Pezze e Piselli

Pezze e Piselli, by Briana Elizabeth

I am big on plans. I’m not big on following them to the letter of the law, but I do think they help us aim well, and that’s the most important thing. If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you know I love a good Bullet Journal. Why? It’s inexpensive, it doesn’t need battery backup, you can’t lose it in a crash (my iMac recently crashed, and we had to wipe it. I did not have an external hard drive for backup, alas). You can set it on fire, but that’s another post. (I do have friends who set theirs aflame after the year is done as a marker of a new year to come and a goodbye to the last. An interesting way to mark time, no?)

Anyway, that time is upon us. If you’ve put off planning, don’t worry, you can still write a few things down to order your mind and days.

Here are some links I collected for you.

Why Bullet Journaling works.  How a Bullet Journal might work for you.  An interesting way of prioritizing our work.  How the Ivy Lee method is working for Jen of Viking Academy.  Jen from Wildflowers and Marbles has free printables to help you organize. She also has a page specifically for planning, with printables, helps, and ideas to help your year go  more smoothly.

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If you’re setting up a seasonal table for your littles and picking books for a Morning Basket, here are a few wonderful titles with lovely illustrations. The Year at Maple Hill Farm  and Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm both by Alice and Martin Provensen.
I loved this beeswax snail tutorial from Frontier Dreams and this felted pumpkin from Hinterland Mama. For olders, one of my favorites is always A View from the Oak. And you really must follow Lynn on Exploring Nature with Children because her watercolor journaling videos are so encouraging and beautiful.

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For older kids, this time of year is harder – at least at my house. Marching band camp is over, practices have started, football is all over my schedule, and choir is starting back up, which leads me back up to the bullet journaling in the beginning of the post. It keeps my head on straight and my people fed. The days of morning baskets and nature tables are long over at my house, and I miss them, but these older student days are so filled with new and beautiful things. I am trying to hold onto afternoon reading this year, but this may be the year we bid a fond farewell to that also. Older children…they have to be given their own leisure time. Time to build, discover, learn in very different ways than the younger children. It’s also a quieter time because they need their privacy about studies and accomplishments. Finding the balance is tricky and a daily tension, but growing like this is a part of being a homeschool parent.

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Happy Schooling, all.


Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

 

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Homeschool Wisdom

Sometimes You Must Compare, by Briana Elizabeth

I’ve said it so often myself, as a veteran homeschooler, “Don’t compare! Your child learns at a pace different from everyone else, and it’s an injustice to them to compare how fast they learn!” I mean, isn’t that what homeschooling is all about? A parent having the power to choose what’s appropriate for their student?

But I have found an exception to my rule, and I want to be a warning to you that sometimes, you must compare.

We’re almost into the middle of June, many of us are winding up our school year, or at least changing tracks for the summer, and planning out the next year and giving final grades or assessments to our students.

My 11th grader and two freshmen have all used David Hick’s Norms and Nobility Humane Letters lists which I love because I see them as an orchestra of beauty and truth, and my children have read through those challenging lists with gusto. Some of our favorite books and poetry are found on those lists. We truly love them. But my youngest son, who will be entering 8th grade this year and is a boy who would rather be playing in a fort, had to have a lot of accommodations made for his 7th-grade list (which is quite substantial, I assure you).   I was getting upset with his work, and though I have always taught to an A, meaning we do the work until it’s done perfectly–there is no mediocre and move on–I was having to constantly move projected dates back for him, and I started to realize that he wasn’t as mature as he needed to be to accomplish this list, never mind the 8th grade list. I was dreading how I would eventually have to drag him through those books.

Because of all this, I began to wonder if I should red-shirt him. Now, I have done so before with my current 11th grader, and it worked out incredibly well. I remember my math teacher in high school remarking that he wished all boys could enter school at seven years of age, instead of five, because they needed time to mature. Although it puzzled me then, now as the teacher of my children, I see what he meant. Not all boys need the time, but some do, and that should be available to them as a gift, not as a punishment of being held back.

Then I began to consider doing a 7.5 year, and just idling where we were until he was ready to take off again. Kind of like a gap year, but for middle school. It isn’t a bad idea, and one I was happily starting to pull together.

However, I recently received Memoria PressClassical Teacher in the mail and it hit me – I was expecting so much of him because I had only ever compared him to his siblings. As I read Memoria’s catalog, I realized he could more than accomplish the work they had laid out for 8th grade, and I wouldn’t have to make any accommodations.

I have long held that a parent should use MP as a plumb line, but I had forgotten to follow my own advice.  I know Memoria’s choices are wise, and their scope and sequence challenging yet appropriate. In our case, it will work perfectly.

