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Christmastime is a perfect time to implement Deuteronomy 11:18-19 in your homeschool.

You shall therefore impress these words of mine
on your heart and on your soul . . .
You shall teach them to your sons,
talking of them when you sit in your house
and when you walk along the road
and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19

God did not inspire Moses to say, “Be sure you set aside four hours a day 180 days a year to teach your children what they need to know.” He did not tell Moses to say, “Be sure that you fit in soccer practice and ballet lessons and church activities and family fun nights and ____________ around all the things you are trying to pack in during this four hours a day 180 days a year” either.

Learning opportunities surround us all at Christmastime, but sometimes homeschooling mamas are so busy “doing school” that they don’t feel like they have time to take advantage of them. Or homeschooling mamas try to fit in school plus lots of those other things, tempting everyone to be exhausted and cranky and anything but jolly campers experiencing peace on earth.

So, what’s the answer? I suggest that we learn to think outside the proverbial box and inside Deuteronomy 11 (and chapter 6, too).

Yesterday Ray, Mother, and I, along with two of our grandchildren and their parents, went to the free Christmas concert held each year in the town thirty minutes away from us. There we met these grandchildren’s other set of grandparents.

We found seats all together and in the beautifully decorated theater we enjoyed exciting Christmas music. We heard:

  • “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” an American carol written in 1849;
  • “The Holly and the Ivy,” a traditional English folk song;
  • “Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming,” a German Christmas carol from the 1400s;
  • Selections from the Nutcracker Ballet, written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and first performed in 1892;
  • “I Saw Three Ships,” published in England in 1839;
  • “Sleigh Ride,” written by American composer Leroy Anderson and first recorded by the Boston Pops in 1948;
  • Two beautiful compositions that included themes from popular Christmas carols and Christmas songs; and
  • “Auld Lang Syne,” a traditional Scottish folk song preserved by poet Robert Burns in the late 1700s and now sung around the world.
Our concert program was printed in plain type on a sheet of green paper, but here's a program of the Hodie School of Music  Christmas Concert, performed in the Eisenhower Auditorium at Penn State in 1987, Courtesy of the Library of Congress. Isn't it adorable!
Our concert program was printed in plain type on a sheet of green paper, but here’s a pretty program from the Hodie School of Music Christmas Concert, performed in the Eisenhower Auditorium at Penn State in 1987, courtesy of the Library of Congress. Isn’t it adorable!

Our travel time to the concert, our time at the theater, and our time coming home from the concert added up to about three hours. I’m a former homeschooling mama. If I were a current homeschooling mama and I were a stickler about the hours we homeschooled, I would count those three hours as “school” and take off some time next week to bake cookies or build a snowman (even if we had to build it out of paper or Styrofoam® because we didn’t have any real snow yet) or work on props for a nativity play (at church or at home) or read about Jesus’ birth in the Bible or take a nap one day so we could go to another concert or a party or a Christmas parade or something that evening or just hang out together.

After all, we had history and geography and music appreciation and family time and grandparent time yesterday. I think this would be a very good way for my family to “do school” because mamas and children have a limited amount of stamina and energy. It’s a shame to waste all of that stamina and energy on things that we can do later because our community band only does one Christmas concert every year. I would hate to miss it because I was too busy “doing school.”

I think you could count your own “school” that way, too. I am guessing that this week, you can find lots of ways to teach your children when you . . .

. . . sit in your house
and when you walk along the road
and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 11:19

 I feel sheepish advertising to you, but then sometimes I feel sheepish about not letting you know about things you might like to know about. I had this blog post idea first and then I thought about the fact that I ought to tell you about a book I wrote a few years ago that you might like to use at Christmas time. It is called Celebrate the Savior. It includes fifteen lessons covering the birth and childhood of Jesus until He is twelve years old in the first half of the study and Christmas traditions around the world in the second half. Here’s a link if you would like to check it out.

Celebrate the Savior by Charlene Notgrass

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