Friday, December 13, 2013

December Traditions

November brought fun traditions, activities, and events my kids look forward to every year. December brings more of the same.


I think last December was one of the firsts I can really remember since starting to have kids. Life was so hectic for years-- pretty much survival mode. But last year? I finally felt things start to slow down 
just enough to enjoy the ride a little more.

This year we continued some of the traditions of the past, were unable to do some, and added a few to the traditions list. Some are silly and some are heartfelt.

My family sees the entire month of December as Christmas preparation. The birth of our Savior gets a month of celebration, not a day! I absolutely loved to hear my 8 year old say the other day "I love Christmas!" We are making memories centered around Christ and His birth. 

The beginning of December brings the decorating of the tree...


New Christmas PJ's (bought from Target Black Friday of course!) 


Last year we compiled a Christmas "Bucket List." The kids begged to do this again! 



Baking, Christmas stories, Christmas movies, hot chocolate, apple cider, crafts, Christmas lights, and more! A great collection of activities to make great families memories!


Last year, one of the bucket list items was to make Christmas ornaments, and another was to make Christmas cards for the nursing homes. This year we combined those two and brought both the ornaments and the cards with some friends to do some Christmas caroling at the nursing home. 
 Service is such a gift to the servers! 


Another new tradition we added was the Advent Event. I absolutely love this! It is a short lesson each day leading from Creation to Revelation complete with hand motions and sounds telling the story of redemption. It has been a wonderful addition to our Christmas month long celebration. 



It is our goal to do a family mission trip each Christmas, but it did not happen this year. We are hoping to be able to take a family trip this summer Lord willing.

Celebrating Christ the King all month long. We love December!!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Days are long and the years short--2013 in Review

There is a saying that states are when your children are young, the days are long and the years short. Oh how this is true!

I spent most of the last decade pregnant, nursing, or with a toddler--sometimes more than one. That makes for long days. But no matter the chaos and mayhem of the day, we look back at old photos and are amazed at how quickly the time has flown.

2013 is wrapping up.

Thanksgiving has passed. The Christmas tree is up. Presents are piled waiting to be wrapped. And we are racing through our schoolwork to finish enough to call the semester to a close.

One of the greatest take aways from 2013 is that hard work pays off.

Our usual review of a year focuses on curriculum. In our fourth year of homeschooling, curriculum is taking more of a back seat, and how we use it is taking more precedence. We are learning to focus more on the learning process than academic goals.

A Shift in Focus in 2013:

Focus on Foundation

The great foundation that we paved in kindergarten through second grade was a wonderful platform for E to build upon in third grade. She is becoming more independent, and all of the effort we have placed on the 4 R's are bearing fruit. I am very grateful for the foundation that has been laid, and it encourages me to trudge onward with my younger ones.

Focus on Relationships

While we emphasize academics and strive for academic rigor, relationship is so much more important.
Relationship with God is first and foremost, and second with family and others. Being a task oriented person makes it not so easy to focus primarily on the relationship. 2013 has seen great strides in this area, and I am grateful.

Focus on Diligence

From piano practice to phonics lessons, and basketball to gymnastics, my children are learning the importance of diligence. Especially with perfectionist children (I may have one or two of those!), the expectation to get something right away can be strong. However, each member of our family is learning the importance of hard work, and how it does pay off. I am also learning to celebrate small successes, and be patient and not push so hard for bigger ones. A hard lesson to learn.

The year has flown by... and most days certainly are long ... but these faces are worth any long day! I am so grateful for another year, the highs and the lows, the opportunities taken, and the opportunities lost...because each is for God's Glory above all else. So grateful for a blessed 2013, and looking eagerly to an even greater 2014!




Check out the other Homeschool Help Series bloggers'
2013 School Year in Review!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Our Top 6 Read Alouds

Read alouds are the highlight of our homeschool. My favorite part of the day...It's the idealistic vision of homeschooling that may or may not (mostly not) be reality depending on the day. It's the cuddle up on the couch and enjoy your kids part of the day that I absolutely love and don't spend enough time doing.

I asked my eight year old to give me her 6 favorite read alouds from the last few years and here is her list. I have to say, she did pretty well! I would love to add more, but if we are sticking to six, this is a great list!




1. Pippi Longstocking










2. Frindle











3. Little House on the Prairie/Little House in the Big Woods




4. Tale of Despereaux











5. Mr. Popper's Penguins









6. Because of Winn Dixie








There have been so many other great books-- Understood Betsy, My Father's Dragon, Sarah Plain and Tall, 100 Dresses...

Read alouds are definitely the heart of our homeschool. Creating precious memories with my kids while exploring the wonderful world between the pages. I look forward to the many more ahead.

Check out the other Homeschool Help Series bloggers' 
favorite read alouds!
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