I unzipped the backpack, found the little brown lunch bag and opened it. A whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich - smashed. "Honey, why didn't you eat your sandwich today?" I inquired gently. Both boys had just burst through the door after a long day of first grade at a local private school. I opened the other backpack. Remnants of a mangled, half-eaten sandwich remained. Of course, no one wanted to talk about lunch...
Many weeks later when I worked as a substitute teacher, I was conveniently assigned to my own kids' first grade class, and learned that during the reading group sessions, (around 11 a.m.) the teacher regularly gave out candy & chocolates galore. Although the teacher wasn't deliberately trying to sabotage the youngster's appetites, she did nonetheless.
I'm all for having chocolates or treats occasionally (see Cookies & Milk At 3:00) and am a big proponent of teaching kids how to bake and cook. But I think that we need to maintain our motherly strategy when it comes to timing. After all, our mothers were right when they said that we shouldn't snack before dinner. And that's one of the neat things about homeschooling -- we can teach our kids about healthy eating, be the example, and see that they eat right. It's one of the benefits to home teaching that's often overlooked.
Thankfully, at the end of the twins' first grade year, I had an overwhelming desire to begin homeschooling, and was absolutely thrilled to begin teaching the following fall.
I never gave the nutrition aspect much thought until the fall got under way. Then I realized how great it was for all of us to relax, enjoy and finish lunch together.
"Mom, do we have any stir-fry left over from last night?"
No more half-eaten sandwiches! Many an afternoon, we enjoyed left-overs from the previous night's dinner or made fresh, healthy sandwiches together. That was a great blessing, and I have many pleasant memories of having lunch with the kids.
Enjoy lunch together today! God bless you.
P.S. Check out Part 2 of Healthy, Wholesome Homeschooling.