This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Happiest Season of All

Our house is decorated with lights around my bushes across my house and a lit wreath on the front door and lit garland around the front porch posts. I have lit angels in each window instead of the typical candles and my new fiber optic tree is up with a few wrapped presents underneath. And to top everything, I have my historical Christmas village set up on display. Can you tell how much I love Christmas?

Some companies in Charlotte got together and donated a little outdoor ice rink to our city. This made it possible for us to take our daughter and she got to experience her first outdoor ice rink. It was wonderful! We loved it! She's begging to go back. So we promised we would try and take her back one more time before Christmas. We also took her to see McAddenville, a town that traditionally decorates for Christmas each year with over 200 houses participating. We've already started our Christmas movie frenzy.

And then the school sends home my daughter's first research paper due on December 19th! I'm trying to be good about this, really I am, but why couldn't they do this in January or February? Are they purposely trying to ruin Christmas? (My mother works for one of the school systems in a different county and called to tell me that one NC county school system has declared that there will be no celebration of Christmas whatsoever, not even "Happy Holidays" will be allowed.) So far the other counties in NC have not gone that far and I pray that they do not.

My daughter is only in the third grade and each night she has over 3 1/2 hours of homework. The kid never gets a break except on weekends. Now three weeks before Christmas, I feel like the school has taken away that as well. The next three weekends are already packed full of events spending time with family out of town, Girl Scout activities, church activities. I don't know how we are going to squeeze in this research paper. It isn't like she'll have time during the week with her regular schedule of homework.

My daughter has some delayed development from her seizure history and has an IEP (Individual Education Plan), along with speech therapy, and occupational therapy. It takes her twice as long to complete her assignments compared to other children her age. Therefore, everything they give her is modified. However, her curiculum still seems a bit tough. For instance, this week her vocabulary (reading) words are omnivorous, nocturnal, observant, pheromone, and theoretically. Is that not pushing it for third graders, especially one with special needs who "theorethically" has an IEP?

The first thing my husband said is, "You're the writer. This is right up your alley." Yes, I am a writer, at least I would like to think so, but this is supposed to be her report. Celina still struggles to write sentences, much less paragraphs that complete whole pages. She also has to get up in front of the class and give a presentation on her report. I don't remember doing this in the third grade. It seems like I was much older--like fifth grade.

I'm beginning to wonder if the schools aren't the ones pressuring our kids so much that they turn to alternative things. And they wonder why the high school drop out rate is increasing in our state? They wonder why kids are depressed, obese, and stressed? I can think of lots of reasons. At least my daughter has the support of my husband and I, and we teach her about a loving God who will help her through this. I can't help but wonder about all the children whose parents are not as active in their academic life and do not have a loving Saviour to turn to?

Somehow I know we will find a way to fit this research paper into our already busy Christmas schedule. Things will work out. After all, I keep reminding myself, this is supposed to be the "Happiest Season of All."

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Hi Jennifer,
I am amazed at the demands on your 3rd grader. And, I do understand. Christmas is fast becoming the most hostile season in our country. It makes me so sad. I'm thrilled to hear Celina finally got to go ice skating:-) What a wonderful, perfect thing to do.
Please remember that she is only in 3rd grade and no one can expect college level. Let yourself and your daughter just experience having a ball finding out about something fun. Kids love to research dolphins, dinosaurs, stars, etc. I think if you turn it into a fun adventure of discovery that you'll both relax and enjoy it instead of become overwhelmed by it. Did you know that Dr. D. James Kennedy has a bunch of talks about how the stars tell the story of Jesus birth? Could be fun and Christmasy.


Thanks so much. As always, your insight is greatly appreciated. Today I had a meeting with Celina's teacher and succeeded in getting an extension, as well as a reduction in the page count. They were planning several pages in a booklet format. We don't have as much freedom to choose a topic as I would like. It has to be about an animal that lives in the city. We've chosen squirrels.