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In this episode of “Ten Minutes to a Better Homeschool,” host Pam Barnhill discusses the concept of having a guilt-free Christmas in homeschooling. As homeschoolers, we often feel the pressure to make the Christmas season extra special by incorporating Christmas unit studies and activities into our already busy schedules. However, Pam shares her insights on how to navigate this dilemma without feeling overwhelmed or guilty.

Whether you choose to fully embrace Christmas schooling, stick to your regular academic routine, or keep it simple with a few Christmas-themed activities, Pam provides helpful advice for finding a balance that works for your family. Join her as she encourages homeschool moms to enjoy the holiday season without the unnecessary pressure.

Key Takeaways About Christmas Schooling

  • Recognize that you have options: Choose to fully embrace Christmas schooling, stick to your regular academics, or keep it simple with a few Christmas-themed activities.
  • Let go of guilt: Understand that whatever approach you choose is valid and should not be a source of guilt.
  • Embrace the idea of Christmas schooling: If you decide to set aside regular academics, lean into the Christmas spirit and make learning fun and festive.
  • Stick to your regular routine: If the idea of incorporating Christmas activities feels overwhelming or doesn’t align with your family’s preferences, stick to your regular academic routine.
  • Keep it simple: If you choose to do some Christmas-themed activities, remember that it doesn’t have to be over the top. Select a few activities that your family enjoys and incorporate them into your routine without feeling the need to do it all.


Listen to the Podcast

Pam Barnhill [00:00:01]:

Sometimes in seeking to make things easier on ourselves, we inadvertently make them harder on ourselves. Hi, everyone. I’m Pam Barnhill, and I have helped thousands of homeschoolers create doable systems, beat burnout, and bring more joy to their homeschool day. Welcome to episode 82 of 10 minutes to a better homeschool. Okay. So today’s episode is All about how we can do school around Christmas time without guilt, and we’re gonna be approaching this from a number of different angles today. But before we get started, we would like you to know that we have a free gift for you. Our team has put together a Christmas tradition set of morning time explorations that are yours absolutely free.

Pam Barnhill [00:00:47]:

Now there are all kinds of fun activities in these explorations. We’re gonna be talking some more about doing fun activities with your kids at Christmas time today, But we’ve given you a place to get started so you can head on over to pam and download this special gift. Okay. So let’s talk a little bit about this whole idea of a no guilt Christmas, a no guilt Christmas school. Because As homeschoolers are won’t to do, sometimes we build up something to be so big and fantastic in our heads, and we feel like we’re Failing if we’re not going all out with something. And so there is this idea that we’ve got to do a Christmas unit study, or we’ve got to do some kind of Special Christmas school or there’s got to be all of these special activities around Christmas in our homeschool, and if we don’t do that, then we are failing somehow. And so we inadvertently, in some ways, put all of this Pressure on us to make even homeschooling at Christmas extra special when goodness knows we have So many things going on in our houses anyway that don’t have anything to do with school, that are just things that have to do with the the holiday. And so I think the idea is by putting aside regular schoolwork and leaning into this idea of Christmas school or a Christmas unit study that we are gonna make things easier on ourselves because we’re gonna let Christmas become the school.

Pam Barnhill [00:02:27]:

And I think that can absolutely work. I 100% think that could absolutely work if you let the other stuff go. So I think where it gets really difficult is where you’re trying to do both. When you’re trying to do your regular academics and all of your regular things, and then you’re putting this Christmas school idea or this Christmas unit study idea on top of that. That, I think, is typically a recipe for disaster. And so I think it works really well if you say, you know what? We are gonna put aside those academics, and we are just going to do this idea of Christmas schooling. So I do think it works. Let’s talk about the opposite though.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:05]:

Could it work to say, you know what? We’re not gonna fool with any of the Christmas unit studies. We’re not gonna download the free download that Pam offered to me. Instead, we’re do we’re gonna just do our regular thing. We’re just gonna lean into academics and do some of our basics and Kind of check off our school boxes on until like December 12th or something. I just can’t even think about it. And then we’re gonna stop And we’re not gonna worry about making everything educational or reading all the books or doing all the things or learning about all the Christmas stuff. We’re just gonna then do our regular Christmas things. I think that totally can work too.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:47]:

And if you’re the kind of mom who, for whatever reason. And there could be so many reasons why you would need to continue with your schooling. I mean, first of all, maybe you don’t want to make everything fun and exciting. Maybe the idea of making Christmas crafts makes you just wanna poke your eyeballs out. I I don’t know. Maybe the idea of glitter just gives you the heebie jeebies or the hives. Maybe you can’t carry a tune with a Christmas carol. Maybe you’re finishing up a really great read aloud and you don’t wanna switch to a Christmas book because it means you’re gonna miss the end of this other wonderful book or you’re gonna forget it.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:21]:

There are just so many reasons why you could just keep doing exactly what it is that you’ve been doing. And if you don’t tell anybody, I won’t tell anybody, and your homeschool will be totally okay, and you can do that without guilt. So if you’re in one of those positions, Just keep doing what you’re doing. Keep doing what you’re doing up until the point where you’re ready to stop, and then stop, and then Just enjoy your family holidays like you always enjoy your family holidays, and don’t even worry about the idea of doing some kind of Christmas unit study or doing a Christmas school. Okay. So 2 things so far. Number 1, Embrace it. Lean into it.

