Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane
By now most of us have put the textbooks aside to rest for a bit, in favor of more festive activities.
I must admit we started our winter break rather spontaneously last Thursday, mid-day, after math and before language arts. I needed to get the house cleaned and decorated for a Christmas party, so as soon as math was finished I announced, “Surprise! It’s Christmas break! Now start cleaning!”
But while this season can certainly become busy – a frenzy of parties and lights and shopping and baking – it can also be a time of precious reflection, when we consider how the message of Christmas informs and inspires our homeschool.
And while there are several holidays celebrated around this time of year, and we warmly welcome every one of you whether you celebrate Christmas or not, let’s consider three ways Christmas can inspire our homeschool:
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo
Jesus is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” God came near in the person of Jesus, born to us at Christmas. He walked with us, talked with us, healed us, forgave us and gave us hope.
On an infinitely smaller scale, we do this for our children when we come over, get low, sit down, when we are with.
Of course we are all for independent study, and no one’s advocating a parent’s constant hovering, but profound LOVE is communicated when we’re willing to lay aside our plans, our project, our preoccupied selves, and give our attention wholly, fully, joyfully to our children.
We are with them each time we refuse to live distracted by one too many things, when we listen to them read, laugh at their jokes, hear that story (for the umpteenth time) or enter into their make believe world.
How many math-tears could be avoided if we sat close enough to kindly help along the way?
Perhaps our kids need a little more Immomuel — “Mom with us.”
Photo by Greg Weaver
Jesus’s birth marked the beginning of the gospel of grace. And grace, that is unmerited favor, must be the manifesto of our home life and homeschool.
Sadly, Christmas can become a time where grace is forgotten in exchange for merit-based earning. Good kids get toys, bad kids get coal, right? And while reward for good behavior is appropriate and helpful, we’re always wise to return to the only solid foundation of family life: Grace.
Grace means that while there are natural consequences, extra training, corrected papers, re-do’s and room for improvement, my lavish, generous, whole-hearted affection for my child remains a constant, steadfast anchor for her soul.
Grace means that I don’t give the cold-shoulder, the silent treatment, the moody sigh, the rant and rave.
Grace means I remember that above all academic training, my love will shape my child’s life more than anything else.
Photo by Chris Sowder
Jesus is also called the Prince of Peace. The angel announcing His birth proclaimed Peace on earth, and Jesus Himself promised, “My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you.”
Eleven months of the year, the word GRACE stretches across our large fireplace mantel, but during December I replace two of the letters and we have PEACE. Every Christmas I am reminded that while the world is a hectic and harried place, there is profound PEACE available to each of us, because of Jesus.
If I were to choose one word to describe how I want our homeschool environment to be, it would be PEACE.
I long for our home to be a place of peace, and not just in the “peace and quiet” kind of way where I want everyone to stop talking, but the true kind of peace where we are living in harmony with each other, where we keep short accounts, where we speak lovingly and kindly, where we forgive.
In this age where fear and anxiety seem to be the norm, it is a worthwhile goal to create a homeschool environment where peace is the norm.
It starts with us. We can be instruments of peace in our homes, and in the hearts of our children.
So just in case you feel like time spent on break is time falling behind, remember that our hearts need the break.
Our hearts need a little extra space, once in a while, to breathe deep and remember we aren’t just informing minds, we’re shaping hearts.
When we are with our children, when we extend grace, and when we cultivate peace, we bring the beauty of Christmas into our homes 365 days a year.
To each of you, Merry Christmas. Thanks so much for being part of this community. We’re so grateful for you, and we wish each one of you the very best this holiday.
How do the holidays inspire your homeschool?