Comparison doesn’t always have to be the root of envy. Sometimes it can be a reality check  that doing less than what you’ve expected or previously accomplished isn’t always a bad thing. I was reminded to adjust my expectations to the child. After all, he learns at a pace that is his own, and I have the power to accommodate my student as a homeschooler.

And that is always a wonderful thing.


Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

Pezze e Piselli

Pezze e Piselli, by Briana Elizabeth

Did everyone make it through? Christmas is over with Easter on its tail, and poof, now that’s gone too. Suddenly it’s May!

I can’t think of anything more wonderful this time of year than to be outside. Whether you’re in fall or in spring, the changing of the seasons is perfect to be mucking about, and if you’ve not picked it up already, I encourage you to buy Exploring Nature with Children, and perhaps trying your own Book of Firsts.

Where I live the salamanders and peepers are making their trips to the vernal ponds, and at night, on a rainy evening, the roads are covered with them which is why the Forestry Service blocks off roads. However, getting out your slickers and flashlights is encouraged! Watching the wee monsters make the trek is a memory children will cherish forever. Plus, they get to stay up past their bedtime, which is always a bit of excitement.

It’s also a month for wonderful poetry. Bring a blanket and some snacks outside for a poetry reading, host a poetry tea where the kids can recite all of those memorized poems, and have some watercolors and paper for painting en plein-air. Break out the nature notebooks, and if you can get them, The Country Diary of an Edwardian LadyThe Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady , The Country Flowers of a Victorian Lady, and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life  are wonderful books to browse through and be inspired by, for both young and old. In my row of arborvitae, there is a community of finches and we’ve spent countless hours looking out windows as we watch them gather grasses and tufts of hair (that we put out) for nests. The chattering and goings-on are delightful, and really, is there anything better than watching twitterpated birds?

Spring is also the time that in my house we reread The Wind in the Willows. If you haven’t yet read it aloud, I encourage you to do so. Even better if you do so on a blanket by a stream.

Happy Homeschooling!


Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

Education is a Life

When It All Falls Apart, by Briana Elizabeth

Somehow, in September of 2015, we’d had an amazing 8-week semester. It was one of those glorious periods where everyone was ready to hit the pavement running, and we just didn’t stop. Everything meshed just the way it was supposed to, and we even went further than I had planned. Not just in work, but in ability. The kids worked hard for things that were far above their ability, and they attained it.

November 2015 I was diagnosed with Lupus.

It now all made sense. The extreme exhaustion, the constantly being cold, the rashes and hives, the swollen joints that some days just would not work. The brain fog that made me question whether I was an adult most days.

School had been a struggle for me, but after those eight weeks of amazement, I crashed. I crashed hard. I limped through November and into December, and after Christmas I didn’t get off the couch for a week. I went from the couch and sleeping to bed and sleeping. In Lupus talk, it’s called “a flare.” My joints were on fire, I was freezing all of the time, I could hardly cook a meal, and I spent most of the day sleeping and reading or trying to knit so that my fingers wouldn’t stiffen into wooden blocks. Little did I know that the worst was yet to come, and my family was going to suffer some serious trauma that we’re still trying to work through. I had no spoons left. Not one.

This is when I seriously started to think about putting the kids back into school. You probably don’t not know me well enough to understand the severity of that admission, but it was severe. I was sick, and I knew that things were serious. Enrolling them in school was the only responsible thing to do because I was too incapacitated to homeschool them. I started to reconsider my refusal of medications (another huge consideration for me), but again I searched for a different way out of this pit because I knew that I was young and those medications are serious. I begged God to show me how to fix things. If taking meds was my way out, then I would, but I needed to know that I had done everything possible, everything within my ability, before I went that route.

Rest started to work. In February I started to be able to *moderately* function. I didn’t have many spoons, but I could manage to oversee the kid’s self-directed learning. My planning last summer had worked, and though I was currently unable to participate in their schooling, they were able to see my bullet-journaled lists and calendar for them, and when that failed, which it sometimes did, Do The Next Thing was the rule of the day. I made it through Easter, and let me tell you, I was hoarding spoons. I spent them  judiciously, and when I did, it was on my children and husband.

However, the day after Easter, I made a huge life change (bigger than ever before) and I have to say, I’m feeling so good, I’m almost at my pre-lupus levels of energy and health. My fingers and hands still get blocky, and I’m still cold a lot. But I can teach my kids, and last night I planned out another beautiful eight weeks. This time I’m going to focus on the self-care which is keeping me healthy, and I’m going to be able to be present, which is a gift.