Pam Barnhill [00:05:08]:

Do the whole Christmas school thing, but don’t do your regular studies. That’s totally okay. You hear that everywhere. Number 2, the part you don’t hear everywhere, just do your regular things and don’t worry about the Christmas unit study. That one’s totally okay and totally valid too. Or the third option would be, Do Christmas stuff in your homeschool, but keep it really simple. And I just really wanna stress But if you do decide to lean in and do Christmas things, it does not have to be over the top. You know, I’m not a big fan of the elf on the shelf, and different families feel different ways about the elf on the shelf.

Pam Barnhill [00:05:51]:

I will tell you one of the reasons why I was never a fan other than okay. He’s a little creepy to me, guys. Somebody gifted us with an elf on the shelf The year my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. So I did not choose this elf. I did not buy this elf. My husband was in Afghanistan. I had a 7 year old, a 5 year old, and a 2 year old, and the last thing I needed with some creepy little elf to move around the house every night while my kids were asleep. I mean, I was barely remembering to get the garbage out.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:27]:

We were eating food off of paper plates. I was just holding it together, and the last thing I needed was an elf on the shelf. Now He was touched. It was sad. You know, the rule is if they’re ever touched, they leave and they never come back. My kids have totally gotten over it. But you may be feeling this way. You may be feeling the way of, I just can’t do all the things.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:51]:

This is too much pressure. This is too much stress for me. Go download the wonderful Christmas unit studies and activities. Ours is free. There are so many other free ones out there that you can find. Go get them and download them and choose to do 1 thing a week. Choose to do 3 things a week. Choose to do 5 things in total.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:15]:

Choose the last 3 days before Christmas to really Spend 2 days just doing all the fun things from all the Christmas school activity bags. But you don’t have to do it all the time. You don’t have to do the whole season. I’ve told this story a number of times. Maybe you’ve heard it, maybe you haven’t. But not too long ago, Within the past couple of years, we were talking one day in the car. I was in there driving with the kids, and we were talking about fond memories from our homeschool. And Olivia said, oh, mom.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:47]:

I remember you always used to make us green eggs and ham. Guys, I made my kids green eggs and ham one time. One time, I made green eggs and ham, but I got credit for doing it all the time. I always used to make them green eggs and ham. And so the point I’m trying to make here is if you can’t do all the things, if you can’t spend a whole season doing Christmas and you just need to do it 1 or 2 days. And I’m talking about Christmas school. I’m not talking about the actual celebration of the birth of Christ, which is a totally different thing. I’m talking about the spin that homeschoolers put on it.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:24]:

But if you can only spend a day or 2 doing that, it is enough. It is all your kids need. They’re still gonna have fond memories of all the wonderful, beautiful Christmassy things that they did when they homeschooled with their mom at Christmas. And you don’t have to do it all the time. You can just do it 1 or 2 days and it is really good. The last thing I’ll kind of get you to lean into is there are so many things. You don’t have to do the Christmas writing assignments. You don’t have to find the Christmas note booking pages.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:56]:

You don’t need to ruin a really good holiday with a unit study. Instead, lean into the really beautiful things about that holiday. Listen to the holiday music. Watch some of the holiday movies. Cook the cookies that you were going to make for your neighbors anyway. Let the kids help you wrap the presents. All of the holiday preparations that you need to do, that you feel like you have to get done, those are the things that the kids can help you with and just Play holiday music in the background as you’re doing it. You know, take the time to flip through a book of beautiful art.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:32]:

Those are the kinds of things that you can do, and you really don’t have to pull out the all of the paper and the glitter and and all of those things. Let the kids help you stuff the Christmas cards into the envelopes and lick the backs of them. Those are the kinds of things that we can do where We’re working on this Christmas stuff together, and while we’re doing it, we’re gonna sip hot chocolate, or while we’re doing it, we’re gonna watch a Charlie Brown Christmas. Those are just the fun things that we can do as a family that are are way less stressed than turning everything into some kind of Christmas math lesson. So do I have Christmas things that you can download? 100%, yes. I do. Because you know why? You can do Christmas with no guilt. You can lean into it and do all the Christmas things and not do your regular school.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:23]:

You can just do 1 or 2 of the Christmas things and feel like, hey. I’m a great homeschooling parent. I’ve done some wonderful Christmas stuff with my kids this year. Or you can say, you know what? We’re gonna do school right up until the time that it’s time to stop, and we’re just gonna celebrate the holidays. And you can choose Any of those options and do it without guilt. Merry Christmas.

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