Most of the issues with holiday time is because of time itself. Mom does not have enough of it! You need time to school, time to run the house, time to decorate, time to cook, time to shop, time to attend holiday functions, you need more time! So how do we get more out of our 24 hours? Strategy!
- PARE DOWN: take a look at your school load. Where can you ease up a bit? Maybe combine a few history lessons? Do 2 science applications instead of 4 each week? Half days? There are lots of areas where you can pare down IF you are WILLING. Remember that your "bulk" schooling months are still ahead of you.
- MAKE LESS MESS: Use paper plates, prep and use some freezer meals in disposable cookware, cut down on laundry by having more pajamas days. Need more drastic measures? Take all extra toys away and leave out only as much as you want to clean up. Let each kid "pack for the holidays" 4 outfits each and a small tote full of toys. It's amazing how much time you have when food, laundry and toys are cut down.
- STREAMLINE YOUR DAY: set more of a focus on your "best" part of the day. If you focus on only schooling for that portion of the day and shift the chores you normally do during that time to another part of the day, you can get school done really quick! Plus you have pare down school and are making less mess then there really should be less "chores" to do anyway.
- UTILIZE YOUR TEAM: Do you have some older kids who can help, what about Hubby or Grandparents? Can anyone else help with some younger kid lessons, what about chores? If you have made things really easy and a "no brainer" then it makes it easier for others to pitch in!
- MAKE PLANS FOR FUN!: everyone likes to have a good time! Add in those fun things that make the holidays memorable. Baking cookies, singing songs, homemade crafts, afternoon tea. A little bit of fun goes a longggggg way!
- PURPOSE YOUR TIME: Now that you have some time to work with, be purposeful with it. No one likes a stressed out Mama! If you plug in the "Holiday To-Do's" in your open time each day, you will be able to stay on top of things. Make a list, grab a calendar, get it down on paper in a visible place.
- TRASH THE GUILT: Guilt about school, guilt about presents, guilt about the cookies you didn't make. GUILT. Just trash it. Know that you prolly won't get everything done but that won't kill Christmas. A down trodden/bad attitude however just might.
- ENJOY IT: Enjoy this time of the year. Relish the break in school and embraces the fun business of the Holidays! TEACH your children, through your right spirit, what the holidays are all about. Make sure your outlook on the season is correct. Little eyes and ears are all about, shaping their views by yours. Teach them to enjoy this time of year by enjoying it yourself!
On the "living it out" side, here are how some homeschool families actually schedule it:
- Take off the month of December and make up that time second semester by doubling up and/or paring some things down.
- work ahead during the fall and take off during the holidays.
- Pare down. Don't get off track completely but only do what is necessary.
- School on the days it works and don't worry about the others.
- Do some school during the summer and take off the week of Thanksgiving through January first.
- School by doing Unit studies about the Holidays. Keep going where you left off in Janurary and don't worry about catching up or cut some things out in order to still end on time.
- School year round and just take off when you feel like it.
Personally I usually do one of the first 3 bullets (or a combination thereof). Traditionally its the "take off and catch up by paring down" method. Fall time is also canning season so we usually can not work ahead. I normally take off from Thanksgiving until January as well. We do A LOT of school Jan-April =)
Now that I many older, independent learners, I have them do school on days it works. If I am out running errands or Christmas shopping, they might as well do school =) The older kids can do everything without me with a few tweaks. So, I have them keep up on things, I school the younger kids as it works and they do independent things as well and then in January, we hunker down and get'er done!
Hoping your holiday time is a wonderful, blessed time of the year. Filled with the JOY of The Lord and not burdened by the stresses of this world.