Friday, November 13, 2015

Taking Home With You {A Homespun Holidays Review}

This past week, my husband and I decided to buy a new house.  Though we have considered this move for years, the real life expectation was not for another 6 months at least and as a result, our entire household has erupted into a blind tizzy.  It has certainly pushed me into protective mama bear mode, looking for ways to draw us together in the midst of the biggest change my children have ever seen.  Days before all of this I had prepared to write a review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew considering the ebook Homespun Holidays:Fall and Winter from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and suddenly it became clear.  While the holidays would not be normal this year because we would be packing around Thanksgiving and moving right before Christmas, we especially needed to draw close to each other - not necessarily a house or location.  Whatever home has come to mean to us, we needed to find ways to take it with us outside of any walls.

As the title suggests, this book is full of fall and winter holiday ideas and resources for your family.  The information has been separated into Fall and Winter sections and further divided into Fun or Food.  Even within that there are a variety of options like crafts, traditions, books, recipes, menus and even some advice for when not to cook!  This collection of ideas comes from several TOS staff members and includes their printable holiday recipes at the close of the book.  Since I will be emptying the contents of my current home in the midst of a usually house-focused and traditional time of the year, I decided to pay extra attention to the family-centered suggestions the book offered in an attempt to fill in the gaps my holiday season is likely to have.

One writer turned the annual burden of leaf raking into a working family tradition with a yummy reward in Family Leaf Raking Day.  With all of the packing and moving we have to do, I am turning the daunting task into another Tree House Adventure, where we are all participating and celebrating together. I see Gingerbread Pancakes or Peppermint Cocoa in our future!

As a homeschooling family, a new house is also a new school building.  Change is hard for everyone, but my 2 year old and 5 year old are especially vulnerable to confusion or difficult-to-communicate emotions.   Even as adults, when things are different, we tend to focus on what's bad or 'just not the same'. So, for the week of Thanksgiving, we are going to use the "I'm Thankful for You" Treat Bags idea (kind of like Valentine boxes) to appreciate each other and the blessings God has allowed us.

There were a few holiday traditions that were not new or revolutionary. Some things I already try to do,  like decorating the front porch for fall. Some activities I don't see as particularly valuable, like a few of the crafts are out-dated or just not that exciting.  Still, it is a neat compilation of many of the things that characterize this fun time of year!

When you choose to homeschool, there are many extra responsibilities you take on, whether you realize it or not.  Your home provides the main source of routine and consistency, even if it is inconsistent.  This packed little book has drawn my attention to all the ways holiday traditions can create consistency in the middle of changes.  We are creating a home - not just a house - that will go with us wherever we may be.

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