What's On My Christmas List


Aren't my kids so cute decorating the tree?


Over the last couple years I have started to make a Christmas list for myself to give to Derek.  He always picks me great gifts, with or without a list. But he asked, and it's fun to be able to pick out things that I would like but probably won't buy myself!  I thought I'd share my list today, just for fun.  Maybe if you aren't sure what to put on your Christmas list, it'll spark some ideas!



Washi Tape






I found this website that sells gorgeous Washi tape a while back, and I've been eyeing a few of their sets!  I use Washi tape in my bullet journal or on letters, to dress up the page and add some sparkle.  I use it in a really basic way, but some people really decorate their pages or letters, like my penpal Felicia (her envelopes are always so pretty!).  It's just fun, and I'd love to get a little collection started.




Books





These three books are on my Christmas list!  The first two I have read before and they were excellent - to the point that I would like to own a physical copy and re-read them.  

Eve In Exile is about feminism, it's negative effects on women, and the purpose for which God really created women.  I feel like that makes it sound a little boring, but it was so good.  

Glory In The Ordinary is about the value of work, and the biblical purpose of our work, and I remember finding it really encouraging especially as it relates to the struggle many women have with feeling...perhaps less-than for working outside of the home OR for not bringing money in for the family.  It was great.

Black Coffee kind of intrigued me, because...well, coffee, but also because I read in the description that it is a Hercule Poirot play that Agatha Christie wrote which was adapted into a book by a different author.  Hercule Poirot is my favorite of her characters, and I'm really curious to see how it is!  


Psalms Scripture Journal





I have one of these scripture journals for the book of Hebrews, and I love it!  It has the biblical text on one page, with a dot grid for notes, decorating, or whatever you want on the opposite page.  I write about things that stood out in the passage, or bits of commentary that I've gathered from other places.  I usually don't fill up a full page, so I am thinking they will be useful for going through the books of the Bible multiple times until it's full.  I'd love to have another one to work in, and Psalms felt like a good place to start!




John MacArthur Study Bible


I have the digital version of MacArthur's study notes, and I really appreciate his study Bible notes - it is always helpful and clarifying when I come across a tricky passage.  I would really like to have a physical copy of the MacArthur study Bible, so I can highlight and read the notes a little easier. I found a damaged copy on this website for cheap, so I'm hoping Derek snagged it for me!





Rings 






Opal Ring




Turquoise Oyster Ring



I used to love wearing "costume jewelry" rings in my twenties, but I haven't for several years now.  I think my fingers got a little fat for my collection while I was pregnant.  I'd like to get back to wearing pretty rings, but I'd also like some that won't turn my finger green (hopefully).  Even though these are the priciest thing on my list, they are relatively inexpensive and I think they're pretty for a little extra shine.




Art Prints I’d Love To Have Framed


Okay, I am a little hesitant to show you actual pictures here because I don't want to reproduce the artist's work without her permission, but if you click through on anything in this post you have to check out these prints.  I'm linking my three favorite prints below, but Lore Pemberton's art just speaks to me.  All of her paintings are wonderful, but these three are my current favorites and I'd love to get a print of one of these.


This one brings back the feeling of rocking my babies against my chest in the middle of the night.  


We go on a fall hike every autumn, and this one just reminds me of traipsing through the woods with my children.  I can almost smell the leaves.


This one brings to mind the stargazing nights we've done with the kids, and the wonder we are hoping to inspire in them by introducing them to the night sky.




Makeup







What can I say, I like my makeup!  I've particularly enjoyed Colourpop's eye products for a while, and this cool-toned palette caught my eye (which is currently sold out, so I might not be getting it after all!).  The single shadow is one of their super-shock shadows, which I've heard good things about and would like to play around with.  And I've been wanting to try one of their lip glosses - this color looks pretty.




