Homeschooling: December 2008 Archives

Handmade Christmas

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Name tags with children!

The other day I got this harebrained idea to do a craft project with the kids. I'd purchased some posterboard and was going to let them cut Christmas photos and graphics from my old magazines to make Christmas montages. Because kids love cutting things! And also glue! But then I decided to get ridiculously complicated with it and thought it a better idea to make three-dimensional name tags that people won't notice anyway on Christmas day because they'll be too busy ripping open the wrapping paper.

I did that one year: I made all the tags and distressed them myself to make them look vintage; I took regular brown paper bags and decorated them with stamps. I tied them all up with raffia and tissue paper I'd purchased at a local paper/stationary boutique. Barely anyone even noticed. The presents were ripped open, the name tags were lost in piles of trash, the tissue paper was torn. At the time I thought that next year I'd serve presents straight from a trough. As expected, time mellowed my mood and lightened the intense cynical nature I involuntarily adopt at what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.

(Did I mention that an overzealous shopper almost hit Ewan in a parking lot yesterday? A driver was so afraid to park more than 300 feet from the store entrance that he sped by us, practically pinning us against our vehicle and brushing against Ewan's coat he was THAT CLOSE. Chris had to physically restrain me. We live in an age where trinkets are valued more than life. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!)

And just like women forget all about the pain and agony of childbirth when they plan for more children, I decided to get all superfluous and crafty again with the presentation of gifts this year. This was due, in part, to our severely pinching pennies this holiday season and giving people small, thoughtful, and/or local and handmade gifts. I wanted the packaging to match the thought that went into each gift.

Just like the Grinch smiled when he thought about taking the Who's Christmas away, so did I also smile when I thought about making three-dimensional name tags. It was more about me than about others I think, which is a right lesson to demonstrate when you're cramming the true meaning of Christmas down the throats of your children before they can fill up on mass commercialism. Irony is delicious. Hindsight is also 20/20.

So the boys and I gathered around the dining room table and cut out photos and graphics from my Martha Stewart, Domino, and Home Companion magazines. I trimmed up that which Ewan cut, before gluing the cutouts onto posterboard and cutting those out. We affixed the posterboard ornaments onto small rectangles of posterboard onto which Liam had glued decorative cardstock to form the base of the tag. Afterwards we ended up with just enough for each gift. We also completely hated crafts by this time and I was covered in glitter. I could taste it, even. I had an urge to wash it down with some Maker's Mark.

Name tags with children! Name tags with children!

But! Name tags were finished, we'd not spend one cent besides a dollar for the posterboard, and I logged some homeschool hours for math (measuring each name tag) and art. I then noticed that Ewan had operated under the assumption that he was making name tags for himself when I saw his name scrawled on half of them.

I'm looking at the bright side. At least he can spell. And the glitter just made me look festive. 

Slow to wake on a snow day

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I would spend the day here in a heartbeat

I had to tear myself away from the warmth of my bed to go on air before the sun rose. I wasn't the only one who had problems this morning.
 
Bed head

We're spending the day wrapped in knits, layers, and other warm things and hoping to ward off cabin fever. Lest you think we're overdoing it, a three-story, 117-year-old house can be kind of drafty.

Christmas socks

And as become habit over the past month, we'll have hot chocolate with marshmallows to go along with the day's lessons. Speaking of which, Ewan is finishing up his K4 stuff and will be ready for Abeka's K5 curriculum after Christmas.

K4 work

I wasn't expecting to start so early with him but one of the reasons we chose to do this was so we could move along at their pace, when they are ready.

I have some hysterical letters to Santa to "mail" that the boys are currently writing. I'll share them tomorrow. 

Elsewhere

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I've started writing for the Imperfect Parent as a columnist and Prescott over there has been so kind as to work around my litany of daily deadlines. I enjoy writing for them and am happy to add to their catalog of invaluable content. My monthly column focuses on homeschooling; I'll be going into the whys, the hows, and just how we live it daily. This first installment goes into why we homeschool and I think it's the most concise definition I've ever written:

"Even more important than that, Chris and I live our lives according to the philosophy that life is short: do what you love. We fervently believe that each person has been put on this earth with a specific gift or skill and that our job as parents is to identify, recognize, and encourage the development of those gifts."

Please check it out in full.

Also, I've been playing Monopoly for the Wii and have written about my experiences for Blogher here.
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