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Excellence In Education In Our Home.

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Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethern, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things."


Holiday Stress-Buster Tips!

 1) break it up - don't have a big family blowout dinner and mass gift swap. Instead, have a series of small ones. Start meeting the grandparent families separately. We've had pizza at my husband's mother's for Christmas Eve for years. This year we'll do it the 22nd and go to my mother's on the 25th.

 2) divide up the gifts - don't give them all at once. One of the best ideas I ever had, when our dd was small, was to 'do' the 12 days of Christmas similar to the way Jewish families do Chanukah. One gift per day! This was wonderful! My kids got their stocking (don't eat me, my mother made them special stockings) and one gift on Christmas Day. One gift (often small) on each of the 12 days, and we have an UN-decorate party and a last gift on Jan 6. This worked extra well because my son's birthday is Jan 12, and my nephew's is Jan 27, so we are able to even out the excitement a bit. I distribute gifts from others throughout the days, too - making sure that if the person is around they get to watch the child open it.

 3) edit the religious services - don't try to attend everything! For example, if you all go caroling, skip the next night's service. If you go to the formal Teddy Bear Tea (laugh, I did one of these once), skip the potluck dinner.

 4) Do the specials and let the regular events slide a little - but not totally, because maintaining something close to a normal schedule reduces stress.

 5) avoid clutter - if you decorate, put away all the regular small stuff first. Don't wind up with more stuff around than you had before. For example, remove a large piece of furniture if you have a tree.

 6) keep a detailed notebook. THIS is a pain, but I do it all year! In it I keep a detailed list of what I got for each child, number of items, approximate cost included. My daughter can calculate in a flash and turns some small imbalance into major conflict.

 7) Drill the children! In this case, I mean drill them in acceptable responses to ANY gift. For example:

 Q - Grandma gives you a purple coat two sizes too large. What do you say, dear? A - Oh Grandma it's so beautiful! Thank you!
Q - Grandpa gives you a toy suitable for a baby. What do you say, dear? A - Oh Grandpa, it's so cute! Thank you!
Q - The neighbor gives you a fruitcake that looks like an antique. What do you say, dear? A - Thank you.

 8) Anticipate difficult situations, even happy ones, and practice answers with the children before the holidays - use your imagination and encourage the children to dramatize their answers. The practice will be worth it when your child is not the one that hurts the feelings of a precious relative or friend.

 Q - Grandma, whose long hair was a lovely silver, turns up with purple curls. What do you say, dear? A - You look younger! Would you like to read me a story?

 A Christmas passage from 
The Original Home Schooling Series
by Charlotte Mason.

 Volume 2, Parents and Children, 
the 26th chapter, starting on p. 280.

 The Eternal Child. 
The Highest Counsel of Perfection to Parents.

 'The Waits!

 Slowly they play, poor careful souls, 
With wistful thoughts of Christmas cheer,
Unwitting how their music rolls
Away the burden of the year.
And with the charm, the homely rune,
Our thoughts like childhood's thoughts are given,
When all our pulses beat in tune
With all the stars of heaven.'
-John Davidson.

 Children Necessary to Christmas Joy. - In these levelling days we like to think that everybody has quite equal opportunities in some direction; but Christmas joy, for example, is not for every one in like measure. It is not only that those who are in need, sorry, or any other adversity do not sit down to the Christmas feast of joy and thanksgiving; for, indeed, a Benjamin's portion is often served to the sorrowful. But it takes the presence of children to help us to realise the idea of the Eternal Child. The Dayspring is with the children, and we think their thoughts and are glad in their joy; and every mother knows out of her own heart's fulness what the Birth at Bethlehem means. Those of us who have not children catch echoes. We hear the wondrous story read in church, the waits chant the tale, the church-bells echo it, the years that are no more come back to us, and our hearts are meek and mild, glad and gay, loving and tender, as those of little children; but, alas, only for the little while occupied by the passing thought. Too soon the dreariness of daily living settles down upon us again, and we become a little impatient, do we not, of the Christmas demand of joyousness.

 But it is not so where there are children. The old, old story has all its first freshness as we tell it to the eager listeners; as we listen to it ourselves with their vivid interest it becomes as real and fresh to us as it is to them. Hard thoughts drop away like scales from our eyes; we are young once more with the children's young life, which, we are mysteriously made aware, is the life eternal. What a mystery it is! Does not every mother, made wise unto salvation, who holds a babe in her arms, feel with tremulous awe that, that deep saying is true for her also, 'The same is my mother'?

