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Holidays Archives

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Home(schooling) for the holidays

Home(schooling) for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is almost here in the U.S., which means homeschooling may take on a different look in the coming weeks.

When our family was young, normal homeschooling routines went out the window. We hung on through Halloween, but Thanksgiving was a clear line of demarcation: We’d squeeze in family holiday traditions, performances, programs, and service work — and a lot of our usual learning routines and classes were squeezed out or not even scheduled. Why should homeschoolers worry less about schoolwork during the holidays and embrace the season? Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The Solution to Too Much Stuff at Christmas

An Answer For Our Constant Christmas Quandary

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. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog - Homegrown Riches: The Economic Challenges of Homeschooling

Homegrown Riches: The Economic Challenges of Homeschooling

Homeschooling is an economic challenge for many families, including mine. Sometimes it takes extra creativity to make it work. I’ve had to adjust my habits and expectations along the way. The two most important things for me have been crafting a realistic budget and being clear about our family’s priorities. Making homeschooling work is non-negotiable in our family, so we make adjustments in other areas. I’ve learned that courage and creativity can enable a sense of richness and abundance while keeping things economically balanced. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog - Homegrown Riches: The Economic Challenges of Homeschooling {Part 2}

Homegrown Riches: The Economic Challenges of Homeschooling {Part 2}

Holiday celebrations are important. Over the years we’ve focused mainly on simple, handmade, joy-filled ways of celebrating. Our crowd’s favorite kind of birthday party typically includes a special birthday snack, a gaggle of kids, and a fun place to run around. I encourage my children–and their friends–to give gifts of the heart: treasures from nature, homemade goodies, special handmade items, lovingly selected hand-me-downs, thoughtfully chosen items. We’ve stepped away from commercially prescribed traditions and created our own. We have consciously shaped many heartfelt traditions that we can replicate year after year even when the budget is meager. Continue reading »

Keep homeschooling new in the New Year with field trips, unit studies, and more

Keeping It New in the New Year

The reality is that when you homeschool, it can easily seem like an endless treadmill. Often there aren’t the same demarcations in the school year that public school students experience, as many homeschoolers follow non-traditional schedules and do academics year-round. Moving from one “grade” to another becomes an issue of “in which subject?” and summer “break” can simply be a matter of shifting academics from traditional book work to more experiential learning. Homeschooling, like parenting, never ends while the kids are still at home. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: New Year's Homeschool Interview

The New Year’s Interview

If there’s one thing the new year does for me, it’s remind me of how quickly time is passing.

You remember, when you were younger, how a year was an absolutely interminable amount of time? And then you grow up, and then you have kids. And then somewhere around the time your youngest gets to be the mostly-self-sufficient-age (5 or 6 ish), when you wake up from baby and toddler fog, you start wondering, “Where did the time go?” “How did my children get to be so old?” You find yourself saying things like, “How is it already the new year?” and “I feel like we just finished the summer. How is it time for snow again?” Continue reading »

Homeschooling... the son of God

Homeschooling the Son of God

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. Continue reading »

Christmas traditions: Our favorite - The GPPDAdvent calendar

Our Favorite Homeschooling Christmas Tradition

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 Continue reading »

Thank You, Homeschooling

Thank You, Homeschooling

There’s kind of a holiday about gratitude coming up, in case you haven’t noticed. You know that time when you give thanks for all of your blessings? Well, this whole home education list falls pretty close to the top of my gratitude list. The longer I do it, the more I love it, and the more I realize its value. Let’s be honest — homeschooling is a luxury very few people in this world can afford. Whether it is an issue of needing two incomes to make ends meet, single parents being the sole breadwinners, political opposition, or something else…home education is a phenomenal blessing for which each of us who are able to participate in it should be tremendously grateful. Continue reading »

Ready to Use Thanksgiving Downloads

Fun Thanksgiving Unit Studies for November

Well, it’s already into the first week of November, and I’m realizing that I am supposed to be doing something Thanksgiving-y with my kids. I mean, I even write for TheHomeSchoolMom on creative ways to celebrate the holiday with the family, fun Thanksgiving activities, and ways to express gratitude. You’d kind of think that I would have this whole Thanksgiving-focus-during-the-month-of-November thing down. But, here I am, already into November, and realizing I’m not prepared. Have no fear, Thanksgiving homeschooling procrastinators, all is not lost. Continue reading »

12 Ways to Love Your Homeschool Wife This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up. And, guys, even if you haven’t thought about it yet, it’s highly likely that your wife has. And that she’s anticipating something from you.

