All I Want for Christmas is… (Part VIII)

All_I_Want_For_Christmas_IsAs far as I’m concerned I don’t need a single present under the tree or even a piece of coal in my stocking. While both are appreciated, my soul is set on a few other goodies. Not necessarily things to be wrapped, but much-needed gifts. Join us during the month of December as we explore several blessings we’d love to receive this Christmas.

…..

Living in America, truth be told, we are a little spoiled. Even when times get hard they are nothing compared to what some of our brothers and sisters experience on a daily basis in many other parts of the world. So it is with no little shyness and humility that I share one of the last items on my Christmas wish list. One of my personal prayers for the coming year is to finally go on vacation.

Before I have CPS breathing down my neck, or a concerned family member texting me, please allow me to elaborate. We do take breaks from learning. When I say I’d like to go on vacation, I mean I would like for my entire family to be able to take a few days break and get away from home to enjoy one another’s company. Not mom spending the day out with the kids while Pop works; not a day trip where we have to rush home so Pop can get to work the next morning. Not even a business trip turned family adventure. A genuine, we might need an airplane, vacation.

Believe it or not, with all the hustle, bustle, and struggle of the last few years, we haven’t been on an honest-to-goodness vacation in over five years. Maybe not even then. It’s about time, don’t you think?

It’s a funny thing. While I’m sure the kids would enjoy a large trip to somewhere like Disneyworld or a cruise to the Bahamas, what excites them most is renting a cabin in the woods and watching it snow. They would also like to know what it’s like to fly in an airplane. It’s not the destination as much as the traveling they want to experience. Most of all, it is undivided attention and family time they’re looking forward to. I’d like to be able to give that to them.

Before the kids all graduate, and we no longer have the opportunity, we’d like to take advantage of the years we have left and make some memories. Together we’ll learn the art of saving for a mutual goal, using our money wisely, planning the adventure, and making the most of these God-given opportunities. I don’t know where the year will take us, but I hope it’s somewhere fun.

“There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.”
~ Deuteronomy 12:7

Your Turn!: If you could take your family anywhere for a week’s vacation, where would you go?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Advertisements

When Big Summer Plans Amount to Something Small

Big_Summer_Plans_Amount_to_SmallMy children long to know what we’re doing this summer. A grand adventure seems to be called for. All of their friends have announced their fantastic plans: vacations to exotic locations, camping with other friends, road trips, and more. These all sound wonderful, but with a work schedule which doesn’t let up and a budget which cannot afford such luxuries, our big summer plans are going to amount to something small.

Truthfully, this breaks my heart. I’d be lying if I said I don’t want these things for our children or myself. Like most parents, I would love to give these experiences to my littles and explore the world with them. Unfortunately, that’s just not where we’re at. So what can I do? Begin with prayer, and ask the Lord to lead.

Start with a Heart of Gratitude Unfulfilled desire can easily lead to a heart filled with bitterness and anger over what we don’t have. Instead, we need to choose look around us and be thankful for all we’ve been given. We have a lovely home, good food to eat, too much clothing, and plenty to keep us occupied right where we are. It’s good to have goals, but we must remember to be content with what God has given us already and be thankful for all He continually provides.

Plan for the Future If there is something important we wish to aim for, then we should also be willing to do the work needed to make it happen. Vacation trips don’t just fall in our laps. So, we’re researching, planning, and minimizing to make these happen in the future. Some of our goals are more easily attained while others might take years to accomplish. With a visual guide and plan in place, everyone becomes excited to see progress and help with cutting back.

Turn Off and Tune Out the Buzz If Instagram squares start causing discontent and Facebook posts bring us down, it might be time to remove ourselves from the action for a little while. These feeds can be lovely sources for ideas, but when inspiration becomes frustration we need a break.

Make the Most of Right Now Traveling to Europe isn’t in the cards right now, but there is plenty of opportunity for adventure all around us. Even when budgets are on a budget, there are still many ways to take advantage of the season. With a little creativity, planning, and a Google search or two, we could be having all kinds of fun.

