11 Dec 2009

Life on Holidays

So we're on holidays. Weeks and weeks of nothing to do.

Of course, being creatures of habit, our holidays have formed a routine all of their own, and as I thought about that this morning, I realised that our holiday day is very similar to our school day. Funny that. School with a Christmas ring to it.

I though that maybe you might be interested in what we've been up to since the school bell signalled an end to term three:

Morning Devotions

We're using a wonderful advent publication by the Barnabus Fund for our devotions throughout December. Entitled Praying for the Persecuted Church in Advent 2009, it devotes a day each to a particular country where Christians are oppressed. It should be available on their website, but the link was broken when I tried it.

Writing from prison to the Philippians, Paul expressed his confidence that through their prayers and the help of God even his sufferings would turn out for his salvation. (Philippians 1:19). Our prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters are the best Christmas gift that we can offer them. thank you for joining in this vital work.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo Internal Director, Barnabus Fund
We've found this publication good for geography too, as we follow the countries around the world on the accompanying map and then on our globe.

Australian Literature

We're reading Christmas at Longtime by Hesba Brinsmead as a read aloud. This beautiful story is of a family Christmas at Longtime in the Blue Mountains at a time when lives were simpler. It is truly a much loved Australian classic in our Peaceful Home.

Christmas at Longtime means family time to nine year old Teddy. It means Dad always forgetting to buy Christmas presents; puddings to prepare, almonds to skin, carols to sing, and no more lessons until next year.
On Christmas morning, the year that Teddy was going on ten, the sun shone pumpkin-yellow, furze-yellow, eggs-and-bacon-yellow. Teddy and Jenny had been warned not to get up too early. But the question was, how early is early, on any Christmas morning? It was all very well for Mother to say presents were not what Christmas was all about. It was all very well for her to say - "It is more blessed to give, than to receive". True enough, giving was pleasant. But it was still blessed, thought Teddy, to receive. To receive was very nice indeed.

Christmas the year Teddy turned ten was a picnic in the park on a white damask tablecloth:
To begin with there was pumped lamb. Mother had cooked it the night before. She had kept the stove burning brightly for hours and hours, while it simmered. She had added to it herbs from her garden. There was thyme and sage, and a sprig of rosemary and some marjoram, and also an onion. So now, safe in the muslin bag that had originally contained flour, the leg of lamb reposed in the tucker box. Then there was a washed lettuce, and a jar of beetroot, and a whole pound of bought tomatoes. There was a bowl of salad made with new potatoes cooked with plenty of mint. There was a big loaf of bread that Mother had baked with artistry. There was homemade butter. And last but not least, there was the spicy-smelling pudding. All this went into the tucker-box, to be covered with a clean towel and safely stowed in the truck.
Don't you wish you were there to eat it with them?

Other literature

Every day we read a chapter from this year's family read aloud, The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. It is delightful and we're loving it. I blogged about it last year, here.

We also read one or two Christmas books daily from our Basket of Delights, but you know that already, because I've been reviewing many of them as we go.

You'll find them all in the sidebar.


We've been playing Uno in French - our latest holiday craze. We're also reading Babar et le Père Noël about that elephant and Father Christmas. I'll review it when we finish!

Depuis qu'ils ont écrit au Père Noël, Arthur, Pom, Flore et Alexandre surveillent attentivement la boîte aux lettres, mais en vain. Trouvant excellente leur idée de vouloir faire venir le Père Noël chez eux, Babar entreprend alors un long voyage pour le retrouver et le convaincre d'inclure le pays des éléphants dans sa tournée...


Jemimah is reading Kate DiCamillo's book The Tiger Rising. She has loved all of the books that she has read from this Newbery Honor author, but is finding this hard going. it is certainly much darker than DiCamillo's other books, and I wonder whether the themes might be too old for her although she is not finding the writing style difficult. I shall have another look at this one later on today and decide whether we might put it away for a couple of years and try again.


We're handwriting notes on our Christmas letters! Lots of writing practice happening here, even though we're not copying fine literature!


Lots of classic Christmas poems to read in that Basket of Delights...

