curriculum.
The first was Stemsims.com it is an interactive website with simulations. I thought it was really great, so did my husband and kids. It’s is for grades 4-12, but probably best for middle school. My 3rd grader enjoyed working with it with an adult and my 12th grader absolutely loves it. Check it out, I’ve never seen anything like it before and they have a 7 day free trial. The yearly charge is only $69, which is a great price.
From their website:
The following notes were taken from a lecture “Study like a genius” by Woody Robertson
Check out the FREE audio downloads from college plus I thought their resources were great and full of good information. Check it out , I liked the bachelors degree by 18, it gives you a lot to think about.
Below are a few free deals I’ve seen this week and good sites to visit for more freebies. 2 expire at the end of this month- June 30, 2014
***ends 6-30-14 19gifts.com – 19 gifts from homeschool vendors for $19 plus a 3 month membership to schoolhouseteachers.com***
check out these sites for more freebies and giveaways:
I like to prepare the meats for meals and freeze – not the entire meal. It’s easy to make the side dishes or noodles, so this makes it easy and stress free. The cook and freeze process usually takes about 3-4 hours of my time – or seems that way….If you decide to start, start small because sometimes preparing too much (with kids running around) can be too much. I’d start with the ground meat recipes first and next time add more – chicken and turkey.
My Cooking Plan
This recipe would prepare you for 5-9 meals (or up to 13 meals if you decide to cook chicken and turkey(or a crockpot meal) also): 2 spaghetti and meatball dinners, 2 ziti meals, taco night, meatloaf, and burgers for a family of 4-5. (If you have extra meat, you can also make meat for shepherds pie, chili and picadillo – see below sauce for picadillo and recipe for chili). There are more recipes below if you want to try to go big- If you do, get a frozen turkey breast and enough chicken breast for 3 meals. I like to freeze my foods with some kind of sauce or marinade to keep them from drying out.
I buy about $30 worth of ground beef or one large package at Costco for $25.00 ( you will need more if you want to prepare chili, picadillo and meat for shepherds pie)
Ground beef, bread crumbs, parmesan, egg, seasonings, salt, taco dry flavoring, Pam, 5 cans of Hunt’s tomato sauce (or any other kind you like) and any other ingredients you prefer in you meat. These extras are optional. MIX it up!
You will also need tin foil and freezer bags .
Tools: Pan for meatballs, pan for meatloaf, skillet to brown taco meat, spatula, colander to drain grease off of meat. Sharpie pen to label
Extra ingredients you will need later for meals
spaghetti noodles, ziti noodles, mozzarella cheese to melt on top of ziti, taco shells and all the fixings, rice, peas, mash potatoes, side dishes for meatloaf (baked potato and green beans), green, red, yellow, orange peppers, garlic, onions, sofrito sauce, Fettuccine, alfredo sauce, optional: olives, raisins, bay leaf, cubed potatoes for picadillo meat extras. If you are making chili- fat free wraps and sour cream, 4+cans of diced tomatoes, pinto beans, kidney beans- red, chili seasoning, oregano, garlic, onion (see link to ww recipe below)
Turn oven on to 350
Meatballs/Ziti :, begin shaping meatballs – I usually make 13 per family night. I suggest making enough for 4 meals- 2 spaghetti nights and the other two sets can be broken up to make a delicious ziti dish. After making 52 meatballs – hopefully on one tray – doesn’t matter if they touch, pour a little tomato sauce over meatballs so they don’t dry out.
Meatloaf: Shape meat for meatloaf in a small bread pan, sometimes I only make half because we don’t eat an entire meatloaf. you can make a full pan and split it in half for two meals – freeze separately. Cook time and temperature is same as meatballs above – cover pan with tin foil.
Burgers: Set aside enough meat for tacos and if any meat is left over, shape into burgers and put into oven with the meats above. I like to put a little tomato sauce on each one, it keeps it from drying out. Always cover with tin foil.
Instructions: Cover pan with tin foil and cook all for about 45 minutes. Sometimes Ill cook the last 5-10 minutes without the tin foil. Cut open a meatball to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. Let fully cool and put in a freezer bag – pour sauce over meatballs, seal , date and freeze. You should have 5-6 freezer bags of food.
To cook meal after freezing: for the meatballs, I put them in a pan with sauce and warm up while I cook spaghetti noodles. For Ziti, I warm up as I cook ziti noodles and cut meatballs up into smaller pieces. I mix the meat and ziti, pour tomato sauce over dish, cover with mozarella chese and put in over at 350 until cheese is melted. Serve with garlic bread. For Meatloaf, you can take out day before and that in fridge or take out that night, pour sauce over meatloaf , cover with tin foil and warm in oven.