Remember, Sometimes Small Amounts to Something Big While we’d all love grand adventures, it also helps to remember the little things in life which add up to big memories. Roasting marshmallows over a fire pit we built ourselves, sleeping in tents in the living room, homemade ice cream, free concerts, library events, kitten cuddles, and so much more. These aren’t far away adventures, to be sure, but grand none-the-less. I can’t provide exotic locations every summer – okay, not even every third summer – but I can take each day and make it memorable in its own way.

The desire for adventure remains. Through prayer, planning, and the Lord’s leading, perhaps one day we’ll get there. In the mean time, I’ll continue to keep my eyes focused on what the Lord has already provided and be grateful for each new day. Because the truth is, a grand adventure awaits the moment I open my eyes. I just have to be open to the possibilities and live each day with thankfulness.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
~ I Thessalonians 5:18

Your Turn!: If you could plan one grand adventure this summer, what would it be?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

A Little R & R

Holiday R&R

We’re taking a little holiday break this week and pray you are, too! May the Lord use this time to refresh, renew, and rebuild; both spiritually and physically. Enjoy the holiday, friends. We’ll see you back here next week!

In the meantime, catch us on social media and share in the fun!

🎄Time to Chime In: Is taking a break part of your routine right now?

 Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter, & Pinterest

Sleepy Time

Sleepy TimeIf there is one aspect to taking a holiday that always throws me off-balance, it is the lack of routine. While staying up late has it’s benefits, I frequently stay up into the wee hours of the night and then wake up mid-morning.

Monday we are heading back into a regular routine with home schooling and that means waking up at a decent time. This might prove to be a bit of a difficulty, but I think I have a game plan in mind.

I believe we are going to stay up late tonight (hear me out) and then wake up at a normal time tomorrow. While this might mean we are a tad sleepy during the day, it will ensure that we all get to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up on Monday ready to go.

I really love having holiday vacation, but the lack of regularity constantly leaves me feeling sleepy. It will be great to get back into the swing of things, helping my body maintain a regular pattern to life.

Time to Chime In: What helps you get back into a normal routine, after vacation is over?

What to Do; What to Do?

Apple FarmsI am not one to procrastinate. In fact, I am probably the exact opposite of a procrastinator. I tend to work years into the future, if at all possible. Why wait, right? During this holiday break I find myself in the same position. Is this year’s routine working for us? Should we change things up next year?

I think most of my pondering is due to, what seems like, a long pull of learning between August and November with no breaks except for weekends. I have been inspired by other home schoolers and bloggers to perhaps rethink our methods.

Although our children have never set foot in a public school classroom, I have noticed I tend to build our yearly schedule around the local school system. This helps with their non-home school friends being able to visit and keeps me aware of when police and social workers (hey, you never know) might be on the lookout for truancy.

Recently, I have begun to wonder why. Why do we do this? We don’t have many friends in the system and working around that would be easy enough. We never take the summer off, so why do we stick to the system’s routine?

This year we were a little brave and planned three weeks for our Christmas break. While we have yet to get there, I can already tell this is going to be a positive move on our part. This leads me to believe that perhaps a few more changes might be beneficial in next year’s schedule.

California Science Center

To start with, I think we are going to begin our “year” a little early; by a week at least. This will allow us to take a week off between our first and second quarter. Second quarter will run until Thanksgiving, we will take a week off, and then finish up the remaining weeks before Christmas break. Christmas break will mark the end of first semester. Second semester might be more of the same. We would do third quarter, take a week off, school fourth quarter for six weeks, take Easter break, and then finish the school year.

My biggest internal debate right now is the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. Would it be more beneficial to start our year even earlier and once Thanksgiving comes have the remainder of the year “off” (not doing book work, but learning through other means) or is that too long a break from things like algebra, which need constant refreshers? Perhaps we could just do a one day session of “speed drills”, per week, to keep them up to pace during the break. This would clear up our routine, but also keep them at the ready.

