Homeschooling, holidays, and stress?!?!?

With the month of December, already here—can you believe it?  Time surely does fly! It usually brings with it lots of activities, extra events to attend, and more need for time to do “fun” things.  How is it we can still get all of our homeschooling work done without being so stressed out trying to enjoy the Christmas season?

My advice, and I am only a Mom who has been homeschooling for the last 15 years, would be to RELAX!

When we first started homeschooling, I felt that we needed to be consistently doing work just as the public school system had taught us.  Later did I realize how much wasted time was spent doing frivolous things in public school.  I realized how much we could actually get done in one day’s time without all the extras and that led to more free time.  We used to take time off just as the public school system did and that worked fine.  But I had found that when I wanted to get those “extra” family traditions and activities in that I saw all the other homeschooling families doing, it was more stress for my life—and it wasn’t worth it–in my eyes.  If you can’t enjoy something and your children are seeing you stress out about trying to get things done, that is all they will remember from it.

Then, some years would come and we would have so much to do, that we would take off the entire month of December and just enjoy doing all those family activities. Guess what? My children still completed all of their schooling requirements that year—-without stress:)  Plus we got to enjoy making some great family memories.

Now, we have many children and I realize the importance of having somewhat of a schedule in our home so I plan for our school work to be “light” this month.  We stick to the basics and cut back on all the “extras.” This makes for a month of more freedom.

We then take this month and enjoy doing extra fun things that we don’t normally get to do.  This includes:

  • baking Christmas cookies and inviting friends over to decorate
  • making snowflakes and other paper crafts to hang in our home–coffee filters work great for snowflakes–already round and inexpensive
  • making salt dough ornaments for gifts
  • watching Christmas movies together
  • having a special dinner that we look forward to each year
  • making homemade gift cards
  • wrapping gifts together
  • read a christmas story each night to your children–think short
  • learn about some Christmas traditions from around the world and how they came about to us in America

Building life skills, I have found is just as important as cultivating academic skills in our children.  Making holiday memories and having family traditions is a memorable part of our children’s childhood.

Remember in all things be FLEXIBLE.  There were many years that sickness struck our family, financial problems occurred, and life just happened.  I couldn’t do anything about the physical situation we were going through but I had a much to do with how we all responded.  If you are sick–you stay home and watch movies together, if you are broke—you find free and inexpensive craft ideas to do together.  There are many ways to cultivate a love for family in your children’s hearts by just relaxing and being flexible to things around.  It is okay if you don’t get that same holiday photo around the tree, or if you can’t make it to Aunt Ruth’s home for dinner, or you couldn’t make the 14 different kinds of cookies for your family and you settled on a store bought package.  Leave the stresses behind and just BE in the moment and enjoy.

4 responses to “Homeschooling, holidays, and stress?!?!?

  1. Hi Amy, thanks for sharing about Christmas. Here, 3 weeks until Christmas holidays and after all the negatievs events this last weeks in France, I look foward to take this so special time to spend time, enjoy my children. This year is very special for me, I feel myself so closed to God and I want to share this relationship with my children. Can you give me an advice to share my faith, to bring my children to God, I am so shy when I have to talk about Jesus. I love the idea of cooking with children and why not sharing with others. thank you Amy, be all blessed.

    • Vanessa, I know I struggled for years watching people share their faith in Jesus and I thought to myself, “how can I do that?” The Lord showed me how important it was to just love. Love unconditionally, serve, show others how Jesus would do things, without being judgmental or feeling like you have to say something scriptural. When I just learned to love people like Jesus would, my heart changed and I had no need to “speak” about Jesus, I just did. Then when people want to hear and are ready, they will ask you why you do what you do…..then you can reply because you have the peace and joy of Jesus in your heart. Spend time together, create memories, do things one on one. Don’t worry about being so religious or feeling like you have to do certain things, just being together—-the most important. I am blessed by you Vanessa!

  2. Amy,
    I just wanted to let you know your blog is a great help to me. I have 5 kids with 1 on the way and lately I have felt like things have gotten chaotic. I have been trying to get back on schedule and organize our lives again. Your tips are wonderful especially about Christmas. You are helping me get back on track: )

    • Kristy, that is a true blessing to me. Sometimes when I think to myself, oh should I continue doing this….I get a comment like yours. Then I know how important encouraging one another is. Sharing what works and what hasn’t worked for me, helps someone else not make as many mistakes as I have. Having large families or small for that matter is work. Sometimes it can get overwhelming, I remember it very much. If only I knew about the whole blogging world out there back then, I probably would have saved myself much depression and overwhelmingness. Be blessed and thank you for the encouragement to me:)

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