Overcome Christmas Stress

It happens every year – we try to overcome Christmas stress! No matter how hard you plan or try to stay ahead, there is always one more thing to do, one more item on the to-do list, one more project to complete…all before Christmas. How about trying something different? Enjoy the season! Yes, it can be done and I promise not to tell you to plan ahead or do more than you can handle. I know you might find it difficult to believe me, and even I thought it wasn’t possible until I gave it a try.

Overcome Christmas stress helps with planning.

Here is what I did. I made a list of what I wanted the days leading up to Christmas to look like in a “perfect world.” You know the picture-perfect, Norman Rockwell type of painting where everyone is smiling, the house is spotless and perfectly decorated, mom is holding a turkey and all the kids look happy. And, I soon realized it was unattainable. Why is it that we set out expectations so high that it is impossible? I think we have so many expectations that we fall short and then we are stressed! Stress is something we all live with however it is what we do with the stress that counts.

overcome Christmas stress

For me, the first thing was identifying the issue. Why was I stressed during the holidays and what was the *one* thing I would avoid if I could. I usually detest lists, yes — I am one of those, and yet I learned that if I made a list it helped, tremendously. So I divided things into categories.

My List to overcome Christmas stress:

To do list that could not be avoided:

  1. shopping for gifts
  2. shopping for food
  3. decorating
  4. Christmas cards
  5. Christmas photos
  6. Christmas letter
  7. baking/cooking
  8. wrapping presents

To do list that could be avoided:

  1. baking
  2. cooking everything
  3. Christmas cards + letter + photos

The one (or more) things I would avoid if I could:

  1. Christmas card letter
  2. Christmas card

Can you do it? Can you avoid the one thing (or more) that makes your Christmas stressful?

Your list may look different, but the one thing that gave me the most stress was writing the Christmas letter. It literally took me days to write, and then another few days to lay out on purchased, Christmas stationary…then years later with a Christmas graphics border on a word processing program. As my family got older and the number of children I had climbed the list seemed more and more daunting until I dreaded it. Yet, I felt guilted into it, you know…all the relatives up north are counting on receiving an update on the family happenings. However, I decided to let it go. I refused to be held under this self-imposed pressure or guilt, and I sent out cards with photos from the year as well as the most current. This year, at Thanksgiving even with my entire immediate family here, I forgot to take pictures! Again, I will let it go–even further this time! I decided that this was the perfect year to send out beautiful, Christmas cards without a family photo. Gulp!

But, I’m doing it. I’m sending out cards to the immediate family. The remaining relatives up north, my siblings, my sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews, my married daughter and family…and that is it! What a freeing thought! I won’t even let those early cards, you know the ones that show up Thanksgiving weekend ruin my peace. I will live my life as I can, for the glory of God and let all this other “stuff” that gets in the way go!

Years ago I baked for weeks giving away homemade breads, sweet rolls, pound cakes, and delicious cookies to friends and my husband’s employees. No more. I do bake but only for the family, and give homemade cookie baskets to those who arrive at our home for meals. Another hurdle overcome.

So, in a nutshell this is what I did to avoid Christmas stress:

  1. shopping for gifts
    • Most gifts I shop for online, and guess what? The deals are even better than in person.
  2. shopping for food
    • I still shop for food in person, but many swear by online services such as Amazon, or Publix (our local chain) has a website and you can pay for delivery. I’ve used this service a few times when I’ve received a coupon and it works great!
  3. decorating
    • The kids all help and we set up everything inside in one day! Score! We also add lighting timers, and remotes to turn on and off all the lights. Another score.
  4. Christmas cards
    • no picture, no letter, only a card to the immediate and extended family.
  5. Christmas photos
    • taken on Christmas eve before Mass outside of the Church
  6. Christmas letter
    • avoided!
  7. baking/cooking
    • family can bring over a side or dessert, and I only bake for the family
  8. wrapping presents
    • gift bags go a long way to ease the burden!

Check out my podcast on the topic of stress free holidays here.

Best of HIRL Holiday Series – Traveling With Kids

HIRL-Episode-95

Join us on this episode of Homeschooling in Real Life as we talk about the ins and outs of traveling with kids. On this episode we are NOT talking about vacation planning. Instead we are talking about giving your family a love for travel, a love for God’s world and a love for taking your love for Jesus around the world as a family ambassadors living on mission.