Perfume





I realized early this year that I've used up most of my perfumes, and a lot of the ones I've liked over the years are no longer produced.  Don't you hate when that happens?  You find a scent you like, and then they just stop making it.  Tough luck.  I smelled a sample of this one a while back though and I remember liking it, so I put it on my Christmas list just in case Derek needed one more idea.  Time to find a new perfume I guess!


---


That's it!  I was trying to put a wide variety of things on my list so Derek would have a lot to choose from.  I obviously will not be getting everything here (budget, you know), but I wanted to give Derek lots ideas so if he ends up only buying from my list, I'll still be somewhat surprised!  


What sort of things have you put on your Christmas list? Do you and your spouse make lists for each other?



Out Of Sorts (And Real Tea)


Do you want to come over for tea this morning?

To my in-person friends, that's an open invitation, just so you know.  But otherwise, let's have virtual tea on a Tuesday.  And not the kind all the youngsters talk about, the gossip-y, drama kind.  No spilling of metaphorical "tea".  Let's have, like, real tea.  In a real cup.  

I feel old.

I've been watching too much TV.

Speaking of tea, try a cup of Nutcracker Sweet tea with a chocolate bar.  You can thank me later.

Hunting And Not Blogging

Where were we when I suddenly lost all motivation to blog a couple weeks ago?  You may remember that I was in the middle of a 31 Day blogging challenge, and I totally fell off the wagon.  I underestimated the amount of energy hunting would take out of me, and then the election-that-never-ended happened, and well, here we are.  I have lots of election thoughts, but I don't want to get into it on this blog (that's what Instagram is for, right?), so let's just talk about my hunting season.

On Saturday morning we woke up bright and early, and headed out into the woods in the dark.  As it got light, we started sneaking through an open area, and suddenly saw a group of deer ahead of it.  They were all female deer, and I had a buck tag, but it looked like they were looking behind them, down the hill where we couldn't see yet. So we decided to sneak up to a ridge to see if there was anything down there, and what do you know, there was!  We just so happened to drop down behind a log, so I don't think they could tell what we were yet, and I got a perfect shot.  The freezer is full now, and I feel really satisfied.  First morning of hunting season and we got one!  That's the best.

I come from a long line of hunters, I grew up hunting, but I hadn't been for over eight years.  I was quite worried about my ability to even hit a target anymore.  But Derek scouted out a great spot for me, and got me to the deer, and I was pleased to see that I am not completely useless out there, as I was afraid I would be.


It took us all day to drag the deer out a mile and a half (at least).  I felt like I had gotten hit by a truck the next morning.  It took me a bit to recover.

Sorting And Shopping And...More Sorting

Since then, aside from obsessively checking the news, I have also been working hard on finishing my Christmas shopping and sorting through this year's pictures.  

Last year I decided to print off the best photos of each kid from 2019 and put a little photo album in each of their stockings.  It was a lot of work, but they loved those little photo books.  And I liked knowing that my photos weren't just existing in some digital netherworld, but I had some hard copies now. I decided to make it a tradition so I would have motivation every year to get our photos printed.

Ideally I would sort and print photos throughout the year so it wouldn't be such a huge project in December.  But alas, it took me two eight-hour days to get 2020 photos printed up.  The prints are ordered and on their way and I'll probably be spending the next couple weeks getting them sorted (again) into albums.  Then another Christmas item will be checked off the list.

I actually finished the kids' Christmas shopping in mid-October, and a few days ago I ordered the last of the Christmas presents for Derek.  

I'm always torn about doing Christmas shopping so early.  I used to really enjoy Christmas shopping in December, because it added to the Christmas excitement for me.  But as we've added more kids to our family, I've realized that Christmas is much more pleasant for everyone if I finish the shopping early.  

Shopping for five kids is hard.  You want them to each have the same number of presents to open, even though the older ones start asking for more expensive gifts.  You want each gift to be of relatively the same size or value or excitement level.  And inevitably you'll buy them what they individually asked for, because you want to treat them like the unique individuals they are, but then the kids realize on Christmas morning that they like what their siblings got, and they wish they would have asked for the same thing.  It's just complicated.

