Rhythm of a Year: Holidays

Holidays = Practical life/Service

I almost don’t remember last Christmas because I was so busy editing the book (and getting really, really irritated at all those commas).

This year, I’m trying to focus on my family. I’m hoping to leave the computer off most of the time in December. I might check in on Facebook every now and then, but I don’t expect to post anything else here until January. (Except maybe a pretty picture.)

I feel sure that the world will go on.

Have a wonderful, blessed celebration of our Savior this year. Enjoy your sweet children and families.

See you in 2013!

Here’s a bit on what our “school” looks like in December.

During the holidays (Thanksgiving through New Year’s) we are doing some school trying to keep up with lesson plans. But here’s my secret—I schedule in three or four “holiday” weeks into my calendar at the beginning.  I still count those weeks as school because we are learning, but I don’t schedule regular math/grammar/spelling lessons those weeks. Basically the kids help me with the holidays. Here are some things they
might do.  (We don’t do ALL of these every year. )

Practical Life

  • Plan a meal, help make grocery list, find recipes
  • Help cook one to three dishes
  • Help set the table and make decorations
  • Invite friends who might not have anywhere else
    to go for the holiday over
  • Help clean the house


  • Help pack a box to send with Operation Christmas Child
  • Help pack a box to send to missionaries
  • Shop/wrap presents for less fortunate children
  • Shop/wrap presents for friends/family
  • Make cookies/thank yous for awana leaders


  • Often make crafts of some kind for gifts
  • Wrap presents
  • Decorate tree, make ornaments
  • Sometimes do gingerbread house or other projects with grandparents

Reading/ Math

  • Often read lots of Thanksgiving/Christmas books with family
  • Checkers, chess, chinese checkers, Risk, Candy Land, dominoes, cards are all great for math/logic skills.
  • Scrabble is great for spelling/reading/language skills.
  • Puzzles – a big jigsaw puzzle can be out on the table for a few days with the whole family helping-spatial/math skills.

So, that’s why I have no problem counting those weeks as school. The kids aren’t doing the normal weeks of lessons, but they are learning all those practical lessons that will help them in their homes later.

Also, just a side note, after the holidays when all the new gifts are lying piled about, I get stressed out about all the stuff everywhere. I REALLY like to have a visiting grandparent occupy the kids for a few hours (or a day) while I clean and declutter and get everything all organized again. Then I feel like I can breathe and am ready to start the new year.

Have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones.

My grandpa is the one in the picture playing Chinese checkers with my daughter last year. He lived with us for two months last fall and passed away in the summer. It was a hard, busy time, but I’m so thankful for those two precious extra months with him.


After the holidays are over, I tend to feel the urge to rest.
I like to just cuddle up on the couch with my kids in front of a fire, and read, and if it has snowed, make snow ice cream. My favorite winter was when we kept getting snowed in and everything was cancelled. Lovely.

What we do:

  • Get back into our routine
  • Work on staying up with our weekly lesson plans
  • Readjust if needed, if something’s not working
  • Lots of reading and indoor projects. (ex. History/Science hands-on projects are great now.)
  • My husband’s busy season is Jan-April, so it’s always crazy. I like to try to keep things clean and do Saturday chores so we can focus on school during the week. This year, I plan to cut out a few more things (friend birthday parties, other Saturday activities) because last year was just too busy.

What we don’t do:

  • Go anywhere, other than the YMCA for my sanity (at least once a week)
  • I cut myself some slack on dinner. Things are more relaxed because it’s just me and the kids. We have some nights of pizza in front of the TV on a blanket. I get tired.

This is the season of surviving until Spring. If you’re struggling in January, congratulations! You’re normal.


4 thoughts on “Rhythm of a Year: Holidays

  1. Charity, (great pen name- you’d fit well at my house of spies :) !) thank you for taking time to leave me such an encouraging comment at The Overflow yesterday. I can’t explain just how perfect your timing was- as just last night I announced to my husband that I was GIVING UP on the writing thing- so discouraged by the pub world of platforms and social media and hoops to jump through. But your sweet words caused me to just hit my knees this morning (before all the kids got up and climbed on my knees) and give my whole writing dream BACK TO GOD. Thank you! Your writing is delightful-I’ve already forwarded your sight to all my homeschooling friends and bought your book for Christmas for several of them. Your voice is honest and hilarious and refreshing. Blessings as you savor this Christmas season.

    • Alicia,
      Praise the Lord. I’m so glad you were encouraged. I really think your writing is crisp and honest and will encourage many. It’s so hard, this writing world, isn’t it? Spilling your guts out and not knowing what others will think or if it will be great or terrible! I was encouraged by another writer this week, and it helped so much to hear those few strengthening words! Thank you so much for letting me know that and for sharing my site with others. And thanks for giving the book for Christmas too! That’s awesome! I think you can do this writing thing, even with the platform and social media. I think your writing will capture an agent’s attention, and you might have a good niche with moms of young children, especially w/ all the places you’ve written for. (And by the way, your blog looked fine in my browser.) I have definitely seen this whole writing journey is very much a God thing though, so on your knees is a great place to be. When I wanted to quit He kept the whole thing going, and when I wanted to keep going (with another book), He whispered “wait.” So we shall see. May God lead you in the journey and greatly bless your words. Merry Christmas. – Charity

    • Again, I thought I replied to this, but yes! It is amazing! Thanks for stopping by Steph. I enjoy your blog! :)