Live from the Teach Them Diligently convention floor in Nashville, TN, Kendra interviews family travel expert Jen Reyneri from WordTraveling.com. Listen as they discuss about traveling and finding the Glory of God all over the world. This episode will encourage you and motivate you as a homeschool family to show your children something more than your own backyard.


SHOW NOTES:

Recommended Resources:

WordTraveling with Jen Reyneri
Betty The Surf Dog Twitter Feed – Home of Betty the Surf Dog
Fletch Twitter
Kendra Twitter

Previous Episodes Mentioned:

Music clips used on this episode:
Jet Airliner – Buy it on iTunes Here


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

 

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Kiwi Crate!  

KiwiCo has monthly subscriptions of hands-on projects that make learning fun! Their core offering is projects that make learning about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — accessible and are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning.  Some recent favorite crates are the Slime Lab, Physics Carnival, and Paper Circuits.

Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network is excited to be able to offer you the chance to try them for FREE. To learn more about their projects for kids ages 2 to 16 AND to redeem this exclusive offer, click here to get your first month free today (just pay $4.95 for shipping)


LISTEN HERE

Are you ready to listen to Fletch and Kendra get real about homeschooling? Press the PLAY button below.

 

Educational Play

educational playEducational Play

Episode 240

Educational play is a great tool to not only teach children but to encourage them to think. Children who think, create! Besides, let’s face it parents enjoy giving gifts that encourage learning. In this episode, we explore the criteria I use for purchasing educational gifts as well as the best and most long-lasting toys that will give your children years of enjoyment. The best news? You can pass these down to others or save them for generations to come.

Show Notes: Educational Play

Educational play is not just for little kids, but the younger you begin the better your children will enjoy toys that do something. The more interactive the better, and encouraging the children to be part of the experience makes it longer lasting. This is why blocks evolved into “Legos®” and they have built an entire industry and even a theme park here in Florida.

What is your pre-requisite for educational toys or educational play?

  1. Fun
    • If a toy isn’t fun they won’t play with it.
    • Education doesn’t mean boring.
  2. Sturdy
    • Wood is my favorite type of material for toys.
    • A toy that won’t break easily.
  3. Colorful
    • Let’s face it, kids love color.
    • Not all toys are colorful, however, if they attract your attention they will attract your kids as well.
  4. Teaches
    • Some of the best learning comes from self-discovery.
    • Open-ended is better than only one solution.
  5. Long lasting
    • Similar to sturdy, you want something that isn’t just for one time.
    • My goals are to give it away or pass it down to a sibling.
  6. No batteries
    • Battery toys are great for a one-time thing. These types of gifts often break quickly.
    • If you find a battery toy (I found one that played classical music and was different depending on the way the cubes were inserted in the sturdy plastic case), be sure it will last.
  7. No one way to do it
    • Open-ended outcomes are my favorite.
    • Ideas that come to mind are blocks or Lego(r)
  8. Encourages creativity
    • No one way to do it, but more — it lends itself to engaging the child to think.
    • Something you can build again and again, but differently
    • Artistic or musical
    • Dramatic play
  9. Interactive and engaging
    • Building blocks, etc.
    • Causes the child to input ideas
  10. Kits for building or putting together
    • Favorites include tinker toys, Lego(r)
    • Art – origami, 3-D projects

Categories for Educational Play:

These categories are ones that lend themselves to educational play. My favorites are dramatic play, physical play, cooking, musical, artistic and of course outdoor activities. I’m sure I’ve left out other ideas so if you have any, post them below. Use these as a springboard and I’m sure you’ll think of more ideas on your own.

Dramatic Play

  • Theatre sets
  • Puppet shows
  • Dress-up clothes
  • Old jewelry/ shoes

Physical Play

  • Vintage toys – jump rope
  • Sporting equipment
  • Swimming pool/ toys for pool
  • Slip and slide – water toys
  • Scooters, skates, bikes
  • Playhouse

Cooking:

  • Cooking lessons
  • Kid size utensils
  • Kid sized cookware
  • Plastic or wooden food
  • Tea sets
  • Kid-sized aprons
  • Raddish Kids Kits
  • Cookbooks for kids

Science:

  • Science kits
  • Science supplies
  • Field Trips – (backpack kits)
  • Kiwi-Crate – building sets
  • Experiment books
  • Nature Center/ Museum season passes

Outdoor Play

  • Swing sets
  • Rock wall/ climbing
  • Tunnels
  • Bird feeders
  • Obstacle course
  • Balance beams
  • Trampoline
  • Sand and water play

Musical Play

  • Bells, symbols, drums, drumsticks
  • Recorder
  • Guitar
  • Xylophone
  • Trumpet
  • Flute
  • Musical kits

Artistic Play

  • Easel
  • Good paper
  • Art Supplies
  • Paper
  • Kiwi-Crate kits
  • Scissors – fancy
  • Chalkboard/ Markerboard

 


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

 

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

KiwiCo has monthly subscriptions of hands-on projects that make learning fun! Their core offering is projects that make learning about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — accessible and are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning. Some recent favorite crates are the Slime Lab, Physics Carnival, and Paper Circuits.

Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network is excited to be able to offer you the chance to try them for FREE. To learn more about their projects for kids ages 2 to 16 AND to redeem this exclusive offer, click here to get your first month free today (just pay $4.95 for shipping)


Top 10 Kid Gifts

top 10 kid giftsTop 10 Kid Gifts

Episode 239

Here are the top 10 kid gifts that have made my list – and they are timeless. Some things on the list may surprise you. It is time to avoid the flashing lights in the stores and even online hype. What are the gifts that keep giving? What are the gifts that make memories? What is your criteria for gift giving? In this episode, I’ll share my secrets for selecting that perfect gift.

 

Show Notes: What Makes the Top 10 Kid Gifts:

Not every gift will make it to the top 10 kid gifts or even fit one of the categories below, however, these are things that I look for in selecting a gift for my immediate family and friends.

Criteria for finding that perfect gift:

  1. Makes a memory – is there a gift you remember from long ago? That’s the idea. The top 10 kid gifts are memorable.
  2. Lasting – The top 10 kid gifts don’t easily break. They are made of durable material or they have a great warranty (wink!).
  3. Has meaning – Is this a gift that means something special to the child? To make the top 10 kid gifts list an item must have some type of meaning.
  4.  Pass it down – is this a gift that is from a loved one, or even someone who has passed on? These make the perfect gift that keeps on giving.
  5. Doesn’t cost a fortune- Sometimes we can’t avoid expensive gifts, ask me how many baseball/softball gloves and bats I’ve purchased. But, most of the time the gifts we can give don’t break the bank and are very useful for years.

Top 10 Kid Gifts

  1. Jewelry
    • Keepsake – locket
    • Ring
    • Bracelet
    • Necklace (with cross)
  2. Gift Subscriptions
    • Teaches children to cook — Raddish Kids highly recommended, healthy eating
    • Teaches children to create — Kiwi Crate recommended, crafts or science projects
  3. Musical Instruments
  4. Camera
  5. Park Tickets
    • Zoo
    • Museum
    • Theme Parks
  6. Lessons
    • Art lessons
    • Karate
    • Ballet
    • Music
    • Etc.
  7. Outdoor Gifts
    • Trampoline
    • Tents
    • Kites
    • Bikes
    • Skates
    • Scooters
    • Sports equipment
  8. Tablets
    • Kindle
    • iPad
    • Nook
  9. Vintage Toys
    • Yo-yo
    • Rubic Cube
    • Train sets
    • Rocking horse
    • Scrabble/ Monopoly
  10. Stuffed Animals

Great Gifts that didn’t make the top 10 list

  1. Book series
  2. Legos
  3. Dolls
  4. Art Supplies
  5. Craft Kids
  6. Science Kits
  7. Games
  8. Remote control toys
  9. Movies – see my top 50 list of movies here
  10. Puzzles

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.


Homeschooling Multiple Ages

HIRL-Episode-108

Homeschooling Multiple Ages! How does a homeschooling parent possibly educate older kids while at the same time juggling preschoolers, toddlers, and babies? Is it even realistic to think we could do a good job while spinning so many homeschool plates?

On this episode of Homeschooling in Real Life, Fletch and Kendra talk about how they’ve managed to homeschool 8 kids, how to structure a day so that schooling actually gets done, and how mom can survive and thrive during the demanding years of homeschooling multiple ages.

 

EPISODE TIMELINE
:50 Fluff – LOST, Father’s Day, Publishing, Summer Vacation
7:25 Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Part 1
18:16 – Homeschooling Multiple Ages, Part 2
33:35 The show is over. Goodbye!


SHOW NOTES:

Recommended Resources:
Three Essential Keys to Homeschooling Multiple Ages
Preschoolers and Peace Website

Betty the Surf Dog – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Rasta The Chocolate Lab – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Fletch Twitter
Kendra Twitter

Previous Episodes Mentioned:
All of them

Music clips used on this episode:
None


SUBSCRIBE AND LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW:

Allow the magic of the internet to deliver Homeschooling In Real Life to your tablet or smart phone. Let us show you how easy it is:

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WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LISTEN TO HomeschoolingIRL?

