Advent · Blogs I Know · Catholic Homeschooling

Getting ready for Christmas, homeschool style

Over at Real Learning is a post with a really exciting book I am considering picking up now. 

I enjoyed this question: “Do you know what happens when you’re trying very hard to tie your studies into Christmas preparation without (1)completely abandoning what you’ve previously been studying for the season or (2) barreling ahead with the same old thing and hoping that your children don’t notice the rest of the world preparing for Christmas?” 

It can in fact be a dilemma.  Some families I know homeschool very lightly through the holidays or not at all.  Others plow on through the season and keep exactly to their normal studies.  Last year we did a mix, switching our religious ed and Bible studies to an Advent theme and keeping our math, reading, history and other subjects mostly the same.  This year will be a little different.

Advent · Blogs I Know

Preparing for Advent 2007

This year we are trying something a little bit new for us.  We are trying to finish our Christmas shopping before Advent.  The goal is two-fold: missing the Christmas consumerism chaos and being able to set Advent aside as a spiritual, joyful and family time.

Goldstar #1 for me I have my Advent candles purchased and ready to go. 

The Anchoress has a couple ideas for Christmas gifts and I really like the idea of purchasing from religious and entrepreneurs.   Fantastic idea and there is still time in most cases to make it a reality.  I will toss a plug out there for one of my favorites the date nut cake from Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey in Lafayette, Oregon.

Advent · Christmas Alliance · Fun · My world

An Old Christmas Friend

thecinnamonbear.jpg

Here in Portland we are blessed when it comes to radio.  We have a couple very nice Christian talk/music stations, a great jazz station, very good classical and my personal favorite KBVM — our very own lay-owned Catholic radio station. 

Among the many fantastic things about KBVM is the Advent/Christmas season.  While every other radio station is stuck playing the same 14 Christmas songs 24/7 KBVM is playing its regular selections with Advent music mixed in.  Christmas Eve comes followed by Christmas day and 12 days of Christmas music both religious and secular to celebrate the season.  

KBVM is a family friendly radio station.  Twice a day there is “Kid’s songs” — Veggietales, fun sing-along songs and community children reciting scriptures or prayers.  My children look forward to this especially during Advent where KBVM replaces their usual offerings with a classic radio show entitled “The Cinnamon Bear”. 

I believe that the start date this year will be November 16th.  You can listen to KBVM on their website.  “The Cinnamon Bear” dates back to the 1930s and is really quaint.  Two children go up into their attic to find their Christmas star and end up on a wild adventure hunting a Crazy-Quilt Dragon who has stolen their star with the help of Paddy O’Cinnamon.  I will admit that I find it a wee bit grating, but the children laugh and get terribly excited by it and look forward to each installment… so who am I to argue. 

For more information check out:
Wikipedia for some history on the program
Radio Lovers has all the shows for free download to listen

So this Advent season you might want to check it out.  And take a couple minutes to check out the other offerings at the Christmas Alliance.

Advent · Faith in Action · Simplicity

Living with less

Simply Catholic is the name of this place and when looking through the “Search terms” I find that a good number of people come here looking for “Simple Christian living”,  “Catholic Simplicity”, “Living Simply Catholic” and similar quests.  And it has been a while since I have addressed the concept of simplicity.  

Why do people search for simplicity?  Especially Christian/Catholic Simplicity?  I think the root has a lot to do with how cluttered our daily lives are.  We sense something important in our faith and we know instinctively that if we could focus on that we would be happier, more fulfilled, more ourselves and much more at peace.  But life is so overwhelmingly cluttered that we can’t fathom where to start, even how to begin.  So people go online and search hoping to find a solution or a path. 

I am not an expert on much, but I can do simple.  The first step is learning to let go.  And that can be really difficult.  I understand that.  But we do not find happiness in things, we find happiness in living and when our things (stuff, jobs, homes, activities) take away from our living for God and for each other then they are hurting us. 

Advent is coming soon.  For Catholics Advent 2007  starts December 2nd.   I plan on using the time between now and then to start decluttering my house (again) so that I will have more “space” to concentrate on spiritual things this Advent.  I look at it as “unpacking” for the journey.