It's the Monday before Christmas and we're in full- on "company's coming!" mode. Preparing for the holidays has become a bit harder now that we homeschool. I don't have those hours that they are in school to accomplish anything on my own and so the boys have to pitch in and help.
We used to take the week off before and after Christmas but it was so hard to get back into a routine after the holidays that this year we decided to try doing things a bit differently. This year we're going to attempt to homeschool right up until Christmas Eve. However with Christmas coming up this week and having a houseful of guests coming....
That meant it was time to:
- Do all of our grocery shopping
- Finish all of our cleaning
- Bring toys up to their rooms from the playroom (that they don't want to share with all their cousins)
- Rearrange any furniture so we can all fit in the house
- Partake in some last minute gift making or wrapping
- Finish up our last day of school before the holiday hoopla begins
Focusing on Errands:With everyone ready to go we went to the grocery store. Ian grabbed a second carriage and I handed Evan my list and a pencil. He grumbled and complained a lot but I reminded him that we all help out and it was his turn to help. He continued to grumble and I reminded him that he had some new video games that they all really wanted to play today and he was in danger of having that reward taken away. His attitude improved and he did really well telling me what letter each of the items on my list started with and crossing them off for me. Ian estimated our bill to within $7 of what we spent and Alec happily read his book. (covering reading, math, and life skills at the grocery store).
We stopped at the library on the way home and gave all the librarians a little gift and card. They were thrilled and apparently our timing was just perfect. They are having a Christmas party today and planned to use our arrangement for their centerpiece. We checked out a whole bag of books on the Lewis and Clark expedition and on Vikings (two topics we plan to cover in January). We wished everyone a Merry Christmas and headed home listening to the Blood of Olympus. (reading)
Starting (and finishing) Our Schoolwork:The boys helped me unload all the groceries and Ian sat right down to work on his math sheet. We had one last divide and color sheet. It was a picture of Mickey Mouse holding a pile of Christmas gifts and I focused on only 5 division facts-- the 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9's. Once finished he read a chapter in his book and went to play outside. (math/ reading)
Alec finished up his Ga' hoole book and started the next book in the series; reading all the way up to chapter 10 before deciding to take a break and eat lunch. (reading)
Evan and I worked on half of his math page that dealt with 1 more, 1 less, 10 more, and 10 less than a given number. It was a new concept and he caught on quite quickly. He had 10 problems on the page and asked if he could do 1/2 now and 1/2 after lunch. I asked him how many 1/2 was and he quickly told me 5. We did 5 problems, he went to play with Legos and then did 5 more problems while he was cooking his lunch. (math)
During lunch we read our Christmas books-- A New Coat for Anna and Santa's Favorite Story. Ian had finished his lunch before his brothers sat down to eat and offered to read A New Coat for Anna to us all. He did a great job reading out loud and even remembered to show his brothers the pictures. When I was done reading Santa's Favorite Story we finished up our second chapter in our Harry Potter book too. (reading)
Evan read Biscuit And the Baby to me while Alec worked on his math sheet.
With school done we moved onto preparing the house:We worked together to rearrange the playroom and decide what other toys we wanted to toss, move out of the playroom, or even move into the playroom. Ian used his tools to take down an old dress up mirror we no longer use and the boys all pitched in helping me move the bookcase and all the books. Ian helped me carry down the air hockey table from his bedroom so the older kids would having something fun to play with on Christmas Eve and we even rearranged the living room furniture to make room for more gifts and more bodies. We vacuumed a bit and I warned them all that they'll be helping to really clean tonight after dinner when their dad gets home.
A much deserved reward:
They worked really hard and it was already past three by the time we finished so I told them they could have an afternoon of screen time. The younger two boys chose to play Mario Kart 8 while Ian watched several TV shows on the DVR-- Epic American Castles, Epic Yahts, Ax Men, etc.
And that's how we're balancing our to do list with a shortened day of school. We mix and match and pitch in together to get our list done.