If you haven't already visited the Catholic Homeschool Carnival at O Night Divine it is definitely worth the time - homeschooler or not. The Advent ideas are fantastic. I'm taking a clue from Love2Learn Mom and have added Advent tasks to our paper chain countdown. My kids' tasks are things like making Christmas cards for different people on different days (our pastor, soldiers at Walter Reed), saying prayers for people who are sick or lonely, and taking canned goods to a food bank.
On Friday night, I made the usual mistake of getting all the Advent decorations out at once. So now I feel like I live in a holiday debris field. Tomorrow we will get to work and find seasonal homes for the Jesse Tree, the Christmas books, the perpetual Advent calendars, the nativity sets. We'll hide Jesus, set up the kings in a faraway land and put Mary, Joseph and donkey en route to the stable.
I've just about completed the gift shopping for Christmas. I think if I take a few hours without kids to go shopping, I can take care of a few minor details and be done. We were out today running errands, and I'm glad I did most of the shopping online - oh, the lines, the attitudes! I've made my to-do list, and now I just need to schedule the baking and cleaning and wrapping and decorating. If the kids ever go to bed tonight, I hope to make some chocolates. A few years ago, I decided that Christmas and Easter warranted special treats - Hershey Kisses just weren't good enough: too ordinary. At that time, there was a specialty chocolate shop near me, and I bought at least one treat for everyone. But they went out of business and left me hanging, so I started making my own. It's actually really easy, really fun, and an act of love.
This will be a busy week. Tomorrow, Katie's Little Flowers group has a craft co-op which means a big playdate for the kids with another family who's daughter is in the group (we play while the girls are at the meeting). And then Tuesday afternoon, this same family will come over for a St. Nicholas Vigil Feast Day party.
I'm telling myself I really need to let go of the school cirriculum this month. I've always derived much comfort from "checking the blocks" - from doing everything listed on the to-do list of school work. But that's not why I homeschool. I chose homeschooling so I could celebrate the Church seasons in all their glory first and foremost and not as an afterthought. Tis the season to prepare our hearts and minds and homes for the beautiful celebration of Christ's birth. Math should be the afterthought, not the Jesse Tree. We can learn about Henry Hudson in January - really, we can. This month should be St. Nicholas and St. Lucy and Our Lady of Guadalupe and delivering cookies to a neighbor with no kids at home and buying some presents for those who have little money. It is as hard for me to do this (let go of the cirriculum) as it is for me to sit still for my 15 minute daily rest. But my heart tells me it is right and that spelling can wait...as long as the kids are learning and doing all these things with me.
And so it begins. May this new Church year be a holy one for us all.
And as a post script...for some reason Blogger is no longer showing the WYSIWYG editor for posting or editing. All those links above were done in HTML instead of with the little icons that make life so much easier. What gives? Anyone have any clue what is going on?