This post is an old favorite of mine. I wrote it some years ago when I was a mother of a young one and desperately needed to find a way to sloooow down. Enjoy….Sheila Carroll
Call off homeschool for the Christmas season.
You are probably saying, “What! That will put me behind in our school work.” Years ago, my homeschooling mentor told me that she suspended regular homeschooling for the weeks leading up to Christmas. Instead she had the learning relate to Christmas-stories, math, crafts, cooking, writing and so on. I tried it. Instead of stress and burnout, it was fun and real learning was taking place. You might want to try it?
Read Christmas stories together every day
Another question which shows up this time of year is ‘How can I slow down the Christmas rush?’ The answer is: By reading high quality Christmas stories together. Sound too simple?
We started a family tradition of reading a Christmas story each day for the seven days before Christmas. It was a big hit. At the time my daughter was in her early teens and not willing to listen to “baby stories”. I scoured the Internet and library and found a wonderful selection. Just the commitment to sit together 15-20 minutes a day to read these special stories made our pulses slow and the smiles come back.
I put them into a notebook for future Christmases. The Christmas Holiday Helper will be coming your way in a day or two. In it are some of the same stories my family enjoyed. Be blessed and love one another the more this holy season.
Enjoy the Christmas story in great art
Children need the images of Christ’s birth etched in their hearts. What better way to do it than through the art of the masters. Charlotte Mason expressed this idea very eloquently:
The study of such pictures (are) a valuable part of a child’s education; it is no slight thing to realize how the Nativity and the visit of the Wise Men filled the imagination of the early Masters, and with what exceeding reverence and delight they dwelt upon every detail of the sacred story. This sort of impression is not to be had from any up-to-date treatment, or up-to-date illustrations; and the child who gets it in early days, will have a substratum of reverent feeling upon which should rest his faith. But it is well to let the pictures tell their own tale. The children should study a subject quietly for a few minutes; and then, the picture being removed, say what they have seen in it. It will be found that they miss no little reverent or suggestive detail which the artist has thought well to include.
~From Home Education, pp. 245-253
Studying these wonderful pictures with your children should not be a burden or an art lesson. Simply look at the pictures together and let the children tell you what they see. Do not interpret for them. Let the children encounter the pictures on their own and let the Holy Spirit speak to them through the images.
There are several excellent sources online for art. One I especially like is Art and the Bible (http://www.artbible.info ). Once on the site, type “Nativity” or “Birth of Christ” in the search box and you will find many examples of great art.