It was a hard few months, but there were true blessings that came out of it. My kids own their education. Before I was sweeping them along. Now, it’s theirs, it’s a part of them, and if we have another time like that, they know how to soldier through it and drive in spite of it. They grew in both grace and grit.

When I was planning out the next two months and was checking the last eight weeks we’d accomplished way back in October, I was shocked to realize that they were almost done in all of their subjects. With this last section I’ve planned, they will have finished their respective grades of work, and I will have rising 5th and 8th graders, two 9th graders, and an 11th grader on my hands. No one is more surprised – or grateful – than I am. Then we’re joining Jen with her Middle Earth Summer, which I am very much looking forward to. A Hobbit Holiday is just what is needed after this year.

Homeschooling is a full part of our lives. It’s so interwoven that there is no beginning or end, except maybe when our last student leaves our home. And that home can sustain us or shatter us. I had always been a proponent of Do The Next Thing, and I knew it worked when life got bumpy, but I didn’t realize how well it worked when everything falls apart. So I want to encourage you: If it starts to spiral, just do the next thing. Make sure your kids know what the next thing is, and let them do it. They too will grow in grace and grit – and your heart will swell with pride and gratitude.

Image courtesy of FreeImages.com


Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

News and Notes

Patches and Peas, by Briana Elizabeth

Another Christmas has come and gone, and a new year has started. Some years we’ve easily picked back up with schooling, and other years it’s been terribly hard, almost to the point of feeling like we were brand new homeschoolers, and not veterans. It’s a comforting thing to get back to routine, as much as it is to celebrate.

What really helps me with changes like that (which I forgot this year) is music. It’s so simple, but music as a transitional tool is amazingly effective. I’m a person that normally has music playing quietly in the background all the time, but this year, once the Christmas CDs and records were tucked away to wait another year, I forgot to go back to the school music standards that we always listen to. Just like when I put my apron on to start my work day (do you use an apron? You should! Voila, it’s time for business. If you’re lucky, like me, you have your Nana’s aprons.) I also put music on in the school room. Nothing modern, nothing obtrusive, but just a quiet, beautiful melody in the background that is familiar, and says, “Now is the time to work.” For us, it’s Treasures of English Church Music. If I remember correctly, I purchased it because Memoria Press recommended it for learning Latin (do you have their Lingua Angelica? It’s wonderful, truly) , and it was just so beautiful, it became a constant in our lives. Bach is another one of my favorites. Another mentioned to me is from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles titled Angels and Saints. If you can get to a library sale, they normally have classical CDs for pennies. Grab some. Go through them, find your favorites, or last but not least, find the classical station on the radio. They might complain at first, but I promise they will grow to love it. And they will learn to love beautiful music, too.

A lot has been going on in the Sandbox. We’ve added some new authors, and we took this month to republish some oldies but goodies. Vera’s The Baby is the Lesson  is always a great reminder that homeschooling isn’t just about school, it’s about life. If you have been wanting to start a foreign language, or just need some encouragement, Lynne’s Foreign Language at Our House is a must!

Also, not that you need reminding, but if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s almost February. Which means that there could be a February Slump. The good thing is that it’s not just you, it happens to a lot of us, and forewarned is forearmed. Prepare! Rely on some Hygge, and plan on packing it all up for the day and sleigh riding, ice skating, or museum visiting. Force some cherry branches, or forsythia. Do a Winter Pond Study. Spring will come. And don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook, or sign up for automatic e-mail updates so you don’t miss a post!


Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

Homeschool Wisdom

Do I Have To? No, But You Get To. by Briana Elizabeth

It started with my kids having an obligation that they didn’t want to fulfill. Like most obligations, it wasn’t anything they could back out of; it was something they had to endure and hopefully grow through. As a parent, I knew that it was what was best for them, and I also saw the fruit it would later bear. My children weren’t all-together opposed, but there was complaining which disappointed me, so as I shared our troubles with another homeschooling mom, she rephrased that command from “You have to” to “You get to.”

It turned their dispositions around.

It helped them realize that that obligation was an opportunity to do something which  became a privilege to do, which shone the sun on so many other things.

Do you have to help your sister? No, you get to.

Do I have to do math? No, you get to.

Do I have to go walk Mrs. Smith’s dogs–it’s so hot. No, dearest, you get to.

Do I have to deal with Smarty Pants at co-op? No, you get to.

Don’t think for a moment that it only changed the children’s lives. Not at all; it helped me too.

Do I have to teach them the subject they hate? No, I get to.

Do I have to finish school and then make dinner? No, I get to.

Do I have to read to them even when they’re nothing but antsy-pants? No, I get to.

