The Christmas season is busy. The parties, the church functions, the plays, the choirs, the shopping, the lights, the baking, and the list goes on and on. It all throws off homeschooling. Some of us forgo trying to homeschool at all, some of us do “light” schooling, and a few brave souls march on plodding away at lessons up until Christmas Eve.
Many of us end up on Christmas Eve reflecting on the craziness of the season and wondering if we really pointed our children to Jesus at all in the midst of all the seasonal distractions.
What happened to having a season of rest and reflection?
This is where adding Charlotte Mason inspired Advent traditions into our December, wether we holiday school or keep on going full force, helps add back some of that quiet and lovely time into our homes.
As Charlotte Mason herself said,
Life, in any real sense, is the knowledge of God now; and, without that knowledge, there cannot be the free and joyous activity of our powers, the glow of our feelings, the happy living, free from care, the open eye for all beauty, the open heart for all goodness, the responsive mind, the tender heart, the aspiring soul––which go to make up fullness of life.
That is our ultimate goal through the Advent season and always, to help our children come into the knowledge of God so that the Holy Spirit can do the rest. The truth and beauty we hope for our children to experience flow from that same fount.
Create an Atmosphere of Reflection
Consider the things you strew through your home for the Christmas season.
Are there beautiful books or pictures of Advent themed art? Are there story books of brave and incredible stories that inspire reflection and reverence? Are there activities to engage the hands, opportunities created to show generosity, and thought given to serving others?
We don't often think of our decorating as a tradition, but it is. Intentionally including elements that are both educational and lovely allows us to encourage our children's hearts to consider and ponder the things they are reminded of visually.
What can you incorporate, and also what can you eliminate, to make your holiday season focus more on the sacred than the secular?
Traditions to Consider for Your Family
Charlotte Mason's philosophy allows for gentle learning. There are many traditions you can consider that fall inline with the beauty of a Charlotte Mason inspired advent.
- Make art study part of your holiday celebration. There is a trove of incredible artwork drawn from the Nativity and the life of Christ.
- Add carols and hymns into your day-to-day tasks. Teach your children the ones you remember and help them to cultivate the art of making a joyful noise. Choose specific selections to accompany your holiday routine like Deck the Halls while trimming the Christmas tree and continue it each year.
- Poetry is meant to be enjoyed, not necessarily dissected. Many of the classic carols you know by heart began as simple poems. A favorite Christmas reading that is a staple for poetry enjoyment is Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (affiliate link) by Robert Frost.
- Choose family read-alouds from living books about Christmas.
- Practice being generous with each other, then move on to larger ways to be generous with others. Remember generosity is not about money, rather it is using what we have, be it in the form of time, talent, prayer, or money, to bless others.
- Make an Advent wreath and devotions part of your yearly celebration to encourage the habit of regular devotions in your family.
However you incorporate the beauty of Advent into your home and homeschool, remember to enjoy this season alongside your family and not to allow the busyness of the holidays to whisk you away.
If a season of rest and renewal is what you are searching for, join us for A Gentle Advent.
Lara is a homeschool mentor, speaker, and writer at EverydayGracesHomeschool.com where she helps homeschool moms like you cultivate homes filled with learning, love, and life. You can also catch her on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.