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Typically, at our house, "holidays" and "enjoyment" are near oxymorons. Finding a way to keep some form of routine during this period is neigh torture. This week, Mad Natter starts a skills development program for hockey. This lasts six weeks. So, once the schedule gets to be routine, it changes again because the program stops. Now, this year, we're not travelling until Christmas, but ordinarily, we'd be heading to Chicagoland from Mooselandia for American Thanksgiving. And this year, it's our Christmas in Chicago, as well. So we'd be travelling for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, holiday set-up and tear-down, then New Year's... There's so much change, so much commotion, and a boy who stresses with even slight changes? The whole season is a wreck.
Now, as if that's not enough commotion... This year, Mad Natter takes up hockey. So, our school schedule was already screwy from having the sudden arrival of practices on Saturday and Sunday mornings (both days before Mad Natter would usually even be out of bed!), then once that's settled, we have the arrival of the skills workshops, then at the end of the month will be a scrimmage at the local OHL team's game, then the schedule changes again - practice on Saturday, and games at variable times on each Sunday.
So what do you do? What can you do, if the very nature of the season throws your kiddo into a tailspin - and not just any tailspin, but the kind that doubles up each day things are crazy? In our house? I try to reduce the changes. So, effective Hallowe'en? School's out. I refuse to run school on Candy Day itself, there's just too much craziness. Then the whole week following is a loss in a sugar-induced high-low fest of epic proportions, and then there's on-again, off-again with the holidays... So, I put our large year break in winter - where we can ease at least some of the stress on Mad Natter before we hit the year fresh in 2014. I have to remind grandparents and Skeeve that a) we've already accomplished a half year of schooling (minimum) since mid-August, and b) it's not like he's going to be behind - ever.
What this means in the big picture, though, is that we're able to have relatively low-key holidays, vaguely stress-free (or at least manageable stress levels), and I get to take the low-key time to have read alouds with Mad Natter, going over things like fairy tales, or cultural stories - things we all know, but don't remember where or when we learned them... Cinderella, or Jack Spratt. It means school is much less formal, and instead we have a lot of stealthy schooling, and honestly? It keeps all of us saner over the crazy-making time that is any holiday, but particularly the cluster of fall and winter holidays.