We have always struggled, like many homeschoolers, with the gift-giving part of Christmas. My husband comes from a huge gift-giving family. I come from a family in which money was always tight and gifts tended to be few but meaningful. We both have a faith that leads us to condemn unmitigated materialism, convicts us about our prosperity amongst a world of poverty, and challenges us to find a balance between the joy of giving and the selfishness of indulging.
Sometimes by the time Christmas approaches, I feel like I’ve squeezed out every possible ounce of meaning from the season.
We’ve done plenty of family traditions, like putting up the tree and making Christmas cookies. We’ve listened to Christmas carols and reveled in the peace of Silent Night and the reverence of O Holy Night. We’ve served together to raise money for the impoverished of the world. We’ve talked about the importance of giving, and gone out to purchase gifts for family members. We’ve lit our Advent candles each Sunday of Advent, put up our Jesse tree ornaments, and done a unit study on God’s plan for Christmas from the beginning of time.
We’re homeschoolers after all, ya know. And doing kind of comes with the territory.
It’s like fall comes and then… Boom! You’re getting ready for Christmas. Now, I’m certain that many of you homeschoolers out there already have your December homeschool-worthy Christmas plans in the works before Thanksgiving rolls around, and, well…yay for you. Me? The thought of Christmas plans doesn’t usually seriously cross my mind until the turkey […]
It hadn’t even turned December when we were already starting to hide the Christmas boxes from the girls. The niggling question pricks every year at the same time: What do we do about Christmas giving? As irony works, I sifted through the most recent wave of gifts arrived via mail right after coming home from set-up efforts for the weekend Christmas Fair to raise money for impoverished orphans in India. Sometimes it’s those ironies of life that wake us up and allow us to see in a new way.
It’s just a few days before Christmas, and almost all of the gifts are purchased. The goodies have been made, the halls have been decked, and we wait in expectation for “the big day”. Yet in spite of all of the conscientious preparations, it seems that the same question arises every year: Did we do enough?
When you think back to Christmases as a child, most likely the things of which you have the fondest memories are those special traditions your family experienced together. Having special routines that you do year after year helps children develop an excited expectation for the holiday to come, and builds family unity and bonding. “Home for Christmas” can be a lot more than just physical location – Christmas traditions can be the glue that makes people feel like they’re home…
As soon as Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas excitement begins! The whole month of December is an amazing opportunity to establish family traditions – rituals that ground children in their roots and help them to create meaning and a sense of belonging. Family traditions help to mark shared experiences, encourage intimacy and connection, and help children to identify in a positive way with their families. Consider, for example, the tradition of the family meal…
In a homeschooler’s home is where you want to be in December! This month provides so many opportunities for creative, fun learning as families help children prepare for Christmas. But even for home educators, who generally seek to incorporate education into every aspect of life, it’s easy to let December come and go in a blur of decorations, parties, gift buying and seasonal events. Don’t let it happen to you!
During the month of December, there’s no better place to be than in the house of a home educator! This month provides so many opportunities for creative, fun learning as families help children prepare for Christmas. Arts and crafts, special recipes, decorating, singing… it’s worth taking a bit of a break from the academic rigor maintained through most of the year in order to enjoy some special Christmas-related activities as a family. To get the most out of the holiday, why not try a special study to prepare for Christmas? Christmas lapbooks, Advent devotionals, unit studies – the possibilities are endless! Check out some of these wonderful options for homeschooling in December…
I was struck by the marketing comprehension exhibited in my children’s play. I hoped it would inoculate them against Madison Avenue, relieving them of the false pressure to buy, collect, and throw away massive quantities of “stuff” in order to feel good about themselves and their lives.
“What do you want for Christmas?” It’s probably the line most often quoted this time of year, following “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. Santa asks it, parents ponder it, and even passersby on the street use it as a greeting line for children. But is it the question homeschoolers really want to ask? Just like home educators seek to teach their children academic subjects, many also seek to inculcate something even more important – character. And this time of year is the perfect time to focus on the character quality of giving to others.
“What do we get them this year?” It’s a question that goes through the minds of many a parent at Christmastime. The enigma of gift giving for children becomes even more challenging for homeschoolers who wish to bequeath presents that will be useful and worthwhile even once the Christmas glow has dimmed. And while that new English curriculum might be what a homeschooling mother would enjoy seeing under the tree, her children might not be quite so excited. So what’s a conscientious homeschooling parent to do? Where do homeschoolers go to find gifts that are educational in nature, but that children will also enjoy?
The ubiquitous Christmas symbols are out in force – holly wreaths, festive Christmas trees, eggnog, and of course good ol’ Santa himself. But many homeschoolers seek to move beyond the cultural harbingers of the season to focus on the birth of the Christ child; to celebrate God coming to earth. One of the most meaningful ways to help the family emphasize the true meaning of Christmas is through creating a Jesse Tree. This wonderful tradition not only centers the significance of the holiday around Christ, but it serves as an advent calendar as well, marking each passing day to count down until Christmas.
As holiday decorations come out and the tree or menorah take center stage, children can become increasingly distracted, sidetracked, and fidgety in anticipation of upcoming seasonal celebrations.
Homeschooling doesn’t need to fall by the wayside during December! The holidays can be a great time to assign writing activities that focus on the festivities, allowing children to immerse themselves in the fun while encouraging productivity. This month, have your kids write a paragraph describing a holiday-themed process where they explain, in a step-by-step manner, how something is done.
If there’s ever a time to put aside the books and break out the project supplies with the kids, it’s Christmas! With all of the emphasis on baking, making crafts, decorating, learning the history of Christ’s birth, and establishing family traditions, Christmas for homeschoolers is like sitting down to a buffet of children’s enrichment. Even if you homeschool with academics throughout the month of December, be sure to save some time in the day for some special family projects that will bring the family together and make the season meaningful for your children!
Do you struggle with shopping for gifts each year during the holiday season? Is it more stressful than joyful? Would you like that to change? Then take a few minutes to consider a new approach to your gift-giving and find yourself putting the happy back in your Happy Holidays!
With the holidays right around the corner, we often hear the familiar refrains of our favorite Christmas carols and seasonal music. But too many of us tend to sing different words to the familiar tune of Jingle Bells: Dashing to the mall, In a light blue mini-van, Stashing all our loot, Behind the garbage can. […]