Even homeschooled kids eat lunch. The only difference is that homeschooled child can rummage through the kitchen at lunchtime or the homeschool mom can cook the meal rather than pack it the night before. For many families, cooking a hot lunch is one more step that if alleviated would be cause for rejoice. In families with multiple children with multiple tastes lunch can up being chaos or more like a diner than a family meal. Feeding time at your homeschool does not have to resemble feeding time at the zoo. Here are some tips to keep you in control and your kitchen from being invaded.
Put meal times and snack time on a schedule. Even if you are not a routine type of person, most children tend to want to eat on a schedule. It is healthier and promotes good eating habits. In my house we have breakfast at 8AM, lunch at noon, snack at 3PM and dinner around 6PM. If I am feeling generous I will have dessert at 7:30PM. These times area not written in stone but my children eat better when they know what to expect. This also prevents mindless munching. On a side note, I only allow juice at meal times. If a child wants something to drink throughout the day the only option is water. This keeps a gallon of juice from being consumed in a day and keeps a handle on sugar intake.
Plan meals and snacks ahead of time. I make a shopping list every week. My list is guided by the meals and snacks I have planned throughout the week. Planning ahead of time will save you time and money. You may want to make things even simpler by having the same lunches every week except for Friday. Fridays you can plan fun meals or have that the day the kids get to pick something. Make sure you plan your snack as well to avoid your child eating a bag of Goldfish in one sitting. Snacks can be simple like apple slices and peanut butter or carrot and celery sticks with ranch dressing. If you have a picky eater you can allow cereal for a snack as well.
Plan activities or naps after lunch. If you have older kids you may want to plan activities after lunch to avoid lunch lasting too long or the onset of fatigue. Since your children may naturally get tired around this time depending on age, plan a quiet reading time or naps for little ones. Do most mental work before lunch and plan projects and fun after lunch.