Holidays, Homeschooling, and Special Needs



Holidays, Homeschooling, and Special Needs


by Heidi Forney


With any family, the holidays can be full of hustle and bustle as you try finish up gifts and cards for your family and friends, cooking that special dish for the potluck at church on Sunday, or putting the finishing touch on your decorations or a special feast for Christmas dinner. Besides all that, you also are busy trying to get the kids to do their schoolwork and finish up that project that you had planned to have completed by the end of the year so you can start fresh in January. Not to mention you want to squeeze in that last doctor appointment before the start of a new medical calendar year when those deductibles start over, and you just don’t have the cash to cover those expenses!


Hold on a minute…


Stop and take a deep breath, pour yourself a cup of (I prefer hot cocoa, but help yourself to whatever drink you fancy!) and rest for a bit.


What do you REALLY want your family to learn from this time of Thanksgiving, of Christ’s birth, of family, loving, giving, and Peace on earth? Think about it. Pray about it. Write it down. Make a list if you need to! And then, if you feel you are too busy for THOSE lessons to be learned, it is ok to cut back.


It really won’t hurt anyone if you choose to bring something simple to that potluck (if you even decide to go! Maybe some quiet family time is more in tune with what you want for your family this year). You don’t HAVE to send out cards every Christmas. Maybe you should make a new tradition of sending out a family letter at the end of the school year instead. Perhaps even the beginning of the school year, sharing what you did over the summer.


Possibly the lessons your children (and you) need to learn this season aren’t in books, but are lessons of the heart. I know that for my family, when life gets too busy with “stuff”, my special needs son is the one who suffers most. He needs time (as he told me just the other day) to settle down by himself so he can decompress and regroup. The stress gets to him, and I imagine it might get to your special needs family members as well. Taking time to “ decompress and regroup” is good for all of us… for moms and dads as well as kids.


I know for myself that when I am more relaxed, I have more to give of myself to others, both my family and to my community. I have a special activity that I participate in each year at the hospital that takes several hours for a few days right before Christmas, it fills my joy bucket, it tears at my heart strings, and I can bring Jesus’ love to families in need. But to do that, I HAVE to make sure I don’t overdo it earlier in the month, or I am no good for that special project. It is a matter of choosing my priorities. It’s not always easy to do, but especially during the holidays for our families and ourselves, but it is essential. A great time of learning for us all.


Wishing you and your family Christ’s Love this Christmas.



Heidi has homeschooled her three boys for over 24 years in both California and Idaho. Her youngest son has complex needs, both medical and on the autistic spectrum. He recently graduated, participating in the CHOIS graduation ceremony. When she is not caring for her son, she spends her free time volunteering with medical support groups and traveling with her family. She hopes that her experiences homeschooling special needs will bless and encourage you.

Committed to helping parents fulfill their God-given right and responsibility to educate their own children.