Do I have to go do all of that laundry after a full day of school? No, dearest, you get to. And teach them to do laundry also. They’ll be gone soon enough. The days are long, but the years are short.

This is no small task, this rewording of my default response. It’s taken me over a year to make it into a habit–my new default.

But retraining your brain to think of obligations as opportunities and privileges makes it so much easier to dwell in a place of gratitude for those obligations and to see such privilege bestowed upon us as truly a blessing.

Little did that other mom know what that small rephrasing would open up for us, turning that small fruit I had initially expected into a lifetime of harvest.


Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

Holidays

Book of Joy, Day 19, by Briana Elizabeth

“Always winter but never Christmas.” C.S.Lewis

I read a blog post today that really stuck me with its truth. It made me realize why I’ve had some ‘off’ Christmas and why others have been such joyous feasts.

“Advent and Christmas without traditions is like Narnia under the White Witch.” Brandy, Afterthoughts blog

I don’t know about your house, but at my house the excitement is pretty thick. Add in birthdays in the days before Christmas, and the littlest is about beside herself.

It’s magical. Don’t you remember being this excited, just barely being able to sleep because of anticipation? The lights, the smells, the people, everywhere you look it being a wonderland?

You can’t have a feast without a fast, which is what Advent is about. Anticipation. Quiet preparation. It makes Christmas all the more brilliant, to have sacrificed in some ways during Advent so that the joy of the holiday can truly be celebrated through to Epiphany. But we don’t want to be so sparse of heart and mind that we act as if Christmas is just another day.

A proper party is in order to make a holiday a holiday. Make a cake, bake the cookies, do your family traditions. The ones that make your family, yours. Adopt some new ones if you want – just don’t throw yourself into a tizzy making it happen! Last year we finally got around to making Christmas Crackers, and they are now a Must Have. My kids write the jokes, I find little stuffers, and we make the crowns. Or maybe just putting the kids in their PJs and giving them hot cocoa as you all watch a favorite Christmas movie is more your style.

Whatever you do, make it special. Make it Christmas, not just winter.


Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

Holidays

A Book of Joy, Day 17, by Briana Elizabeth

“If you find that not many of the things you asked for have come, and not perhaps quite so many as sometimes, remember that this Christmas all over the world there are a terrible number of poor and starving people.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters from Father Christmas

Give something away today.

Do a chore for someone without telling them.

Put a bag of cookies on your Mailbox for your Mail Carrier.

But a cup of coffee for the person behind you.

Clean out your closet and bring it to good will.

Donate some food to the food pantry nearest you.

Sign up to work the soup kitchen this Christmas.

Bring some old baby clothes to a crisis pregnancy center.

Remember the aged around you, and make them a Christmas card.

Buy some socks for the homeless shelters.

Shovel someone else’s car out, or their walk way.

Donate blood.

Sign up for Toys for Tots, or a local donation center for toys.

Say a prayer for someone in need of help. It seems like nothing at all, but if you have nothing to offer, it’s the greatest of sacrifices.

If you know of another way to do a good deed for someone, or a non-profit that does good work at this time of year, please leave it in the comments.

Holidays

Free Things for Christmas, by Briana Elizabeth

Editor’s Note: Briana Elizabeth shared this last year, and we think it’s worth repeating.

My house is in a quiet hush.

Only certain decorations have made their appearances, and even though we’ve watched Elf a few times, the tone of the house is quiet expectation. We’re all working on our own projects, and I’ve made one room the Santa Room that’s been blocked off with curtains and a standing rule that if the curtains are closed? No one is allowed to enter — and that goes for all of us, me included.

School has been pared down to the three basics: Latin, math and reading. We’ll idle there for about a month, and fully take off for about two weeks. This is why we homeschool, after all. This is our family culture. These are weeks of lots of art making, of singing, of special books and movies, of planning, and cleaning. We’re having some very special guests this Christmas, also, and we’re adding in what will hopefully become new traditions.

All year long, I collect links to Christmas crafts that I know will challenge the kids a bit, and become heirlooms. Those are my qualifications. We don’t make anything that is going to be thrown away when the decorations are packed away. Today I am going to share a bunch of them with you! Hopefully there’s something for everyone.

For a quick sewing present, Oliver+S published a great little tutu skirt with a matching doll skirt! These are great for your students learning to sew because this company’s patterns are like professional sewing lessons, they’re so detailed.

If you want to make some ornaments that the kids should be able to make by themselves, or use in decoupage, there are some adorable bird print outs that are available. For a table setting, I’m having my kids cut out paper angels that I’m going to put a tea light in as luminaries. Hopefully I won’t set the whole table on fire, but I think it should be pretty.

