Wonder in the Woods

Living and Learning in the Pacific Northwest

Now a Winter Break

Just before my blogging break, I wondered what to do for school during the winter.  I didn’t have any answers and because of it blogging became stale and boring.  I’m still on a blogging break but popping out to do this post because this post caught my eye and it’s exactly what I am thinking.

A couple of days ago we officially decided to take December and January off from school like many others take summers off.  We are creative, curious and energetic in the summer so we end up learning a lot at that time.  In December and January our bodies and minds do need a break.  I am seeing the natural seasonal rhythms at work here.

We will try some history, science, math and handcrafts while we are stuck indoors, but mostly we are going to take a much-needed break to recharge and find our academic spark again.  I took the suggestions from a previous post and we are eating warm oatmeal for breakfast and turning on music during the day.  Hunter used to complain about music hurting his ears.  Yesterday we had music going for most of the day and it really helped our moods and energy.

It also helps to have extra lamps to work on rearranging and organizing the house.  This is what we’ve done with our living room.  I’m so happy the sun came out for the after picture.  Oh, that lovely sunshine makes my heart glad.

We donated the huge, dusty entertainment cabinet and most of the components.  The other big piece is a make-shift toy cabinet with toys anywhere but there.  Now it is in Hunter’s room with nothing in it.  The boys like to climb inside it.  We will probably re-purpose the wood from it soon.  My main goal in the living room is to have surfaces that are easier to clean and dust –with a woodstove we get plenty of dust!

Now we have fewer A/V components (hooray!).  I found the tall cabinet at a second-hand store for only $40.  It is a gun cabinet repurposed for media storage.  Kelly made the shelves and we both worked on staining them to match.  Kelly used wood stain that brought the grain and I used a light coating of wood-toned acrylic paints to darken the color.  Television and media access is a big compromise and I am warming up to educational videos.  It looks so real on the new TV.

While it is nice to go to a live performance, the close-ups are amazing with a good quality video.  Ooh la la, Cirque du Soleil in high-def is incredible.  We also have access to more music now through Pandora.  We can customize our preferences and create custom “radio stations.”  Yesterday, Kelly selected AD/DC and made a radio station that automatically plays similar music.  The same with holiday music.  I can’t wait to try my favorite song as a custom radio station.  And I wonder what is available for classical music…

Yesterday we also made these stars and trimmed our tree while listening to Christmas music. So fun.  At one point Chandler said, “No Christmas music. I want rock-n-roll so I can do my cool moves.”

I’ll be blogging during our academic break, I’m sure.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Editing to add:  Since we are using heavier scrapbook paper to make the stars (this shimmer paper), it works best to use a hole punch and then secure each section with two-prong brads (instead of hot glue or double sticky tape which did not work well for us).  Then punch the middle points and thread with a metallic ribbon to draw up the middle.  If you tie it just so, the ribbon is decorative enough by itself (no decorative button or chip board sticker needed).   One 12 x 12 makes one star when cut into 4 inch squares.  I think these are sturdy enough to last year after year if properly stored.   :)

6 comments on “Now a Winter Break

  1. tricia
    December 18, 2010

    What a beautiful make over. Now I’m considering a few things. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. pebblekeeper
    December 18, 2010

    Beautiful makeover! I had a sad heart when Hubby finally said he wanted the huge flat screen as well, but, even as I sit, it is off – we enjoy playing music on the Tv during the school day. :) Love the new arrangement! Happy Holidays~

  3. sasha
    December 18, 2010

    Were those ornaments hard to make? They look complicated!
    I agree about being relaxed over December, that’s what we do every year, too much stuff going on to focus on school. I do try to get a couple days in a week because if we take too long of a break Gavin has a very hard time getting back on track, way too much attitude!

  4. Wonder in the Woods
    December 18, 2010

    Thank you Tricia and Angie. :)

    Sasha, they are not hard to make. I posted with what works better for the heavier paper. As for school, we might have some attitude starting back, but he was not enjoying what we were doing anyway (reading and writing). He’s on track so I’m not worried about reading anymore. He’s one of those kids who would do well being unschooled…

  5. Dana
    December 21, 2010

    I LOVE your makeover! The livingroom looks so huge now. I also am resisting hubby getting a flat screen. The two walls it could go over would be where the tv is now, first thing you see when you walk in or over the fireplace. I would like to have a nice quiet room that is more for visiting and entertaining not having to have a tv in it. The older I get the less I want or need it seems. TV is one of the bigger items I find I don’t want that much anymore. We switched from dish with TVO to cable with on demand (cheaper rate). Well on demand doesn’t have the shows I watch so I really won’t schedule my time around tv so since I can’t record anymore guess I won’t be watching it anymore. I can’t stand it when we are doing things with family or friends and they leave early because something is on tv. I find that so rude! Sorry for the rant!

    • Wonder in the Woods
      December 21, 2010

      I agree! I don’t want TV to be the central activity in our home either or rush home to watch something. ugh I feel like I have the living room back in a way because now it is a seating area instead of a bowling alley for TV viewing. We’ll see how 2011 goes with media… I figure it takes two, ideally, to raise kids so I have to compromise. I sit and knit while they watch something. At least we are in the same room…and Kelly is good about turning it off to play games or do a handcraft or go outside (when it isn’t pouring down rain lol).

      Merry Christmas Dana!

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This entry was posted on December 18, 2010 by in Family, First Grade, Learning, Winter.

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