Ah, December. A time when the decorations come out, the tree goes up, and the formal schoolwork gets put neatly on the shelf. Not only is this a time for rest for the kids, and holiday traditions start up – but this is also a time when I like to sit quietly and think about the year so far. What has gone well? What needs some tweaking? What will we keep when we start back up in the New Year, and what changes will we make?
December – A Time To Rest
There is something about this transition from school-time to holiday-time that I just love. It’s a time when some weight is lifted off of us, we look forward to holiday events and family traditions, and just putting our feet up and resting. There’s a natural inclination at this time of year to stay cozy, slow down the rhythm in the home, and go inwards and do a little contemplating.
For our family, the year so far has been overwhelmingly “a win”. We have really come a long, long way from where we were at this same time LAST school year. Sure, I recently went through a bit of a freak out about our plans and my wanting to create our own curriculum. But for the most part that has passed, I have settled, and I’m able to see that this first term of school has gone REALLY smoothly.
What Has Gone Well?
Math U See has been our biggest win so far, in terms of curriculum or resources, and has brought about huge changes in both of my kids. Not fighting over math lessons every.single.day has been quite a weight taken off of my heart.
We’ve loved our “flipped routine” – In a recent post, I talked about Flipping Our Homeschool Routine. Having lazy mornings where the kids can do their things quietly and I can have time to myself to write or read or just get some housework done, that has been a really positive change to our days. We are all able to come back together when it’s time for lessons, all with better focus and peaceful engagement with each other and with the work in front of us.
Brave Writer, as always, is a major part of our homeschool days. Even on days where we don’t do much other ‘structured’ lessons, we always do our Arrow copywork and read from the novel. Our days are infused with the Brave Writer Lifestyle elements and are always a source of fun and lightness in our homeschool days. Check out our favourite BW resources here: 3 Brave Writer Products We Can’t Homeschool Without
What Will Need Changing?
As far as ‘what will we change?’ – well there are some changes coming to our homeschool in the New Year. Namely, I’ll be shifting us from our self-made curriculum to using the Mater Amibilis curriculum. This is a change that’s come with a lot of thinking, maybe a little overthinking, and weighing of priorities. I’ve been pretty adamant about NOT using a pre-made curriculum, but for a number of reasons I have decided to give Mater Amibilis a go for the remainder of this year (and if it goes well, into next year also). One of my very next posts coming after this one IS all about why and how we’ll be making the shift – as well as how we’re hoping to make it work, considering it is NOT a secular curriculum.
But for now, I’ll just say that I feel optimistic and at peace about the decision and it’s just what I have to do for my sanity. I’m finding it hard to ‘re-invent the wheel’ while I’m simultaneously trying to drive the bus. More to come, on that topic!
So, What Are We Doing For December?
Rest. The kids have really worked hard this year, and have approached their schoolwork with great attitudes and a diligence that I have really appreciated. So, our main goal in December is to rest. While I will still be writing, and planning, and also resting – the kids will get this month to have TRUE downtime.
Lots of reading. Lots and lots of reading. Not only will the children do a lot of free reading, but Mama will also be reading. I’m about to start re-reading Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series. I’ve read Volume Six, and most of Volume One. This month I’ve committed to getting through Volume One and making notes.
Prepping for the holidays – we have found some amazing “bucket lists” for the holiday season, so we’re going to try to do something festive and fun each day in December. I am sure it won’t happen every single day, but the idea is to spend more family time, more holiday time, and more memory-making time.
Planning for Term Two – of course, as most homeschool mamas will be doing, I’ll also be getting things in place for next term. I’m actually feeling pretty good in this area – the great thing about changing to a pre-fab curriculum, is that (hopefully) there will be less fretting and scrambling to pull it all together. But some planning and getting ready will be necessary.
I have also found a GORGEOUS Charlotte Mason homeschool planner (watch for a full review of it coming SOON!) from Lara at Everyday Graces. Check it out here: A Charlotte Mason Year
So, on that note, I shall return to my relaxation, sipping of coffee, and spending time with my family getting prepped for the holidays!
Is there something you do that’s special at this time of year? Do you take a long holiday break, or is it business as usual for you all still? I’d love for you to take a second to comment below and share your holiday plans!
Also, don’t forget to come and hang out with us over on my Facebook page: Up Above The Rowan Tree!