We had such a great Thanksgiving break, and it was well-deserved. The kids have worked so hard this school year! I have been so proud of them. We are only a couple of days away from hitting our 100th day of school for the year. We are putting in four more solid weeks and then are taking an extra long Christmas break.
We have a lot of work to do and need to stay focused. But, we are definitely going to have a more relaxed attitude during these last weeks of 2016.
We have taken away a couple of our daily subjects so that we can add something even more important. And that's a focus on the Christmas season, Jesus, and family.
I purchased an ebook called Joy to the World by Kathleen M. Bassi. It is a very simple approach to Advent combining daily Advent activities, an Advent wreath and its significance, and the Jesse tree.
I have done Advent activities with the kids in years past, but as they have gotten older it has felt a little silly and forced. They didn't really get into it, so I'd just give up. Plus we would end our first school semester early in December, and we'd be out of our routine so it would just get pushed to the back burner. This year we are continuing with our semester until just before Christmas. And, Joy to the World gave me a plan to follow with a good balance that will fit all of our personalities.
We made an Advent chain to help us countdown to Christmas Day. We brainstormed and came up with an activity to put on each slip of paper. Here is what we have planned:
December 1: Make our Advent chain with activities
December 2: Color Jesse tree ornaments
December 3: Go shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes and mail to headquarters
December 4: Decorate gingerbread houses
December 5: Make bird food garlands
December 6: Read about and study St. Nicholas (maybe a little gift left in the kids' shoes that night?)
December 7: Make homemade Christmas cards
December 8: Watch "A Christmas Story"
December 9: Family game night
December 10: Drive through Christmas in the Park
December 11: Watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
December 12: Read about and study Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 13: Read about and study St. Lucy and make cinnamon rolls
December 14: Make gingerbread men
December 15: Attend Junior High/Senior High Christmas choir and band concert
December 16: Make homemade Christmas cookies
December 17: Host an ornament painting party for friends
December 18: Attend church service
December 19: Make homemade dog treats
December 20: Make Christmas tree dinner favors for nursing home residents
December 21: Watch "Polar Express" and drink homemade hot cocoa
December 22: Wrap gifts and CELEBRATE Eli's 13th birthday! To the movies and dinner out!
December 23: Watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
December 24: Celebrate with family
December 25: Celebrate with family. Christ is born!
I made a simple boxwood wreath encircling our candles, and placed them with a "Peace" sign and our Nativity. Each day at lunch we will say the weekly prayer and light our candle. It will help to settle us and focus us for the last half of our busy school day.
Before bed each night we will read about one of Jesus' ancestors and add the corresponding ornament to our washi tape Jesse tree that is on the back of our front door so that we can see it in our main living area every day.
We are really hopeful that we will have a meaningful holiday season that will continue to draw us closer together as a family.
2016-2017 School Hours Logged: 412.25 hours, including 69.5 hours outside home. Plus Summer Hours Logged: 141.5 hours, including 54 hours outside home.