Anyway, its done, so now I need to sort everything and start wrapping.

Maybe the theme of this post of sorting.  Appropriate, right?  Isn't that what we are all doing right now?  Sorting v0tes, sorting photos, sorting through news, sorting the Christmas budget out, sorting presents to be wrapped.  All while feeling out of sorts.  Just lots of sorting.

Some of the photos I sorted today are from our visit to my friends' ranch in October.  We try to visit them once a year, and it's always such a refreshment to see them all again.  This time was no exception.  I am so blessed to have friendships that have lasted for a majority of my life, with women who inspire me and encourage me in the Lord.  Friendship, especially with sisters in Christ, is such a gift.




A Library Embarrassment

Speaking of sorting, I went to the library yesterday and I had fifty-seven books ready to be picked up.  Fifty-seven!  And because they are quarantining returned items for up to a week, a lot of the items I had previously returned hadn't registered yet, so I had to ask the librarian for an override to check out my fifty-seven books, which put me over the library book limit.  I was so embarrassed by my huge stack of books that I rushed out of there as soon as I could, so I'm not sure I even got them all.  I have to count.  I may have to go back for whatever I forgot and ask for an override all over again, though hopefully my returned items will have been checked in by then.  

That's what I get for trying to get ahead of the Christmas picture book rush.  I requested a bunch, but apparently I was the only one in line this early, and they all came in at once.  But hey, our library system got rid of fines last year, so technically I could keep them until Christmas and not even get charged.  Maybe that's worth a little embarrassment.

(Note: I won't really keep all those library books clear until Christmas.  I'll put them back into circulation in December so someone else doesn't have to suffer the fate I did last year, which was to wait and wait only to finally receive my Christmas holds...in January.)

In Search Of A Holly Jolly Read

Speaking of books, what is a good Christmas-y novel that you've read?  I need some recommendations.  I read The Christmas Carol last year, and also Hercule Poirot's Christmas, and those were both perfect.  My friend Felicia also sent me Christmas At The Vinyl Cafe in the mail, and I inhaled it in a couple days right around Christmas Day (highly recommend that one).  I'd like to have something Christmas-y to read in December. It's taking me so long to get through any book this year that I should probably start now.

Stress-Paralysis And Christmas Trees

In case you didn't notice, the entire country appears to be setting up their trees early this year.  Either everyone desperately needs a little Christmas merriment, or they're trying to hurry this crazy year out the door, not sure which. We usually set ours up a week before Thanksgiving, and yet I oddly feel behind already.  

Sometime this week I'm going to dig into our Christmas boxes and start switching out a few things.  Our schedule is a little off this year, and we don't have a full day free to set up the tree in the near future, so I'm trying to break the decorating into smaller chunks.  I'm feeling pretty stress-paralyzed, so you may have to hold me accountable if I don't share a Christmas decor photo on Instagram within a few days!  Who am I kidding, my kids will hold me accountable.  They are chomping at the bit to deck these halls.

A Few Finds

Before I go, I wanted to share a few helpful things I have found in the last week or so!  First, I got a couple advent studies to use with the kids, this advent unit study which was inexpensive, and this Advent study which is free!  

I also splurged and bought this winter nature journal - Gwen has been asking me for "constellation cards" because she wants to study constellations, and this journal came with cards and a bunch of nature study sheets (I also got her these constellation fact cards, and I don't believe there was any duplicates between the two sets).

And finally, if you are like me and have a terrible time shopping for the men in your life, I found this Christmas list for men on Amazon.  Both Derek and my dad give me ideas like "new socks" for Christmas, and I obviously am not going to buy them something so boring as socks (or at least not only socks).  This list had a bunch of things that I knew my guys would actually like.  I may have gotten a majority of Derek's presents because of ideas I found here.  (Surely I'm not the only one who can't figure out what to buy for her husband?  It's not just me, right?)


(From our fall photos this year - me and Derek.)


