Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Christmas Stocking by Avonlea

It all started by Mommy telling us we weren't going to have stockings this year. Instead, we decided to earn money for little children in other countries so we hung up our stocking for them. We started in early December and by Christmas Eve our stockings for the children were bulging. We opened the stockings up on Christmas Eve night and had ...... $960.86 for the children from different countries! We were so excited! We each got $160.00 to spend. I spent it on a goat and two chickens for $100 plus a fishing kit and another pair of chickens for $65.00(Mom gave me five extra dollars) and so we'll make some people happy for Christmas. It makes me feel joy in my heart to share with other people.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Break

We took three weeks off for Christmas break this year. The kids worked really hard during the fall and I wanted to reward them. I also wanted to focus on different types of education. It is often quoted that "learning is a lifestyle." Sometimes that concept can be hard to grasp. I think of it in the same way I think of cooking. I usually cook my tried and true, I always have the ingredients on hand recipes, but sometimes I branch out and make something wild. Either way eating is consistent around here. It's automatic, yet it requires planning and diligence. So with schooling.
We do the tried and true, daily work and I see mental growth in my children. Then we take a break, go somewhere fun or do something different. The three focuses of this Christmas break are literature, social graces, and philanthropy. I discovered a newish book entitled, Read For The Heart by Sarah Clarkson. Sarah is a young girl who made a compilation of her favorite books. I went through it with my laptop on my lap and my library card in hand. Saturday, the weekend before our break started, everything was in, and it was Christmas before Christmas. Avonlea and Grant have been imbibing all sorts or good literature and Rowan has fallen in love with the Billy and Blaze series.
The second thing we are focusing on this season is social etiquette. Really, December is the best month of the year to work on this. All it entails is preparation. If I take the time to prep my kids on where we are going, how to address the people we'll be seeing, and tips on ways to make others comfortable and happy, our social engagements go so much more smoothly. They are learning that if an adult (or anyone really) asks them a question they are to ask one back after answering. We have gotten huge reactions (which is sad) over this in the grocery store. The cashier asks the kids, "How are you today?" They respond, "Good thank you and how are you?" Inevitably, the cashier freezes, stares is disbelief and comments on how rare it is for kids to care or even answer! This has led to some wonderful conversations between the cashiers and my children. The cashiers feel valued and my kids see how little it takes to bless another.
We have brainstormed together this season for ways to bless people. The kids participate in the planning and the execution. We have a Christmas stocking hung at the fireplace where they deposit all the money they make from extra chores. We'll count it on Christmas eve and use it to buy a cow or a chicken (depending on the amount) for a family in a third world country. We danced at a nursing home. We're babysitting a family of kids so the parents can go out shopping. We picked out and wrapped presents for a struggling family. At Christmas opportunities abound and it's such a joy to draw our children into them, to open their eyes how they, even they, can show God's love to others.
So I try to teach these things but I can really only model. The Holy Spirit will be the one to truly instruct their hearts. So I pray and I do all in my power to alter the menu and make it appealing for little appetites. God please give them appetites for You!