Give Yourself Grace
Before you do anything else, take a deep breath, let it all out, and give yourself some grace!
The holidays are hard for everyone! You don’t have to look far to see somebody who feels stressed to the max.
Homeschooling is hard. And it’s even more difficult when you add all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays to it.
Christmas parties, Christmas programs, cookie exchanges, caroling, get-togethers at everyone’s house, not to mention cherished family traditions and memories.
If you take one look at that list, you’re bound to feel stressed out. And stress gives birth to guilt and guilt doesn’t accomplish anything.
So right now, before we talk about anything else, I’m giving you permission to give yourself grace!
You Can Make Up the Time You Take Off
It sounds simple enough, but really, you can make it up! Sometimes I forget that small, little fact! My husband is always telling me not to pressure myself so much. That’s the beauty of homeschooling!
Personally I prefer to gain some extra ground in advance so that we can relax while taking time off.
If I know that an event or holiday is coming, then the kids and I work really hard and double up on work. Sometimes we start school an hour early and other times we will extend it a little later into the day.
Or you could consider doing school on a Saturday a couple of different weekends.
If you prefer to make the time up after you have taken it off, that’s fine too. But it can be more stressful knowing that you are behind and need to catch up.
Whichever route you take, remember that you can always find time to make up what you lost during the holidays.
Your Kids Are Only Little Once
Time really does go fast, and your kids won’t be little forever. The holidays are a great time to take advantage of being together and relishing the innocence of childhood a little longer.
Don’t feel like you have to stress yourself out over your homeschool schedule through the holidays. Instead, try to remember that kids are part of what makes the holidays fun.
Spending time together is so important and is what creates the memories. If you’re too focused on your homeschool schedule, you may pass up chances to connect with your kids.
Flexibility is One of the Reasons We Homeschool
I love the fact that as homeschooling moms, we can bend and flex with whatever interrupts our schedule. And since the holidays are such an important time for creating family memories, then flexibility is the icing on the cake.
Undoubtedly, you will have a different schedule during the holidays than you would any other time of the year. There’s just more hustle and bustle and that’s not a bad thing.
Just think about it for a minute, if your kids were in public school, you wouldn’t have the flexibility of taking a morning to bake cookies with them during a surprise snow storm, or snuggling in with some hot cider and listening to some really good audio dramas.
It’s flexibility that makes homeschooling so awesome!
Hold to Your Routine Loosely
I am a firm believer that you need a homeschool routine, and that having one is very important. If I’m not careful to schedule school time, then surely other things will get in the way.
But, that’s for the other 99% of the time I’m homeschooling.
The holidays are are such a short time during the year and it’s okay to deviate from ‘the plan’ once in awhile. If you’re too focused on school, and carrying out your homeschool schedule, then you might miss opportunities to connect with your kids over the holidays.
Don’t worry so much about your homeschool schedule that you miss out on all the fun!
Holidays Are a Great Time to Teach
As believers, the holidays are the pinnacle of our faith. We celebrate Thanksgiving to remind ourselves of God’s goodness to us, and ultimately, the greatest gift He has ever offered us, His son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16.)
We have so much to be thankful for and we have the opportunity to teach our kids.
There’s no greater opportunity to teach our kids about God’s precious gift then Christmas!
Throughout the school year, you’re busy teaching your kids all of the necessary things they need to know about academics. But the holidays are one of the greatest times to teach your kids about your faith in God.
A Time For Service
There are so many opportunities to teach your kids how to serve, which is a great life skill.
Our family has found great joy in choosing something special to do to bless the people in our church each holiday season. One year we made fudge together with the kids and wrapped it up in tin and pretty plastic wrap and distributed it to all of our church members.
Another year we baked homemade bread and strawberry jam and asked the kids who they wanted to bring it to. We spent an entire day visiting people in our church and blessing them with homemade bread and jam.
We’ve also looked for opportunities to serve families by inviting them into our home. We love having people over and practicing hospitality.
If you get creative, there are so many ways that you can teach your kids to serve. It’s a pretty special way of learning and well worth deviating from your regular homeschool plans.
Teach your kids to have a ‘heart’ for service. It will far outweigh any academics you can ever teach them.
The Three “R’s”
My friend Lisa, at Graceful Abandon taught me that sometimes all that is important is to whittle your homeschool schedule down to the ‘Three R’s.’ Reading, Writing and (a)Rithmetic.
If you have a hard time letting go of your home school schedule (and believe me I can appreciate that it isn’t an easy thing) then you might feel better just making sure you get the ‘Three R’s’ in.
You’ll free up time in your schedule while still feeling like you’ve accomplished something ‘schoolish.’ (That really is a word, I checked!)
If you let go of all of the other electives, you give your kids a chance to be kids and enjoy the holidays while still doing school.
Make it Count
Be intentional about the time you take off.
It’s okay to have a lazy day once in awhile where nothing gets accomplished, but I feel much more fulfilled, (and I’m sure the kids do as well,) when we actually do something special with our time.
It’s much easier for me to take a day off of school if we are going to do something lasting and memory-making.
The holidays are a great time to celebrate family traditions or slow your pace down a little bit and spend time with your kids doing things you might not otherwise. Kids love it when you take the time to play a game or bake something special or simply just spend time with them.
Make Time for the Most Important Things
I’d encourage you to identify what things are important to you as a family. When you look back on your holiday traditions, what do you want to remember?
For example, every year at Christmas, my grandma made a birthday cake for Jesus and we celebrated him! That was truly the most important thing.
Even though you might not be sticking closely to your homeschool schedule, please remember that it’s ok to make time for the most important things.
(And you may find many ‘important’ things you want to make time for.)
You Will Get Through It
If you were sitting here with me right now, I would reach out and give you a great big hug and with a smile I would say, ‘My friend, you will get through it!’
I know that homeschooling through the holidays can seem super overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you switch your mindset just a little bit.
Relax, enjoy, and remember that in just a short time, you will be back to your normal homeschool routine. So today? Pause and tickle your toddler, chat with your tween, or have coffee with your almost-adult. OR, how about considering taking the rest of the day off of school and reading some Christmas stories together?!