The holidays bring us opportunities that cause us to be grateful for the freedoms we enjoy as homeschoolers. And the season also brings us an opportunity to enter into a time of celebration as some of our favorite family traditions occur during the winter months.
I’ve provided a few pictures of those things as visual aids to this column.
The day after Thanksgiving, we all go out for breakfast and then we cut down our Christmas tree.
My husband and I have been doing this all our married lives; 18 years to be exact. Sometimes we’ve had friends join us but this year, we didn’t.
Most people have “off” the day after Thanksgiving, so this is not too unique as far as homeschooling is concerned.
A new tradition is that Rosie, myself, and Aunt Kathleen get together on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and make tons of Christmas cookies. This year saw us shaking and baking in Hebron, CT.
This year, I helped organize a campuswide holiday concert at UConn. This required us to take a couple of days “off” so that we could load equipment, get technical things in order, do visuals for the concert, and a myriad of other details that go with doing a concert at a remote site! We had the flexibility needed to do this, without losing too much sanity.
Since the kids are older, they can be entrusted to do their academic work even while I go to a rehearsal or do a few errands. I check their lesson plans multiple times a day and also try to give them the day’s plans at a glance at the breakfast table so they know what’s going on.
We like to supplement our education with field trips and outings when possible. Since we live in an educationally-rich area, that’s not too hard to do!
Preparing for concerts and a piano recital with my students, I needed to get things in order for that. I have buckets in my kitchen of various kinds; the kids help me with loading and unloading the van. They also have been immensely appreciated when we have to move the classroom to a different location so I can do what I need to do. Homeschooling allows us to “take it on the road” when we need to. It also makes it very easy to lose things along the way. These are the challenges of being mobile!
It’s at this time of the year that we also shift our focus even more so, as we take our eyes off of ourselves and our wants/needs and think of others.
In addition, we focus on the Birth of Christ that is celebrated during this time of year. I realize that some of you may not share this belief, but our homeschool environment aspires to giving rather than receiving. We open our home for the holidays, do a neighborhood-wide Christmas caroling event, and have had an opportunity to share music this year with internationals at UConn through the Coffee Hours (the most recent one being a holiday “sing-a-long”).
In addition, this year, we are saving our pennies to attend a missions conference that we are invited to next June. The kids are also invited. Guess where it is? Hong Kong!
We are thinking of this opportunity and hoping the necessary resources will come in for us to attend as a family, as well as possibly visit international friends along the way. So we aren’t thinking of spending right now.
Truth be told, none of us needs a single thing. I would rather be a good steward of what we have and also get rid of the excess, anyway.
My husband and I will have the opportunity to spend quality time with one another as a gift that Rosie gave me will come to fruition this week; she nominated and I was accepted as a “Ray of Sunshine” award winner in January. With that honor came dinner for two and free entertainment at the Mohegan Sun.
We will get to see the Nutcracker there, a sweet memory to share, as that was our first date 19 years ago. Rosie’s gift of complimenting me provided us with a sweet opportunity.
And Jonathan received a gift card to a restaurant recently that he gave to us so we could have another date as husband and wife. Hmmm…maybe they are trying to get rid of us? (smile!)
There are stresses during this time of the year, yes. I have things I love to do and I love traditions. But the greatest gift we give one another is the gift of time and attention. And when we do that, we don’t have to worry about going here and there, buying stuff, and perhaps even being overindulgent. We can enjoy the season and not get “sucked” in to what we are told we need and what we need to do.
For us, keeping on track now, not taking lots of days off and saving those days for the future when we need them is like taking money to the bank.
We are happy to dim the lights, enjoy the music of the season, have a cup of hot chocolate (or good strong coffee for me!), a munchie or two, and a movie to relax and unwind.
Homeschooling won’t solve the problems of the world, but it will certainly make life rich and peaceful. It’s a choice we are grateful to have made.
Homeschooling during the holidays… Hectic? Yes. Still have school? Yup. Get lots of presents? Don’t need ‘em.
I guess you could call those Frequently Asked Questions and frequently answered questions.
Being a homeschooler, it’s a tough season with the no-snow-day thin, but it’s also a great time for fun. I even made a version of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” that starts with “I hear three bells on Christmas day that said ‘come and eat chocolate cake.’”
It seems that a lot of people think that homeschoolers don’t have a social life. But Christmas, on the contrary, is just about the most social time of year.
We get to go to random houses in our neighborhood and carol; we get to go to our friends’ Christmas Eve party, we get to do school.
Okay, the last one was a bit of a downer. But the point is, that we do a lot of great social things that are in this season.
In this season, two things must happen: 1. I think good thoughts of my brother (rare) and 2. Being sneaky (easy!).
Now sometimes (or most of the time), I think that my brother is annoying. But in this season, it’s OK to be nice (weird, huh?).
Being sneaky is easy because of all the practice as a little kid trying to figure out what my mom wanted for Christmas so I could tell my dad what to get.
It’s a wonderful and social season for me and I love snow!
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! This was an inside look at my Christmas season. I hope that you and your family have a good season, too.
During the holidays, we have the freedom to do whatever we want. For instance, at the beginning of December, we took a couple of days off of school to set up for a concert my mom organized.
We also have a lot of things going on at our house and in our neighborhood that we wouldn’t be able to do unless we were homeschooled. Since we’re home schooled we could just make the school part of the day longer to make up for the school we missed. I really enjoy the type of freedom that we have because we’re homeschooled during the holidays.
Almost every year I can remember, we have had Christmas carolers at our house. My mom would organize an event and we would invite all our friends, and when they got here, we would all wrap up in our warmest clothes and go and knock on all our neighbors’ doors (at least a few) and ask them if they want us to carol.
And of course if they say yes, we sing them a song of their choice.
Then later on, we come home and have dinner and dessert and play games and have an all round great time.
I really love Christmas time, because we get to see most of our friends all in one place at the same time, and we have a great time talking with everyone and eating all around our house.
And especially if it snows, we go outside and have snowball fights and then after we are thoroughly cold and soaked, we tramp back in and have some more hot food.
Posted Dec. 31, 2010