Every year at my house we make a lot of Christmas stars. I grab free, old encyclopedias when I can so that I have a constant supply of vintage looking paper. Of course you could use any paper you want, so use your imagination! I’ve even used old Christmas wrapping paper for these. You can decorate them, too. When I was in high school I went to visit a friend’s house, and his mother was making Moravian stars for their tree. She taught me how, and every year we add some more to our own trees. We use them as package decorations, for buntings, you name it. Finnish stars are also so beautiful to hang, and though a little more complicated, still fairly easy. There’s a great youtube video on how to make them, and they can be made with different papers and in all different sizes, too. If you get really good at them, there are some more complicated patterns. Here are some simple ones that are folded and glued. From Sweden come some amazing star lanterns that are very traditional and beautiful. OK, only one more star to make, and I think these are the simplest of all. I’ve also used decorative scissors to make the cuts and used all different kinds of papers. (In the summer I make really large ones and hang them on my porch with twinkle lights.) These are not stars, but Danish hearts go from utterly simple to very detailed so that everyone can join in the crafting.

It would be a wonderful afternoon to have a star making party with lots of cocoa and marshmallows, Christmas music, and a table full of papers to make stars with. If you were to do that, I would make sure I had a good understanding of how to make the stars myself so that teaching guests would be easier. You could put up a map and throw some geography in there by asking the children to find the countries where these stars are traditional. Always the homeschooler, right?

Another oldie but goody is macaroni snowflakes. I know, I know, they can be cheesy, but I think these are adorable and very accessible for little hands. On the same website is an old-fashioned recipe for cinnamon ornaments, which smell amazing and can be kept from year to year until the scent wears out.

Now this is more for a teen with a very small, sharp pair of scissors, but a circus carousel would make a lovely little mantle decoration or gift. Christmas it up with traditional colors and some glitter.

If you happen to have some tissue paper hanging around, you can make some beautiful transparencies. And for a toddler, I think this nativity printable is adorable. If you really want to get crazy, you can print out this house template, let the kids color them, and make table settings with them, decorate a mantle, or even use them for a mobile like the crafter did! Elsewhere on her website is an adorable garland that could be made for the Christmas tree, also.

If some of you are crocheters, there’s a beautiful snowflake garland pattern. If the thought of a garland is overwhelming, just make one at a time and hang them singly on the tree.

Last but not least are the most detailed ornaments. I live in an old Victorian house that was built in 1880, and when we bought the house, of course we became interested in its history and all things Victorian. Exciting for us to learn was that people of the Victorian era pretty much made Christmas as we know it today, and their ornaments were just as fantastic and over the top as they were. These are amazing reproductions thanks to jet printers! Don’t limit yourself to the suggested pictures! Make circus performers, or ice skaters, huntsmen, fairy tale characters, aliens!…it’s paper, you can throw away what you don’t like! But the ones you keep are treasures because of paper’s delicate nature. Make sure you wrap them carefully at the end of the season and put them in a box that won’t be crushed.

The trick to this stuff is to not go crazy. Don’t try and do all of them. You’re making memories of the experiences, not trying to recreate the pictures. Choose one or two that you really like, and then set aside an afternoon or two to make them together. Put your dinner in the crockpot and relax. Get glue everywhere, and laugh a lot. Eat lots of marshmallows. Have fun.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

 

 

Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

Holidays

A Book of Joy, Day 11, by Briana Elizabeth

Cinnamon, cloves, and evergreen are the scents of Christmas. With these ornaments, the scent of cinnamon lingers through the house for months. These ornaments last years, if you take care of them, too!

This dough is super easy to work with, and perfect for little ones as long as they don’t eat it.

Applesauce Cinnamon Ornaments

Materials:

1 cup applesauce
4 oz ground cinnamon
mixing bowl
spoon
waxed paper
rolling pin
cookie cutters
straw
drying rack
spatula
ribbon

Procedure:

1.Mix applesauce into cinnamon until a stiff dough forms
2. Pour mixture onto wax paper
3.Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Using the straw, make a hole for the ribbon.
4. Lay the decorations on the rack.
5. Flip them over twice a day for 10 days so that the edges will not curl.
6. When the decorations are thoroughly dry, thread the ribbon through the hole and hang.

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I have radiators, so we put them on wax-papered pizza pans, and leave them on the radiators to dry. There is no scratch and sniff that quite gives the potency of these ornaments.

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If you want to add your own touch, you can use yarn, twine, bakers string, or anything you can think of! And sometimes I also like to add in a bit of ground cloves.

“The smells of Christmas are the smells of childhood”
― Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box


Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.