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Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Holiday Homeschooling

Homeschooling with Charlotte

I remember being relatively new to homeschooling, attending one of my regular support group meetings, when a new member came and told the group about her family. She very proudly said that she worked while her husband did all the teaching. They homeschooled seven days a week including birthdays and holidays, even Christmas!! That didn't sound right to me. It certainly didn't sound Christian. After all, even Jesus took a break to get away from it all from time to time.

While I think many in our group admired this family's tenacity, none of us wanted to adopt that kind of rigor to our own homeschool schedule.

I contrast that to this beautiful post from a mom named Missy

This is the first year that I have given myself permission to take all of December off from schooling and it has been wonderful!

Anyway, that's why I've been so quiet lately. We have been enjoying lots of family time this month. I think a month-long break is just what we needed! We have played games, eaten pizza, looked at Christmas lights, listened to Christmas music, burned scented candles, tried new recipes, enjoyed family get-togethers, gone shopping (both IRL and online), watched the birds, made Christmas ornaments, and lounged around in our PJ's and slippers as much as possible. :-D

Life has been so laid-back and relaxed that I don't know how we'll ever get back on track come January, but I'm not going to think about that right now. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I'm enjoying making memories with my family and letting all the worries and stresses roll right off my back. They'll be there for another day. But for today I'm going to get my Love Bank filled back up with kisses and hugs and quiet conversations (while making those same kinds of deposits into each of my loved one's Love Banks) and regain the strength to face all those worries and stresses that will still be waiting for me come January. I think that by then they won't seem so big anymore anyway. ;-)

What makes Missy's words so poignant now was that last Christmas was her last holiday. Missy passed away suddenly and unexpectedly after giving birth last spring.

I think Missy's message has a lot of wisdom in it. Her kids aren't remembering the math pages they missed last December, or the science vocabulary words that got put off until after the New Year. They do remember those memories Missy put in their "Love Banks!"

Yet Missy's kids are younger than some of my own. I have a kid in college, one just entering the work world, a middle schooler and my pre-school aged granddaughter. Is it possible to be somewhere in between the two extremes in homeschooling for the holidays?

I hope so and that is what I am going to strive for. We will certainly be taking Christmas Day off. We certainly will be spending time this week celebrating our Lady of Guadalupe with a Spanish dinner and possibly a pinata. But other than that I want to keep our schedule going because I think that is best for the household. I will, however, focus the homeschool lessons away from the academic, towards the events of the season. I have a science and art unit I am pulling together about the Star of Bethlehem. Our literature readings are definitely steeped in the Christmas season, both the biblical as well as other works of literature that surround the Christmas events. Perhaps instead of math, we will make those Christmas cookies and I will let my kids do their own measuring this year and see how they do! For English, I have lots of Christmas cards to address and this year they all can help with that! In short, I will be looking for ways to incorporate the season of Advent and Christmas into our homeschool and make it an integral part, instead of an intrusion from the outside. Following Missy's lead, I want my children to fill up their memories with love too, while I am keeping their young bodies and minds otherwise occupied!