As I type this post I'm listening to Christmas music. It is still November, but Thanksgiving was early this year, and I'm ready to celebrate the birthday of my King.

God has given me a spirit that loves to celebrate. I decorate our home for every season and most holidays. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with gusto. Since that is the case, how can I not apply that same energy toward honoring the holiday recognized as Jesus' birth?

Do the holidays disrupt your carefully made homeschooling plans?

It did mine. Guilt attacked as we fell behind in our studies. Why did we fall behind? Mostly because of our traditions. Christmas means more than purchasing presents. There are concerts to attend, the Nutcracker Ballet to see, trees to cut and decorate. We make cookies and candy, then pile them on plates to give away. The house is decorated, inside and out. We drive through neighborhoods oohing and ahhing over the lights.

Total Language Plus was born one December. I tossed off the guilt of not following my lesson plans by creating lessons from holiday stories. The first ever TLP study guide was actually our Christmas Volume I. (Back then I didn't know I'd have a business, and it took three years before the Christmas Volume was put into its existing format, but it was written way back in 1991).

We learned to incorporate our homeschooling lessons into the Christmas season

After enjoying such success with the first melding of the season with school, each year after we continued the practice. These are some of the studies we did during those three-four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas:

  • Christmas around the world. We looked at different nations and researched their traditions. Depending on the ages of your children, you might make a lap book with information about a specific country, perhaps one from your own heritage. Or, you may choose to write an essay comparing the traditions of several countries.
  • Christmas carols. Research the stories behind the old carols; look up the meaning of unfamiliar words; make a songbook and illustrate it; go caroling.
  • Make a cookbook of your favorite traditional recipes. Try new recipes from other countries and rate them in the cookbook. Give away plates of goodies.
  • Make presents for friends and relatives instead of purchasing them.
  • Read a holiday story aloud as a family.
  • Memorize Luke 2.

Don't let this season of joy and peace degenerate into chaos and guilt. Mix school with the season and enjoy the lessons not taught in textbooks.

Gracious Father, as we enter a celebratory season honoring You and Your Son, grant us wisdom to focus on what matters. Please direct our steps so that You are glorified each day. We praise You and thank You for the gift of Your Son. Keep the evil one far from us as we devote ourselves to worshipping You and all You've done for us. We pray in the precious name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.