December 8, 2012

Christmas is Coming

Via Fifth and State Blogspot
Today as I am writing this we have taken a day off of school. One of the many things I love about homeschooling is that lessons can harmonize with life and you get the best out of both. This week we have been busy with company already and we all needed a day without the pressure to get something done to simply digest life, spread our wings and follow our interests without a schedule. It is more likely me the free sprit who wanted the day off but I was listening when Zak had a melt down day before yesterday. One of the things he said as he cried and used his amazing vocabulary (thanks Charlotte for the narration practice) to describe how he felt was that he feels a lot of pressure on him and it never seems to let up. Thus a day off. I am enjoying it immensely. :)

It has been several years now since I heard about the wisdom of slowing down during the holidays instead of ramping up, and I intentionally slow down in many ways. Last year we took the whole month of December off and did fun crafts, read vintage christmas stories, and cooked together. The boys also had oodles of free time to play. I purposely shop early for Christmas presents. I read more, take long walks, and cook fun and nourishing treats for my family and friends. I plan little and fly by the seat of my pants for one month out of the year. I do not over decorate but simply do the tree, and the nativity and a few other things. This year we are still doing school 6 days a week because we plan to travel in the spring so I am fitting Christmas in to the already existing schedule and I am still intentionally aiming to keep the holiday a holiday for us all.

Photo by Faletiz
But what I do that helps me the most is to remembering that it isn't the amount of material I get through in a year because "education is not to give a technical skill but to develop a person. " Charlotte Mason said this in Vol. 6 pg. 147. So many things can develop a person and each family has the privilege of choosing that for themselves. For us we keep life simple during the holidays.

Because we are continuing on with our schedule this year and not taking a month off I am slipping Christmas into the framework of it knowing that schedules can be tools for relaxation too. I am  replacing a book here and a book there and adding a project that will enhance what God is saying to us this year about who He is and what He wants us to remember about His coming. For our stories of faith lesson we are currently reading a delightful story about God's plan of redemption beginning with Adam and Eve in the garden of eden and on through to revelation. It is called Grandpa's Box. The story like many vintage books we love the story is told via an ongoing discussion between Grandpa and his two grandchildren Marc and Amy. In the past we have read One Wintery Night written by Ruth Graham Bell for it tells to whole biblical story too which I find so good to review each year at Christmas.

Once we finish with Grandpa's Box I have several vintage Christmas stories the boys can pick from.

Good Stories for Great Holidays compiled by Francis Jenkins Alcott (This one is a huge anthology of short Christmas stories that are all good. We read through it last year and it took us a while. But is was fun to read so many heart warming stories one after the other.
The Bird's Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin This one always makes me cry and the boys say "oh mom!"
This Way to Christmas by Ruth Sawyer We have not read this one yet.
Why the Chimes Rang by Raymond McDonald Alden Another tear jerker.
The Life and Adventures of Santa Clause by Amelia Houghton This one we have read three Christmas's in a row and I wonder if the boys are tired of it yet.
The Christmas Porringer by Evaleen Stein We have not read this one yet.
The Pajama Elves by Hayden Edwards Just found this one on pinterst a week ago, looks fun.

We will also sing some Christmas hymns and do a few crafts.

My men are not too fond of sweets so the one special thing I make for them every year is a homemade cheese ball. I may attempt homemade crackers to go with it since the boys just bought me a new range for Christmas and I am unwrapping it this week. (smile)

Have a Happy Holiday!


  1. I love your list of books. What wonderful plans you have. We are trying to slow down as well.
    Blssings, Dawn

    1. Have a great Christmas and enjoy the slow days :)

  2. Hi Sarah! I know what you mean about slowing down. Last year we were also preparing for a move, so I was trying to get as much school done as possible before I needed to pack the house up. This year it's nice to be more relaxed :-) We're just doing a week of 'catch-up' but spending more time on Christmas crafts. Thanks for your list of books. I've added them all to my amazon wish list - I've been inspired to get together a collection of lovely Christmas books to read to the kids next year. 'The Bird's Christmas Carol' was free for Kindle though, so I got that one straight away (even though I prefer actual books, but you can't be too picky living overseas!) Happy Christmas!

    1. Happy Christmas to you too! I hope all the crafts are fun, I love them. The boys and I are presently making felt bird ornaments, more about that in the next wrap up.

  3. I just love that quote you mentioned of Charlotte's - "education is not to give a technical skill but to develop a person. " Just what I needed to hear!! :)

    I can't wait to check out the Ruth Bell Graham title! I love her books! Thanks!