Especially if she’s a homeschooling wife.

Because, let’s face it, she doesn’t get a lot of accolades for what she does from anyone else. No “celebration of the 100th time you got Johnny back on task without losing your cool” or awards for “Homeschool Mom Most Able to Overcome Learning Obstacles All On Her Own”. Not even any team excellence award. Because — oh yeah. There is no team. Plus she has to deal with the “I can’t do this” chair flops, overflowing science projects, and baby poop — often at the same time. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Creating Calendars With Kids

Creating a Calendar with Children

A great project for the New Year is making a calendar with your little ones. I’m talking about making a calendar the old fashioned way, using fresh heavy art paper and your favorite combination of markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, or other media. I first got this idea from the Oak Meadow first grade curriculum, a Waldorf-inspired curriculum which I loosely followed from time to time and adapted for other ages as my family grew. Continue reading »

Homeschool Resolution

Homeschool Resolutions

The time just seems to pass by so quickly. And, lets face it, the year passes by quickly because each day passes by quickly. And isn’t that how it goes? Thinking about what we’ve got to do before we even do it, and then rushing to get it all done. So goes the day. So goes the month. So go the years. And when we look back, we wonder where the time went, and how we can get so much done and still wonder what, exactly, we’ve actually accomplished. This new year, I want to do it differently. I mean, just think about it. If somehow it all-of-a-sudden turned out to be our last moments in this world, and we had to reflect on what mattered to us to have accomplished in our lives, I doubt any of us would mention 90% of the things on our daily mental to-do list. Breakfast prep? Nope. Laundry starting? Nope. E-mail checking? Definite no. Of course many of those things do need to be done, so life can move forward. Yes, kids do need to eat. But what percentage of our time is spent doing the urgent rather than the important? And aren’t we homeschooling, at least on some level, in order to have more time for the important? Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: What to do about Christmas giving

What to Do About Christmas Giving

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. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: I Choose to Give Thanks

I Choose to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving doesn’t come for me, this year, as a natural flow out of living in a season of abundance. Instead, this time, it must be squeezed, drop by drop, out of a desert of loss. But the desert makes each drop so much more precious and worthwhile. And this year, I am so much more keenly focused on the source of that gratitude — my God, the giver of all blessings — rather than on the objects of my thanks. And while I certainly do not give thanks for everything, I am learning how to give thanks in everything. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Giving Thanks (When you least feel like it)

A New Perspective on Thanksgiving

How does anyone give thanks in seasons seemingly defined not by what has been enjoyed, but by what has been lost? It is a lesson we are learning this year. Probably the most important one of our entire homeschool. For us, Thanksgiving this year will, ironically, be sweeter. It will be deeper, it will have more meaning. In past years, giving thanks became routine, expected. It was a nice ritual to do with the kids, and a perfunctory process that I knew helped to stave off self-sufficiency and selfishness. Thankful for home, thankful for health, thankful for family… I could rattle off the list without much thought or emotion. Continue reading »

Easter Fun For The Kids

Easter Fun For the Kids

Spring bloomed early this year for us here in Virginia, and as soon as the air got warmer, the kids started asking, “Mom, when will Easter be here?” So begins the annual countdown until that day which, for us, celebrates the pinnacle of our faith – new life in the resurrection of Christ. And though there are plenty of faith-based activities we do to prepare for Easter, the holiday is also a lot of just plain fun for our family!
Continue reading »

Giving Up For Lent

Giving Up For Lent

It is the season of Lent, and for many Christians, it is a time for focusing on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, in preparation for Easter. There are many great ways to celebrate Lent as a family, including devotions and special activities. But one of the main focuses of Lent is “giving up” something – to deny oneself and make personal sacrifices as an effort toward spiritual renewal. While some people choose to give up things like sweets or television during the period of Lent, it occurs to me that this Lenten idea of “giving up” not only applies to the spiritual realm, but to the realm of homeschooling as well. Continue reading »

Did I Do Enough?

Did We Do Enough?

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? Continue reading »

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions, Part 2

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… Continue reading »