The Tale of a Castle Cake

The Tale of a Castle Cake | HSLDA Blog

The best school day ever for my 10-year-old daughter involved, of course, lots of frosting. Is there a 10-year-old girl out there who doesn’t like to bake? I don’t think I have met her.

My daughter Meredith’s project—on this “best school day ever”—was to make a replica of a medieval castle. She immediately imagined a large castle cake.

Cakes are special to all my kids because, despite the complete absence of creativity in pretty much every other area of my life, on their birthdays, I make them a themed-cake. All of my ideas are stolen from the internet, of course, but my kids don’t care about that. They always look forward to their cake.

In fact, once my second child said, “We know dad loves us because he plays with us. We know mom loves us because she makes us cakes!”

What I learned from this comment is that I should never stop making cakes!

Meredith is an Ideas Queen. She is one of the most creative people I know. When she was imagining her cake, she sputtered off words like fondant, Rice Krispies and turrets in a single breath. Part of me worried that her grand expectations would not be met in the finalized project. But, I let her hope.

That’s what we moms should do: encourage the dreams. Right? Right.

Meredith has enjoyed studying The Middle Ages this year in history. She read Robin Hood and The Story of King Arthur and His Knights. She was thrilled when we went to our children’s museum several months ago and a new exhibit featured a real knight’s armor from Germany in the 1500s. The tapestry hanging near the knight’s armor was a replica, but was one depicted in her history book. She was so excited to see these things in real life.

I love when these true-life connections are made, bridging what kids have learned in their books. That’s one of the best things about homeschooling, I think. Parents who home educate are optimally primed to integrate our kids’ book learning with real life experiences, because we are intimately aware of what they are studying and when they are studying it.

The Tale of a Castle Cake | HSLDA Blog

So, Meredith made her Castle Project cake, let it cool, and then decorated her cake.

Except for me helping her stuff dyed, hot Rice Krispie treats into tall drinking glasses to mold them, she pretty much did everything herself.

And…viola! The cake met her expectations after all! She was thrilled.

Now that the cake preparation was over, the hardest lesson of the day needed to be learned: cleaning up a massive baking project mess!

Of course, cleaning up is a mundane lesson that kids have to learn, and re-learn, every day, but on this day it was especially hard.

Meredith surveyed the flour that was sprinkled on counters and floor, sticky egg goo and shells, and pots with burnt marshmallow ooze caked to the sides.

It was not a pretty sight.

I helped her for a few minutes but then told her that, since it was her project, she should do the bulk of the clean up. When you make a mess, you need to clean it up! (I say this a lot. Is that your mantra, too?)

The Tale of a Castle Cake | HSLDA Blog

Meredith with her castle cake project.

While Meredith cleaned the kitchen, I took the younger kids for a walk. We passed an older woman on our walk, a friend and neighbor, and she asked where my oldest child was. I told her that I had left her to clean a big mess. She laughed and said, “Good for her!” She continued: “My kids turned out pretty great, but that’s the one thing I really wished I’d done more of. I wished I’d made them work harder!”

It is good to bear the yoke in one’s youth.

Perseverance and a work ethic are even more important to learn than medieval history! Just not as fun.

But, despite the clean-up, I still think Meredith would say it was the best school day ever!


Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; all other images by Amy Koons.

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78 Comments on “It’s Homeschool Appreciation Day | Enter HSLDA’s Giveaway”

  1. Charissa Ballard
    April 27, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    I have only been homeschooling for almost three years and in the time I have experienced many highs and lows. One thing remains constant, I love to watch my children learn about how loving and compassionate God is toward us. Teaching them how to memorize scripture and read His word has been a true privilege! Teaching them to be unashamed of the gospel and be a disciple for him has been amazing! I really consider it a privilege and an honor to be able to homeschool them! This time has been a precious gift!


  2. Ursula
    April 27, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    One of my favorite things about being a homeschool teacher is sharing life everyday with my kids – not just sharing a house.


  3. Kathy Kramer
    April 27, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    Getting to spend every day with our children & seeing those “aha!” moments!


  4. Julie C.
    April 27, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

    One thing I love about being a homeschool teacher is knowing my kids’ strengths and weaknesses, so that I can better guide their education and minimize their frustrations.


  5. Kristina Sarver-Harvey
    April 27, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

    I love homeschooling my children 🙂 I feel blessed everyday to teach them and to also learn something new myself. I’ve learned many things about myself that I didn’t know before starting this journey 🙂


  6. Susan
    April 27, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

    Wow! I finally got around to reading this! What a great giveaway for all of us who are working so hard to teach our kiddos! Thanks!!


