Taco Tuesday and Homeschoolin’

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Tuesday suppers are taco-themed in my house. To save time and money, I devised a theme for every night of the week, thanks to blogs, pinterest, and my sister for the idea. Taco Tuesday doesn’t mean we eat only tacos, au contraire, ‘taco’ is only a starting point. Since we don’t usually have ground beef or turkey in the house, I usually begin with beans. Then, I add vegetables; tonight was a light meal with only onions and lettuce added. I sometimes slow cook the beans in my crockpot, or on the stove, with lots of spices – my favorite blend is a chili powder, ground cumin, celery salt, fresh ground pepper, oregano, a dash of liquid smoke, and some garlic and onion powders. If we have some greek yogurt on hand, we put that on top, then eat the beans with corn or flour tortillas, or I’ll make a taco casserole or taco soup! When I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll actually add taco shells, shredded cheese, sliced black olives and avocados to my grocery list for the week, and we mustn’t forget salsa! I’m allergic to tomatoes, so I get salsa verde for myself, plain mild salsa for my little birds, and something spicy for Father Bird. We use salsa so much, we almost always have it around.

A recent favorite hot sauce in the house is Chipotle Tabasco; this spicy sauce is smoky and similar in flavor to barbecue sauce. A little goes a long way, in most any dish. BigLittle Bird was dared by his younger brother to ‘drink’ the tiny bit left in the bottle tonight; he enjoyed it so much he asked me to get more at the store.

For Little Bird, I picked up a couple of ‘hard work prizes’, which I give to him when he’s had a few good days of homeschool. He really enjoys puzzles, so I got a Boba Fett puzzle I found in Target’s dollar section. The other item I found was a dry erase board shaped like a hand mirror, which I thought would be nice for spelling words and math problems as a change from paper and pencil. Little Bird is loving homeschool, at least most days! He is a super squirmy, loud kid – these traits didn’t fit in well with public school, so for second grade, he is here with Mama Bird learning and enjoying his days. Last year was pretty rough on the little dude, he began having trouble with vomiting every week. He was never actually sick, but the nurse would still call me and have me pick him up halfway through the day. I took him to see a doctor, and she said he was probably just nervous or anxious about something, and it was manifesting through barfing. As per her instructions, I told the school nurse to just let him lie down in her office, and if he didn’t have a fever or continue feeling sick, to let him go back to his day. This worked, and I didn’t get any more calls; when I picked him up, he would cheerfully tell me that he did or didn’t throw up that day, and what part of school he missed out on. This was quite frustrating, as I knew frequent vomiting could harm his guts and teeth. So, he had a fun summer, and we stayed home this year. Lots of research online and in books, weekly trips to the library, a pottery class at the local Art Museum, a trip to the teacher supply store, and an online learning website subscription later, Little Bird is reading easily, enjoying math and science, and loves telling people about homeschool with NO THROWING UP!

I will finish this by saying that BigLittle Bird is quite comfortable in public school. He went to preschools and daycares much more than Little Bird did, skipped kindergarten, and began first grade at age 7. After spending most of the year in the remedial reading group, he worked his way up and finished the year in the top group, reading voraciously. He is now in 5th grade, reading at a 10th grade level (according to whatever testing they do ?), loving math and science, and doing well with spelling, which he thought he was horrible at. He complains about school, but always is quick to give several reasons not to do homeschool when I mention it to him. I have a sneaking suspicion that he thinks I’m too dumb to teach him, silly guy is turning into a teenager already!

Here’s to silly boys birds, tacos, and fun with learning! *cheers*