What’s Happening Over the Christmas Break……..Ideas?


Right before Thanksgiving we finished up the first twelve weeks of our Classical Conversations homeschool group. While I LOVE CC, I must admit that I am ready for a break! I have goals, my friends…..

Because I know that you are awesome and amazing, I decided to share my “big plans” with you……. in hopes that you might be able to help me with ideas and resources. You see, I need to move mountains…..massive mountains between now and the first of the year!


My Big Plans



Of course, we will still be doing school for most of the month. We will take breaks as we need to for holiday get-togethers. Also, we will take off an entire week near Christmas and New Year’s Day. But, for the rest of the month, it will be school as usual. Here are my goals for our academics:

  • Math, Handwriting, Spelling, and Phonics: Just do them. High and lofty goal, huh? Over the holiday season, it can be! It seems that everyone is having a get-together that can pull us away!
  • CC Foundations Memory Work: Memorize the first twelve weeks of memory week…fluently.
    • Play the audio during mealtimes and in the car. We switch to the subject CD, instead of the weekly CD. We review one subject at a time….all 12 weeks.
    • Play games to review the memory work.
    • Practice organizing all of the timeline cards for the first 12 weeks. It wraps around three rooms!
  • History:
    • Story of the World: We don’t keep up with SOTW when CC is in session, so I like to spend extra time on it during the break. My kids love it! If all goes well, I might do some of the activities, also.
  • Science:
    • Apologia Land Animals: We started Apologia Land Animals over the summer, but we only made it about halfway through the book. So, I am looking forward to continuing our animal studies! We might not be finished until the end of next summer, but we will get there eventually! If we have pleasant weather, then we might try to squeeze in one more zoo outing before our membership expires.
  • CC Essentials: Review, review, review……
    • My 9 year old (first year Essentials student) is memorizing Chart A and the definitions of each part of speech. Also, we are working through extra analytical task sheets using the most basic sentences. We will spend a little time reviewing the vocabulary words from IEW aloud.
    • My 10 (almost 11) year old (2nd year Essentials student) is doing a lot more! ;) He is working on memorizing everything that is bold and in a box for every grammar chart that we have covered in the first twelve weeks. He copies them and we work on them aloud. Also, he is memorizing every definition presented in the first twelve weeks. (the boxes at the top of the lesson) I have put the vocabulary quizzes from IEW in page protectors. He is practicing his vocab words by taking the tests about once a week. During week 11 of Essentials, my class played Jeopardy to earn extra tickets for our auction. I am using that game with him as review. Instead of tickets, he earns chocolate chips for correct answers. Also, he does an editing sheet and an analytical task sheet 3-4 times per week. (It sounds like a lot, but he is fast! All of this takes him about 20-30 minutes a day of individual work and another 10-15 minutes working with me. )

What are your goals for school? Any great ideas to motivate the kids near the holidays?


Extended Family Christmas

  • We are having my extended family to our house for Christmas in a couple of weeks. So, for that gathering, my goals are as follows:
    • Put up my tree and Christmas decor. I seem to be the only person around that is sorrowful to put away my pumpkins. :( But, time is ticking……… I am not a scrooge. I just LOVE fall!
    • Clean my house! I am going to bribe my kids to deep clean……did you read my post about how to get kids excited about deep-cleaning? They will shout ‘HOORAY!’ when I tell them that we are having another cleaning party!
    • Presents! I have several presents that I am wanting to make homemade this year. Because my beautiful sister reads my blog, I can’t tell you my gift for her!! It is going to be so cool! (Thank you, pinterest!) Also, I am making candy cane playdough and snow playdough for my niece and nephew. I am attaching cookie cutters to the jar. So cute!

Do you have any fabulous ideas for preparing for hosting LARGE amounts of company……..or making homemade gifts?


Remembering Jesus

  • In the midst of the holiday chaos, I try to remind my kids of the reason for the season. Have you looked over my list of Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas? Our Favorites…..
    • We place an empty manger underneath our Christmas tree when we decorate it. On Christmas morning, baby Jesus is resting in the manger. We sing Happy Birthday to him over breakfast.
    • For Jesus’ birthday, each person writes down a gift that they will give to Jesus. (helping a neighbor shovel snow, putting money in the offering, using their talent to glorify him….) After writing their gift, they place the paper in a small jewelry box. Each person places their gift in the manger with baby Jesus.
  • Alongside our regular Bible study in the Child’s Story Bible, we are going through the Christmas devotional from the blog, A Holy Experience. It is called An Advent Devotional with Jesse Tree Ornaments……..and it is free!

How do you keep Christ in Christmas?


Redecorating the Boys’ Bedrooms

  • Our Christmas present to our boys is to redo their bedrooms. Paint, curtains, decor…..everything! Because I am….well, let’s say “challenged” in the area of home decor, this project is the one that is making me lose sleep at night!! My brain does not think creatively!! It just doesn’t! Ask me to organize your cabinets. Done! Ask me to freeze twenty meals in your freezer. Done! Decorate? Not so much………
  • So……calling all home decor experts……ready…..go……
    • Room #1: (for the two older boys) skateboarding, extreme biking, drums, guitar, Christian rock, black and gray colors, …anything teen-ish……..
    • Room #2: (for my youngest) His only request: he wants it green. Should sound easy, but that doesn’t give me much to work with! He loves everything!! Trains, robots, camping, Lightning McQueen, stuffed animals…….. My concern is that I want it to be something he likes now, but I want it to be something he can grow into, also.
  • The other parameter…….I have $400 total. ($200 per room) So, think cheap, girls…..
  • Here are the ideas that I have been gathering on my pinterest boards.

What are your amazing (and cheap) decor ideas?


Whole Foods

    • As if I wasn’t crazy enough as it is…….I am choosing December to be the time that I am moving my family towards more whole foods/real foods. My sister thinks I am loony! Her statement went something like this, “What! Over the holidays! You’re crazy!” :) She could be right! But, I am trying it anyway! Because I am the director and Essentials tutor in my Classical Conversations group, I cannot make any life changes when CC is in session. I would lose my mind. So, that leaves the break! We will not go overboard. Whenever someone else gives us holiday treats, we will enjoy them. Plus, I have a few traditions that will remain. (We always have homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning!) But, for the most part, we will be choosing real food! I am even going to try to do some festive things with real food like this Christmas tree and candy cane made out of fruit.Here are some resources that I have been gathering for ‘real food’ eating:
      • 100daysofrealfood.com: This is my new favorite blog! Besides mine, of course! ;) Her recipes are really tasty! I just made her Whole Wheat Banana pancakes last weekend! Yum!!
      • Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food: I have been in love with Christine Avanti since I read her book Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads. When I follow her healthy eating plan, my headaches disappear and my emotions remain stable! Forget the weight thing…….I want to feel good! Well, after reading her first book, I decided to order her second book, Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food. The title says it all……she is urging the reader to eat real food instead of things that come out of a box, bottle or can. I still think I prefer “Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads,” but Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food” is helpful as well.


Holiday Traditions: I have a few other traditions that are just for fun! I made a list of some of our other Christmas traditions. I can’t wait to drive to see Christmas lights in our jammies and snuggle up with our favorite Christmas books underneath our Christmas quilt!


Well….that’s my list! (I smile……as I look at it……. this seems like an awful lot….might I be too ambitious?) Pray for me!


What are your plans over the holidays?


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