Monday, November 27, 2006

Off the hook!

Last weekend, we "decked the halls" around our house, preparing for our week of Thanksgiving-week camping. Words cannot express how great it felt yesterday to drive back into town listening to Christmas music on the radio, knowing that when I walked into my house I would see the stockings hung by the chimney with care!

Something occurred to me as I was putting up my decorations this year. As I was looping hook after hook through ornament upon ornament, I realized that if I was going to truly enjoy this holiday season it was time to let myself off of a few. Hooks that is. And my kids, too!

Many homeschool families take the entire month of December off in order to focus more energy on family time and the business of the holiday season. That idea really appealed to me when I first heard it years ago, and we tried it. For us, though, while it helped the month of December to go by more smoothly in the short run, it came back to bite us in January. January/February are typically hard months for homeschool moms anyway due to burnout, winter weather “blahs”, etc. and it didn’t help matters for me to be trying to get the kids back into the groove of school, and reacquainting them with the idea of a schedule or -for heaven’s sake- expectations. Add to that that math skills or other concepts would’ve slipped back into the nether reaches of their minds and it became rather frustrating to get back on track. SO the month-long break that seems to work for so many other families didn’t really work for us. However, a sure recipe for a January freak-out or a Christmas catharsis for me, would be to try to keep up our full school schedule along with everything else during the month of December.

So… I’ve let us “off the hook” in a few of our subjects beginning this week. (A few of our “ornamental” subjects, if you will!) They will still have their core subjects of math and literature. We’ll read a chapter a week of history. Latin will be Lingua Angelica hymns. (We’re learning Adeste Fideles now… so beautiful!) Bethany has her co-op this week and next week, but my friend and “co-teacher” and I have relaxed their assignments a bit. Instead of a full 5 day week I’m cutting it down to 4, or maybe even 3 ½ days per week, depending on what we need to do. I feel like I can breathe! And I smell cinnamon and evergreen!

Give yourself an early Christmas gift... look at your schedule and your lesson plans and see what you can "unhook" from. Then you won't be strung out like the Christmas lights, and you just might shine all the brighter during the holidays!

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