Welcome to our Large Family Homeschool Life! This week was the beginning of Advent and the start of our Christmas school!
Read all of the Large Family Homeschool Life posts HERE.
Today is the first day of Advent! We lit the HOPE candle and read from the Advent devotional included in our Gentle Advent Lessons.
We watched our church’s livestream on YouTube and then Ty and I headed out for a brief overnight trip to deer hunt (bow hunting season is currently open, with rifle season opening on Wednesday) and also to work on some financial issues for his mom.
Ty and I stayed at the lake cabin (remember – the one with no heat and no water) and about froze to death. We ran the space heater as long as we felt comfortable, and he wore a coat to bed and I had a neck gaiter on all night. We decided we need to get the propane figured out and buy an electric blanket for the cabin since our 14 year old son wants to spend his January birthday out there!
We got up early, checked on the kids, and headed out to bow hunt.
Well, Ty went bow hunting…
I sat in the vehicle and slept since the sleeping during the night wasn’t so great due to the lack of heat.
Around 9 am, we went to Ty’s aunt and uncle’s house and warmed up and had lunch with them – leftover sloppy joes, chips and dip, butterscotch cookies, and apples Aunt Chris had picked up at fruit sale at a local Mennonite church.
Later, we stopped by another uncle’s house (nearly all of our family lives within a 20 mile radius). He has a pickup Ty would like to buy since our Xterra has over 256,000 miles on it. I think we’ll probably end up buying it since it’s such a good deal.
That afternoon, we headed back out to deer hunt again. Ty is using his Ghost Blind that I bought him last year for Christmas, but we didn’t have any luck with the deer coming within bow shot.
Even though we didn’t end up with any deer meat in the freezer, his aunt and uncle told us about a neighbor who sells hamburger from his own herd at a good price, so we contacted him and he happened to have 50# we could buy at a great deal. So, we picked it up before leaving town to head back home, dropping a couple of pounds off with Ty’s mom. We still want to get some venison in the freezer, but this will tide us over.
It was so good to sleep warm last night!
I have a few kids with some congestion and sore throats, but it doesn’t seem too bad.
We did our first day of Christmas School. We decided to do the Names of Jesus Devotional, Colonial Christmas Morning Time lessons, and some fun music and art lessons from Music of Christmas and You ARE an Artist Christmas chalk art.
Today’s art was a Charlie Brown Christmas:
Learn how to fit Christmas School into your December homeschooling in my podcast:
How to Do Christmas School >>
After lunch, my 16 year old and I went grocery shopping at Aldi and Walmart. Yay for me – I managed to make our food last until AFTER the weekend, so I can break the cycle of weekend grocery shopping!
AND the grocery bill was MUCH less because I didn’t buy any meat except for deli meat for sandwiches.
For dinner, I made something we call Super Spuds. I baked some potatoes and warmed a brisket Ty’s dad had smoked for us.
We found a great deal at our local Kroger store – 19ish pounds of brisket for around $38! (It was originally $115!) We shredded the brisket over the baked potato, added cheese, green onions, sour cream and BBQ sauce for a very hearty meal with plenty of leftovers.
For Family Worship, we started our Jesse Tree from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.
We also put an ornament on the Snowman Countdown Tree.
And then, we read the clue from our Snowman Advent Drawers that leads to CANDY!
To read about the different ways we’ve used these Advent Drawers, read THIS POST.
Each night of Advent, one child is in charge of hanging the Jesse Tree ornament, putting the snowman ornament on, and opening the Advent drawer and reading the clue (if they can read), then leading the charge to find the candy. We start with the youngest and go up since the younger ones have a harder time waiting for their turn.
We have also been singing Christmas hymns during Family Worship Time since this is the only time of year we choose from that section of the hymnal.
By the way, we buy our hymnals used from ebay. Look HERE for options for your family!
This was also Micah’s Special Night, but we cut it a bit short because he was starting to get a sore throat too. I spent the better part of the night doctoring children and keeping them comfortable.
This morning, I debated about not doing school, but most of the kids were feeling better, so we moved ahead with Christmas School. I let the 2 kids who were the sickest rest instead of doing their individual work.
For Christmas School, we read our Names of Jesus devotional, learned about Christmas in China, and tried to fold an origami Christmas tree. Only my 11 year old succeeded in actually folding a tree that looked right. The rest of us gave up.
The 14 year old and 16 year old helped me cut and dry oranges for a Colonial Christmas project we’ll be doing tomorrow. It was supposed to be today’s project, but I didn’t plan ahead.
