I haven’t talked much about my daughter’s school before but it is a big part of our days. She attends Connections Academy. It is not homeschool but also not traditional school. She has lessons given to her online and has teachers, in a building near Lansing, that hold lessons online a few times a week. She has control over her schedule and can either attend the classes live or view them online after the fact.
Because her Irish dance school is about an hour away she used to get home from school about 3:30 pm then we would leave for dance classes about 4:30. She would do some homework in the car but would usually take the time to nap before dance classes. She would dance and we would return home about 9:30 pm-10:00 pm. Then she would finish homework until midnight-1:00 am. Go to sleep and begin it all again at 6:00 am the next morning.
It was too much for her. She was sleep deprived and the schedule didn’t work for her. She loved her friends at school and her teachers but, she felt the other students were wasting her time when she was in regular classes. They would chit-chat and teachers would keep them after class or give the work the had planned to cover in class as extra homework. When we started talking about homeschool we also began investigating virtual schools.
Connections has worked for her. It hasn’t been easy. She is still working very hard in her studies, the processing problems from her hearing loss haven’t gone away but we have been able to make accommodations on her 504 to make it easier on her. Things such as she has Snap & Read for her computer which reads to her as she follows along are huge. She can use her hearing aids to tune directly into the online classes blocking out most other noises. Working on her own at her own pace without the other students in a class room has been good for her.
I believe she is better prepared for college than some of her peers. She is not going to have the problem that some freshman, and even older students, have where when they are handed the syllabus for a class they leave every lesson for the last-minute. She has learned to budget her time, estimate how long each assignment will take and plan out her assignments. Just like in college there are no extensions. If the work is not in at the end of the semester it is a 0. If you don’t do the work you fail the course and must repeat it. You don’t move on to the next semester of Math 10B without passing Math 10A.
Virtual schools are not available in all states but her school, sponsored by Ferris College, makes her eligible for a high school diploma. Unfortunately, she cannot attend our local school for specials such as choir,band, orchestra or sewing which she could if she were homeschooled. This works for her so that she can attend dance lessons during the day, she volunteers at a local library and can pursue some of her other interests like singing, sewing and knitting.
One of the things I like most is that she can help me make dinner. She made this dinner, by herself, with me just giving guidance.
I love Chicken Parmigiano. I love Eggplant Parmigiano (when I make it!). I love Veal Parmigiano. I love Parmigiano. When I read someone tried to make Tofu Parmigiano I thought that was brilliant! My kids love foods with lots of flavor and cheese. I thought a nice garlic bread and salad next to it would be an amazing dinner.
Tofu Parmigiano (before sauce and cheese)
This was a HIT! If I hadn’t told anyone it was tofu they wouldn’t have known it was tofu. It could have been eggplant or chicken. It had all the cheesy goodness of Parmigiano and the flavors of the sauce and coating.
I have learned the trick is to slice the tofu just thin enough that it holds together and doesn’t break apart when you bread and fry it. A nice quick fry gives the coating a great crunch that holds up through the baking.
This was completely devoured in one meal. We had this with a green salad and garlic bread. Next time I will serve a side of pasta with it.
For my mostly gluten-free son I used gluten-free bread crumbs in his and fried it separately from the rest.
- 1 (16 oz) package of Extra Firm Tofu, drained and dried (place on a clean white towel and cover with a second towel – place a plate or pan on top to lightly press out any remaining liquid from the tofu)
- 2 cups bread crumbs or Panko
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 2 eggs or 1/2 cup of water
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 jar of Spaghetti Sauce or 2-3 cups of homemade sauce
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stock spray. Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish and spread thinly across the bottom of the pan.
- Slice the tofu, with a very sharp knife, thinly. Make sure it is just thick enough to hold up being coated and fried without breaking apart.
- Heat a skillet with 1/2″ of oil in the bottom over medium heat.
- Beat two eggs on a plate or if you prefer you may use water instead of eggs.
- Mix the bread crumbs, garlic, basil, onion powder, oregano and Parmesan cheese on a second plate.
- Dip each slice of tofu in egg (or water) then place in bread crumb mixture. Coat completely. Slightly pat to have the coating stick.
- When the oil is hot add the slice of tofu 3-4 at a time being careful not to overcrowd. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side allowing the tofu to brown.
- Remove tofu to clean paper towel to drain oil.
- Once all tofu slices are cooked layer them in the bottom of the casserole dish, slightly overlapping if necessary.
- Spoon spaghetti sauce over the tofu in a thin layer.
- Sprinkle mozzarella over the entire casserole dish.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cheese will start to turn brown and bubbly when done.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.