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Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.


LISTEN HERE

Are you ready to listen to Fletch and Kendra get real about homeschooling? Press the PLAY button below.

Last Minute DIY Entertainment Tips

Last Minute DIY Entertainment TipsLast Minute DIY Entertainment Tips

Episode 238

In this episode, I share my favorite last minute DIY entertainment tips with you. The best thing? No matter if your kids are young, small or grown these ideas will work for all ages. Add your favorite beverage and you are all set to go…and it won’t break the bank! What is your favorite last-minute DIY entertainment tips? Share them with us.

1. Now is not the time to get creative – we are talking last minute. Use tried and true recipes.
2. Appetizers are a great asset for early comers – things like:
a. cheese cubes
b. crackers
c. bruschetta – sliced baguettes
d. humus/ salsa and pita chips
e. fresh fruits
f. spinach dip
e. salad on a stick – cucumber, green or black olives, yellow/red peppers, cherry tomatoes and cubes of your favorite cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or leave plain.
3. Fresh flowers – cut them short and stick them in small vases – spread around the house.
4. music – holiday channel with yule log on tv or have one of your kids make up a holiday mix and you can play this in the background
5. activities for kids – whether it is an ornament they can stick together, popsicle stick pilgrims, or a scavenger hunt (keep them running and outdoors if possible) – prizes can be glow sticks. I keep these in bulk on hand for when the kids leave and they love them.
6. Candles – always festive even if you don’t light them – one year I found them on sale at Joanne fabrics after bridal season – they are whites, pales yellows – that go with everything. I just add greenery for Christmas – and fall leaves for autumn.
7. Fondue – whether it is cheese for appetizers or chocolate for dessert it is always fun.
8. Make dessert mixes ahead – for example, I make pumpkin pie mix and freeze it – I do use fresh pumpkins, but when I thaw it out it is ready to go – you may need to cut back on the liquids – I always do. I scoop out ice cream ahead in balls and freeze. I make cookie dough ahead and freeze/ refrigerate.
9. Dipped strawberries are a hit. Makes any party festive and it is loved by adults and kids.
10. Disposable plates

Use cloth napkins, to use, again and again, homemade napkin rings – took plastic round shower curtain hoops and covered them with ribbon – etc.

Teaching Kids To Be Thankful Everyday

TEACHING KIDS TO BE THANKFULTeaching Kids To Be Thankful Everyday

Episode 230

Many times in an attempt to shelter our children or prevent them from some of the hardships we experienced as children our children may become spoiled and have an entitlement mentality. In this episode, we discuss ways to encourage children to become thankful, not just in the big things, but every day.

 

Thanks to our sponsor Sony Pictures and Affirms Films and The Star Movie — the Christmas story definitely brings home the reason for the season and the importance of teaching our children to be grateful for all that God has done for us – sending us His son, to free us.


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.


Our children are sponges, aren’t they? They absorb the good and the bad. We want to teach our children that it is better to give than receive – to be thankful in all things – but it does not come naturally.

  1. How do we expect gratitude IF we don’t model it for our children?
  2. Teaching an attitude of gratitude begins when they are very small.
  3. How is fun this? Learning through doing – working alongside us…
  4. Practice – we practice our math facts, practice our manners, why not practice what to say to be grateful?
    1. Thank you for ——
    2. I appreciate the time you spent….
  5. Saying I’m thank-you in the little as well as the big things

Friends, manners begin at home – being thankful is a taught skill. No one expects someone profusely thankful – that can become annoying and make us think the person is insecure or not genuine in the thanks –

It also breeds extremes – there are families that stop giving gifts at birthdays or Christmas because they feel like opening gifts becomes a feeding frenzie of opening gifts and leaving a feeling of letdown or kids who are unappreciative. I have mixed emotions about this one – and since this is my podcast, I can share with you my take on this idea.

Friends, teaching children gratitude does not have to be extreme – and all or nothing. My love language is giving, it gives me a sense of doing something, for the glory of God and also how we are to proceed moving forward in God’s will. Depriving children of a Christmas tree because of pagan roots or gift giving, because they may become selfish, is an extreme. Having the children make gifts for each other, putting a budget on gift giving or making giving coincide with giving to the poor are all things that go much further in fostering good will –with your children and those around us.

