Five Ways to Beat Holiday Stress in Your Homeschool
December is a month filled with excitement and anticipation. All of a sudden, there are endless demands for our attention. Seasonal activities and added responsibilities can turn a joyful month into a month of stress if we’re not careful. This stress can easily pour over into our homeschools.
Here are five ways to beat stress this holiday season.
- Focus on Christ. It is so easy to get distracted during this busy time and almost forget why we celebrate Christmas. We all know that Jesus is the reason for the season, but do we live that out in our daily lives? Make a commitment to put Jesus first. Begin each homeschool day with prayer. Pray with your children and read scripture together. Jesus’ birth, as recorded in the Gospels, is a great place to begin.
- Embrace gratitude. If you don’t already keep a gratitude journal, now is the perfect time to start. Even writing down just a few things each day that you’re thankful for can really help to keep your mind focused more on your blessings than on your responsibilities. You can create a countdown to Christmas paper chain with your children. Have everyone write things that they’re thankful for on the strips of paper before you link them in the chain. Each day after you break off a link, read the blessings together, reflect on them, and thank the Lord.
- Let go of expectations. Be realistic about what can reasonably be accomplished this month. If there are more demands on your time, you cannot expect to get everything done that you did before you had those added demands. Don’t expect it of your kids either. It is fine to do less school work this month and pick up the slack later. That’s the beauty of homeschooling! Also, let go of the idea that you have to do “all the things.” You don’t have to attend every holiday function or do every traditional activity. Choose a few things that are meaningful to your family and let go of the rest. More is not better.
- Explore alternatives. Now is a great time to look at temporary substitutions for a demanding curriculum. Is there a video that explores a topic that you’re covering? Could you read a great picture book with your children instead of doing phonics drills? Or maybe you could spend time watching holiday movies together. If you feel you must do something academic, you could give your children a writing assignment based on the movies.
- Get creative. There are endless possibilities for holiday crafts and cooking projects. You can make gifts or Christmas cards. Bake and decorate cookies, create gingerbread houses, or cook your favorite holiday foods. Relax, spend time with your family, and enjoy doing something creative together.
December is a month like no other. Enjoy it! As you celebrate the birth of our Savior, let go of stress and embrace the holiday season with thankful a heart.
Heidi Kinney is a freelance writer and editor. Her background includes professional teaching in the area of mathematics, as well as writing and editing for several educational publishers. She has been homeschooling her children since 2007. She shares homeschool resources and lessons on her website, SharedLessons.org.