The Homeschool Minute ~ Diana Waring

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Diana Waring



Take the Stress out of Christmas  

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Relational Homeschooling    

Diana Waring

Dear Friends,

Before we talk about how to de-stress, may I offer you some Christmas shopping cheer? Exclusively for readers of THM, we are offering FREE SHIPPING (media mail) on U.S. orders now through Christmas Eve, 2013, on all products at When ordering, simply write “THM Christmas Gift” in the comments field, and as we process your order, we will deduct the price of shipping!

Now, on to today’s topic. You already know the basics:

  • Don’t overspend.
  • Don’t overeat.
  • Don’t overdo!

But when we focus on what we should NOT do, what normally happens? That’s right; it begins to consume our thoughts–much like being told not to think about pink elephants!

So, let’s turn the microscope the other direction and consider, in the de-stress-Christmas-mood, what we CAN do. Here are some steps that may allow you to take charge of this wild and wonderful season.

First, make a list of your top three most enjoyable things to do at Christmas. Then, ask your spouse and each of your children what are the three things they most love to do at Christmas.

To give you a flavor of what I mean, here are my top three:

  • Hike around a tree farm in search of the perfect tree (preferably with snow on the ground).

  • Go Christmas caroling, particularly with singers who can sing 3- or 4-part harmonies.
  • Make Christmas cookies and/or miniature gingerbread houses to give to neighbors and friends.

Now, look at the list you and your family have created. Are there any overlapping ideas–like making cookies and giving homemade gifts? If your family is large or if the ideas listed take a lot of preparation, the list may seem overwhelming, so in a family meeting, trim it down to size.

I suggest writing each one out on a chalkboard or easel pad. Then, with everyone happily sipping hot chocolate or spiced apple cider, talk about each person’s number one choice. No criticism allowed!! If the little one’s favorite thing to do for Christmas is play Candy Land, then no grumbling. If the teen’s favorite thing to do is build a snowball fort for snowball wars, then no grumbling. If your favorite thing to do is watch White Christmas (one of my must-dos!), then no grumbling.

Depending on the size of your family and the energy required to do these things, you can choose how many ideas are chosen–one, two or three per person.

This list is now a potential GOLDMINE for you! Mine it for the treasures contained within, treasures of laughter and delight for your family. And let this list guide your choices over the Christmas season. If you all have chosen your favorites, and a particular tradition or ritual is not included, maybe it’s time to let that one go. Lighten these days with delight, dear friends.

I have to say this. Plodding through school at this point is accomplishing very little. You might want to consider taking three or four weeks off from formal school–at the very least, two–and do life. It is probably the number one de-stressor for you and the number one joy-generator for your kids.

As wise people have long noted, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. And if you do what your family loves this Christmas, precious memories will wrap themselves around your children’s hearts with bright ribbons of laughter and joy.

Remember, stay relational.


Sponsor Article

Loving God with All Our Mind 

By Dee Jones

Fall–another school year is beginning and where are our thoughts? We find ourselves thinking non-stop about curriculum choices, lesson planning, schedules, meals, and much more. It is so easy to let our minds run to overwhelming responsibilities and to-do lists.

Preparing to homeschool our children takes time, energy, and planning, which are good things, but too much of this can cause discouragement and stress. When difficult moments arise, we are given the opportunity to exercise our faith and refocus our thoughts towards God.

Here are three steps to help refocus:

    1. Recognize the negative thoughts.
      We must recognize when our thinking is stinking. Our thoughts stink when they do not align with God’s word and are contrary to His nature. When this happens we must be quick to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
    1. Talk to yourself.
      C.J. Mahaney points out in his book Humility, “Christians spend way too much time listening to themselves instead of speaking to themselves.”Too often we listen to the voice in our head say, “I do not have time for this. I will never get it done. I am a failure!” Sound familiar? Instead we need to speak words of truth to ourselves, “It is God who works in me to will and to act according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). I will accomplish in this day what He has called me to do. I will do all things for and to His glory.”Speak truth to yourself and do not be pulled down by the lies of the enemy.
  1. Spend time alone with God.
    Nothing helps us refocus our minds more than time alone with God. For us moms this time can be hard to find! We have many demands in a day, especially when our children are small. Each day is filled with instructing, explaining, correcting, and comforting so we need to be filled by the Lord to pour into our families.Try to give yourself a few minutes each day. Sit at the feet of your Savior, renew your mind (Romans 12:2) with scripture, be still and listen.
Loving God with our minds takes time and discipline, but for everything He calls us to, He equips us for. God Bless.

Mardel Homeschool


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We have a surprise for you on Everyday Copywork that will help you take some stress out of Christmas. We invite you to pull up a chair and enjoy poems by Janice D. Green, author of The First Christmas Bible storybook and owner of Honeycomb Adventures Press, LLC. Relax and ponder the Christmas story in a special way as Janice retells it in thirteen original poems. Have fun with these handwriting worksheets just in time for Christmas! If you have little ones ages 5-10 at home, don’t miss your chance to see their work brought to life! In partnership with, Schoolhouse Teachers is running a storybook contest. The winner will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet, and the winning story will be animated for everyone to enjoy. No membership is needed to enter. More than 200 stories have already been submitted. We’ve extended the entry deadline-but only until midnight, December 31st. Visit our Contest page for details.

Don’t miss our Buy-One-Get-One December membership special. Buy one year of and receive a free one-year membership to bless a friend or loved one with! Plus, you’ll receive a FREE copy of the 2014 Print Issue when it is released (US only) and access to the Schoolhouse Library. Don’t miss this incredible sale!



Purchase a full-year membership to, and receive:
  • Schoolhouse E-Library
  • Brand-new TOS 2014 Annual Print Book
  • AND a one-year membership for a friend

Both you and your friend will have a full year of fantastic resources for all your kids from preschoolers to high schoolers. You will enjoy the flexible teaching options for reading, writing, history, and math AND all the exciting electives, like videomaking, foreign language, music, and more with your one-year membership, and you’ll stay organized with the free planners and Applecore tracking system.

But that’s not all, we’re excited to give you our brand new 2014 Annual Print Book issue! This beautiful, large annual issue of the magazine will encourage you throughout 2014 and will be mailed to you directly from the printer as soon as it releases next year.

And finally, we’re including our vast Schoolhouse E-library with over 175 titles of the best in home education information. You can see the complete booklist here.
Be blessed and be a blessing this Christmas with our BOGO at


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