my plan for action

A few days ago we had our first visit from our homeschool coordinator, whose job it is to liaison between us and the school board. It went well and now we are officially in exclusive charge of educating our daughter.  All legit. We have a list of objectives that is our responsibility to ensure she knows before she is nineteen years of age, a budget that is ten times smaller than that used for each public school student, and an optimistic philosophy of learning. Here we go!


After the initial celebration that involved blowing up a couple dozen balloons using a manual air pump (new vocabulary words for Smootch: rod, baffle, and shrapnel) and hanging them from the ceiling on strings at exactly the right height to go against house rules and jump on the bed and knock them around, the enormity of our task set in and I began to feel a little panic overwhelmed. I'd have to say that this decision to homeschool is even bigger than the decision to have the baby in the first place. It's big. And now, there is much work to be done.

(For me, anyway. Smootch right now is actually watching Hoodwinked after spending an afternoon trying to find dead things in the woods to study with a magnifying glass. Smootch is feeling pretty relaxed so far with the way things are going.)

While doing a little pacing and considering my responsibility I spied one of the smallest members of our family soldiering away at his mid-afternoon kip (comes between his early afternoon snooze and late afternoon siesta).


Cats really don't have much to do with anxiety, do they? With the exception of the occasional neurotic beastie, cats generally stick to fight or flight when the moment calls and other than that deal with the serious business of eating, sleeping, and, well, making more cats.

I feel envy sometimes.  Damn frontal cortex.

Looking at kitty, I had this sudden urge to focus on and take care of my most primal needs. Forget about what needs to be done before thirteen years pass, what I really needed to do was be in the moment right now and nourish myself with soul satisfying food.

You know where I'm going with this. This was obviously a Chocolate Chunk Mocha Muffins moment.


I do not know where the original recipe came from, but it has been slowly modified over years. My recipe card was written, scratched out, added to, erased and smudged with cocoa and oil. Like all good recipes are. These muffins (okay, call them mini-cakes) aren't too sweet, but rich and satisfying.

Brought me to exactly where I needed to be.

So, anyone out there feeling a little overwhelmed? One way to get back to the moment is to take care of the basics.  Have a quick nap then bake yourself up a muffin (recipe below).  I'll refrain from any advice on the making of more people.


Chocolate Chunk Mocha Muffins

This recipe makes a double batch (an extra dozen for the freezer). Preheat the oven for 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together

3 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp instant coffee
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg

Make a well in the center of the mix and add

2 cups soy milk
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together until wet.  Lightly oil two regular sized muffin tins (or one extra large muffin pan) and scoop a large tablespoon of the mixture in each.

Cut a dark chocolate bar into small chunks and lightly press a chunk in the center of each muffin.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.



  1. You are such a good homeschooling mama!
    I think I may just have to make a batch of these muffins ~ I have a splitting headache after spending the entire day writing my 3rd oldest's high-school transcript after we realized the college opened the application process sooner than we'd thought and rather than being a week early, we are a week behind. sigh.

    You are doing just fine!!

  2. the decision to homeschool often overwhelms me (like right now with my review coming up, spring co-op to plan and the retail season about to start) but I wouldn't ever stop. Homeschooling is the most fun, terrifying, exciting, exhausting, amazing and overwhelming thing you could ever do for your family. It is giving birth, there are moments of pain and moments of awe, but afterwards all you remember is the awe.

  3. The muffins look amazing. I could go for a little chocolate today.

    About homeschooling, just focus on one day at a time. If you think too far ahead, worry and fear will ruin the experience. You're going to do great.

  4. These comments are right on! Homeschooling can be an overwhelming thing. Just remember to have fun and take it one day at a time!

  5. You are a big inspiration to me in a lot of ways! Let me return the favor :) ...I know what you mean about overwhelming. We made the decision to homeschool when our oldest was 1, and now she's 5 and I just sent in the paperwork a few days ago. I am about one rung up the ladder from unschooling - what we do is very child-led, but we do workbooks and other stuff like that.
    I try to take faith in the fact that most homeschoolers do better than average on standardized tests and do very well in college. Also, most parents first starting out with homeschooling buy all the curricula they can get and then over the years realize that it just isn't ideal for a young child, and they fall away from it. Kids (especially this age) have so much desire to learn and so much natural curiosity that your job is easy... all you have to do is build upon that... you can create an ideal learning environment that is tailored to what she wants to learn and how she wants to learn it. I've been so relaxed (maybe too much) since I started unofficially this summer, but she is learning stuff so fast anyway!
    Homeschoolers wouldn't do so well in learning and in life if it was really as daunting as it feels! I think we all feel this way and confidence comes with time. You will do awesome! And...sorry for talking so much ! But I hope this helps with the panic :)

  6. Congrats! That is s big deal and big news! You will be great! Creativity is needed in teaching and you definitely have that!

    Also, those chocolate chunk muffins. I need them. In my belly. Thanks for sharing.

  7. From a homeschooling mom of 5 that's been doing this "officially" for four years, I sometimes suffer envy from your posts on teaching Smootch.

    And every single year I feel overwhelmed.

  8. I am amazed at all the homeschooling parents out there. You are all amazing and a cut above. I just couldn't do it. When feeling overwhelmed remember this... my six year old just brought back lice from school. I'm willing to bet yours will never bring that home from "school"!

  9. I am sure your little one can learn all she needs about the world from you doing 1 to 1 teaching rather than school 1 to 30+ teaching - well done :-)

  10. The muffins look awesome, but please tell me you didn't really mean 375 Celsius???? I don't think my oven goes that high on the self cleaning cycle LOL -- and if it did they'd be incinerated!

  11. Fahrenheit!

    Darn it, I can never get that right!


  12. I know what you mean -- I am homeschooling my 13yo daughter, and I swing between being confident that I am providing a great education and being convinced that I am creating an ignoramus who will never be able to get up early enough for her job at McDonalds.

    I envy you the homeschooling board meeting. Here in Alabama, they don't care what you teach kids, just that they attend school.

  13. any time you start feeling like you are freaking out about the homeschool thing remember what I about to tell you--that list of objectives can be accomlished with the internet and a library card. Over half of them can be accomplished with a cookbook and a dictionary.
    my oldest went into public school in 10th grade and passed his required gateways-a standardized test that is subject specific--one of the gateways was for a class he really never took-he just skimmed the book really. I'm not saying to only shoot for public school learning-because we didn't-but kids learn things. They are so much more ready to learn than we are sometimes. Your doing just fine :)--she's smart-you're smart-so as long as you do things together she's bound to learn something.

  14. That is so exciting! We will be unschooling my daughter, technically have been from birth without realizing it, but she won't be "official" for another year or so. Some days I agonize over weather I am qualified to be her teacher for a laundry list of reasons, but then we have days where she blows my mind with how independent she is in her learning. She will be 5 in December, and we have never really had a "reading lessons". We read a ton, and she loves letters, but I have never taught her. About a week ago, she was hanging out in my sisters dinning room where there was a decoration that said "family." My sister was in the room with her when my daughter all of a sudden started sounding out the letters. My daughter turned to my sister and asked, "does f-a-m-i-l-y spell family?" Moments like these let me know I am making the right choice. When you start to stress your choice, think about these kinds of moments.

  15. I've been haunting your blog for quite some time, and I feel inspired each time I log on to read. Today I jump out of the wood work to ask a Very Important Question: how do I find my own homeschool coordinator? I'm also in Edmonton. I have two darlings, and while we're not yet as bohemian as your sweet family we do our best. I feel like your blog is my opportunity to pick your brain. You inspire me.

  16. SEEKER, thi1s 1i1s our guys

    but what you do first is find a sch1ool board you like 1and sign up

    good luck!