That’s just the way it goes sometimes.
I helped the 7 year old with his math and pulled out leftovers for lunch. My 14 year old said these were some of the best leftover options we’ve ever had, and more often than not, no one wants the leftovers (even though I still make them eat them!). My 16 year old informed me that leftover crock pot meals are the worst. *duly noted*
Megan (age 19) needed a ride to work, so I took her to the coffee shop and picked up some holds at the library. Then I came home to record the podcast I mentioned earlier: How to Do Christmas School.
For dinner, I made a Zucchini Bake from an old church cookbook along with a side salad with homemade croutons made from the ends of the sourdough bread we buy from Aldi. I cut them up, toss them with a bit of butter and garlic powder and pop them in my XL toaster oven (it fits a 9×13 pan!).
By the way…
A toaster oven or convection oven are the same thing as an air fryer except much more large family friendly!
Everyone had a fairly restful night, except for the 16 year old who is now sick and couldn’t go to work at the bee farm today.
Christmas School was Christmas in Russia, drawing a nutcracker, and making orange and cinnamon stick ornaments to hang from the dining room light fixture.
My 14 year old son made oyster stew (an old family recipe) for the kids, and I made myself a Sweetie on Steroids from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook.
I put a pork roast in the electric skillet for dinner, cooking it the same way I make Granny’s Skillet Roast. I also cut up yellow squash and popped it in the toaster oven.
Before Family Advent time, I gave baths to all the little kids. We did Advent without Megan since she had gone to eat with friends from work.
It’s so strange when the kids start growing up and aren’t able to do things with the family the way they once did. I still sometimes lament the fact that Blake, our oldest, doesn’t live with us anymore and isn’t able to participate in a lot of the things he once did. We even hung his Christmas ornaments on the tree without him this year because he and his girlfriend had to head back so she could catch a flight home.
I guess it’s a new season for our family.
Ty went deer hunting (rifle), so he’ll be gone until tomorrow night. Hopeful he brings back at least one deer! If it’s a buck, we’ll do all summer sausage since they are usually tougher. If it’s a doe, we’ll do mostly burger and the backstrap.
We cleaned the house top to bottom. I did a lot of vacuuming, which I don’t usually do, because I wanted to get all the nooks and crannies. I actually LOVE to vacuum, especially since we got our Shark Rotator Professional.
When I asked on Facebook for recommendations a couple of years ago, this vacuum was the nearly unanimous answer. My nephew (who is my age) even called me to say this was his favorite too, and he actually enjoys vacuuming because of it. He wasn’t wrong!
During the afternoon hours, the kids played video games (their only day to play) and watched TV.
LISTEN >> Screen Time Limits in a Large Homeschooling Family (podcast)
I purchased a Natural Perfumery Course from Herbal Academy and bought some used books on Thriftbooks.com, and listened to a podcast on sugar addiction. (I have a wide range of interests, so this is a pretty “normal” day for me!)
By the way, ThriftBooks is my go to place to find used books. The prices are really good and you can earn free books!
I also did a bit of Christmas shopping online. I’d say about 80-90% of my Christmas shopping has been online for the past several years. It just makes it so much easier on me. However, the kids are begging to do their yearly Dollar Tree shop for their siblings, so I need to schedule that in soon.
Dinner was a sheet pan meal of cut up chicken breast and red potatoes. We followed it up with Advent time. Ty wasn’t there because of hunting, and Megan was out at a local axe throwing place with a friend from her College and Careers church group.
Part of me feels like I frittered today away since I slept in later than usual, but it’s good to have a day of rest and Saturday is usually that day for me.
I did Christmas shop online some more. I am super close to having it all buttoned up…I think.
This year, I feel like I don’t have a good handle on Christmas gifts. I don’t have a lot of ideas, and when I do think of something, it is sold out.
When I went out the extra freezers to pull the meat for the week, I found one of the freezer doors was ajar and the meat in the door was thawing. So, those packages will the be the meat I use this week. Glad I caught it before the entire freezer defrosted (and I’m thankful it is winter and not summer!)
Dinner was crumbled sausage on salad or blue corn tortilla chips. And after Table Chores, I cut all the boys’ hair at the dining room table and got them showered and ready for bed.
I had one of the boys sleep in my room in the recliner with the humidifier right next to him in order to try to kick his cough. (It worked!)
Later that evening, Ty got home. No deer. Guess that’s why it’s called HUNTING and not FINDING.