Hmmm… See my dilemma? (Okay, so it’s not really a dilemma; more of a puzzle.)

No decisions have been made quite yet, except for starting at least two weeks earlier for our mid-semester breaks. The rest is up for grabs at this point; lots of thinking and prayer still need to be done. At least by starting early, I have plenty of time to work it out.

How do you handle the holidays with learning? Do you take off from Thanksgiving to the New Year or do you take a Thanksgiving break and resume school for a few weeks before Christmas break?

Eager Beavers

Let Us Out

Let us out, mom! It’s time for free time!

Technically, we had this week scheduled for “summer fun”. There were workbook pages to complete, science projects to finish, “pins” to work on, and so much more! The kids, however, had their own plans and finished up the summer a little early.

Usually the kiddos and I spend ten weeks of our summer learning and having fun. The other two weeks (the first and last of summer) are spent cleaning up old school items and prepping for the next year.

It seems my babies were eager to finish their projects though, today they finished off the last of the items on our list and are anxious to spend the next two weeks doing nothing but relaxing.

Normally sitting around for two weeks would be a little bit of a concern for me. Two whole weeks without engaging their brains and perhaps even filling it with useless entertainment? Then it occurred to me… that really isn’t my kids.

While we might not be sitting down doing “formal” learning, my children are frequently finding something to keep themselves busy and usually it involves their brains. They like working on puzzles, drawing, reading, and so much more.

So, the next two weeks we are officially on R&R. I am sure it will go too quickly though. We have two birthdays in the family, with another party for a friend. We also have home improvement stuff that needs to get handled as well.

These eager beavers put in a lot of solid learning this summer. They have definitely earned a few weeks of nothing on the schedule and some downtime before they are asked to once again get back into gear and focus.

I Said It Then, I Say It Again

Summer FunLast week wrapped up our official “school year”! The kids are ready to have a week of down time and then… our summer of fun!

To this end, I am going to spend this coming week finishing up paperwork and prepping for some of the awesome activities we have scheduled. In order to fully focus on meeting the needs of my gang and getting caught up on life, I thought I would repost some of the previous thoughts I had on our summer activities.

Summer time isn’t “vacation” in our book, but a time for more hands-on learning with lots of experiments and cooking.

Perhaps you’d care to join us on our exciting adventure and join in our “Summer of Fun”?

Christmas Break is Here!

Christmas GiftsThe kids and I are very excited to now be on Christmas break. We have worked very diligently and done lots of learning, now it is time to learn to relax.

I think we will do lots of resting, resting, and perhaps more resting. In that lovely mix we might toss in some eating of treats, visiting of family, and watching of movies.

I, personally, plan to do lots of reading as well. While I do read a bit throughout the year, this is one great opportunity to sit around and read for hours during the middle of the day and not feel guilty about it.

Aaahhh; I plan to bask in the glow of a job well done and thoroughly enjoy the next two weeks.

What do you have planned for the holidays?

Sleepy Time

Sleepy TimeIf there is one aspect to taking a holiday that always throws me off balance, it is the lack of routine. While staying up late has it’s benefits, I frequently stay up into the wee hours of the night and then wake up mid-morning.

Monday we are heading back to our regularly scheduled program with home schooling and that means waking up at a decent time. This might prove to be a bit of a difficulty, but I think I have a game plan in mind.

I believe we are going to stay up late tonight (hear me out) and then wake up at a normal time tomorrow. While this might mean we are a tad sleepy during the day, it will ensure that we all get to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up on Monday ready to go.

I really love having holiday vacation, but the lack of regularity constantly leaves me feeling sleepy. It will be great to get back into the swing of things, helping my body maintain a regular pattern to life.

What helps you get back into a normal routine, after vacation is over?