 Every Babe bears an Evangel. - For the little child is the true St Christopher: in him is the light and life of Christ; and every birth is a message of salvation, and a reminder that we, too, must humble ourselves and become as little children. This is, perhaps, the real secret of the world's progress - that every babe comes into the world with an evangel, which witnesses of necessity to his parents' hearts. That we, too, are children, the children of God, that He would have us to be as children, is the message that the newborn child never fails to bear, however little we heed, or however soon we forget. It is well that parents should ponder these things, for the child's estate is a holy one, and it is given to his parents to safeguard the little heir of blessedness." by Charlotte Mason

 Merry Christmas to All,
And to All a Good Read!


Toys, Read-Alouds for Little Ones,

 Books for Young Readers,

 Special for Boys, Special for older Girls,

Inspiration for Adults, Computer ,

Christmas Links

Greenleaf books is recommending these toys from Rainfall Educational Toys as being of good quality:

    David & Goliath Playset
    Noah & the Ark Playset
    and The Nativity Playset
All three are designed for ages 5-10 . Check them out at Greenleaf.

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For Very Small Children

    The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazwell, Illustrated by Paul Micich

    *Hush Little Baby* written and illustrated by Sylvia Long

    The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski 

    Ruth Graham's One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham, Richard Jesse Watson (Illustrator)

    The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot
    ; story also included in his Treasury for Children

    Richard Paul Evans' "The Christmas Box"

    Christmas Stories (Junior Deluxe edition) by Charles Dickens

    "Brambly Hedge," the author is Jill Barklem

    Lion in a Box by Marguerite de Angeli.
    It is a true story of an immigrant Austrian family 
    living in New York City at the turn of the century.

    B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilner
    illustrated by Elisa Kleven 

    Bible Alphabet: A Pop-Up Book by Keith Moseley 

    "From God with Love" by Mack Thomas.
    helps children understand the Gospel through the colors of Christmas. 
    Out of print. The ISBN is 0-945565-78-3

    "Night Tree" by Eve Bunting 
    about a family who every year prepares edible Christmas decorations (natural items) for the animals

    _Long Ago When I Was Young_ 
    is a collection of Edith Nesbit's memories of her childhood in 1860's England. It also has beautiful line drawings by Edward Ardizzone, and watercolors by George Buchanan.

    "Too Many Mittens" by Florence and Louis Slobodkin

    "Has Winter Come?" by Wendy Watson

    "Papa Panov's Special Day" retold by Mig Holder from Tolstoy

    "The Tale of Three Trees" retold by Angela Hunt

    "Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree" by Robert Barry

    "The Doubleday Christmas Treasury" (compiled by Jane Olliver)

    "Easy-to-Make Decorative Paper Snowflakes" by Dover

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For Children

    Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater, Illus. by Robert Lawson. Mr. Popper gets a Christmas present from his pen pal at the South Pole!

    The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen

    THE BEST OF SHAKESPEARE Retellings of 10 Classic Plays, by E. Nesbit

    A CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE WHITE HOUSE by Gary Hines, illustrated by Alexdranda Wallner

    THE FOURTH WISE MAN Based on the story by Henry Van Dyke, retold by Susan Summers, illustrated by Jackie Morris

    Light at Tern Rock by Julia Sauer

    The Christmas Story From Luke and Matthew, wonderfully illustrated by Gennady Spirin 

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Special For Boys of 10 - 15

    "N.C. Wyeth" by Kate F. Jennings (Chartwell Books, Inc.).
    It is filled with his gorgeous full page prints. Paperback only - and not long enough! 

    Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. (on tape) The book is "narrated" by Frank Muller 

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Special For older Girls

    Looking for a beautiful doll? Try Mommy's Little Angel from the Phyllis Parkin's Doll Collection.

     Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott

    Stories from the Classical Ballet by Belinda Hollyer. 
    "From the transformation of Coppelia, to the resilient spirit of the little clown Petroushka, to the captive slumber of Aurora, the sleeping beauty, this handsome edition brings out all the richness and drama of the classic ballets.
    Intricacies of plot easily missed in the excitement and spectacle of a live performance are made clear, and Irina Baronova's entertaining performance notes after each story give the dances a special immediacy."

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Inspiration for Adults

    The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book - Take Joy!
    It has songs, stories, poems and things to do for a family Christmas

    _Dominion_ by Randy Alcorn 

    Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala

    A LANDSCAPE WITH DRAGONS by Michael D. O.Brien, softcover, 261 pages.

     Children of a Greater God by Terry Glaspey

    Great Books of the Christian Tradition. by Terry Glaspey

    B.K. Eakman's The Cloning of the American Mind

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 Can you think of some more? EMail Me!.


Christmas Link Collection


Go to my Charlotte Mason Page

 Go To my Homepage

 OR Go To my Booklist Page

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