Wednesday, November 26, 2008


My father-in-law once shared with me part of a sermon he heard. The pastor had said something like "Show me what you do and I will tell you your priorities." I have been dwelling on these words this week, avoiding the computer a bit. You may have noticed fewer pictures and posts on the blog. With the holidays approaching, including two family birthdays, I began to feel the stress of things that must be done (and I'm not even hosting any holiday meals!). I also read this wonderful plan for DecemberTerm and suddenly remembered all my grand plans to make grand plans of an educational nature for the kids (and me) for this fall, reading lessons being the only result.

I wasted some time making excuses and then wasted some more time disparaging myself (and some time going back and forth between the two), but of course neither of those strategies do anyone any good at all. So now I'm developing a plan for that will work with an extended trip to my parents in another state (and those two birthdays).

Here are my thoughts:

  • A Jesse tree. I thought about this last year, but in the throes of vicious morning all-the-time sickness, I didn't think about it for very long. This year I'm considering something small that will travel easily: a tree I'll draw on some card stock and then draw in ornaments as we do the readings each day. I can use the description and drawings in Advent, Christmas Epiphany in the Domestic Church.
  • An Advent wreath. We bought one last year that we never used because First Son continued to be adamantly opposed to lit candles. I'm thinking we might give it a try this year.
  • The feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th. We missed it last year, but we're definitely going to read about this saint and put out our shoes for a little treat. I'll be using the book above for some background, but you can also find lots of ideas here, if you're so inclined.
  • Every year we've made ornaments with the kids. I have an idea for this year (don't want to give it away) and already have all the supplies. I just need to get it started and then have the kids finish them up.
  • Gingerbread house. I just love the idea of tackling something complicated in my kitchen that could potentially be so much fun! I had considered and then decided against it earlier because of the trip to my parent's house. (How would we take it? What would it be like when we returned?) Now, I'm thinking of asking my mom if we can try it there. I figure we could let the kids decorate the front of a house if we can't get it to stay together and they'll be just as thrilled. (Mom, if you're reading this, what do you think?)

As for education, I stand by my decision to avoid formal handwriting and math right now. First Son just isn't interested and I don't want to push him, and this year is still a preschool year. I am considering a more formal read-aloud time. We read all sorts of books all day long, but I did mean to start a chapter book as a family read-aloud and we might do that in January.

Lest you think I've been only berating myself for days, I did take some time to tackle small projects that have been literally lying around the house. There's more to do, of course, but it's good to get some of them out from underfoot.


  1. Good ideas; I love this time of year for all the new learning activities. I also appreciated the link to the "December term" plans--I will read through her ideas. We, too, are breaking from our conventional homeschooling routines, although we'll be doing Advent readings etc together, Christmas reading, and a snowflake unit study (which includes the book about "Snowflake Bentley"--a picture book--he was the first man to photograph snowflakes microscopically). Anyway, best wishes to you and yours this Christmas season! ~Danielle (Shore) Graves

  2. I think you're very wise to be intentional about what you choose to do and not do. That's hard - esp. this time of year! I want to give you kudos for homeschooling. I was a teacher for 8 years and then had kids. I really think HS'ing is the best way to go, but think I would lose my mind. So, you are doing a GOOD job.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I love the book Snowflake Bentley! First Son wasn't interested quite yet, but I plan to try again. Maybe next year. Or maybe he'll be more interested once we have a good strong snowfall (or blizzard).

    I haven't really started homeschooling yet. As I said, I have grand plans, but we'll see how they work out in real life!

  4. We did a Jesse Tree last year with the older girls and they really enjoyed it. What we did was very portable, if you're interested.
    This site - has coloring pages for each day under "Celebration Ideas." I printed them out for each of the girls, they colored them and cut them out, and then we "hung" them on a tree drawn on a large sheet of paper. (Each girl had their own tree, though.) We just rolled up the paper when we went to my mom's for Christmas and it worked well.
    We're not planning to do a Jesse Tree this year, since I've got a couple of other things I want to try, but we'll probably go back and do a more crafty version once the girls get a little older. I like having them actively involved in it, rather than just hanging up ornaments.


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