Friday, December 12, 2008

Deck the School Room

Deck the halls with boughs of school books, fa-la-la-la-la la la la la.
‘Tis the season to be busy, fa-la-la-la-la la la la la.
Don we now our anxious faces, fa la la la la la la.
Sing of lapbooks, handmade orn’ments, fa-la-la-la-la la la la la.

See the piles of laundry ‘round you, fa-la-la-la-la la la la la.
Strike the doorbell, chase the toddler, fa-la-la-la-la la la la la.
Follow me for every minute, fa la la la la la la.
While we sing of wistful summer, fa-la-la-la-la la la la la.

Is it possible to homeschool sanely and still celebrate the Christmas? Yes! How? My two best tips are make lists, and start early. I love lists! I make lists of my lists (yes, really). I keep a running list in my Palm Centro of every person for whom I regularly buy gifts. As I hear hints or think of gift ideas, I make a note of it. I delete the item after I’ve bought it. This works for birthday presents as well as Christmas gifts. People who receive our annual Christmas letters/cards/pictures (depending on the year) are on a master database on my laptop. Every year I update the list for cards received and sent the previous year and who we’ll be sending cards to, then I print it out to check off names as new cards roll in. In early November, I print out address labels for the cards (I update my computer’s address book as needed through the year). By the end of the month, I’ve written the letter or pulled out the cards I bought at the after-Christmas sale last year. The cards are in the mail the first week of December.

Throughout the year, I buy gifts for family and friends as I see things that would be appropriate. Since none of our family lives close by, all of their gifts are bought and wrapped early in the fall. All the rest of the gifts are bought by the first week in December. I usually wait until the weekend before Christmas to wrap the gifts because I don’t like to put them under the tree too early, but it’s written in my planner.

I’m still working on my menu lists for our Christmas Eve party, and longer visits from family and friends. The calendar is updated daily, and the food/necessity shopping lists are updated as needed.

Okay, that covers Christmas, but what about school? Well, I do try to make the kids’ workloads a bit lighter for the month. I make sure my lesson plans are done right after Thanksgiving so they know what to expect. All the parties, cookie baking, decorating, and shopping trips are good incentives for the kids to finish their schoolwork early. As far as housecleaning and other chores go, we do things the same way we do the rest of the year: everyone has assigned chores. A few things do get left undone (there’s my true confession for this post!), but even the very organized homeschool mom can’t do everything.

Remember to slow down long enough to celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas season. Take time to read the Christmas story from Luke and to sing some traditional Christmas carols around the piano. Those are two of our favorite Christmas traditions. Leave me a comment telling me how you organize your holidays and your homeschool during the month of December.

From our homeschool family to yours, may you have a blessed Christmas season!