There’s always a shift in our frame of mind around the end of July and the beginning of August. The weight of back to school hangs heavily in the air. School supplies start showing up in the stores, and the seasonal section fills quickly with backpacks, reams of college-ruled paper, and the smell of crayons and colored pencils. I happen to be the person who LOVES to see the aisles filled with all of these goodies, and I have always been that way. It’s deeply ingrained I guess. Back to school shopping was my FAVORITE when I was a little girl, and little has changed in my late thirties. I guess it was inevitable that I would homeschool at least one of my children.
My three youngest are the same way. While they aren’t quite so giddy about homeschool lessons all the time, they absolutely LOVE loading up on their supplies and filling their supply caddies with freshly sharpened pencils, new erasers, and all kinds of knickknacks that they carry around with them as they lament the art of actually learning. Story of any teacher’s life right?
Instead of doing a cold start this year, I decided to have a read-a-thon with the kids for one full hour. Stack of books, a stack of snacks, and a timer. This gives mom a full hour or so of quiet, or not so quiet focus, and it gives the kids a bit of time to hone their reading skills and ability to sound out words without having to tap my thigh every single time. Of course, you can adjust the length of time to reflect the age of your children, but since I have two five-year-olds and a seven-year-old, an hour is about all of the focus we can get deep in summer. I also decided to have campfire snacks with the read-a-thon, and where else is the perfect place to go to load up on snacks for three than Sam’s Club? Plus, they have samples to snack on while you shop, so I’m super happy. Grabbing the double packs of Jif Peanut Butter and Smuckers Strawberry Jam begged for classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a little bit of a snack. S’mores!
Back to School Read-A-Thon
Hosting a read-a-thon is simple. You can use your local library to check some of your favorite titles out and whip up some easy snacks that are as simple as peanut butter and jelly, with a twist of course. We chose to make S’mores and use PB&J because we like being rebels sometimes. We also chose to use something other than chocolate to smear on our graham crackers, because while we may be rebels, I’m not a chocolate lover, and I had to taste these to make sure the kids were having a great time. Here’s an easy recipe for the S’mores, and you don’t need a ton of time or prep to make them. The best part is you can use the microwave!!
A great twist to a campfire favorite
- Large marshmallow
- Graham Crackers, or other square flavored cookie
- Jif Peanut butter
- Smuckers Strawberry jam
- 1 Spear 1 large marshmallow on long-handled fork; toast over campfire coals or over grill on low heat.
- 2 For each s’more, place toasted marshmallow on chocolate side of 1 graham cracker. Meanwhile, top chocolate side of 1 additional graham cracker with 1 teaspoon peanut butter and 1 teaspoon strawberry jam. Press marshmallow and jelly sides together; hold a few seconds to melt chocolate.
Redeem Your Free Books
If you’re looking for the products that I used, you can visit your local Sam’s Club and pick up specially marked items to create them AND redeem free books from Scholastic. You will get two free Scholastic books– one for yourself and one to donate to a local school – when you buy any participating Kellogg’s® or J.M. Smucker product at Sam’s Club®. Products must be purchased now thru 9/30/16, while supplies last! Over 80 full-length Scholastic titles to choose from for beginning readers to teens! Teenagers – you know – like Nathaniel, can benefit from these shopping trips too. No matter what they say, they can actually be known to hole up in their rooms to enjoy a book or two.