  7. Tracy
    April 28, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    I appreciate being a homeschool teacher because I get to enjoy my children. I get to see them learning and developing their gifts.


  8. Maria Gervase
    April 28, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    My favorite thing about being a homeschool mom? Wow! There are so many wonderful reasons! But what I love most of all is that Im able to pour God’s love into their hearts on a constant basis. Im proud to be raising Kingdom Men. I cherish each moment with my boys and am excited to see how God works in their lives ♡


  9. Kim
    April 28, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    I have been enjoying teaching my son for 3 years and soon my daughter will join us for kindergarten as well. I loved that I got to teach my sone to read and am looking forward to teaching my daughter to read as well.


  10. Redonna G
    April 28, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    We homeschool because it has decreased our sons anxiety and his well being has improved! Both of our sons are learning new things everyday and our family time has benefitted as well!


  11. Lynn
    April 28, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    My greatest joy as a homeschool mom is to see that my children’s love for the Lord and love for learning increase on a daily basis. My dream is for them to be well prepared for their future and to continue following the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


  12. Cynde Contreras
    April 28, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    I enjoy homeschooling because I love BEING with and spending quality time with my boys! I can’t think of a better way to cherish them and to maximize our precious (and short) time together.


  13. Jenn
    April 28, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    I love being a homeschooling mom because even though there are challenges and sacrifices, the rewards are more than worth it! Getting to see your children grow in God and succeed in education in a safe environment- and being lucky enough to be there for all those special learning moments!


  14. Michelle Cook
    April 28, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    We have been homeschooling for 16 years and the thing I appreciate most is the relationships that I have with all my kids. That would be missing if we would not been doing life together.


  15. S. Taylor
    April 28, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    I love the freedom to take subjects at our own pace and that learning is woven into our everyday lives.


  16. Tandy
    April 28, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    I am so appreciative that as a homeschool teacher, I get to send my life and time with my kids. They are not away from me 8 + hours daily but we get to share life’s moments and memories. That is priceless…


  17. Elizabeth H.
    April 28, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    My boys having time to spend together instead of being apart for most of the day.


  18. Sarah Therkildsen
    April 28, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    I am grateful to have so much more time with my children before they leave the nest. They are learning and I am learning right alongside them.


  19. Jenny U
    April 28, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    I love being a homeschool Mom! I have homeschooled my daughter from the beginning and she’s now finishing up 6th grade. We’ve had so many wonderful moments together that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. Sure there are difficult and stressful days, but I wouldn’t trade it!


  20. Angie Dubbert
    April 28, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    I love that we are our daughter’s primary influence, that we can individualize her instruction to her needs and interests, and the flexibility it gives our family.


  21. Deborah Freeman
    April 28, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    I am so grateful for God’s grace and provision, that allows me to be on this homeschool journey with my amazing children.


  22. sherah crosby
    April 28, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    So blessed that I can spend time and see the growth of my children. Some days are longer than other, but no doubt about it you can’t beat the smile on my face when something clicks and your child tells you ” I get it!”


  23. Katie
    April 28, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    I love the time I get to spend with my kids and watching them learn new things


  24. Wendy Leatherman
    April 28, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

    I love homeschooling my twin boys. They are 13 years old now and it is so important that their father and I disciple them to be the young men God wants them to be. Exciting and terrifying at the same time!


  25. Jessica Payne
    April 28, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

    I love being able to be a part of and witness our children learning something new.


  26. Amy
    April 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    I have been homeschooling for over 10 years and never been appreciatied in tangible ways for being a teacher, but the best appreciation to me was when I read my children’s scholarship essays and they wrote that homeschool had made them better people. Thanks HSLDA for your support.


  27. Cara
    April 20, 2017 at 11:03 pm #

    I love having my children about me all day! I love that I know what they are learning, love cooking them wholesome meals at home, love it that I AM their “peer pressure”, love that we can start the day out with love and joy in the presence of our Saviour, and homeschooling is our lifestyle! I love all the hugs and kisses I get and knowing they are safe at home with me, and I love learning new things alongside of them. Homeschooling allows you to really see grace in action- it’s something we give and accept all day.


  28. Abigail
    April 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    I have found one of the best things about homeschooling is that my kids are taking responsibility for their actions and work. They love checking off each subject as they finish it for the day. They are even beginning to understand why chores and housework are so important. Sometimes they complain but then again sometimes I do too. We are growing together and learning that work really is a gift from God, not an endless mundane movement through our days. I love having them with me at home.


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