Our children are only with us for a short time. I’ve been blessed with two families within one family – what I mean is my husband and I married in 1979 and had two children – one in 1980 and one in 1982, then we had a gap of 14 years until our next “family” came – in 1995, 1998, and 2000… I had the blessings of raising children when I was very young, and when I was an “older” mom. I can say what I’ve learned is what is translated into these podcasts.

Extremes don’t work and breed children who either become more extreme… or, the other end of the spectrum.

And having the experience of parenting for 37 years has shown me that homeschooling is a blessing because having my children with me 24/7 allows me to see when something is going horribly wrong when a child is extremely unthankful –in keeping with the topic of this podcast.

Gift giving is something we treasure as a family, without losing sight of the occasion.

In our family we make a production of gift giving, however, we wait until everyone is seated, we allow the child to open the gift – and rise immediately to thank the person who gifted it – either with a hug and/or a sincere thank-you.

We also thank God the ultimate giver of all gifts whether they are ones in our character or our abilities. And, also for those who provide for us.

Modeling thankfulness is wonderful, especially with Bible lessons.

Bible Stories that teach thankfulness –

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers – Luke 17:12-19 

Only one returned and thanked God, and he was a “stranger” an “outsider” a Samaritan. This is a lesson for our children that shows not only did the Lord notice that only one came, but he was healed (inside) and outwardly. This can be a great discussion you can have with your children.

 

Routines are important for children – so real-life applications:

  1. Praying before every meal – thanking God for the food as well as those who prepared it and earned the money to buy it!
  2. Morning prayers. Praising God before it happens – thanking Him for the day, the beautiful sky, the weather, the rain, etc. Teaching children to praise God in all things.
  3. Dinner praises. What are you most thankful for that day?
  4. Evening prayers: Praising God for the day.
  5. Keep a Praise Journal – I divided my prayer journal years ago into praises FIRST then, prayer requests at the back.
  6. Don’t give your children too many choices – sometimes choices encourage our children to be unhappy with what they get! Try it.
  7. Teach your children to be thankful each day by giving (see previous podcast #228 – teaching children to be giving) Not just a Thanksgiving and Christmas but all year long.
  8. Attitude is a choice – it is the way we look at life (share about Jeff here)

What do you do when your child will not be thankful after repeated reminders?

  1. If they forget, having them write a thank-you note (or copying the words – even if tracing) thank-you on a piece of paper can be a good reminder.
  2. Be an example to your child. They are sponges – they will copy you.
  3. Set boundaries. If you see that your children are becoming ungrateful, pray for the root cause – and then set boundaries. Keep gifts at a minimum, no choices until attitude becomes better. Crime fits the offense and is age appropriate. Kids don’t remember something not immediate.
  4. Challenge children to purchase gifts for others. I did this with my children, and recently with my grandchildren. I took the older ones shopping for the one-year-old. It was eye-opening.
  5. Give children responsibilities – I think large families this is easier than small, but volunteering to care for a neighbor’s toddler, or volunteering in the church nursery will teach a child the importance of thankfulness very quickly!
  6. Give gifts such as museum or nature center memberships, or kids cooking club – HERE
  7. Keep TV at a minimum – watching too many commercials specifically geared to children will give the children an “I want that” mentality. Same with infomercials for adults!

 

Praising God is a weapon against the evil one.

Gratitude can become a habit – it is an attitude of life. Look at David in the Psalms as he goes through hardships and triumphs he continues to praise God.

Additional Scriptures:

  1. Psalm: 107:1 – “Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
  2. Psalm: 100:1-5 – “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!…”
  3. Psalm: 9:1 – “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

 

I Love Homeschooling But I’m Totally Burned Out

For the rest of the year, we will be running a “Best of” series of the Homeschooling IRL episodes. Many of these episodes were earlier episodes that you might have missed. Enjoy!


Homeschool BurnoutLet’s be real folks! It’s February and the mid-year homeschooling doldrums can hit any of us. One of our listeners sent us a great email with five questions all about homeschool challenges and wanting to throw in the towel.

As we read through the questions he asked, we decided to combine all of them into one podcast and return  to a popular theme and call this episode, I Love Homeschooling But I’m Totally Burned Out. Don’t be confused. You may think this is an episode for just the homeschool moms, but moms and dads alike are going to relate to the questions and discussions.

As we answered his questions, we also turned our microphones onto other loyal listeners and asked three seasoned homeschool moms how they survive homeschool burnout in their home. These moms did not disappoint! Their answers were terrific and timely as we all approach midyear burnout in our homeschool  classrooms.

