Does anyone else feel like a starter pistol has been fired?
Schedule Backwards from Christmas
The next four weeks will see us try to keep-on-keepin’-on with academics and extracurriculars while anticipating and getting ready for Christmas. I find it hard to stay on top of things when Christmas is just around the corner. If you do, too, then scheduling backwards from Christmas can help.
Once a month, I use the scheduling backwards strategy to plan for our home and homeschool, but I find it particularly helpful when a major, unusual event is coming up.
Before my niece, Kaitlyn’s wedding a couple of years ago (that’s 7 Sisters Allison’s oldest, by the way!), I used her wedding as a “schedule-from-here” point. It makes sure that none of the special tasks that need to be done before the event sneak up on you at the last moment throwing everything else you THOUGHT you’d be doing in the trash can.
While the philosophy and techniques described in this little article are general in nature, it’s easy to customize them for the Christmas season.
Ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. What matters most to my family and to me as we celebrate Christmas?
Are you really great gift-givers who need a lot of time to shop for just the right item? Is baking an important tradition? Do you look forward to decorating your house? Do you love to be involved in the choir cantata, or children’s program, or caroling at church or in your community? Don’t be afraid to honestly list the real priorities for you and your family.
2. Of the things that you REALLY want to do, what deadlines are involved?
What preparation time is needed? Schedule those things first for December.
3. What academic goals do you need to reach before you go on break from school for the holiday?
(Be realistic! If you would love to complete two chapters of Math but you are on-track so far and would be okay finishing only one chapter, write down one chapter!)
4. What do you struggle with the most during the Christmas season?
Do you have an ill family member who requires lots of care? Are you grieving a loss that is intensified by the holidays? Are your finances a disaster and you don’t know how you’ll pay for things you’d really love to do this Christmas? Are there close family members who do not know the Lord who make things extra-tense at family gatherings? It’s important to honestly tell yourself before God what is hard for you, and then schedule in time for self-care as you face those challenges.
A little planning now (just an hour or so is all you need!) can spare you lots of stress later and also result in a rewarding checklist of “Important Stuff We Did In December” as you head into your Christmas break.
The Christmas Carol War was the program at my church a couple of years ago, and we got rave reviews!
It also makes for a really FUN Readers Theater experience for your family!