The Amish Cook: Home-schooling at the Yoders


Today I’m sticking with my promise to fill you in on homeschooling.

Okay, can you picture those old-fashioned three-bottom plows? You know those where you have a two-horse hitch. The Belgiums ease into their harness and pull for what they’re worth; after they’re started a bit, the dirt rolls over as furrow after furrow as the ground is turned over.

Well, I’ve had to think of this scene time and again. You know that first week the plow just kinda slid over the top, everything was new, the novelty of new books and new routines was shining bright. By Monday of the second week, the plow was being set deeper. There was a slight pause as we all dug in to pull our share of the load. We had new concepts, a kindergarten girl with bright eyes as she mastered the rhyme to go with her new sound, three-year-olds not so impressed about sitting in their desks, and a one-year-old convinced he could help Mama give flash cards. Then there was a teacher in love with each of her little students, yet unsure which need was the greatest at the moment!

That’s life at our house.

And you know horses need a break sometimes, so I try not to feel guilty to have Daniel take a child or two with him for an hour or so, giving me a chance to get some classes in with less interruptions. Projects such as playdough or puzzles also prove to be nice quiet times for the littlest ones, but then even that takes constant supervision and assistance from this person called Mom.

If it were up to Austin, he could have math as his main diet at school. He does well with learning to read, yet he doesn’t find it as thrilling as counting money or adding big numbers. Julia does great with her school work and is very creative with art ranking at the top of her favorites.

We do welcome guests, in fact Julia and Austin helped make a visitors chart. If you get a chance to come this way, you’ll get a little paper sun to jot your name on and put on a white and blue cloud stating, “Visitors add sunshine to our lives!”

While we are on the subject of clouds, perhaps I should tell you how I was awed by the most brilliant snow-white clouds the morning Daniel had a men’s meeting to finalize the plan for home-schooling. On this particular morning, I randomly decided to sit on the front porch steps for my time with God. As I gazed at the clouds, I could just feel the beauty of God’s promises for the upcoming term at home. I thanked God, much aware that it will be the pure grace of God for this to be a successful term with four pre-scholars and a teacher who answered to the title “mom,”

Now imagine how I felt several days later as I opened a package of posters, my sister-in-law from Ohio, had used for homeschooling; out came large white cloud posters, each having a promise of God written on them! Needless to say, I was awestruck. Besides the large bright rainbow and promise clouds, we want to make hot air balloon name charts for each of the six children. On the balloon part will be the message, ‘floating in God’s love’.

So here we are, as I write Julia is lost in a book about a foster girl while the little boys are all sound out. They will be waking up any time and ready for an afternoon snack. I’ve been running a bit low on afternoon snack ideas since we’ve been trying to clean up our diet, omitting sugar, dairy, and wheat. (I’ll fill in more on that on another day.) Hosanna has been sitting here next to me munching baby carrots with homemade dip, that along with some popcorn is probably what the little boys will have for their snack.

By this time of the day I tend to feel a bit antsy- ready for another school day which will need to wait til the next morning, but for today, I’ll take a deep breath, knowing that horses need to rest too.

The children’s favorite after-school snack is the latest fiber balls we came up with to suit our chocolate-y taste buds. If you do not have stevia you may substitute it with another sweetener of your choice. Try it. You will be amazed at the tasty yet nutritional dimension of these treats. Be sure to note that any items may be added or omitted to strike your personal taste buds!

Chocolate Yum Yum Balls

2 cups quick oats

¾ teas stevia (powder or liquid)

½ teas salt

1 teas vanilla

½ cup coconut oil or softened butter

½ cup honey

½ cup peanut butter*

½ cup cocoa powdered

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup raisins

½ cup chocolate chips*

½ cup coconut flakes

Mix all together and shape into balls with cookie scoop or if you are in a hurry (like most people on planet earth) just press into a 9 inch pan. Refrigerate and enjoy! These also freeze well for up to a couple months.

Yield: 2 dozen balls

*I use sugar-free peanut butter and chocolate chipsimage.gif

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