Kitchen Garden

The Kitchen Garden is looking good. We're eating delicious ripe strawberries by the handful. The wild rocket is ready for salads, but we're still awaiting the first of the tomatoes. Lettuce, basil and Thai basil in abundance. The corn is ripening well. We're calling it the 'Wall of Ailing Corn' from The Kite Runner, but it's not ailing at all!

Heaps of Christmas baking happening as well: mince pies, shortbread, Christmas cakes, Dutch shortbread full of ginger and almonds, and White Christmas slice. Delish!

Yoyos today.

Do all little girls like baking, I wonder?


We're making handmade cards for Christmas presents. Shhhh, don't tell.


Jemimah has been loving her nightly bike ride with Daddy after work. We love the long balmy summer evenings, and make the most of them with lots of meals outside (not that that has much to do with sport, but who cares?)

Little Aths and Tennis continue as normal until the schools finish, and Jemimah loves catching up with her girlfriends at both these events.

I suppose I could go on, but I think what I have written serves to illustrate the fact that learning happens year round in our Peaceful Home. None of this stuff is scheduled - this is just real life. I think this is why we love homeschooling the CM way so much. If something is articificial or contrived it has no place in our day. Maths might still be a drag as far as Jemimah is concerned, but we do no busy work, no pages of repitition. We aim for 20 mins a day for maths, and most times we get done in this time.

Most of the time school and life are the same thing, and I, for one, like that very much indeed.

As they say in Bali:

Education and Life: Same, Same; Different Name.


  1. This is great...thanks for sharing! xxx

  2. I was going to comment about something or other and my thoughts flew out the window at your mention of ripe strawberries! Oh, what I wouldn't give for some fresh strawberries- their time is so fleeting, especially here in the Frozen Tundra (Minnesota) a couple short weeks in June, that's it, then we're stuck with frozen berries, which are good, but they just aren't the same, sigh...

  3. Okay, you lost me at strawberries also! lol.

  4. "Same, same; Different name."

    I love that!

    Mmm...we're eating raspberries here....

    Happy holidays!

  5. Hi Jeanne,
    We have a calendar from Voice of the Martyrs that tells us where the persecuted Christians are so that we can pray for them, too.

    Our strawberries are babes in arms at the moment, but maybe one day...

    Learning never really stops with homeschooling, does it?

    My son is wanting to learn more about web design these holidays, and I'm hoping to teach my daughter "Longstitch" over the holidays - should be interesting, as I have never done it, either. :P

    Have a great weekend,

  6. Fresh strawberries....groan. I just took a walk in below 0 windchills and 10 inches of snow. Thanks to the Lord and a sweet friend, I'm getting a treadmill this weekend!

    Next year we're planning on doing a world geography study using Ann Voscamp's book and will include praying for the individual countries as well. What a great idea to incorporate that into Advent!

    We're just wrapping up a term today and then we'll have a different routine similar to yours until we start another term in January. It's homemade gifts this year with my husband's job difficulties but that's okay with us...it enables us to focus more on others and Jesus.

    Oh, and thank you for mentioning yet another book I've never heard of! The Christmas Mystery sounds very intriguing, and I'm picking up The Mysterious Toyshop at the library today!:)

  7. 10 inches of snow at Christmas Sigh...how romantic!

  8. Fun to see what you are up to on holidays!

    We started Term 2 this week are all loving Ancient Egypt. Boys busy learning parts and hymns for their first Christmas play. I...gulp... have to make their costumes.

    Yes, we're completely frozen here as well. You enjoy your strawberries and balmy weather. Can't even type...I'm going to thaw out in front of the fire.


  9. You are a busy woman!!
    Found you through MBC and am now following along! Hope to see you at my place:)

  10. Hi There, Just found this amazing page of your daily life and am awed. Enjoyable reading. Thank You!

  11. Thanks for mentioning "Christmas at Longtime". We have "Longtime Passing" but I hadn't seen the Christmas one before. We are Hesba Brinsmead fans, our favourite FAVOURITE is "Pastures of the Blue Crane".


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