Weekly Wrap-Up # 26: Seven Quick Takes for the First Week of Advent

1.) Advent began this past Sunday, so we started our December learning activities on Monday. I like to take a break from much of our usual work and lighten up our academics a bit, both for my sake as I start to encounter the busy-ness of holiday preparations and to help us focus our attention on our commemoration of Jesus' birthday. This year that means first doing part of the Notgrass unit study, Celebrate the Savior, and then - in a couple of weeks - taking some time to learn about Christmas celebrations in a few other countries.

The Notgrass study has 15 lessons, each of which could be done in one day. That's how we started, but I found it to be overwhelming since the girls are on the young end of the recommended age range for it and because we are still doing some other academics, too. So by Wednesday, I made some alterations, and we're now covering one lesson over the course of two days. Taken that way, it's been quite fun and educational. Each of the girls most enjoys making a baby book for Jesus, which they're working on here.

2.) Wednesday was a special day, as it marked Baby H.'s three-month birthday and exactly one month since he started coming to my house. My, how that time has flown...and the changes he's made - most notably that he can now hold up his head very well even while on his tummy - are pretty remarkable.

3.) All last week, Abigail went on and on about how she didn't want snow until December. Well, God decided to oblige her, but also chose to deliver our first snow the very morning of December 1! It only amounted to six-tenths of an inch, but the girls were still thrilled about it. And I thrilled again at the freedom to be found in home education - because, even though I did want to accomplish specific bookwork, I altered our plans on the spot and let them go out in the morning while the snow was falling. Then, when they came in, I made them hot chocolate and let them watch our Charlie Brown Christmas DVD. And we still got all our academics done later!

4.) Before we took time off during Thanksgiving week, the girls had each been working on projects for their latest literature books. Abigail finished hers - a set of clay puppets for her book, The Littles, by John Peterson - on Wednesday afternoon and presented it to us that night. Her craftiness really shone through in her creations - one for each member of the Little family as well as several mice - and she summarized the story very well, choosing to do it extemporaneously instead of having a prepared report.

5.) Rachel finished her project - for Ramona Quimby, Age 8, by Beverly Cleary - on Thursday and shared it with us that night. Using the marionette scene from The Sound of Music as her inspiration, she had built a puppet stage and written a script (with me as her scribe) summarizing two of the book's chapters. After much rehearsal, she acted that out using papier mache puppets I'd made for a college class long ago and which she and Abigail had recently discovered in a box in the basement. I was really proud of her creativity and diligence.

6.) Ever since Anna turned four in September, she has regularly asked me why she still has to take naps (while all the other "big kids" have rest/movie time or just play). I've always told her that her mommy will tell us when she's ready to stop napping and suggested she talk with her mom about it. Well, on Friday, Anna's mom said she could try to stay up - and she could continue skipping nap as long as she isn't grumpy when she's picked up or later in the evenings and can get up without problems in the mornings. So she gave it a whirl on Friday, and I chose to make sure the kids actually had a rest time movie instead of just playing - to give her a little downtime. She was so thrilled to be staying up and watching the movie - I know she felt like such a big girl! - and this is how I found her about an hour into it.

I'll talk with her mom on Monday, and I'm hoping she'll allow Anna to continue to forgo an official nap in favor of guaranteed rest with a movie each day. My girls did that when they started the process of giving up naps. Rachel seldom slept after she turned three, but Abigail regularly fell asleep during the movies until she was over five years old, and I think Anna might be similar to her. Still, it meant the world to Abigail that she was allowed to stay with Rachel and have the choice to watch the movie or sleep, and I think Anna will really enjoy being with everyone else if her mom thinks it will work.

7.) Our homeschool association has long had an annual Father-Daughter Dance in February, but I'm not sure it's happening this year. It's been a favorite event for Jeff and the girls, though, so I was very happy when our church decided to host a similar event on Friday. And all three of them had a wonderful time - with a catered dinner, various pre-dance activities, and the dance itself. Besides it being a fun night out, it's really important long-term, as it shows the girls how treasured they are by their daddy and also models for them the ways they should expect to be treated by young men when they're adolescents and young adults.

Aren't they gorgeous?

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