Merriment’s agenda: Setting expectations for Christmas day

The following is a guest post written by Cari Stone of Thoughts Interrupted.

A note from Jamie: As the countdown for Christmas begins, I hope you can glean some helpful tips from this repost. It originally published on December 21, 2011.

I finally had enough. Somewhere between untangling the brand new battery operated car out of my daughter’s hair and consuming one too many cookies baked by my diabetic second cousin, I knew much of what I’d come to accept about Christmas Day needed to change.

Amidst the merriment I’d forgotten a key piece of our family’s rhythm – the invaluable practice of establishing expectations.

As homeschoolers we’re fairly adept at setting the stage in our regular lives. Well communicated expectations offer both structure and fluidity to our days – an established paradigm to explore within. Everyone, it seems, can breathe easier when our expressed hopes and desires are on the table.

Why then do we tend to sidestep this discipline in the name of Christmas break? The end results (misbehaving children, one too many trips to the dessert table or missed opportunities on the relational front) are often laced with regret.

Let this year be different.

Somewhere between stuffing stockings and baking that final pie take a moment to consider the value that shared expectations can bring to this year’s celebration.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.
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The best part of homeschooling: Enjoying them

Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

As I write, three teenagers in Santa hats are in the kitchen loudly singing, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” It is 7:15 a.m., and I hush them because I don’t want them to wake “the baby.” The baby is almost 12, and like most tweens, he likes to sleep in.

We’re a long way from reading quietly during the baby’s naptime. We’re a long way from making handprint wreaths and salt dough ornaments.  My daughter and her friends are making their lunches before they head out to co-op, where they’ll have a full day of classes: ecology, American literature, American history, geometry, ACT Prep, and drama.

They leave. My 12-year-old still snoozes; the cat snores softly on the couch. The house is almost perfectly quiet. There is not one single toy visible to me, not even a Lego guy head.
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Newtown as I know it

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and writer at Steady Mom

I never intended to write about my current location here, or in any online space. I crave privacy and am tiger-mother fierce about protecting that of my kids. But when you see the town in which you live and love plastered across national and international news, the time has come to open up.

I make my home in Newtown, Connecticut–scene of last week’s 2nd deadliest school shooting in US history. If we had not chosen to homeschool, all three of my babes would have walked through the doors of Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday morning.

Who knows if all three would have come home again.

This tragedy hits close, shockingly close, to our home. Within walking distance families currently nurse a private grief that I find unimaginable.

What disturbs me, though, is that most of you are hearing about Newtown for the first time. Please know that there is another side than the sheer horror of what you’ve seen.

There’s the truth–what life is really like here. And though we’ve only lived in this town for a year and a half, this place will be part of our family’s heart, and history, forever.

This is Newtown as I know it:
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Using YouTube for homeschooling

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

Late one Sunday night while lesson planning, I discovered I’d neglected to obtain the books I needed for the following day’s lesson.

I couldn’t make it to the library and I wanted to keep us on schedule. So I did what any mother in the 21st century would do: I went to YouTube.

First, I gave myself a quick crash course on our topic:
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Reflecting & refining: Lessons learned in 2012

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher

The last few months flew by and we’ve had a lot of fun homeschooling. With our oldest children being eight and five it feels like we’ve come into our own as homeschoolers. Since we’ve never done this before we are continuously feeling things out, learning ourselves and always ready to celebrate when we find comfortable pockets of happy learning and living together.

Looking back I see a few things that contributed to finding our homeschooling rhythm these past few months.

Organize, organize, organize!

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