Monday, December 05, 2011

Christmas letters and homeschool progress

One of our family traditions is an annual Cate Christmas letter. We tend to be a bit obsessive about it. Year after year Janine and I spend anywhere from forty to eighty hours. It is a major production.

Part of why we invest so much time into each letter is because we are writing for two audiences. The first audience is our family and friends that we are staying in touch with. But the second audience is the next couple generations. Around the time that the first set of grandchildren start to read, we’ll gather up thirty to forty years worth of these Christmas letters and bind them into a book. Our hope is the grandchildren and beyond will enjoy the letters. We want them to have some idea on just what it was like in the Cate household around the turn of the century.

Another facet of this Christmas letter tradition is we reread the old letters. Around Thanksgiving we start from 1992, when we got married. Every day before breakfast we read another year. Our children love it when we start reading about them. It is great to remember the good times and the changes. It is also a bit hard to be reminded about the passing of loved ones.

We have just started working on the 2011 Christmas letter. I have been rereading journal entries for the last eleven months and updating our address list. While it is a ton of work, but I am sticking to it because I will be very happy once the letter is down.

Doing all this work focused on Christmas letter I’ve been struck by the progress we are seeing in our children. While reading the letters this last week I’ve been reminded of all the books our daughters have read. The children themselves have reminisced on the good times we had traveling.  Way more important is that I am pleased to notice our children are turning out to be wonderful people.  They aren't perfect, but they are pretty good.  They work hard; they are self directed.  They are kind to each other most of the time.  They have good hearts and are trying to follow the Lord.

Our Christmas letters help me to see the growth in our children and remind me that I am so glad we homeschool.


Fatcat said...

That's a wonderful thing you're doing. I'm going to have to rely on my blog, I guess. :-)

Henry Cate said...

We might be done with our Christmas letter! Our process is I gather the data and do a first draft on the letter, then Janine plays with it and works on it and cleans it up. Last night Janine said she thought she was done. We'll work on it a bit more and then probably start mailing it out Monday!!!