by Becky Slamer

“They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” – Psalm 145:7

Creating an atmosphere of celebration in our homes is a powerful testimony to our loved ones inside our walls and to a hurting world outside. Sally Clarkson says in The Lifegiving Table, “I believe we must celebrate, because celebration is one of the most effective weapons we have against the darkness of our day.”

Celebrating is a spiritual discipline. A discipline that can be dismissed as frivolous or unnecessary. Yet, God reminds us over and over again of the need to recount His deeds and to celebrate His provision.

As homeschoolers, we have the gift of time and the joyous opportunity to create environments for our family that lead us to celebrate His abundant goodness. Holidays are a time when the world around us naturally celebrates. Often, there are so many elements of the holidays that naturally point back to Jesus. We can redeem the holidays and focus our celebration on Jesus. The abundant life we enjoy here on earth provides ample opportunities to turn our hearts and focus our minds on Him. The reality is we are forgetful and need reminders over and over again. We have countless unique possibilities as homeschoolers to build special memories and to enjoy learning with our kids. We can choose to make the time to learn while having fun with them. Seize the opportunities because you can!

Seizing those opportunities might not come as naturally to you. Here are some questions you can reflect on. Then make a simple plan for an upcoming holiday or special occasion. Taking a few minutes to plan will go a long way. Ask yourself, “What about this holiday points back to Jesus?” “Are there symbols or colors, etc. that have meaning?”

For some holidays the connection might be more obvious. For example, during Thanksgiving we model giving thanks to the Lord. Christmas has an abundance of connections with Jesus’ birth. Christmas music can be incredibly rich in theology and lead us to reflect on His character. At Easter, we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. It is such a significant celebration of our faith that I find myself every year wanting to carve out more and more time to reflect and celebrate. As our kids have grown, it has become increasingly more meaningful to remember Passion Week, the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Even the bunnies and eggs of Easter can represent new life and can be meaningful reminders of our new life in Christ. St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to learn about the missionary, St. Patrick, or focus on the rainbow and God’s promises.

How do we add in celebrating when the days feel so full already? Don’t try to do it all. Pray. Think about your family and your reality. What are your family’s interests, resources, and schedule? Pick one or two things to start. Build stock and build traditions over time. I try to buy one new thing a season each year. After 15 years, I have tubs for every season of decorations, books, and supplies. My hope is to spark some thoughts and encourage you to ask the Lord, dream, talk to your family about what works for you! It is not to put you under the pile. Through comparison, this is an area the enemy can steal our joy. Let reality be your friend. Embrace what you can do. Don’t focus on what you can’t. Know yourself. If Pinterest or Instagram are hard for you, then know that, and use caution. I need ideas to gain inspiration, so it is fun and relaxing for me to see what others do and get ideas from them.

Be creative. Celebrating does not have to be things. It can be special conversations, prayers, or quality time. We take a traditional summer break, so even our first day of school and last day of school hold traditions and celebrations that have become beloved for us. On the first day of school we share goals for the year and pray for each other. At the end of the year, we encourage each other with things that we have learned or grown in over the year.

Who can you celebrate with? Decide who your focus is. Are there things you want to do for just you and your kids? What can dad be a part of? Or is it an opportunity for extended family to join you? We have several celebrations that have become treasured traditions with friends. There could be events in your community that would naturally provide some opportunities as well.

There are so many different things you could focus on to plan your celebrating. Choose a few or what is more natural for your family. Food is a simple and fun way to celebrate. We need to put meals on the table anyway. Decorating your home can certainly help in creating an environment of celebration. Music is another great way to celebrate and you can even enjoy it on the go. Art projects that are focused on a holiday provide great memories and keepsakes. Seasonal books and poetry (whether it’s a picture book, history, geography or lapbooks) combine learning and celebrations in a natural way. Field trips and nature outings can be a hands-on ways to experience a holiday and create memories as a family, like going to a pumpkin patch.

Taking photos can be a special way to capture the memories year after year. Every year after we put our Christmas tree up and decorate it, our kids take a picture in front of it. On the first day of school, I have always taken a picture of our kids in front of the front door and then another one of them walking back inside. I usually have our kitchen table set in some simple fun way for each holiday. I always take a photo of our kids in front of the decorated table. These photos have become cherished treasures.

If there is one thing that continues to become glaringly true, it is that my kids are growing faster than my heart can keep up. I have a few short years left with my oldest before she is out of our house. I cherish the traditions and memories we have built as a family as we create an environment of celebration in our home. I love that our kids already talk about passing them along to their kids. It is never too late to start a new tradition and it is never too late to pause and celebrate the Lord’s abundant goodness and joyfully sing of His righteousness. No matter what else is going on in our lives, we can choose to celebrate His beauty in the everyday and in the holidays. Enjoy the freedom we have and homeschool through the holidays!


Becky Slamer and her husband, Scott, have been married for almost 16 years. They are in their 11th year of homeschooling their 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son. They are also in full time ministry with Cru, a ministry that reaches college students. They read a lot and celebrate often in their home. Performing arts and soccer round out their days and have been great opportunities to connect with others. Becky joined LIFE Homeschool, a CHEA Support Network Group during their first year homeschooling. She served as the Co-Op Coordinator for two years on the leadership team before becoming President earlier this year. Homeschooling has been the greatest gift for their family!