Episode Timeline
2:12 – Introduction – The Fluff!
10:30 – Question 1 – Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel and put the kids in public school?
18:33 – Question 2 – Has mom ever been burned out?
24:35 – Question 3 – Has there ever been a disagreement about the direction of your homeschool between mom and dad?
33:28 – Question 4 – What do you do with lazy kids?
37:33 – Question 5 – Has dad ever needed to step in and stop the direction of the family? Academically Socially?

Show Notes:

Guests: Michele White, Kari Clark, and Cheryl Pitt

Intro clip: Wipeout by the Surfaris – We encourage you to purchase this directly from iTunes
—————————————————————-


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.


Teaching Kids True Meaning

Teaching Kids True Meaning of the HolidaysTeaching Kids True Meaning

of the Holidays

Episode 237

Teaching kids the true meaning of the holidays? Why can’t you just let kids be kids? Does everything need a deeper meaning? I believe the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Just because you delve into the real meaning of Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter – it does not diminish the beauty of the event.

People think religion means taking all the fun away – but having faith truthfully add wonder and awe. It takes something that could encourage children to be greedy and turns it into something that brings out the best in people, love, relationships, spending time, generosity, and so much more.

Holiday decorations are all over the place – Thanksgiving is still weeks away and yet Christmas decorations often dot the stores. How do you teach children the true meaning of Christmas when all around them colorful decorations are flashing for their attention?

How are you teaching your kids the true meaning of the holidays? Start with this list and add your owns.

Show Notes: Teaching kids the True Meaning of the Holidays

  1. Be involved but get the children involved
  2. Give to others – angel tree, purchase a gift for others.
  3. Volunteer
  4. Establish Family Traditions such as:
    1. Advent Wreath
    2. Birthday party for Jesus
    3. Nativity/ straw Take an empty manager and record “good deeds” with straw, until Christmas Day when you place baby Jesus in the manger filled with hay.
    4. Midnight Mass
    5. Help set up the decorations; Nativity at Christmas
    6. Read the Christmas account from the Bible
  5. How do you feel about Santa? Each family has to make your own decision. Here are some things to think about. Eventually, your children will learn “Santa” is not real. How you go about telling your child will have a lifelong impact – depending on the sensitivity of your children.
  6. On December 6th St. Nicholas Day is celebrated all over Europe, to honor the “original” Santa Claus. “St. Nick has different traditions and you can select if you want to celebrate any of these. One of my friends who is from Europe has her children place their shoes outside their bedroom door if they have been “good” during the year, “St. Nicholas” comes to leave gifts or treats inside their shoes. Or you can have your children decorate their own “shoe” boxes for St. Nicholas gifts.

Other cultures/ traditions: Teaching kids the true meaning of the holidays

New Year’s Day – Feast of the Epiphany

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights – an 8-day Jewish celebration of Maccabees and the fight of freedom. The dates correspond to the Hebrew calendar so they change every year, but it usually takes place beginning of December. You can explain the 8 candles – or 8 days are not about receiving a gift each day, but how they represent the miracles the Maccabees experienced.  Definitely read the book of Maccabees with your children – it is a wonderful example of God’s faithfulness and love.

Kwanzaa is a holiday that honors African heritage and ends with a large feast. Nickell recommends having your children research Kwanzaa’s importance to the African-American culture by finding books and stories, as well as speaking with people who celebrate the holiday. After researching and learning more about the holiday, create a Kwanzaa celebration.

 


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.


Best of HIRL: Transparent Parenting

For the rest of the year, we will be running a “Best of” series of the Homeschooling IRL episodes. Many of these episodes were earlier episodes that you might have missed. Enjoy!


1428878305523How important is it for us to practice transparent parenting with our children? What should you do when your children ask you questions that are just too personal or too painful to answer? If we do practice transparency, will our kids simply follow our example?

In this episode, we sit down with marriage and family therapist, Chris Oneth, to discuss the topic of transparency in our parenting. We answer these questions and many more as we talk through this very difficult topic.

Join us as we discuss the importance of being honest with our kids and share techniques for walking into the difficult conversations. We share with our listeners how the gospel helps us to conquer our fears. We also address the error of parenting from a place of shame and as always we encourage you to celebrate the freedom that comes when we embrace the grace of God.

Join us on this episode as we encourage you to press into your anxiety, to get real in your marriage, and to practice transparency with your children.

Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

 


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.


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