My elementary school was small, rural and pretty close to home. There was one section of students per grade and generally nothing out of the ordinary was offered. The only exception was the I-TAG (Iowa Talented and Gifted Program) that was offered for students in grades 4th-6th. Much like the Extended Learning Programs offered to my daughters at their elementary school, I-TAG provided additional learning opportunities to students who found normal classroom work to be less than challenging. During a designated part of the school day, we met as a group in the library to learn about things like basics of computer programming (unheard of in 1979), stock market and the art of writing, acting and directing a movie. Beyond that, it wasn’t until junior high that we would be able to participate in any electives beyond what the I-TAG program offered.
Scott and I often discuss how much we hate the Iowa weather. We moved here to be near family, but seldom see them. In the interest of maintaining our sanity, we talk about moving to Florida. Then we stop and look at the school district and all the incredible opportunities my girls have and immediately set aside thoughts of moving. In our school district, the 4th grade kids can opt to learn to play a string instrument as part of “Beginning Orchestra” program. They learn in a group setting as well as one-on-one lessons during school hours.They can also audition for small group orchestra groups that are held on off days. In 5th grade, “Intermediate Orchestra” is added to the mix followed by Band and Choir in 6th grade. While some schools are seeing the need to cut back on the arts, our school district fully supports them. It’s a little known fact that our high school has the second largest band in the state of Iowa taking second only to Iowa State University. In junior high, additional opportunities open up via programs and clubs for everything from environmental club to student government to mock trial to strategy games.
We have a pretty consistent routine. The girls wake up at 6 am. Scratch that. Their alarms go off at 6 am. Then they hit snooze or turn them off completely. At about 6:10, I enter their rooms and wake them up again. Sometimes (often) it takes a third trip into the room to get them up and moving. The mad dash to get dressed, comb their hair, brush their teeth, wash their faces, take care of the pet parakeet and make their beds is on. They still need to find time to finish getting their backpacks ready if they didn’t finish the night before. During the winter, they also need to allocate enough time to add the multiple layers required: snow pants, coats, hats, gloves and boots.
Oh yeah… and figure out breakfast. I don’t have a preference what order they do it all in, but it all needs to be done. Whether they come to get breakfast first or last doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is how long they take doing each of the many things that needs to be taken care of before boarding the school bus. Breakfast is usually the last thing on their morning to-do list.
In general, I give the kids as many breakfast options as possible. We make waffles on weekends and freeze them. Keep a variety of cereals on hand as well as yogurt and granola bars. If eggs sound good, I offer to make fried or scrambled eggs while they’re doing their other chores. Oatmeal and toast are always options as well. I’ll buy toaster pastries on occasion, but it isn’t my favorite breakfast food to stock so it’s more of a treat than a staple.
Yet sometimes they feel too rushed for even those. They’ll grab a granola bar and nosh it on the way to the bus stop. Even then, I hear “I don’t feel like a granola bar.”
I’m always seeking new options and now they have one. Honey Bunches of Oats. No, not the cereal. They have a new line of breakfast biscuits. A while back, we flew as a family and one of the treats they served on the plane (yes, we actually got a treat) was a biscuit. The kids LOVED them and every time I have flown since, they’ve asked if I got one. The kids are thrilled to see that we don’t have to fly to get this delicious breakfast or snack biscuit. They’re even more excited that one of the flavor options involves chocolate.
Plus they’re totally portable so the girls can grab them on the way out the door if they’re really pressed for time. Perfect for our busy family!
What does your family usually eat for breakfast when you’re in a rush?