Time flies and guess what, It's almost Advent! I'm not big into holiday skipping so I feel a bit bad for Thanksgiving but while I'm singing any carols yet, I do have to at least plan for Advent now in order to make it happen. This year isn't too different from the previous few in terms of our family plans, but I do have new school plans!
We aren't doing a full "Christmas school" month. Lucy has three more weeks of AO Year 1 to finish which, along with 3-4 light exam days, should put us right on time to finish, have a few days to clean and cook for Christmas and then a full 12 days of real Christmas celebrating. But I am going to do a seasonal Table Time (aka Morning Basket, Morning Time, Circle Time, whatever you call it). The best part about changing up Table Time is that I can fit a lot of seasonal stuff in without actually adding anything to my schedule. Because December really isn't the time to try an add things in, at least for me and it seems like we are already adding in two days of speech a week. Yikes!
Composer Study/Devotional - Cindy Rollins' Messiah Guide and Handel's Messiah. I'm doing this because I've wanted to for myself, the kids just have to (get to?) tag along. I'm pretty excited about it. Spotify has the album she uses but I'm going to try and get the cd from the library as well so I can infuse our car trips with the whole production.
Bible Memory - For the last few years we've memorized and reviewed a large chunk of Luke 2. This year we will review that but our main passage will be Isaiah 9:6-7.
Hymn/Folk songs - The division between Hymns and Folk songs when it comes to Christmas Carols is a bit blurred. I am working on keeping Christmas songs preserved for Christmas, so I made up a big Advent list on Spotify for general listening and out of that chose the Advent Hymn O Come O Come Emmanual as our "hymn." The Holly and the Ivy will be our "folk song." That might just an excuse to sneak a bit of Bing Crosby into my life earlier than the 25th. Don't tell the Advent police.
I'm also hoping to print out several copies of the lyrics as well as the ones we've learned the last few years and have the kids decorate them or add picture narrations if their is a more involved story. My goal is to over the years compile them into a couple of Christmas Carol books.
Poem Memory - I just read a few selection for the kids today and we all agree on The Christmas Hearth Rhyme from Gyo's Fujikawa's A Child's book of poems which just happens to be a part of the Google Books preview for that book. Earlier this year, at a completely non-seasonally appropriate time of year, we memorized Christina Rossetti's My Gift which would be another good selection. (And did any of you watchers of The Crown notice that poem/song on the show? In Episode 2, I believe)
Picture Study - We are a bit behind with Mary Cassatt because Tea time is the one thing we just don't get done when the kids are sick. If Lucy's not feeling good, we just do a couple readings on the couch. If Jonah is, we do school without him. But nobody wants to miss out on Tea Time so I can't do it unless everyone is feeling good (me included!) which means we've missed 3 weeks. And I really like Cassatt so I don't want to rush through her. So I won't have time for a full set of Christmas pictures but I'll probably pull out one or two of our Christmas prints from the last two years for our exam week.
Art/Handicrafts - As things end and our time outdoors starts to shortens, I anticipate a bit more time for art and handicrafts. I can't share too much because these pictures and projects will be ending up as presents for people who read this blog but I do have ideas and I just love that seasonal pulling in as winter comes that allows for more of this.
I was going to stop this post at the school stuff but there isn't too much more so I'll keep going.
We'll do our regular advent wreath at night and adding hay to the manger so its ready for Baby Jesus on Christmas. I have the whole set of Jotham's Journey books and I thought about starting them this year but I think I'll wait one more year. They can be intense. We'll stick with the reading through the Jesus Storybook bible. We've moved to a slightly more advanced Children's storybook bible for our evening this past year and it was good for Lucy but Jonah doesn't follow as well so I'm thinking he especially will like going back to this one.
We also do at least one new Christmas picture book a night. I think I'm actually almost to the point where I don't need that many from the library to have enough to last until Christmas! But that doesn't mean I'll stop buying new ones. Oh no.
I like to wait to buy our tree a bit but we've had issues with there being a limited supply or being close to the cut-off for when they are returned but I heard a suggestion somewhere of buying your tree and putting lights on but waiting for ornaments until closer to Christmas. That sounds appealing, especially as I don't want to spend weeks defending it from Norah. We also put out decorations slowly, as we add pieces to our nativity set.
As I said, I'm going to try this year to limit our Christmas songs early on in the season so once exams are over, we will do a bunch of baking and instead of our advent wreath and devotionals, we'll have a cookies and milk treat and sing hymns after our bible time. I might even hold back a few presents to open over the course of the 12 days to spread out the chaos.
Ah, the thing about planning for Advent and Christmas is that it always weighs on me, like ahh! I have to get stuff ready! It's coming too fast! But then when I actually put my plan down on paper (or screen), I feel so ready for it. Advent, a breath of fresh calm air. But first, Thanksgiving! I didn't forget you, I promise!