Have you decorated for Christmas yet?  Are you done with your shopping?  What's your favorite tea flavor (are you even a tea drinker)?  And don't forget to tell me your Christmas book recommendations too!


I'll be back later this week to share a few things that I put on my Christmas list!  Just for fun.  


Georgie Bea At Three



 


My Sweet Georgie Bea,


You are sleeping on my lap as I type this, the letter for your 3rd birthday. You are breathing softly, your eyelashes brushing your cheek, and it reminds me of the days when you were a tiny baby. How are you three already? And a delightful little three-year-old you are.

You love Minnie Mouse, and Blaze And The Monster Machines. You often stop in your tracks when you spot my nails painted and declare “I wike your nails, Mama. They’re so pwetty!” You love snuggling with me before naptime still.  Sometimes you will remind me if I forget. “Mama, I wanna snugga you,” you’ll say, staring at me with your big brown eyes.




You have perfected the sad eyes, but you only pull them out when you want more time with us or maybe for a special treat. If we have to tell you no, we will explain why to you, and you always respond with a compliant, “Okay, Mama.” You are very concerned about being left out or having to wait too long, but you don’t demand your own way once we explain. You are the easiest-going three year old I know.

You love pink and princess things, but sometimes your interests also surprise me. You point out trains wherever you see them, and you also like big trucks. Horses are always exciting. 



You greet the moon whenever you spot it, and in that five minutes right before it’s pitch-black outside, you will gasp and exclaim “Mama, wook, it’s so pwetty out dere!”  When I was getting ready for hunting season, you confidently declared “I’m going to be a hunter too!” 



You have a sweet tooth, but generally you are pretty easygoing about food. You’ll eat anything that isn’t “hot” (spicy). You’re always doing silly little things to make us laugh, like chewing your food on double-speed. Once I asked you if you liked your bowl of soup, and you didn’t respond as you kept your eyes on mine, raised your spoon, and made a noisy slurp then laughed. We all chuckled with you! You are such a fun little girl.

My favorite moments are when I have left the house for some reason - maybe a grocery shopping trip or just to get the mail- and as soon as I walk in the door you rocket around the corner and shout excitedly “Mama, You’re home! I missed you, Mama! I wuv you so much!” It makes me smile and hope you never stop. From the time you were an newborn you’ve added so much fun and joy to our days, my sweet girl. I wish I could freeze you right here. But every month you grow and say more cute things, and develop cute new habits, and reveal more of your adorable and funny personality. And then I’m excited to see what’s to come.

 I love you more than all the leaves in all the mountains in all the world, my sweet girl. Happy 3rd Birthday!

Love Always, Mama





For When You Feel Insignificant



I typed out these words on my phone this morning, intending to post them to Instagram - but they ended up being more blog-length, so I wanted to share here.  I hope you'll forgive this slight bit of blogging cheating this morning - I am still recovering from a successful hunting trip over the weekend!  more on that later in the week.  Happy Monday, friends!

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 “Whence, as I said before, the Word, since it was not possible for Him to die, as He was immortal, took to Himself a body such as could die, that He might offer it as His own in the stead of all, and as suffering, through His union with it, on behalf of all, bring to naught him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and might deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”


-Athanasius, On The Incarnation


“There is a pattern and a lesson here. As we read the lives of men and women who have been strategically used by Christ in building His kingdom, we note that the names of those through whom they were brought to faith in Jesus Christ are often forgotten or lost. But their significance is in calculable. God delights to use the hidden and the forgotten.”

-Sinclair Ferguson, In The Year Of Our Lord


This morning I read these beautiful words from Athanasius about Jesus’s sacrifice to save us from our sin and give us life - followed by these poignant thoughts from Sinclair Ferguson. Do you know the names of the people who brought some of the church fathers to faith in Jesus? I don’t.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the impact of our work, whether we are doing any good. Most of us will never be well-known outside our circle of friends and family. We make meals, we give our best effort at work, we keep our houses clean and comfortable. We smile at the grocery store clerk, we encourage a friend, we serve at church. We pray for the salvation of our children, we try to point them to Christ, we try to witness to others of His goodness when we can. But it can still at times all feel a little insignificant.

