The Christmas season is upon us! A time to gather around with family and friends and share great memories, and delicious food! But too many times families feel stressed instead of blessed. They feel rushed instead peaceful. This isn’t how the season is supposed to be. Christmas should be a time of peace and reflection, a time to sit and reflect on the birth of a savior. A time to enjoy peace and goodwill toward men (Luke 2:14). The past few years we have chosen to have a simple Christmas. Maybe you would like more simplicity this holiday season as well. Here are five simple tips for a simple Christmas.
- Trim Your Schedule– Look at your schedule for the next few weeks. What does it look like? How many days are you going to be running from one activity to another? Does your schedule add stress? If so cut some of it out. You do not have to attend every holiday party, event, parade, or gala. Pick a few and skip the rest. Your kids will thank you! We always make it a priority to stay home all day the day after Christmas. This way the kiddos can enjoy their gifts. If this is not feasible due to work schedule or something else, then make it a point to stay home Christmas evening. Or the first Saturday after the holidays. Also, write in time with YOUR family on your Christmas schedule. Schedule a day to make a new family tradition. Have a PJ party, watch a movie, or go see the Christmas lights in your neighborhood.
- Set a Budget– Budgeting gets rid of over spending. Before you start shopping pick who you are going to buy for, and how much you plan on spending on each person. Then divide that amount buy paychecks you have left, and voila-a budget! If you find a great sale and spend a little less than your budgeted amount, don’t feel guilty! Put the money up for next Christmas, or go ahead and stock up on birthday gifts for throughout the year.
- Give less gifts and more time –Gifts are great, and Christmas is known as a time of gift giving. But, if money is tight, or you have NO idea what to get a person on your list, choose to give them your time! Make a gift certificate for a “spa day” or a free night of babysitting. Give a day of house cleaning to a friend or your sister. Give your mom a day to spend with you doing something she enjoys. When it comes to your children, remember they don’t need every item on their list. We really are a country of excess. When my husband was laid off a few Christmases ago we bought our kids 3 gifts each. That was it. It was good enough for baby Jesus, and it was good enough for them. They honestly didn’t mind, and we ended up making it a normal occurence.
- Choose Joy– Joy is an attitude, it is a choice. We can choose to be happy. We can choose to be giving, and we can choose to feel blessed, not stressed! Don’t let the holidays get you down. Choose Joy. Choose to put a smile on your face, Choose to have a simple Christmas and Choose to reflect on what really matters this holiday season.
- Remember the true meaning of Christmas-Christmas is a time to celebrate Christ’s coming to Earth. It is an amazing thought and one that we should instill in our children. Celebrate advent, watch the Nativity story, go to a live nativity, or local church Christmas play. Put out a nativity in your home and act out the story from Luke Chapter 2 with your children. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan, just take a few minutes this holiday season and instill the wonder of the Christmas story in your children.
I hope you enjoy the upcoming holiday season and I hope these tips encourage you to have a simple Christmas.
So, you’ve decided to homeschool! Great! Maybe you’ve been at it a few years, maybe you’re new to the whole thing, but one thing’s for certain. You’ve realized how much STUFF comes along with homeschooling!
Homeschool organization is important in homeschooling, yes, you can homeschool even if you’re not organized, but being a little organized will help a lot.
Here are three tips for homeschool organization that will help you on your homeschooling organization.
Everything has a place
When it comes to your homeschool supplies, books, and materials everything needs to have a place. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Bookshelves-Each child can have a shelf for their school books. Keep a shelf for your teacher’s books too!
- Drawers-Small plastic drawers like these can be a huge help in keeping a place for things like crayons, scissors and glue.
- Bins- Bins like these are perfect for play doh, craft supplies, paint and other items.
When everything has a place you will not lose valuable time searching for items that you need!
Put Things Away
When you are done with items, put them away. Right then. Not later in the day, not when you have time, but right then. Teach your children the same thing. This eliminates the possibility of things getting lost or ruined because they have been left out. It also keeps you and your family more organized!
Find a Good Filing System
This has been HUGE for our homeschool organization. We use a simple file stacker that has 3 places. One of these is for items that need graded one for items that are graded and one for items that need to be filed in the kid’s portfolio. Having a good filing system will let you know what needs graded, it helps your kids know what’s been graded, and what they can put away, and it helps you know what you need to file for your homeschool records.
Homeschool organization does not have to be difficult. With these three simple tips you can be on your way to a more organized homeschool!
Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.
Christmas season is upon us, and you may be wondering what to get the homeschool family that is near and dear to your heart. Or, you as a homeschool family, may be wondering what to add to that family wish list?
Here are some items that would be great gift ideas for Homeschool families!
- Globe: This one would make a great one for any homeschool family!
- Museum Memberships: Do you have a museum near you that you have been dying to go to? Memberships make great gifts and can be used year round. Also, many museum memberships offer discounts or free admission to other museums nationwide.
- Zoo or Aquarium Tickets: Aquariums and Zoos are great educational opportunities for homeschoolers, and family tickets would be a great gift for any family!
- Gift Subscriptions to Educational Magazines: National Geographic Kids, Zoo Books, Highlights and many others are great way to give the gift of education! Gift Subscriptions are easy to do online, and discounts can be found around the holidays on sites like
- Gift Certificates for Enrichment Classes: Has a child in your family been interested in dance, music, or another type of enrichment class? Ask for a gift certificate to give the classes a try!
