The holidays are quickly approaching. Is your schedule beginning to fill up? Is your to-do list a mile long while your time disappears?
With all the extra tasks and responsibilities piling up, you may be feeling a little stressed. For me, holiday stress spills over into my family’s homeschool routine.
Over the last few years, I have learned it is up to me whether holiday stress invades our home during the holiday season. I have the ability to regulate a lot of the stress-causing activity. It does take work, but we can combat frustration and frazzle during the holidays. I want to offer three tricks I have implemented in my own life to avoid homeschool holiday stress.
1. Learn to Say No
One reason the holidays become overwhelming is that we cram so much into such a small amount of time. When you are asked to host something, lead something, make something, or participate in something, stop and think about what you are committing to before you respond. As an immediate response, say you will think about it and provide an answer by a certain date. Then give careful thought, asking yourself these questions:
- Will this commitment create unneeded hurry and pressure in my life?
- Will my commitment affect my family or homeschool routine in a negative way?
- Is this a commitment that I can fulfill later when the timing is better?
- If I say no, will it be detrimental to our holiday season?
- Will it conflict with my existing priorities?
- What does my spouse think about this commitment?
- Even if the opportunity is fun, is it wise to commit?
After thoughtfully considering, don’t be afraid to say no.
2. Plan for Interruptions
You know that holiday interruptions are going to happen, so plan to slow your schoolwork during the whole month of December.
- Require less work in each subject per day.
- Or require more work on certain days so you can take off other days.
- Use the busy holiday activities as a learning opportunity. Involve your children in the preparations as a part of their homeschool—life skills.
- Select times to slow down enough to serve as a family.
- Don’t put extra pressure on yourself to accomplish huge things during the holidays. For example, use the time for review or catch up instead of tackling new concepts.
- Evaluate the events of the week and adjust the homeschool workload according to the holiday schedule.
- In the case of an unexpected interruption, just go with the flow and give yourself grace.
3. Remember the Reason for the Season
It is easy to get wrapped up in the commercialized version of Christmas. Holiday distractions vie for our attention left and right. The best thing you can do for you and your family is to set your focus on Christ as the reason for all we do and limit any activities that distract from that focus. Here are a few tips to steer you in the right direction:
- Set goals for your family to help you focus on the right things as you celebrate the holidays.
- Remember that you have very few years to teach and train your children. Make them count.
- Make it fun! Let your children plan some of the festive activities to celebrate Jesus.
- Read great books with Christmas themes like The Gift of the Magi, I Saw Three Ships, The Christmas Carol, and The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas.
- Arrange a day of serving others so your family can share the reason for the season.
- Plan a short devotion or activity each day of the month to keep your family focused on the Christ in Christmas.
Be encouraged that the holiday season does not have to be stressful. When you slow down, set boundaries, and focus on what is important, you will be able to savor Christmas as a homeschool family.
Find the most unique and meaningful Christmas gifts for all the children in your life with Sonlight’s gift guide.
About the Author: Katy Crisp
Katy is a follower of Christ, a wife and ministry partner, a homeschool mom to four children, a coffee enthusiast, and an animal lover. She has a desire and passion to encourage women in their walk with the Lord as they manage home and family, offering ways to find strength and beauty in the ins-and-outs of daily life at home. She uses her blog Homefront Lilies and social media to encourage and connect with others.