My grandma and grandpa were brought to faith by a door-to-door salesman who saw my grandma was searching and started a conversation. I don’t know his name. I’m pretty sure he isn’t in any history books. But a whole family came to faith in Christ because he was faithful.  Generations will be affected for Christ because of someone whose name is now lost to us.

It may be that no one ever knows your name. We’ll live in this little blip of history, and then fade away and be forgotten. But that doesn’t mean our work for the Lord is insignificant. He is using us greatly, though we may not always see it. 



Celebrating Reformation Day: More Resources

(Pretty frost on the trees this morning - it's cold out there!)


A couple years ago, we started celebrating Reformation Day.  I wanted my kids to have a greater sense of their heritage as Christians, a greater idea of their place in the history of the church and how God is working through His church down through the ages.  And since we don't celebrate Halloween, Reformation Day also seemed like a fun and worthwhile thing to celebrate instead.

I wrote a few posts about how we celebrated Reformation Day, some of the resources I like for teaching kids about Reformation Day, etc.  Well, I'm always looking for more books and resources to add to our collection, and I found a few that I wanted to share as we get ready for Reformation Day next week!  If you are looking for some resources for teaching your kids about church history, or just want to learn more about the Protestant Reformation yourself, here are a few more to add to your list.


Little Pilgrims Theology Free Lesson - I just came across this free lesson plan for a Reformation Day study with your kids!  If you would like Reformation Day to be a family event, and you have kids in upper elementary, this would be something to check out. We are planning on working through this lesson together next week! I also listed a bunch of other family resources in this post.

Ligionier's Reformation Day Playlist - The 500th anniversary of the Reformation was in 2017, and even though I somehow missed the fanfare that year, a lot of great resources were created to mark the occasion - including this playlist from Ligionier Ministries by speakers at a Reformation Anniversary conference.  (Ligionier actually has a bunch of Reformation Day playlists, but I liked this one because it had longer messages.)  I've listened to a few of these messages the last few weeks, and they are so inspiring.  Highly recommend checking these out in the week leading up to Reformation Day - I'll be listening to more of these messages too!

Luther: In Real Time Podcast - Ligionier Ministries is also putting out a real-time podcast following the events of the Reformation on the dates they happened historically!  The first couple episodes are already out, and I can't wait for the October 31st episode that I'm sure is coming.

In The Year Of Our Lord by Sinclair Ferguson - This is a book I picked up to read in honor of Reformation month - each chapter covers a century of church history, giving some info and stories about church heroes of that time.  I also love that it includes a hymn from each century at the end of the chapter.  I think this would be a great "highlight" study of church history from the very beginnings of Christianity until now, and it's great as a lead-up to Reformation Day!


You want to know something?  Our foray into celebrating the Reformation was almost a one-year occasion.  The first year I came up with a few ideas for celebrating, and in my book, it didn't seem like anything too special.  The next year we were particularly busy that week, and I thought we'd probably just skip any special marking of the day that year.  

But my kids didn't forget.  

My oldest reminded me that Reformation Day was coming, and they all told me how excited they were to celebrate and learn about Martin Luther again.  So I threw together a haphazard celebration that they thought was amazing, and I'm so glad I did.  Because they were right.  Even if it's not the 500th anniversary, Reformation Day is worth marking.  Protestants tend to be a little historically untethered, as if there wasn't any church history between the disciples and the last hundred years.  And it's so unnecessary, because we have rich history to root us, firm historical ground to stand on.  

Reformation Day is a day to remember the heroes that came before us, men who believed in God's Word and stood up for what it said, even when it might have cost them their lives.  It's a day to take courage from their bravery, and to thank God once again that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, apart from any merit or works of our own.  When that truth sinks in, when we trust in Christ alone for the salvation of our souls, and realize that He exchanged our filthy rags of sin for His pure-white righteousness in the eyes of God - well, that truth can set you free.  It's a beautiful thing, worth all our gratitude and thanksgiving and praise, to the glory of God.  

