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12/3/2009 4:04:10 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter -- December 2009

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter
December 2009--Homeschooling Through the Holidays
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Dear Friends,

The holiday season is upon us, and we are grateful for the blessed
gift of a Savior who bears our burdens and offers us new life. This
month as you add to your homeschooling day time to bake cookies, enjoy
visits from friends and families, and make memories with your
children, there may be moments when energy runs low and spirits sag.
Homeschooling does not happen in a vacuum--it happens in the midst of
life! Whether Christmas or another religious holiday is celebrated in
your home, prepare for such times by making adjustments to your
homeschooling schedule. Then you will be able to meet the extra
demands in a better frame of mind.

Make Changes in Your Daily School Routine

As former homeschool moms, we remember how December was usually full
of activities that competed with school time. Church play rehearsals,
Christmas concerts, get-togethers with relatives, crafting special
gifts, and other events eat up time. Don't feel guilty about cutting
back on course assignments by eliminating 3-5 problems from each math
lesson, scaling back on composition writing, or skimming over a
chapter in history. Also, look for academic content in the holiday
activities in which your teens participate. For example, count that
concert attendance as part of a music course, incorporate family
seasonal reading time into the literature class, and log the hours
your teen spends Christmas caroling as part of her community service.
You'll see that these activities then become a part of your schooling
for December instead of being perceived as distractions from school.

We also recommend that you take extra care to maintain control over
your calendar during the holidays. Be purposeful in scheduling time of
relaxation for you and your teens. Plan some evenings when everyone
will be at home together and you can enjoy hot chocolate and a
Christmas movie classic or enjoy reading Scripture or singing Handel's
"Messiah!" The many wonderful opportunities available during the
holidays will require deliberate restraint to guard against
exhaustion. Taking a hard look at the calendar before it becomes
overloaded will reap good fruit.

Hold Expectations Lightly

Did you know studies show that discouragement and despair are
heightened during the holiday season? The majority of us have
experienced this firsthand. The main reason tends to be unmet
expectations. We envision and expect a perfect holiday with no
personal conflicts, no financial concerns, and no lack of cooperation
from teens. When this scenario fails to present itself, we are
disappointed.

In order to refocus your thoughts, make an honest assessment of your
expectations for the holidays and ask the Lord for wisdom in knowing
which ones He would have you release to Him. If relations with
extended family are strained, consider spending quiet time in prayer
for these relatives asking the Lord to give you grace to cope with
them.

If your teen's lack of cooperation is more evident during the
holidays, take great care not to respond in anger but to ask the Lord
for an opportunity each day to encourage your teen or to tell him that
you love him. The Lord may use these kindnesses to change his heart.


If money for gift giving is non-existent, focus on giving gifts of
time and abilities. For example, have each family member make a
coupon book for others in the family. A teen might present a coupon
to a sibling that offers to make his bed for a month. A mom can give
out coupons to each child for a batch of homemade cookies. Other
coupons could provide time for a hike or walk in the park or making a
special meal. Another suggestion came from a mom whose son had very
little money to spend on gifts, so she asked him to memorize a poem
from "Valley of Vision" (a collection of Puritan prayers). When he
recited it to her from memory, it was music to her ears; and it
represented a love gift of time from her son. Perhaps there is a
passage or chapter in Scripture that your teen could memorize for
you--it doesn't cost a penny, but it is a heartfelt gesture.

Here are some additional ideas to fend off low spirits and melancholy
you may feel during December. Make a priority of staying in the Word
of God--no matter how busy you are! You can't be refreshed if you
aren't drinking in and meditating on truth. Perhaps you'll want to
purchase a special Christmas devotional for the month to do with your
teens or perhaps schedule time to read over the Christmas story as a
family. During your homeschool day, play Christmas carols as
background music. These songs are rich in lyrics, beautiful in melody,
and they will set a wonderful atmosphere in your home.

You and your teens may enjoy planning a simple way to bless someone
less fortunate. It may be purchasing gifts for Prison Fellowship's
Angel Tree ministry http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7291 or for a
family in your neighborhood or church who is experiencing difficult
times this season. Other ideas include baking cookies and delivering
them to volunteer fire departments, visiting the elderly in nursing
homes as your teen uses his or her musical talents to brighten the
residents' day, or setting aside a few extra minutes during each
school day to pray for specific servicemen and women who will be
spending Christmas far away from friends and family.

Taking Time to Grieve

The holidays accentuate heartaches. If you are in the midst of a
particularly painful time, we extend our sympathies to you. We offer
you the hope that the Lord is your provider, redeemer, and restorer.
He carries you on His heart because He is the healer of broken hearts.
Whatever your situation, you are not alone. The Lord promises to give
you comfort, so cry out to Him and seek His face.

If you are fortunate not to be experiencing grief this holiday season,
ask the Lord for awareness of those in the homeschooling community who
may desire help, solace, or comfort. Your involvement may be to open
your home for some needed fellowship, to open your wallet to meet a
particular financial necessity, or to open the Word of God and share
an encouragement verse by way of a personal note.

If you don't know of anyone needing help and feel so led, consider
making a donation to the Home School Foundation,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7292, an affiliate of the Home
School Legal Defense Association that channels donations to
homeschooling families in want.

Final Thought

We encourage you to pray diligently during December so that
exhaustion, discouragement, and disappointment will not be the
hallmarks of your holiday season! May the Lord give you an abundance
of joy and peace as you celebrate His birthday. He is the perfect
gift coming down from the Father of lights.

Until next month, when we share some resource suggestions for
parenting teens, we pray that you and your families are blessed with
much energy, encouragement, and edification this holiday season.

Merry Christmas,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators

Suggestions Wanted

Is there a newsletter topic that you would like to hear about in more
depth? Send your suggestion to highschool@hslda.org .

Quote of the Month

Psalm 92:4
For thou, O LORD, has made me glad by what Thou has done, I will sing
for joy at the works of Thy hands.

Archeological Trip

If your family is looking for the ultimate field trip, check out the
Lukeion Project's Family Custom Expedition to Turkey in May 2010 with
stops in Troy, Ephesus, Istanbul and more! Led by homeschool parents
and archeologists, Regan and Amy Barr, this 11-day excursion will tour
the best archeological sites in western Turkey. For more details see:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7293


Diane & Becky's upcoming speaking engagements:

Capital Baptist Church Homeschool Co-Op, Annandale, VA (Becky)
February 18, 2010; March 18, 2010

HSLDA Third Annual High School Symposium (Becky & Diane)
Friday, April 9, 2010
Details forthcoming--Mark your calendars now!

Christian Family Schools of San Diego, CA (Diane)
May 7-8, 2010
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7294

Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, Des Moines, IA (Diane)
June 18-19, 2010
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7295

Valley Home Educators--Modesto, CA (Becky)
July 30-31, 2010
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7296

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