My advice for all homeschooling moms this Thanksgiving is simple: DO NOT FALL INTO THE DO-IT-ALL TRAP!!
It is a trap lying in wait for all homeschoolers. We set our sights too high, plan too much, work ourselves to the point of exhaustion, get snippy with our husbands and children, and end up frustrated and worn out. Wondering how I know this? Or have you already figured out I am a born over-achiever and I've had to learn a few things the hard way?!
This Thanksgiving, take it easy. Slow down and make time for what really matters. Instead of adding an enormous unit study on Thanksgiving to your typical homeschool schedule, why not set aside your current history program and study about the history of this holiday in America? Swap out handwriting workbooks for Bible verses about thankfulness. Keep your Thanksgiving Day menu as simple as possible, and do some of your baking a little early as part of homeschool Home Ec. Don't try and do everything you normally do and host the perfect Thanksgiving dinner and add a ton more work to your family's homeschool agenda. I'm not saying that you should do nothing - that would be as bad as doing too much. Just don't do too much. I have a feeling each of you knows what "too much" is for your particular family.
It's hard to be thankful when we're stressed out, worn out, and put out. It's hard to enjoy the family we're blessed to be a part of. It's hard to relax if our to-do lists are several pages long. It defeats the purpose of the holiday - and how much sense does that make??
So, what am I doing to keep my Thanksgiving simple this year? Well, we aren't traveling anywhere because that would be pretty tough to manage since our son only has a short amount of time home from college. I'm cleaning the house pretty thoroughly, but I'm not going to deep clean the areas that aren't "vital" (i.e. the basement, the garage, the closets...). I'm only baking the desserts my family really loves - and I'm not trying any new recipes this year. And we're doing our normal Black Friday traditions ~ shopping just for the fun of it (it's a fun time for my family as they goof off in line and have a relaxed attitude as they shop) and play some serious paintball in the afternoon with our church youth group (a lot of adult church members join us - it has become a fabulous tradition!).
Other than that, we'll be hanging out while my son is home. We'll eat family dinners that are "non-cafeteria-style" but easy for me to prepare. Our homeschool schedule will be adjusted so that we aren't stressed to the nines next week. On Monday evening, we will watch the Patriots vs. Chiefs game just for fun (my son's a huge Pats fan and the NFL season hasn't been the same with him away from home). Simple stuff, relaxing stuff, fun stuff. Plenty of time to make memories and a relaxed attitude in keeping with a thankful heart. Sounds like a great Thanksgiving to me.
I encourage you to evaluate why you do what you do, keep in step with the Holy Spirit, and enjoy your blessings this Thanksgiving. And if you're brave enough, join in an intense 4-hour paintball session on Black Friday!!
I'll leave you with a few words from the Greatest Book ever written, and my hope that you are blessed beyond measure this Thanksgiving.
Psalm 62:1,5 ~ "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him...Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him."
Day 132 done :)
Jan L. Burt