That's what the Reformation is all about.  It's not just about the historical roots of what Martin Luther did that day - it's ultimately about the most glorious gift of what Christ has done to save us.  That's worth celebrating every day, but Reformation Day is a good opportunity each year to turn our eyes to Jesus anew.

Three Years Of Bullet Journaling: How I Do It

This year I started my second bullet journal.

I was almost due with Georgie, my last baby, when I first heard of bullet journaling.  I have always loved the idea of planning, but I've never been very good at the execution.  For years I would buy a new planner in January, with grand plans of all the ways I would use it - and by February I would get stuck.  I don't know if it was stress paralysis at the thought of messing up the pretty pages with my scribbles and eraser marks, or the lack of things to put into it, or just a problem of disorganization that was so great, even a nice planner couldn't fix it.  But I would always hate that half the planner ended up empty, the unused pages like an accusation.

So when I heard of bullet journaling, and how it didn't matter if you fell off the planning wagon because you could turn the page and start over at any time - well, I was sold.  I loved the idea of no more unused pages!

Bullet journaling in general is a system that allows you to keep track of the tasks you need to accomplish, and it combines it with a calendar and a diary.  Everyone agrees the system of bullet journaling this way started with Ryder Carroll (and you can find out more about it here).  However, a lot of people have used bullet journaling in many other creative ways - that's where you start to see all these super-artistic bullet journaling spreads (that might be inspiring, but also intimidating).  

If you are interested in looking into bullet journaling, I really like the book Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller (look, there's a cheap used copy here!).  She makes bullet journaling feel really doable for not-very-artistic people (like me).  This is the book I originally stumbled across at the library that made me interested in bullet journaling. I also wrote originally about bullet journaling here.

Since I am approaching my third year of bullet journaling, I thought I'd write a little bit about it here.  I don't use my bullet journal like anyone else probably, and that's the beauty of bullet journaling - you make it what you want it to be!  I thought I'd share some of the different types of pages I've done over these last three years.

Calendar Pages - The most obvious use for a bullet journal is to lay out a calendar grid and use it just like a planner.  While I've done calendar pages periodically in my journal, I mostly just insert those pages when I am looking ahead to a particularly busy month or season.  It helps seeing everything laid out so I know what I am hoping to accomplish, and it keeps me on track.  But then in slower seasons, I just skip the calendar pages - no use doing a calendar for a slow month when I'll hardly need it,

Budget Pages - For a while I was keeping track of my monthly budgeting in my journal, but I couldn't quite find a layout I liked that looked clean.  Most of my budgeting pages end up messy.  I might try these again as we are on a tighter budget the next few months with furlough days with Derek's work.

Diary Pages - I go through stages with diary pages - sometimes I'm really good at documenting each day, and then I'll fall off and not write anything for six months.  I notice in particularly stressful stages of my life I tend to fall off these.  But, when I do remember to write a couple lines each night, it's nice to be able to look back and see what things we were doing over the last year.






Reading/Watching Pages - In my new bullet journal I created a couple pages to keep track of what I have read so far this year, as well as a page to document the World War One resources I discover.  I've also done  book progress pages, and pages to keep all the quotes I liked from certain books.  I love looking back on these!  It's also motivating to see all the things I've read and learned over the course of the year.

Memory Pages - These are the pages I'm most proud of.  When I think of some memory I want to record, sometimes I'll muster the creativity to create a bullet journal spread, and they always bring a smile to my face when I flip through them later!  When I first started journaling, I created a page after Georgie was born, and I love looking back at what I wrote.  Earlier this year I had a little inspiration, and I created a page with the bottles of my favorite perfumes over the years, and what those scents remind me of.  And then there are little pages for the seasons, like a "first signs of spring" page.  These are the pages where I sometimes get a little creative and add some color to my journal.


