Advent Home Education

Homeschooling through Thanksgiving and Advent

I bumped into another mom at the grocery today.  She homeschools her children as well.  I mentioned to her my wild-hair idea … “I just want to take December off as far as anything majorly academic and just focus on Advent and being a blessing to others.”  Instead of nodding at me and saying, “We all feel that way,” which actually means, “You really shouldn’t do that because it is irresponsible,” she said, “You know, I read a blog post by Elizabeth Foss years ago about her doing just that and it motivated me and we did the same thing.  We still read rich literature, but it was all related to Advent.  We just shifted our focus and slowed down to make memories that matter in this season.”

Memories that matter.

How often do we rush ahead with our agenda, fearing we’ll miss some crucial piece of necessary educational input and forget to make memories that matter?  Our children will become more of what we imagine they can be when they are grounded in a family that slows down, cultivates a loving atmosphere and makes memories that matter.

So that’s what we are doing this Advent.  I passed this idea by my eldest son today.  I said, “What if we just took the month of December off (three weeks of which are already designated as a “break”) and we just focus on Advent and on being a blessing to others.  You can still wake up and have your morning routine, do work in Math and Latin {which take about a half hour or so combined at this time} and then we will do our Advent devotion, read the Word, sing Hymns and read literature about Advent and then spend the rest of each day being a blessing to others?”  He said, “That sounds great mom … as long as it doesn’t mean I have to do summer school to make up for what we missed.”  This boy is both a giver and a realist.

So, now for the nuts and bolts.  I’m gathering some literature.  We already have our “Advent Chain” (link here), we’re subscribed to an online Advent Calendar (see this link) and we are doing Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree.  Aside from that I’ll read aloud A Christmas Carol and we’ll listen to some audio books of fun stories like “Christmas Every Day.”  But, mainly I’m excited about the slowing and the serving.  We can make plans by calling around to local service organizations (we have places that gather food for the homeless in town or serve shut-ins, etc).  We plan to call our church to see if there are people who are lonely and we will visit them.  We’re not going to schedule every inch of our time as we need to rest and we need to leave room for God to bring spontaneous needs to our attention.  I’ve decided that fixing our eyes upward towards Jesus and outward towards others will make memories that matter.

There will always be science, math, language arts, but there will not always be time to slow together and lean into Jesus and then share His love with those around us — and to be able to do this together, as a family.  The season from Thanksgiving to New Years is especially charged with opportunity for blessing others.  And, in the process, my boys are learning a pattern.  They are learning that Christmas is not about a list of what they want, it is about a person, God come as man, Who gave everything for them.  It’s not about the getting, but about the giving.  It’s not about the rushing, but about the slowing.  It’s not about filling our schedules, but about filling our hearts.  And from full hearts we can pour out as He pours out for us. 

How about you?  How are you making Advent more meaningful in your home?  What great literature or resources are you using to help your children grasp more deeply the meaning of the season and most importantly grasp onto Jesus Himself? 

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