This post is for letter “O” in the 2016 ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.
Now that the Christmas season is here, busy moms are feeling the pressure to “keep up” or “not get behind” in school, while at the same time, creating a fabulous holiday to remember. Basically, we’re trying to be the Best Mom Ever!
We want the holiday season to be special, and peaceful, and memorable, and fun. But gosh! How is that going to happen? So many years we have the best intentions and then the season just flies by. Shopping for gifts, math lessons, Christmas plays, parties, reading assignments, added family visits— they don’t mix well! We either end up losing sleep, losing money, or ditching the schoolwork and feeling guilty later.
So what if we found a balance?
It IS possible to organize your homeschool and your life for the Christmas season.
It IS possible to have a peaceful, blessed holiday with your family while not giving up school entirely.
Here are my top tips for an Organized Homeschool at Christmas:
1.PRAY. There is no request too big or too small to bring to our Heavenly Father, including your homeschool during the Christmas season. Ask for wisdom, discretion, and inspiration for celebrating the season of His son's birth.
2.PLAN. Even though we’re into December, sit down right now and write out your thoughts. All those scattered ideas about gifts, parties, lesson plans… write them all down and get them onto one sheet of paper. Then you can organize them by priority. Having a list is key to getting the ball rolling, no matter how late in the game you are starting. When I have a disorganized list of thoughts on paper, it still clears my mind and motivates me to take the next step. Don’t let the possibilities overwhelm you!
3.CUT BACK ON LESSONS. As homeschoolers, we have some flexibility in our calendar, and December is a good time to take advantage of that. Whether you cancel school for the month, or cut back to the core subjects like math and grammar, a temporary school re-vamp is a blessing! Do you have children learning vital math facts? Have them practice drills each morning. Do you have a beginning reader? Make sure they do a reading lesson daily. In under an hour each morning, you can keep your children on track with those easy-to-forget lessons that might suffer from a month-long break.
4.STUDY CHRISTMAS. If you can’t let go of school, but you want to focus on celebrating the season, consider a unit study or scripture focus. One year, my daughter made a banner with drawings of the Christmas story in Luke 2, sort of comic-book style. It was on butcher paper and featured illustrated scenes from each verse. (I don’t have a photo because this was pre-camera-phone days!) But I have rounded up some great ideas on my Pinterest Board. Keep a stack of fun Christmas books in a basket in the family room for storytime or bedtime reading. Learn a new Christmas carol as a family.
5.MEAL PREP. Families insist on eating meals even in the busiest of times (weird, huh?). If you’re a menu planner, you’ve got this down. If you’re not, this is a great time to implement it. Consider slow-cooker meals for the days you will be busy crafting, learning, or shopping. Purchase a frozen meal or two as your back-up for unplanned busyness. Opt for easy meals like grilled cheese sandwiches or quick subs (with paper plates) so you can focus on the fun activities.
6.LET CHRISTMAS PROVIDE YOUR ARTS AND CRAFTS. If you’re making gifts, cards, cookies, or other fun things, you don’t need additional activities. Work together to make gifts or ornaments. Wrap presents as a family with Christmas music in the background. Bake cookies and treats together for a cooking lesson. Visit my Christmas Fun Pinterest Board for tons of ideas!
I believe that homeschooling is doable in every season of life — including the busy holiday season! With a few of these tips under your belt, you’ll find that each day is filled with fun Christmas activities, plenty of family time, and the necessary learning that children need. This is truly the most wonderful time of the year, and with some deliberate decision-making, you won’t have to look back on January 2 and ask “what just happened here???”
So, what are your best tips for homeschooling through the Christmas season?
Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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