This post is for letter “P” in the 2016 ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.
Homeschooling with peace during December sounds a bit like an oxymoron doesn’t it? It is a challenge to balance everything in this month because we expect peace AND perfection and that doesn’t ever work out!
Do we have realistic expectations?
After homeschooling 4 kids over 20+ years, my motto is “Keep it Simple Sweetie” (or stupid depending on the day). The main thing is not to expect December to be a “normal” month. The kids are hyped up with excitement. Often there is travel or visitors involved and nothing about that is normal or conducive to homeschooling with peace. We add insane amounts of activity (shopping, crafting, baking, sewing, cleaning, church activities/practices etc) to already busy lives when all we really should do is focus on the essentials.
It’s hard to find peace amid the chaos of December.
But it is possible. After having surgery in early December for the last two years, I’ve learned that with some thought and planning December can be more much more peaceful.
Choosing to use time wisely is SO important in December. Don’t wait to make gifts until the week before Christmas! Don’t wait to decide what foods you will make for special meals! Plan it! Will you do traditional school subjects in December? We do because high school has so much work we must do at least 2 weeks in December. But we plan it and when it is done then we can focus on the fun things like making fudge (home ec right?).
On the flip side of purposefulness, please make sure that you are doing the things that you NEED to do! Let the extra stuff can slide and do the essentials. Figure out what those are and do that first. It will be different for everyone. We haven’t decorated as much for the last few years. We didn’t take cookies to friends on Christmas Eve. We love to those things but they aren’t the essentials. Last year with surgery in December I only had four essentials on my list for Christmas and by focusing on those we kept everything VERY simple.
All about Jesus
How much of your December chaos involves Jesus? My bet is very little. We complicate things so unnecessarily. The more I focus on Jesus with my children and in our family during December then the more peace filled our days become. Jesus really doesn’t care if my tree is decorated (in 2014 it wasn’t) or if I make new pjs for all my kids. He does care if I’m kind, loving and merciful to others and focus on celebrating WHY he was born.
Cultivate family culture
Do you remember much about what gifts were given to you as a child? I don’t. Maybe I’m odd. What I do remember is the time spent with family and the fun that we had together. Family traditions and special events are memorable than gifts. Make sure you cultivate a family culture at Christmas and don’t worry about the gifts. Maybe your homeschool tradition is that you take December off and focus on non-traditional subjects. Crafts, baking and volunteering are great things to do as a family that can be “school” on those non-traditional weeks in December and they make wonderful memories!
Ease up on the perfectionism
Seriously. I’m still telling myself this. Even after homeschooling for 20+ years it is important to remember NOTHING is going to go as planned and that’s ok. Usually it turns out better that way as long as I don’t let it ruin my attitude. Take a deep breath and just enjoy the ride instead of wanting it all perfect!
Homeschooling has always taught me just as much as it has taught my children and the lesson at Christmas is that peace comes through finding ways to simplify and focus on the BEST things in December.
Kim is a mom of 4, wife, lover of Jesus and sunshine. She blogs at Day to Day Adventures about children and gardens, reading and keeping memories. You will find lessons from day to day life from her as she shares about food, crafts, kids and family. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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