Tacos : Heat skillet – optional brown onions and peppers before hand for more taste- brown meat for tacos, when cooked, put in taco seasoning with water, let cool . Put in freezer bag and label.
All in all you should end with 5- 7 dinners prepped. I try, for my family of 5, to try to keep each meal under $10.
Shepherds Pie and Picadillo: If you have extra meat, you can make meat with gravy for shepherds pie (brown meat on skillet – mix with gravy and freeze)- serve over mashed potatoes and peas also spanish picadillo – brown meat and put mix ( put in blender – meat sauce, sofrito, peppers, onion, garlic) pour this mix over cooked meat and freeze ( some people like to add cubed cooked potatoes, raisins, olives and bay leaf to picadillo also – serve over rice with a side of black beans.
Chili – I always try to make this if I have enough meat. My kids love it and so does my husband. It’s the Weight Watchers Chili Recipe : meat, diced tomatoes, pinto beans ( we also add red kidney beans), oregano, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic, onion, peppers. I try to make about 4 servings, freeze 3 bags and serve chili the night I cook. We either eat it heated in a bowl or put in a fat free wrap with sour cream. Delish!
Ready to add more ???
Make (Crockpot) Turkey: Get up early and start the crock pot while you prep for your freezer cooking. I like to put in a small turkey breast with stock, gravy, cut potatoes, carrots – check online for recipe you like. The turkey can be cut in two usually for two separate meals.
BBQ chicken, Parmesan chicken, chicken fettuccine : Throw a chicken breast in the oven with the meats as well. Cover 4 with bbq sauce, another with parmesan and spices and another 4 with peppers and orange juice. You can also cut them before cooking into cubes and use for dishes- salad, fettuccine, sandwiches, chicken salad, etc. You can make chicken Parmesan or chicken fettuccine. Delicious!
Extra Ideas: I get a large bag of Peppers and another one of Onions. Cut in small pieces – chop or slice and put in freezer bags. They can be quickly added to any meal and it’s a great help. If your children don’t like peppers, onions and garlic, I have found putting them in a blender with meat sauce is delicious. Your children wont notice it at all.
I hope this helps. It makes life and dinner planning easy and stress free.
More Ideas for freezing”
Many of the sites listed below were given at the FPEA conference during lectures ( and additional research) about preparing for college. Topics covered: Common App, AP, Scholarships, Course Requirements, Testing, 4 year planning, transcripts, etc.
Talent searches mentioned: (start in middle school or younger)
More Info and sites to review:
Florida Graduation Requirements 4 options listed
Bright Futures Scholarship:
Start preparing now: Make a 4 year plan, visit campuses, write a novel, do something different in your summer time like independent studies – put everything in your portfolio. Consider: how rigorous are your studies? learn to take tests (more test = higher scores), community service, extra curricular activities, part time job, look into congressional award
Early College at Chattanoogastate.edu
CLEP TESTING –Clep advising – from what I heard, a lot of AP high school courses could prepare you to clep out of college classes. For example, the Apologia Biology, an AP biology course, is similar to the college course (Saxon math also). After you finish course you sign up for a clep test on college biology (prepare!) and when passed, you now have a college credit for the course and you don’t need to take it. I heard pros and cons on this. According to what I heard, If you have too many classes clepped or completed through dual enrollment, it may get in the way with being approved for scholarships. If you have too many credits you won’t be considered a freshman, but will be considered a transfer student. This can nullify scholarships fyi – not all colleges accept clep exams. Clep yahoo group with info. Another site with more information : Getcollegecredit.com and Clep prep
AP courses – 3 ways to take AP courses: online (see APHomeschoolers.com) , with a teacher or high school. $45 AP test from College board website to receive college credit with a score of 3+. Register for exams
Some schools accept AP courses as credit. 34 ecams are offered, they are 3 hour long, high scores are considered for scholarships, exams offered only once a year in May http://www.APHomeschoolers.com
Other Ideas mentioned: some students benefit from taking one subject at a time and finishing course in 3 months. For instance, math and writing would always be a daily constant but you would do science every day for 3 months (map it out on calendar to finish on time) and then start history when science ends. I heard this worked good for a lot of students – keeping focus on one subject all the time instead of skipping around and trying to remember what you did yesterday.
Degree by 18- Home school students are receiving a 4 year degree by senior year. It seems it can be done cheaper than regular college. Thomas Edison State College was the main college discussed. According to what I heard, they take almost every clep test so a student can enter with almost 1-2 years already finished. More information : College Plus. There are pros and cons to this, I wasn’t sold on this for some reason. I need to look into it further.
Online Florida College Options