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Build a Temporary Routine

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Christmas is coming. For many families, this is a source of great excitement. There are presents to be wrapped, decorations to be hung, and crafts to make. Wonderful smells of baked treats fill the air. There’s Santa to visit, and toys to lust after, and family visits to make—in many cases to family or friends who aren’t seen much throughout the rest of the year. There’s so much to do, and so many wonderful ways to spend all your hours, that it may seem impossible to fit it all in—especially around your normal homeschooling routine.

There are fun pictures that you want to take, and crafts that you want to create, and baking that you want to do—and you likely want to include your kids in all of it. There’s also shopping to be done, and secret presents to be wrapped, and so, so many things that you want to accomplish without your kids looking over your shoulder every second; and that’s not possible the way your day normally runs, either.

Sounds like it’s time to shake up the routine a little!

Include Christmas crafts or baking as part of your normal school day. It will break things up a bit and give your kids a brain break, as well as encouraging them to think creatively—a win-win situation.

Arrange with a fellow homeschooling mom, friend, or your spouse to trade some childcare hours. All of you need some time out without the kids—so take over the kids from a friend, then have them watch all of them for you. Use these hours to get your shopping done, your wrapping taken care of, and your crafty surprises done while the kids aren’t in the house—and make sure that you have a plan before you go into that time. Otherwise, you’ll end up chasing your tail and not using it productively.

Involve the kids in shopping for other relatives and friends. Help them to understand your Christmas budget, your plans for the season, and everything that needs to be accomplished. Make it part of a math lesson, if you like.

Try not to shift bedtime too often. This time of year, some shifting is inevitable. There are holiday parties, and late-night movies that simply must be watched with your kids, and lights to see, and plays and musicals that will run past their normal bedtime. Every once in a while, allowing a shift in bedtime probably won’t hurt anything. On the other hand, doing it every night (and then expecting them to get up at the usual time the next morning) will lead to cranky kids and crankier parents.

Keep to your usual routine as much as possible. Unfortunately, even homeschooling kids can’t take a break for the entire month as December. They still need to have schoolwork, and they need to get it done in a smooth and peaceful manner, not crammed in between Christmas activities—but a day or two off here and there isn’t a bad thing, either.

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