Surprisingly, the original way of bullet journaling - as a to-do list, with a system for organizing your tasks each day - is not something that has stuck for me, at least not right now.  Somewhere along the way I dropped using a bullet journal as a way to organize my to-do's, and started using it to just record things I wanted to keep track of, things I wanted to remember.  I might go back to the traditional bullet journaling system eventually, but for now I am enjoying working with the types of pages I listed above.

Do any of you use a bullet journal?  How do you use it?

  

An Unscheduled Non-Break


Homeschooling this year started out so very well.  I was surprised how well it was going actually.  The kids were excited to learn, we were flying through our work each day, and we even got ahead in a few subjects.  

I might have gotten a little over-confident, because the last few weeks have been a bit of a disaster when it comes to our school.  Between a few family items (purchasing a new car because our old one broke down, flying out of state and coming home more exhausted than I thought, dealing with a cold), we have been running to catch up to normal all month.  We are still managing to get our essential work done, but it's taking all day, peppered a generous amount of exhaustion, with a sprinkling of bad attitudes (from me and the kids).  It just hasn't been great.

(Derek and the kids in the corn maze we visited a couple weeks ago!)

This got me thinking a bit about my homeschool scheduling.  There are a couple scheduling systems that I am aware of for homeschooling.


Year-round homeschooling - This is where you do school all year round, with pre-planned breaks sprinkled in.  The breaks can be anytime you want really, but one method I've heard of is the "sabbath" or term model (every seventh week you take off).  I think some people also do two months on, one month off, or they just take random breaks throughout the year for vacations or trips.

Traditional school schedule - This is where you follow the traditional schedule of school in the fall, winter, and spring, with the summer off.  There may be short breaks sprinkled in, but the more breaks you take during the year, the longer your school calendar goes into the summer, so days off are usually kept to a minimum.


We have always done a traditional school schedule in our homeschool, with one big break taken every summer.  I prefer it this way, because where we live the weather is the nicest in the summer, and I want us to be able to enjoy it.  I also enjoy having a long break in the summer to really get my plans settled for the next year.

The problem with following a traditional schedule is that over the summer, you can sometimes get out of "school mode", and you may need a little time to gear back up to a full load once the fall starts.  Then once you are into full-on school mode, it can become a little monotonous and feel like the breaks are so far away.  It's easy to start getting discouraged, or to get in a rut.

That's about where we are right now.  The novelty of a new school year has worn off, some of our good habits are slipping a little, and we're all just...tired of school.

Because our state requires a certain amount of days completed each year, and because I don't want to not take a break in the summer, our option to take a week off is limited.  But, I have found an alternative.

We are taking a term break without really taking a term break.

And what I mean by that is that every 8-10 weeks this year, I think I will plan to have a light week of school.  Instead of taking an entire week off school and losing those days, we are going to take a week off of just certain subjects.

During our semi-break week we are taking off math and reading instruction while I reevaluate our daily schedule a little bit.  We are continuing history and science (our "fun" subjects) - so we are still doing school each day, just not all our usual subjects.  I am hoping this slight break from our usual school routine will give me some space to figure out what I need to change to keep our school days fresh. It will also give us a rest from parts of our work so we can refresh our attitudes when we get back to our full days in November.

This plan will also be a benefit to our school schedule because it allows us to catch back up in some of the subjects where we fell behind (science and history are the subjects that get dropped when we have a rough day).  We had a little wiggle room in our yearly schedule with math and reading, so we should still be able to finish those subjects "on time" as well.  

A great thing about homeschooling is the flexibility to play with our schedule like this.  I love that when we are all getting in a school rut, I can schedule a small, desperately needed break (non-break?) to give us some breathing room.  I love that I don't have to stress about falling behind in certain subjects, because I can switch some things around and it will all even out in the end.  Homeschooling equals so much freedom for our family when we are going through a rough patch, freedom we wouldn't have if we were attached to an external school schedule.  It's truly a blessing.

If you homeschool, do you follow a traditional schedule?  Or do you change it up?


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