- Microscope: Many homeschoolers have a great microscope like this one on their wish list. If the homeschool family you’re thinking of has one, then consider new slides to go along with it!
- Printer/copier/scanner: Homeschool moms use their printer, a LOT! So, a new one that maybe would be more efficient on ink, or one that has features theirs doesn’t would be a great gift idea!
- Computer: New computers are a splurge few homeschool moms would go for. So, if you have a larger budget, consider giving the gift of a new computer to a homeschool family. There are sales out there on Black Friday that can make one a steal!
- Educational Videos: Magic School Bus, Liberty Kids, Wild Kratts, Documentaries, Disney Nature movies and other educational videos are great for homeschool families!
- Craft and Art Supplies: I do not know any homeschool family that wouldn’t be thrilled with new craft and art supplies. Homeschool families don’t get a school budget for these items, and they go fast when you have many younger students running around!
So, take this list, and choose to bless a homeschool family this holiday season. I am sure that most homeschoolers would love any item on this list!
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.
You’ve been at this homeschooling gig for awhile now and things haven’t got any easier. People said it would, but in your case it just hasn’t. The kids are miserable, you’re miserable, and homeschooling is not working. What do you do?
You just quit.
Yes, I said that. Now, before I go on let me just say that I LOVE homeschooling. I believe for most families it is a great thing, but I am one of the few that believe it is not for everyone. Sometimes homeschooling just isn’t for a family and that’s okay. I also believe sometimes there are situations that make homeschooling difficult, and if remedied homeschooling can still happen.
If homeschooling is not working for you right now let me suggest a few things:
- Take a break. Just quit for awhile. Put the books up and spend time enjoying your children. As MOM. Not as homeschool teacher. Do this for a week or two.
- Evaluate the situation. Is the problem the curriculum? Is it your teaching style vs. their learning style? Are you trying to do too much? Are the kids just not on board? Try and pinpoint what the issue may be.
- Remedy the problem. If it’s curriculum, try a different one. If it’s learning style vs. teaching style see if you can find a way that will work for both you and your child. If you’re too busy see if you can cut back on a few commitments. Sometimes saying no can be a blessing! If your kids just aren’t’ on board, talk to them about why you believe your family is called to homeschool. Listen to their concerns and see if a compromise can be made.
- Revaluate the situation. Can you remedy the problem? If so, try it out again for a few months. If you can’t decide where you go from here.
I know homeschooling parents who have put their kids back in public school. Homeschooling was not working for them in their season of life. Some pulled the kids back out and are homeschooling successfully. Some have kids still in public school and the kids are thriving. Some have one kid in public school and others who are homeschooled.
Listen, homeschooling is not a one size fits all situation. It’s not an all in situation. Homeschooling is great, for many families and many children, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.
If this is you right now let me encourage you to take a break, evaluate the situation and try to remedy the problem. If the situation cannot be helped then know that doing what is best for you and your family right now is the best case scenario.
Homeschool moms need support. All the time. Even when things aren’t working. Let’s encourage one another today. Let’s encourage one another even when things aren’t working and another mom may throw in the towel. Hug her neck, tell her you understand, be supportive even when homeschooling is not working.
Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.
As we near the middle of the school year, it is time for many parents to evaluate whether or not public school is working. If this is you this year, and you are contemplating the switch to homeschool after the holidays, I would love to share some tips that can help ease the homeschool transition.
Believe in Your Abilities
The biggest thing most new homeschoolers are afraid of is failing. They don’t believe in their ability to educate their children. Can I just encourage you today? You ARE able to homeschool your children. Homeschooling does not require a teacher’s degree. It requires love and commitment. If you are a parent you are MORE than qualified to homeschool your children.
Take Time to Deschool
When your child first begins homeschooling, there will be a time of transition. This transition period is the perfect time to “deschool” your child, and yourself. You are both used to a public school mindset, and you will both need time to learn what homeschooling is and what it looks like. Homeschooling is NOT public school at home. The environment is different, the structure is different, and the learning can be different. During this time of transition, it is important to talk to your child about your expectations, and his expectations. Explain that getting used to homeschooling will take time. Offer to meet up with his friends, take him to homeschool group meetings, and make sure that he realizes he will still be “socializing”.
DON’T Model Public School
When I first began homeschooling I lined up the text books and dug in. We had a timer, a schedule, and plans to make sure our day looked as much like school as possible. A month in we both hated homeschooling. Why? Because our home is NOT a public school, and yours isn’t either!
The biggest tip I have is to make sure your homeschool reflects YOUR family. Find a routine that works for you, find a curriculum that fits your child’s learning style, and don’t expect school to look like a traditional classroom.
Also, your school days won’t be 9-3 and they don’t have to be. Most homeschoolers are done in around 2-4 hours depending on the age of the child. There are no bathroom lines, or waiting on other children to finish. School doesn’t have to take as long, and it won’t!
As you make plans to transition into homeschooling, let me encourage you to be flexible. Homeschooling may not look like what you thought it would and that’s okay. Your first few months will be hard, but it will be worth it. Remember these tips to ease the homeschool transition, and be prepared for anything!
Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey