School started for us this week, which means it’s been a little crazy around here! It’s always hard to get back into a routine after the long and relaxing summer break, and it’s especially hard when school’s at home. If it’s not already hard enough getting a student to stay focused, try adding a TV, gaming systems, internet, kitchen pantry (yes, food is distracting), and other gizmos and gadgets to the mix.
I’ve been homeschooling for almost 7 years now. My husband and I are college graduates, but getting started was tough, because I felt so insufficient. I mean have you seen that show Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? Well, apparently I’m dumber than a 5th grader, because I hardly ever knew the answers to those questions!
But as clueless as I was, I also knew that no one cared more about my kids than my husband and I did. I didn’t really know how to get started or what to do, so I did a lot of research online. My biggest concern was I didn’t want my kids to fall behind grade level, just in case we ever wanted to put them back into public or private school. In the beginning, we used a variety of top level Christian based curriculum and my husband and I worked together to teach them. We also administered state tests at the end of each year so we could see what areas we were doing well in and which needed improvement.
The last few years, they’ve been enrolled in an online charter school, where they have a local teacher who assigns them work, grades and tests them. Most of their classes are online now, with the exception of a few times a month were they get together with their teacher to go over key lessons in depth. This has helped them a lot with those classes I’m not particularly good at (ahem, algebra & geometry) and also helps me with my least favorite part of homeschooling—grading and testing!
Fast forward several years and I’m happy to say I think we’ve finally gotten the hang of this homeschooling thing! 😂 The transition was a challenge for us all, to say the least, but we worked hard, persevered, and now the kids are doing very well, even honor roll students!
Most importantly, I learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of doing things because we don’t think we’re good enough or it seems too hard. If there’s anything homeschooling has shown me, it’s that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. It’s also brought us closer as a family since the kids are home with me each day. I love our days together, as hectic and crazy as they are!
Since we’re pretty busy with work and school, I like having healthy treats ready for us to munch on throughout the day. These cookies are hearty, full of wholesome ingredients, and make a great grab and go breakfast or a hearty snack! They’re also delicious and naturally sweetened enough to suffice for dessert!
I hope you give them a try!
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (use certified gluten-free oats, if needed)
- ½ cup oat flour*
- ½ cup dried cranberries, raisins, or other dried fruit**
- ½ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or other seed/nut**
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large mashed banana or ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter
- 3 tablespoons coconut nectar/syrup, honey, or other liquid sweetener
- 2 tablespoons almond milk or other milk of choice
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl—oats, oat flour, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir in mashed banana, coconut oil, coconut nectar, and almond milk until well blended. Let mixture rest for 4–5 mintutes, giving time for chia and flax to bind everything together. Should look like the dough in the photo above. If your dough has gotten too thick, stir in an additional 1–2 tablespoons milk before scooping out onto your baking sheet.
- Measure dough out by the scant ¼ cupful and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or lightly greased). These cookies don't spread much while baking, so I like to gently press the dough with the palm of my hand to flatten a bit.
- Bake for 15–18 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden around the edges.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2–3 days. Makes 8–9 cookies.
**Can substitute an equal amount of nuts, seeds, or dry fruit.
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