Life in my Shoes

Life in my Shoes

Friday, December 2, 2016

Simple. Sane. Sacred: Homeschooling around the holidays

Thinking on this this year:  How to have a simple, sane....sacred Christmas.
I just love that thought.
I makes me heave a huge sigh of relief.
Things can get so crazy in December.
And just as we kick of this season of celebrating, it's hard not to get caught up in the frenzy that fills the air the day after we are being so thankful for all we have.
I want our home to be a place of peace....and fun!!
We love Christmas.....but I want us to keep our perspective and remember the reason we are celebrating anyway.
That always strips away the need to overdo, overspend.....all the overkill!!
Keeping it simple this year, and here are some thoughts about keeping the homeschooling meaningful but not overwhelming in December!!

When my children were younger, this didn't seem to be as overwhelming to me as it has become now that we have more students in our homeschool with a broader range of ages and needs.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my to-do list gets longer and longer every day.
Not only are there the regular daily activities of washing and folding laundry, meal planning, meal preparation, care of sick children, lesson planning, and homeschooling, but throw in making gift lists, making gifts, trekking to the post office and mailing said gifts, extra choir/music rehearsals, wrapping gifts, planning Advent themed activities, and a plethora of extra Christmas dinners/gatherings to prepare for!
It can make one Mama lose the "joy of Christmas" and her mind real quick!!

But over time, I've learned that slowing down and simplifying make this time of year much more enjoyable for our entire family.
This December, I'm just keeping the children up with bare bones schooling......think "readin', writin' and 'rithmetic."
They are all involved with their individual choirs at church and have solos to memorize and speaking parts to learn for their Christmas programs.  Don't forget those extra rehearsals I mentioned earlier.
I count that as "Fine Arts."

In the next week or so, we'll be busy making all the goodies we usually make every year for gifts for all their friends and teachers {at church}.
You can click here to get a glimpse of crafts we have done in the past.
I count that as "Arts and Crafts," "Math," {figuring out how many of each we need to make}and "Family and Consumer Sciences."

This year, I want to get each of my children involved in creating and writing a Christmas letter complete with pictures.
I count that as "Creative Writing."

I love to read stories from "A Little House Christmas" while the children are working on seat work.
I count that as "History."

One of our favorite family traditions is going here!!
It just really brings to life for the children what was going on during the time Christ was born.
I count that as "Bible History."

There are so many other ways you can be creative in incorporating homeschool into what is already available in your community at Christmas time.  It's what makes memories!!

The article below addresses this topic even further, and was so encouraging to me!!

Fall ball 2016

This school year Ashlyn is a junior in high school
and Abby is in the 7th grade. 
They have so enjoyed the opportunity they've had this fall
to play volleyball.
Being a small homeschool program, 
they have to play literally the entire game of every game
on the schedule.
They have both improved so much this year,
and we've seen some concrete leadership growth in Ashlyn.
For this we are so very thankful.

Grant is in the 8th grade this year,
and Garrett is in the 5th grade.
Because there are so many young boys in our program,
the pastor of the church has a burden to see these boys
grow in wisdom and leadership as well.
He is developing a mentorship program for young men,
and part of this is building a basketball team.
This is the first year that both my boys have
had the opportunity to play basketball competitively,
and they are growing and learning
and enjoying the physical activity.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Our fourth field trip this fall: Chisholm Trail Pioneer Days

When the air began to turn chilly, and the light low and golden in the 
bright autumn sky, we took a trip back in time.
To visit life in the 19th century.
When cowboys and longhorn cattle traveled the wide open spaces of Texas.
When the Confederates were shooting at the Yankees,
and Abraham Lincoln was in charge at the White House.
What a fun morning we had!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Best way to prepare for Christmas? The Night Before Advent Party 2016

I have to admit, the day following Thanksgiving, I was far from being filled
with the Christmas spirit!!
In fact, Scrooge and I had about the same attitude.
Do we really have to climb up in the attic and drag
down a bunch of boxes, collect all the leaves and pumpkins decorating
the house, and clean up??
All while still bloated from the turkey and green bean casserole?
I mean, what's the stinkin' hurry?

We had just walked the halls of the hospital a couple days before,
to say goodbye to a precious friend who's Christmas picture from
last year is still hanging on my refrigerator.
The cancer had returned.
And though we had prayed and prayed that she would go
into remission for a second time,
it was not to be.
She went home to Jesus that night.
The night before Thanksgiving.
It's hard to celebrate when you're wiping tears from your eyes.

But that morning I was reminded that Sunday was to be the first day of Advent.
That time of waiting.....hope!
Anticipating a coming.
Looking intentionally.
Of preparation.
I was inspired by this {click here} to actually throw a little party.

So we did.
We had so much fun whipping things into shape, setting out the 
simplest things, just to prepare our hearts and mind 
for what this season is all about anyway.
When we are grieving the loss of dear one's, watching the world around us
burn up and blow away, walking through frightful valleys, drowning
in loneliness, shouldn't we gather together and look to Jesus?
Anticipate His coming?
Talk about ways we will be looking to BE a blessing
rather than simply RECEIVE all the blessings.
About ways we can give more!!
We set up our Jesse Tree and pulled out the ornaments that will
go on that every day as we talk about Jesus' geneology.
His family tree that pointed the way to His coming
and ultimate death on Calvary's tree.

This was not complicated, nor did it cost a lot of money.
I just picked up some canned hot chocolate mix with some fun fixings.
Store bought cookies took off a lot of stress too.
This wasn't about excess and "rockin' around the Christmas tree."
Simple. Sane. Sacred.

One thing that we did to cap off the evening that we've never, ever
allowed before was to present our children with
their first gift of Christmas!
It was a total surprise for them because they beg and beg every year
to open a gift early and we've always stood firm.
They absolutely did not see it coming and the squeals of joy
were delightful!

I think we've discovered a brand new family tradition.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Family and Consumer Science Class: Senior Saints Thanksgiving Luncheon 2016

Again this school year, I have had the delightful privilege
 of teaching the high school girls of our little homeschool assistance program 
a Family and Consumer Science Class.
Last year, we focused on Foods 1, and Beginning Sewing and Crafts.
After talking over their interests at the end of the year last school year,
the girls decided that they wanted the advanced versions 
of each class this year.
So this fall we're learning Textiles and Clothing Construction, 
and after Christmas we'll explore Foods 2!

We were once again asked to prepare and host a Thanksgiving Luncheon
for the senior citizens of the church,
and what fun it was to pull it all together.

We had a slightly smaller crew than last year, 
but these girls worked so hard
and used their creativity to make this a beautiful event!

The girls did all the set-up and decorations.
It turned out so lovely!

On the morning of this event,
they were very focused on working as a team
and making each of their guests feel welcome and cared for.

What a blessing Miss Amanda was to us this year in working
with our girls, preparing so many of the dishes,
and keeping things organized in the kitchen!!


"Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
As each one has received a special gift, employ it 
in serving one another as good stewards
of the manifold grace of God."  1 Peter 4:9, 10

What a blessing to watch these girls grow as we guide them along,
and learn skills in hospitality and gracious food service!

"Honor widows who are widows indeed."  1 Timothy 5:3